The French Equation

I am going to be very un-UnMom-like* today, and talk about my kid. You'll forgive me I know, because after all, if I am going to be posting every day this month I will need all the material I can get.

In the fall, my one-and-only will be starting Kindergarten. I know! This is hard for all mothers. Part of me is very much in love with his growing independence and the idea of saving money on daycare, and part of me just wants to keep him home in a small room feeding him mush and halved grapes until he is 30. (Fortunately, that last part is much smaller, or it could be awkward for everyone.)

We could have waited another year, or "redshirted" him, as his birthday is in October. But I think he is ready, for the most part, and besides, he's quite a large child. Alfred is 6'3", and Xander has clearly inherited that. If we kept him back another year, I worry that he'd be the size of a 9-year-old and prone to throwing his weight around, or subject to teasing.

It's weird, this desire to keep our children within the tiny spectrum of "average".

Anyway, now our dilemma is, "French Immersion or not French Immersion?". In Canada we have that as an option in public schools, to have our children be taught in two languages. (Obviously, they ease them into it.) Alfred and I had some differences of opinion about this. Essentially, it was a conflict of two different experiences; I was taught in French Immersion for a large chunk of my schooling, and Alfred was not. 

The two schools we have access to measure up equally, really. Xander has friends that will be going to each, they both have a good after-school program. We met both Kindergarten teachers. The teacher at the English school is...fine. She's fine. She's nearing retirement so she's not that enthusiastic, but she's fine.

The Kindergarten teacher at the French Immersion school is amazing. She spoke eloquently about her teaching philosophy, she came around and introduced herself to every single parent, she invited us in to her tidy, inspiring, Montessori-esque classroom. 

However. She is also about to give birth.

Again, Canada is different in that women don't have to dash back to work when their infant is 6 weeks old. We're extremely lucky - we can access government assistance for up to a year's maternity leave. So...Xander would never really be taught by this gem of a person, and the school doesn't know who is replacing her. It could be someone equally wonderful, or it could be Cruella DeVille looking for her next preschooler-skin coat.

Alfred has mostly conceded that a second language is good, and that Xander's english skills won't suffer. We're (mostly) in agreement about putting him in French Immersion. But I have misgivings about committing him to being taught by someone I've never met. 

So, yes, dilemma. When did being a parent become so hard?


* Related: at some point I explained to Xander that 'un' meant 'not'. I can't remember the situation that required this explanation, but a couple of days later I told him that honey bees can sting. He insisted they could not, so I asked him what kind of bees DO sting. "Regular bees," he replied, "bumblebees, un-honeybees..."