Saturday, January 24, 2009

They are 9 months and 28 days apart.

Honoring our children, how do we do that? To respect who they truly are is not always an easy task. Too often we get caught up in our own stuff. Our own projections of who we think they are, or who they should be. Celebrating who my children are individually is something that is important to me. I work hard at it, and I'm passionate about it.

They are, for 2 months of the year, the same numerical age. BOY was born in November of 2003, and GIRL in September of 2004. They are 9 months and 28 days apart. Although not twins, sometimes it feels as if they are but two sides of the same coin. True complements of each other, there is a constant learning element that is shared back and forth. Not a day passes that I don't say how blessed they are to have each other. (We adopted BOY at birth, and GIRL was the ultimate conception surprise!)

Yes, there are the blow-outs, the neanderthal SQUABBLES, but the time that is spent playing together is time that enables me to breathe and have bits and pieces for myself. Time, that valued commodity, to let them savor their joy in each other.

BOY will be starting Kindergarten in the fall. GIRL could start Kindergarten. She will turn 5 in September, and I have no doubt that she would do fine academically. However, because of the unusual situation that we have - with BOY & GIRL being just less than 10 months apart, it feels important to continue with them one year apart in school. BOY enjoys his role as her "big brother," and GIRL loves following him - albeit nipping at his heels, and sometimes darting out ahead.

Luckily, GIRL embraces the idea of doing the same Pre-K class in the fall that BOY is doing this year. For her, the idea of an all day Kindergarten is daunting. For BOY, (truthfully he doesn't even think about it and GIRL is planning 2 years out!), a full day Kindergarten will be just right. GIRL will have the practice of going to school 5 mornings next year, and then a full day when she gets to Kindergarten the fall of 2010.

The decision to keep them one grade apart in school is definitely weighted by what is good for the whole family. But, GIRL could also use that extra year to grow in confidence, and to learn how to use her words when she gets frustrated. Instead of dissolving, or using her fists.

I believe that I am honoring them, and their needs. I know that I will not always be able to do this. Honor them, each and every time. But, right this time and place, my gut instinct tells me it is the right decision. And so it is...

*** Painting titled: "Wisdom Follows" by Chuck Gumpert.

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  1. Sometimes you really have to go with your gut.

    For 4+1/2 years I was sure I'd wait until she was 5 to start my November girl in kindergarten--then one day I knew she need to go that fall. Off she went and we've never looked back.

  2. Your gut usually leads you in the right direction. I think it is best that they be in different classes. Otherwise they might be too dependent on each other.
    Boy will be so excited to go to kindergarten!

  3. Wow! I am so impressed and awestruck at your parenting skills and love the idea of having children 9 months and 28 days apart. Good for y'all!

  4. We opted to wait for my November boy. I still know it was the right decision. Exactly as you said, it's not the academics, it's the social and emotional time they need.

  5. Well put; certainly makes a lot of sense. I love the way you write about BOY and GIRL. Treasures, both.

  6. When we were weighing the "start school or wait a year" decision, a friend of mine said something to me that has stuck with me and made me feel right about it ever since. She said, "Why not let them have this extra year in their childhood as opposed to an extra year of work in their adulthood?" Why not, indeed?

  7. I love that last line "And so it is"

    I think about this a lot and it's so easy to get consumed with fear that my choices won't honor each boy individually. This is tricky stuff. And no, I won't get it right every time. That's the hardest part for me, as a bit of a perfectionist. To let it go and trust? Well, I'm working on it :)

  8. Oh, so you're one of that tiny percent who gets pregnant after adopting, thus prompting hundreds of people to say to me after adopting, "You know what's going to happen, don't you?"

    I'd always remark, "It actually rarely happens, but I would be delighted if it did."

    I'm delighted it happened to your family.

  9. You're a wonderful mother, you know. Of course your instincts are right, and they will both thrive.

  10. I find it difficult to ensure my boys who are 18 months apart retain their own separate lives and identities.


  11. My brothers, identical twins, were always a year apart in school. It worked out well for them in the end, but my mom said she really wrestled with the decision. And speaking of irish twins, I'm only ten months older than the two of them! Yep, do the math.

  12. Feeling your pain. Our two oldest boys are 13 months apart. I still remember standing in the doctor's office with a 5-month old baby and a positive pregnancy test. You're's SO hard. But so worth it.

  13. I bet they play well together most of the time though. I always thought that, if I could possibly swing it, I'd like to have kids really close together. Ultimately, I could NOT swing it. Ours are exactly 24 months apart.

  14. It sounds like you've made a wise and well-thought decision. Go with your gut.

    And then?

    Here's a motto a good friend shared with me for being a Girl Scout leader (don't tell anyone that I do that; I don't want to damage my bad-ass image, heh), which I apply to parenting too:

    Semper Gumby


  15. I waited an extra year to start my youngest daughter and it has worked well. She was academically ready at age 5 but the extra year really helped her maturity. Which is a good thing because, while school is easy, socializing is one of her biggest challenges.

  16. I think that's an excellent plan.

    DeBoy misses the cut off day by 3 days, but I'm not going to push it. The Queen is MORE than ready to go, but he's not the extravert that she is. We have all day kindergarten, too, which worries me that maybe I should have put her in half day preschool. Education in this area is such a dismal proposition that the age is the least of my worries.

  17. go with your gut. it worked for us in the great kindergarten debate.

  18. Here's a view from the distance. I have a son who will be 56 in February, and a daughter who will be 55 two days later. Neither was adopted, but people often asked me if they were because they were so different. He was dark and belligerent, she white blond and peaceful. By the time they were ready for kindergarten I had another, a girl. They had to go to a private preschool because at that time Virginia had no public kindergarten. I was in graduate school, and we all scrambled helter-skelter. I hope I didn't neglect their individual needs (they might tell you I did.) but both of them are in reasonably good shape now.

  19. trust your mommy instincts... they hardly get it wrong.


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