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2021 Twenty: Figure Out Kindergarten Transition for My Twins

It is devastating for me to realize that in June five years will have passed since my twins were born. As I mentioned in previous blogs, for us, because of having three kids under the age of two and then with the diagnoses, we missed out on so much in these last five years. The days have been so very long, but these past few years have just blown by so fast.

With Madison and Ethan turning five this year, that means they are both set for the scary transition into Kindergarten. Having gone through this already with Liam, obviously makes this transition for me a little easier, but at the same time, it is still completely different.

I will always remember the most common question that I was asked during that first year of their life: "Are they identical?". My girl and boy twins. While it was kind of funny back then, in the years that have since followed, more and more has been revealed showing how completely opposite they truly are.

Why I bring this up, is because even in figuring out something like Kindergarten, it looks like it will be vastly different for both Madison and Ethan. What breaks my heart is that Ethan doesn't understand this yet. He is still confused as to why his twin - whom he loves more than anyone - is left behind so often.

Just last week, as I was dropping him off at preschool, my over stimulated, hyperactive energizer bunny calmed right down as a visible wave of calm, sadness hit him and he said to me with such genuine care and sincerity, "Daddy, I wish Madison came to preschool with me". Needless to say I cried all the way home while screaming at the "god" out there who cursed Madison with such a devastating disease.

Now to be clear, it was my choice that I didn't register her in preschool with Ethan. As far as I know, she would have been accepted and we could have sent Karen or Elyse, her behavioral interventionists with her. I just didn't feel she was ready yet. Parental gut feeling. I know her better than anyone, and I felt that a year of home therapy sessions would be far more valuable for her. This is one of those things where I'll never know if I made the best decision or not, but lets just say I don't regret it. We've seen some great things and even some exciting progress with Madison here at home since September.

Ethan on the other hand... well it would have been downright cruel to hold him back from preschool. As I've shared before, we found a gymnastics school when he was just two years old, and he fell in love. So, last year already we enrolled him in junior preschool and he loved it. This year he advanced to the big senior class, and the confidence with which he embraces it has left me speechless. I have sent Elyse to preschool with him each day, but truth be told, I think he could have survived without her. However, having that extra support and security there with him, is a large part in why he has grown into such a confident young man. Furthermore, a lot of the steps he has made this year wouldn't have happened had he been left to his own devices.

So now back to Kindergarten. What do I do?

Well, we still have some time to listen to closing arguments from our team of doctors and therapists who seem to be split 50/50, but I am leaning strongly to enrolling Ethan into public kindergarten for September. He already exceeds all the academic curriculum and is more than equipped to handle anything thrown at him from that perspective, but when it comes to social interactions and cues he still lacks some skills and needs further experience and support.

Again, it would be cruel to hold him back, because he comes to school with me and Liam every morning and afternoon, he knows some of the kids there already, he says hi to the Kindergarten teacher every day already - she is ready for him! - and he is looking forward to entering the "big school". So, I think that decision is made. I need to watch for when registration opens - if I haven't missed it already - and pounce on a spot the minute it opens. (you may recall how I forgot with Liam and was reminded of it at preschool drop off that morning, and by the time I sped home and logged onto the computer, the spots were filled and we were placed on a wait list. Within 90 minutes, the school was full. I would later learn that a fellow preschool parent had been in Mexico that week and couldn't log on for the first 15 minutes, and she too didn't make it in time and was wait listed!) So, I'll try to be ready this year and ensure Ethan gets a spot the minute registration opens.

But Madison is a different story. I still don't think she's ready. She is ready for some social activities for sure, and the pathetic state of the world is really holding her back from having these experiences, but I don't think she could survive a 6 hour day in a busy classroom yet. So I am looking very seriously at officially homeschooling her. Like registering her with the provincial Ministry of Education, setting up an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and focusing on more customized social interactions once the world eases up and returns to normal.

I don't know all the ins and outs of homeschooling yet, but now is the time to start figuring that out. Its scary as hell for me to think of, and even scarier that this has crept up on me so fast. But, the goal I want to add to my #2021Twenty is to figure it all out. I have to, I have no choice, so this goal IS GOING to be completed. I guess why I'm making it an official goal on my list, while others may see this as just being a task every parent of a five year old need to accomplish, is because there is more involved for me having twins of vastly different special needs and abilities and I want to actually figure this out properly and ahead of schedule.


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