As a parent, there are so many decisions to make, many of which have such long-ranging consequences that one could easily end up paralyzed in indecision.
We're currently facing the choice of which year of preschool to enroll Sam in. With his birthday falling when it does, he could be in the 3 year old room. But, despite how much he tries to keep up with Wil, I think the 3 year old room, which requires quite a bit of independence (along with being potty trained), might be too much for him. So he's going to be in the 2 year old room. It is much freer, with fewer expectations for sitting quietly, etc, that I just don't think he's ready for.
It's been a tough decision for a couple reasons. The preschool recommends him following through to the 3 year room the following year, then the pre-K class. The pre-K class really prepares kids for Kindergarten, when they will need to do a lot on their own because the teacher just won't have the time to devote to each kid in growing classrooms. And the 3 year old room prepares the kids for the pre-K class. So if we follow the pattern, he won't begin Kindergarten until he's 6. (If he started 'on time' he would barely be 5 and be the youngest in his class; starting at 6 he's be the oldest.)
Because I'm a planner, I'm already projecting where Sam will be in the future, even though he's only 2. Will he graduate at 17 or 18? Because when he starts Kindergarten affects that too.
Why is this such a tough decision? In so many ways, Sam has always been ahead. We have to stop and remind ourselves that he is just 2 because he tries to hard to do everything Wil does. Academically, my guess is he'd be fine. Knowing numbers, letters, shapes, colors... that's the easy part of school at this age. On the emotional maturity side, he's having a hard time being away from Mommy. He was thrown for a loop when Chris was gone for 3 days at a convention.
I guess it really wasn't that hard of a decision when we sat down and talked about it. It was more a matter of overcoming our own expectations. Really, just the fact that I was questioning what we should do gave us our answer. For Sam, he needs the extra hand-holding of the 2 year old room next year. He'll likely start Kindergarten at 6. It won't scar him. Graduating at 18 is still normal; Wil will be 18 when he graduates. And graduating at 17 might just be too young for him. And he won't be all that different from those kids with August birthdays.
As the preschool director said, she has never heard of a parent regretting waiting a year to send their child to Kindergarten, but she has heard several, including herself, regret sending them too early.