Tomorrow is kindergarten registration in Richmond.
But we aren’t going.
Yes. Henry will be 5 on April 25th and the cutoff is September 30th.
And no. It’s not because he isn’t smart or is socially backward. (Though his teacher did mention he struggled with staying on task during clean up time. Yeah, that’s not really a developmental issue. I’ve met his parents, and they struggle with that as well. And just focusing in gen…hey! Is that something shiny?)
Nor is it because I want him to be some ginormo child who makes the Varsity soccer team in 9th grade.
Truth be told, the fact that our decision to hold him back is raising eyebrows is a bit of a shock to me. I grew up in North Carolina and went to a small private school. There were 52 kids in my graduating class. Out of those kids, I can count at least 14 that were older spring birthdays. Having boys 6 months older was my norm.
So yes, part of our decision is that I don’t want Henry to be the last boy to go through puberty or get his driver’s license. That stuff matters. If you think a child’s physical development has nothing to do with their social or spiritual or educational development, than, well…I’d place a large bet on the fact that you’ve always been the average size or body type.
And to be clear, the idea of my son being 19 when he heads off to college is a lot more settling to me than him being barely 18.
Also, there is a gentleness to Henry that I want to keep intact. He tends to seek out the kids who are lonely or shy and befriend them. He will be a good oldest kid in the class. And there’s a roughness with some of the boys his age that, well, quite frankly, I want to separate him from.
A few months back we were at a playdate with the child Henry considers to be his best friend. Henry hugged his friend and said, “Hey, I love you! You’re my best friend.” His friend pushed him away, told him that boys weren’t supposed to hug or say I love you. Henry cried and we still sometimes have to talk about the situation. I reassured Henry that his friend was wrong. That if you love someone, you tell them. But that if someone asks you not to hug them, you have to respect that.
At the end of the day, we are holding Henry back because it is what is right for our family. Next year is going to be a big year for us. Gracie will go to preschool for the first time. She will be in school on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Henry will go to a long day PreK (9:20-1:50) Monday-Thursday. I will have 6 hours of uninterrupted time with no children!!!!! (Sloan asked me what I was going to do with my time. I promised him that at least once I would be purchasing some bon-bons and watching stories on TV.)
And sometime, Lord willing, Sloan and I will be travelling to China to bring back our youngest child, Charlie. Henry and Gracie will be staying with my sister and this way she doesn’t have to worry about getting Henry to school everyday. And once we return with Charlie, it will be nice to have some time where Henry is home with us during the day. He is going to have a new little brother that needs his sweet gentle spirit to teach him what being in a family is all about.