So, we made Questionable Parenting Choice #2,783 and sent Davis on to kindergarten this fall. He’s a summer baby (06/06/06 for those of you who don’t know that), he’s a boy, he’s very excitable, and he has trouble focusing. All of these are wonderful, responsible reasons NOT to send a kid to kindergarten. I fully believe that 99 out of 100 Parents Who Aren’t Britney Spears would red-shirt their child for another year. Not Scott and me, though. Those cons couldn’t hold up next to this one large, overwhelming pro: we really wanted him to start school this year. He's smart, and he's already big for his age. We didn't feel like being in preschool another year would address the challenges that Davis has, and throwing him in the deep end would force him to grow up a little. Also, I did some math. Do you know how OLD I am going to be when these kids get out of high school? VERY OLD, friends. Maybe I can score some AARP seating for the ceremonies. We also got the go-ahead from my best friend who is a former kindergarten teacher, so there was someone with some sense (and several degrees) backing us up.
Since Davis was going to school, we started thinking of ways we could help him succeed. Counseling? No. Tutoring? No. A summer of home-schooling? No. Karate? Oh, yes. He could punch and kick and scream words in languages I don't understand and pick up some life lessons along the way. Also, he wouldn’t have to wear shoes, which is a big plus for him. Premier Martial Arts was having some type of back-to-school special, so we signed Davis up.
The grandparents thought we had taken leave of our senses. I think most of our friends thought that the paint fumes from our summer remodel had finally gotten to our brains. Katie informed us that she would remain locked in her room until she left for college, in order to escape broken bones. All in all, this was seen as a second low point in our parenting careers. When Davis was issued boxing gloves and nunchucks, everyone knew disaster was imminent. What idiots give their five year old weapons?
I am not going to say that all of his problems with focus and impulsiveness have gone away (they’re not miracle workers, y’all) but Davis is a changed kid. He’s doing well in school. He is not a behavior problem, according to his teacher. He’s becoming more polite. He goes to karate and kicks and punches and basks in his instructor’s praise. He loves being a little bit of a tough guy, but he still runs grinning to hug us when he has performed an exercise well. His karate instructors require him to have focus and discipline, and you do NOT want to cross these guys. (Which is why I don’t have more pictures. I don’t think they were amused by the giant Nikon with the extra flash and the zoom lens…) He is so excited and happy and thrilled to have found an activity that fits him so perfectly.
And if I’m ever in a scary dark alley late at night, I’ll be really glad to have him with me. I just hope he remembers those nunchucks.