Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Does It Ever Get Easier?

The twins were in the same kindergarten class together. It wasn't by choice, as they had always been in separate preschool classes. In our elementary school, however, kindergarten classes are plotted by subdivision and bus schedules. There was one afternoon class for our area with one bus coming through to pick up the kids from that class. At the last minute last year, an additional classroom was introduced. By then, however, our kids knew their teacher and who would be in their room, so I decided to just let it go. I determined that everything would be fine, and I left the classroom and teacher situation alone.

I never dreamed that social issues for the twins would manifest the way they did. Our daughter, the social butterfly, experienced difficulty making friends. For the little girl whose preschool room teamed with sweet little blonde girls who all became budding best friends, this new environment with all new kids proved difficult to maneuver socially. She found it difficult to intiate friendships. Lo and behold, her twin brother formed a group on the playground that eventually excluded his own sister and the battlefield was drawn. We sat down with the teacher at conference time and asked for a classroom switch. In the end, the teacher started by moving the twins to separate tables (they had been seated beside each other all year!). My daughter was the one moved, and she cried one night that she hoped her teacher wouldn't move her out of the classroom entirely. She wanted to know what she had done wrong to be moved (you know the old standard of moving the disruptive kid to another table; apparently kindergartners are quick to discern this type of discipline). I quickly reassured her that she had done nothing wrong and then just as quickly nixed the notion of switching classrooms.

By the end of the year, all was well. Pookie had made friends with two very nice little girls and our treacherous few months of social anxiety were far behind us. I did insist all summer long, however, that the twins would not be in the same classes for first grade. I reasoned that all the kindergarten classes would come together to form four first grade rooms and there would be no need to keep twins together, particularly under the circumstances of how last year began. Each time I would insist, however, sweet Little T would quietly respond, "But we could still be in the same room, right Mom?" Oh, Honey, I don't think so, I always answered.

So today, the long awaited letter from school arrived (one week before school starts. Don't get me started on that sore spot...) and strangely, it was only addressed to The Parents of Pookie. I wondered if the second letter had been lost. Inside, the little sticker had semblances of both kids names on one line with one teacher's name below it and only one bus tag included. I began to wonder if there was an error - with the names printed incorrectly on the sticker, perhaps they had made a mistake and assumed that our twins were really one little person and gave that one little person a teacher assignment without considering that really there were two.

Nope. Not according to the principal who phoned in response to my email to her. The kindergarten teacher made no indication that the twins should be separated and (apparently) following the current trend (?!), she had kept the twins in the same classroom for first grade. I debated what to do, but in the end asked for a classroom switch.

Then came time to tell the twins the names of their teachers. Pookie took hers in stride. Little T fell apart. Apparently, all this time of me insisting that they would be in separate classes, his sweet spirit remained hopeful that he and his sister would be introduced to full day school under the protective auspices of each other. He cried incorrigibly for over twenty minutes.

I can't win.
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