I wish I had a doula when determining when my daughter should go to kindergarten. It sounds so simple and easy but there is so much more to it. I never dreamed my daughter would not “be ready” for kindergarten. She has been excited for a year about starting kindergarten next year. She knows her way around the school from being there so often with my older child. She loves the staff and teachers and they all know her since she has been roaming the halls with me for the past almost five years. The thought of her not going breaks my heart (for both of us!).
A few weeks ago it was parent teacher conference time at her preschool. I signed up expecting a “she’s great and normal for her age” report. Instead I got a “you might want to consider another year of preschool or an early kindergarten” before sending her to the real deal. What? I could not believe what I was hearing. I know she might need a little work on her letters still but she is a wiz at math and chatty Kathy. If anything I thought I would be told she was too outgoing and talking too much.
I immediately felt like a failure. I left almost in tears calling my husband. He couldn’t believe it either. “What exactly did the teacher say?” he asked. I thought back to the conference. The teacher said my daughter hasn’t found her voice yet. She is timid to ask questions during work time and occasionally lacks focus on the current task, she likes to play and talk to her friends (what four year old doesn’t!?), and the teacher is not sure she will keep up in regular kindergarten with those factors. I was told there are too many kids in kindergarten and the teacher will not be able to focus on my daughter to keep her on task.
I was so caught off guard to hear the teacher feels she hasn’t found her voice. How could it be my confident and witty four year old has not found her voice? Have I not told how amazing she is enough? Or perhaps I don’t listen enough? Do we not read enough, do enough puzzles, remain on task long enough? Did I work too much and not parent enough? So many questions and so few answers.
All these questions have been going through my mind for weeks now. I spoke with two kindergarten teachers that I know from being active at the elementary school. I adore them and their opinion. I was told what they would do in my situation. I was told what they did do. I was told to think about it, pray about it, to send her for sure, to not send her if there is any doubt, I was told if my daughter is excited then let her go. I am even more confused now. I know it will devastate my daughter if she does not attend kindergarten as planned but is that short term devastation worth a long term result of possibly being behind? Or perhaps she will go next year and she find her voice, possibly even lead the other children? She doesn’t seem like a follower to me, so surely she will succeed and lead? Where are the answers and how do I find them?
I would love a doula to coach me through this. Someone to say “Here are the facts, not opinions.” Someone to say “No, it is not you, you are a great mom.” Or “You did everything right and even if she waits a year, it will be ok”. Or "Go to this place for this evaulation." I need someone with facts and answers and no judgments. I need someone that will provide me resources, referrals, and support. To many this may seem simple but to an almost five year old with a heart set on being a Bear next year, it is life altering. Therefore to a mom of an almost five year old wanting to be a Bear, it is also life altering. I wish I had a doula to doula me, so I can doula my daughter.