Childrearing

Anonymous Mom: I Regret Getting My 4-Year-Old’s IQ Tested

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little girl with glassesAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

I think local public schools are a reflection of your community, so I volunteer when I can, attend everything school-related that I can, and buy enough candy bars from the PTA to go into an insulin comma. But my love affair with the beauty of public education started to wane on my son’s second day of kindergarten.

His harried, over-wrought teacher lost track of him at dismissal and he wandered almost a mile off campus. I was frantic, the principal was frantic, and 30 minutes after discovering he’d gone AWOL, we found him waiting with a parent who had wisely pulled over and guessed he was lost. I am still grateful to that woman and think of her often. My son went on to have an academic year plagued by his flighty teacher’s frequent absences, and the idea—even at the tender age of five—that people don’t tend to stick around.

Now, it’s two years later and my daughter is in kindergarten. Her experience sucks, too, but in a completely different way. I think it’s my fault.

Months before she enrolled in the same school as her brother, I decided to be more proactive in my kids’ education. I was meeting new friends with school-aged children who volunteered a lot and urged me to do the same. They made me understand that I’d get back what I put in. My time—whether it was spent mixing paint for art class or helping grade papers—was a wise investment in my children’s future. I was happy to do it when I wasn’t working, and since I worked from home, it was almost fun to “get back out there” and change out of the torn yoga pants and bra-less uniform of a freelancer.

Somewhere in the flurried memories of all that volunteering, about six months before my daughter was to begin kindergarten, I discovered she could already read. And when I say “read” I don’t just mean Dick and Jane books. I mean ANY book. I had a 4-year old who brought juvenile fiction home from the library and read it out loud to me. With expression!

And that is when I made the helicopter parent move that I regret to this day. I decided to go to the kindergarten round-up—the thing you’re invited to months before kindergarten actually starts—and track down a reading coach or gifted services person.

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