Wednesday, February 07, 2007

the's hyper

Here. We Go.

Wednesday. February 5th. 10 AM. We register for kindergarten. My sons. My twins. Don't they know they are only babies? Sheesh! I am headed for an early empty nest syndrome come August 28th, 2007.

Okay, ya, so whatever, I am mature 40 year old woman with children starting elemntary school. Big whoop. Me and gazillions of others. So what's the big deal? WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL????? Helllooooo????? Can you hear me??? Is this this ON????????

(sorry, semi-panic attack sorta finished but not really)

It has been well thought out, researched decision on what school we feel is the best fit for our family. Not an easy decision, what with three very good schools from which we are zoned to select, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, nope, not easy at all. We chose the french immersion school, thinking that it is just way too good of an opportunity to deny them, to learn another language. I did it, and have been forever grateful.

But now the really really really BIG decision. It has been eating me inside out every day and night for 2 weeks now, and I have the bags under my eyes that clearly attest to my lack of sleep:

Separate the twins? or not?

I had presumed once we decided on the school, we would approach the principal with the question on what the policy is on twins starting kindergarten, and he would tell us the rules and we would deal. Wrong. He was all so nice and kind and thoughtful and sincere about "Oh no Mrs. X, we don't teach a curriculum here, we guide your children through the early years of their educational careers. These are your treasures are you are trusting us with them. We will spend more waking hours with them that you will. Oh no, we want the parents as involved as possible so we think it is best for you to make that decision." Me? ME? I don't wanna make that one!! It is just way too hard.

Here is where I hope and pray that every single parent of multiples will find this whiny little post and TELL me what to do. I am so completely torn. Completely.

The boys have been together practically every day for over 4.5 years now. They will be approaching 5.5 years when they start school. Won't they be sick of each other by then? I like to think of them, each in their own class, building their independence, making new friends, no one being the bossy-ass dominator (yes we have one of those) and no one being the follower (we have one of those too). Then, they will look forward to seeing each other at recess and lunch, and at home...less fighting and arguing, right?

But if we set them apart at such a young, impressionable age, are we starting the demise of what I have always dreamed for them, and truly unique bond like no other that only twin boys can share?

The school is great, whatever we choose the first year, we can change the next...but not till the next year - could that be too late? Can any damage be irreversible after 10 months being in same/different class? I am fairly certain that won't be the case, but this is how my brain is spinning uncontrollably these days. The start of kindergarten will be hard enough, full days, in 90% french environment, will the comfort of having each other there ease the transition? Or is it just gonna be hard enough and not really matter anyway? For those of you who know me, I am not convinced my '10 day rule' will apply so easily with this one.

I'll shut up now. It's getting late and I gotta get to bed to lay awake till dawn re-hashing this one even mopre. So, perhaps you see where I've been for the past few weeks?

To separate the twins in kindergarten or not? THAT is the question.


Blogger Silver Creek Mom said...

WOW you and twin mom in the same boat. You should give her a call.

I have no advice just an uneducated opinion. I would say less harm can be done keeping them together for the first year and they will make their own friends in the class. Then seprated them for grade one so they can. As for fighting. In my Uneducated opinion it make a difference they will come home tired and fight anyways.

Good Luck. I can imagine how little sleep i would be getting over this. And your right they are still babies. Even Mine.


8:14 AM EST  
Blogger twinmomplusone said...

oh nancy, you know i'm right there with you, all the way

I just blogged about this very thing the other day

I registered my twins last week for first grade and asked the teachers to keep them together. My reasoning: new school, they don't know anyone. Baby girl is so shy in new situations, she may not talk for a few months in class so at least I'll know what's going on from her brother. And it also dawned on me, duh, they've been together for the past 3 years in their pre-school and did fine. They have the same circle of friends (much easier for me for parties and such), learn the same songs together, participate in the same school events, enthusiastically share what happens in class with each other and us and its really just a friendly healthy type of competition going on so far.

That being said, next year will be a trial year for sure for us all as now they will be having HOMEWORK which they haven't in the past. I'm afraid this will elicit some morecompetiteveness between them so that's why I'm thinking that I'll separate them the following year. We will have to re-evaluate yearly though. Who knows, they may end up wanting to stay together for a few years (this happened to friends of mine who have twin boys...they ended up separating them around 4th grade mostly becuase one was academically stronger than the other and was causing too much grief for the twin having a harder time with school work, before that they were happy to share same friends, but once they were separated there certainly was more homework and projects to contend with.

And then I have another friend who has twin girls in my twin's preschool who will be separating them next year for grade one, mostly because one has a much stronger personality than the other and the later is always overshadowed. Being the same gender too affects this decision even more as they will be vying for the same friends as they older.

Lots of rambling thoughts here (that's where my brain has been at lately too) and no clear cut answers for you. YOU do know your kids best for sure. And whatever scenario you pick, it will NOT affect them long term. Kids are resilient and adaptable more than we often think.

Now my 2 cents, my gut feeling, keep them together for kindergarten, let them experience this new period in their lives together just as they have everything else so far. Re-evaluate for grade 1.

Please keep me informed on how it all pans out.


11:05 AM EST  
Blogger Tinker said...

I saw a documentary that followed non-identical triplet girls. They were in fifth grade or so at the time, still in the same class. Their dynamic was such that they got along well together, but were developing their own interests.

My own feeling on the situation is to leave them together for kindergarten and possibly grade one. They're used to sharing and doing stuff together, and will likely handle a new environment better with the support to which they are accustomed.

As they get older though, I think it would be beneficial to let them develop their own identities away from their brother. They will make new friends that are not necessarily shared, pursue interests that maybe the other brother doesn't have, and at the end of the day there will still be lots to do to together as siblings. There will be even more to share, I think, if they have different experiences and can come back together to compare later.

They may have been born together and shared a lot over the years to this point, but they are still individuals, and I would encourage that. You're not separating them for life, after all.

12:12 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Nancy, this is such a big, bitter-sweet milestone for the parents! It's great that your school is respecting the wishes of parents and the multiple birth children themselves, since every child and every family is different. Our school is very accommodating too - I wish every jurisdiction were so open-minded!

I was very anxious about how school would work out for our g/g/b triplets. I knew that some day being in separate classes would be a great experience for them, but I didn't know when it would be the right time. They were happy together in preschool, and the teacher had no concerns about their behaviour or conflicts between them. So it was truly up to us to decide.

The kids stayed together in kindergarten last year. They had a great teacher (a twin herself) who treated them as individuals, and they sat at separate tables, made their own "best friends" and so on. For us it was most practical to keep them together in the afternoon kindergarten class. The alternative would be one going in the a.m., one in the p.m., and one all day every other day - crazy! As it was, they had a terrific year in school, and learned and matured so much.

Last spring the school had information forms to complete regarding placement requests for grade one. So I asked our kids (separately) if they wanted to be in the same class, or have different teachers. To my great surprise, and relief, they all chose the same thing: to be in separate classes with their own teachers and their own friends. They were thrilled at the prospect!

I was anxious about how it would work out, but it's been a great success for Grade One. They each were happy, confident, comfortable at school, and truly ready to go their own ways. It's a bit more work for me to keep up with 3 classroom calendars and volunteering, but it's great for the kids, so we're all happy.

I think together-or-apart is a question we will have to re-evaluate every year. Here's a great online resource for multiples in school, with many research articles and questionnaires to consider. They won't tell you what to do, but will give you all the important issues to consider.
Each section in the sidebar at left has multiple articles and subheadings. It's all great reading. There are questions about how the kids interact, whether they sometimes play leader and follower, or one is spokesperson for another. Those are definitely important issues to consider.

Keep talking to your kids' preschool teacher (if any) about how they interact in the classroom, and whether they seem dependent on each other or more independent. You could also ask the school principal and the K teacher what happens if an issue arises in September or October that makes you want to change their placement. I am sure that the more you ponder this question, you will know the right choice for your children in kindergarten.

Sorry for the LONG comment! I hope some of this is helpful.

3:09 PM EST  
Blogger Elle said...

Another mom of twins turning 5 in June. UGH I know your pain... how can they be ready for Kindy yet????

OK you can laugh, I have mine registered in three, yes three, different places. I had to keep my options open LOL. But we did choose the one. So this fall they go to school - my little babies :(

3:42 PM EST  
Blogger Marisa said...

All decisions concerning education are tough. I have been torturing myself with the english vs. french school for my boy since he was 3. I register him for kindy tomorrow ('we' - my hubby and I,but mostly I) decided to go with english (for now).

There was a fabulous article in Montreal Families magazine recently (I wish I could remember which month) on the topic of separating or keeping twims together.

If it were me, and it's not, I would probably keep them together for grade school. They will go their separate ways in junior and senior high school.

7:36 PM EST  
Blogger coffeypot said...

Allow me to pontificate on this subject. I do not have twins, but I do watch Oprah, so that makes me somewhat of an expert. I think you should watch them closely and let them set the pace. Everything is new to them, now, so let them stay together as long as they need to rely on each other for support and safety. As they grow they will take on their own interest and friends. That is the time to ask them if they would like to have separate classes. Allow them to have a say in their lives. If it doesn’t work out, then you could put them back in the same class. They will be close own their own – according to twins that I have talked to (not in any Oprah research mode, either.) But they will also have a since of their own identity, too. It’s an interesting situation you have, but I don’t think you should loose so much sleep over it. You are a good mom and the kids will know that, too. So chill and enjoy them.

8:16 AM EST  
Anonymous valerie said...

Tough decision to make, Nancy. Have you even hinted at all to the boys that there might be a choice, to get an idea how they feel?

Sarah's school automatically separates twins. I don't know what their reasoning is, but the couple that I've seen are always together during off hours (before/after class, swimming lessons, etc). I don't think you could upset the bond unless you gave one away.

I don't think the 90% French will be too traumatic, since many (most?) of the kids will also be non-francophones learning for the first time, n'est-ce pas?

Good luck with your decision. Sounds like the school is a good one, ready to support you.

4:02 PM EST  
Blogger coffeypot said...

Today is my daughter (Marni over at its-a-pugs-life) 40th birthday. Go to my blog site and listen to the song in her honor. Thank you for this commercial break.

2:35 PM EST  
Blogger BeachMama said...

Oh Nancy, I am up at night just because I have to register J on Monday for JK. I know which school he is going to and I don't have to separate him and his brother as they are not twins, but yet I still lay away wondering how I am going to cope with him at school next year.

My thoughts are with you while you make this big decision for your boys, it sure wouldn't be an easy one to make.

10:02 PM EST  
Blogger Jay said...

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog! Now.... my girls are identical, and will be 3yo this weekend. (They are currently raiding their v-day bags...ugh!) So we are not at the 'separate or not' stage yet. But, knowing my girls, I will be keeping mine together for their 2 yrs in KG, fo sure. Once they get to gr.1, I will re-evaluate. Right now, they are in pre-school, and as much as they LOVE ebing together at home, they love to 'play apart' while they are at school. Some of the other parents didn't even realize they were twins until the 2nd month. (Hullo???) They just thought 'she' was one BUSY child! (Obviously some very NON-observant parents in there!). But that is how independent they CAN be. Apparently.

The other thing about school, for older grades, is you really have to take into consideration that there will be DOUBLE the homework, DOUBLE the projects. And let me tell you, some of these kids are coming home with HOURS of homework in grades 4/5/6. My oldest is now in grade 7. And she had a few bad years as far as the amount of homework she had. It was ridiculous.

But it all comes down to how you think your children will fare, whether it be together or separate. If one overpowers the other, than maybe separating is the way to go? But IMHO, I would keep them together for KG.

Good luck. I now have to go re-stock my fridge, as they are apparently STARVING, and have emptied all the contents and brought them out to me. GEEZ!!!!

4:53 PM EST  
Blogger Gnightgirl said...

Wow, I had absolutely no advice on this post, but it's been fascinating to come back and read others' opinions. Have you made a decision yet?

6:04 PM EST  
Blogger DaniGirl said...

I sent you my thoughts about this via e-mail, but like the commenter above am curious as to how you are leaning.

I know for sure - your boys are happy, well-adjusted, smart and charming little boys, and you've done an amazing job so far. You will make the best decision for them (and then lose many more nights sleep worrying about it anyway!)

xo Dani

9:55 AM EST  

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