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Our daycare is awesome in many ways. Overall, I’m really happy we found a great center so close to our home. One of the things that irritates me, though, is that my son is usually the last kid to be moved up to the next age group. I understand why, there’s developmental milestones to hit and there needs to be room for him there and all that. It’s hard to explain that to him though.

He’s very very tall for his age. He’s easily head and shoulders above all the other kids in his class. The doctor tells us he’s the size equivalent of an average 8 year old at 4. So people tend to treat him older than he is, and that’s another frustration altogether. Still, when we got the news that he was moving up to the 4’s class, we were elated. He’d been transitioning there for a while, and days when he couldn’t go were very frustrating for him (and his teachers).

With the move, came a lot more changes. He’d have to bring a backpack with supplies (as though he was beginning kindergarten), and we’d have to begin packing his lunches every day. His new teachers were very different as well. They had a sliding scale for grading (red light through purple), which had more room for improvement. They tended to be harder on him too, in terms of grading.

We had high hopes, that his behavior would improve, being away from that troublesome individual in his previous classroom. However, it would seem that her influence was longer lasting than we had hoped. He consistently refused to participate in circle time and struggled at nap time to remain quiet and certainly never slept. I try not to stress about it, addressing what things I think he can adjust in his behavior and letting go of the rest. Still, it’s frustrating to know he’s struggling to fit in this environment. I worry about when he has to begin kindergarten that this nonconformity will continue.

I don’t want to squash this independent spirit he’s got. I feel like it’s a critical part of who he is, and will be far more valuable down the road when he has to make his own choices and not feel compelled to do something just because that’s what everyone else is doing. Also, I want him to have a strong sense of self, so that he can meet his own needs without being reliant on others for fulfillment. It’s so hard to walk the line in order to make him into a functional human and still celebrate what makes him so awesome.

The same spirit that refuses to sit down at circle time is the one that helps out without being asked with the baby. He’s the first to jump in with a task at home, wanting to do the “big kid” stuff like push the shopping cart or stroller. He’s the kid you can count on for so much, and if we make him question that fierce independence, I’m afraid we’ll lose that special spark that makes him such an amazing person. I worry that maybe his teachers don’t see it in him, and see only the frustrating parts of his behavior, the stuff that makes him stick out. I want to guide him, tell him to be patient, tell them to be patient too, and hopefully it will work out.

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