Bonus Year

Bonus Year

Today at work, I was talking with a mom about the kindergarten readiness assessment her daughter had just taken. It’s common for young moms to worry about this assessment and whether their little ones are ready for kindergarten. I wanted to just put her mind at ease and bring some perspective. So I told her a Chandler story.

Chandler had just turned five years old, and I wanted to just get a professional opinion about his readiness for kindergarten. Since he was my third, by that time I had learned about what is referred to as the “bonus” year, an extra year in preschool to give little ones (especially those on the younger side) an opportunity for developmental growth. Who knew that just because a kid turned five and was smart didn’t mean he was automatically ready for kindergarten?

Just a bit of relevant background here. When Chandler was little, I was doing a lot of ASL (sing language) interpreting, and he had learned a few signs from me.

So we show up for his assessment. I wait in the waiting room while he goes in to dazzle them with his dimples. I will admit, I moved closer to the door so I could eavesdrop. They had him do several things like hop on one foot, draw something on a piece of paper, and follow some simple directions. At one point, they asked him a question, I don’t remember exactly what. After a brief silence, I heard his little lisp.

“I know thign language.”

Really interesting information but completely unrelated to their question. Yep, Chandler got a bonus year.

I want a bonus year with Chandler. I want another year to see what crazy dance outfits he comes up with. Another year to have him around the table for holidays. Another year to celebrate his birthday before he goes off to meet all his friends who celebrate him like crazy as well. Another year to see him grow and begin exploring his voice as a writer. Another year to read his words to me on a Mother’s Day card. Another year to feel his strong arms around me in a hug and to hear his voice say, “I love you, Mom.”

My sweet boy. I want you back. I would give anything for a bonus year.

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In Honor of Chandler....

In Honor of Chandler....