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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In which I bombard you with questions

Do you have answers? Hope so, because I have a few questions and I'd love to hear what you think or what's worked for you on any of these things. 1. For parents of kids with fall birthdays, what did you do about kindergarten? (educators please comment as well) Did you start your kiddo when she was four-turning-five, or redshirt her and start when she was five-turning-six? Some of the key background stuff: In California, kids must turn five before Dec 3 to start Kindergarten that year, and Ro and Ree have early October birthdays. So they could start in fall of 2010, when they turn five about six weeks after school starts. Our kindergarten class is half-day, and we can either choose morning or afternoon session. Ro and Ree have attended preschool two to three mornings a week for a year and a half now and recently moved up to the Pre-K class. Ro and Ree can do everything on this kindergarten readiness list except for buttoning clothes and bouncing a ball (both of which will probably be remedied about two seconds after BobBob and Wela read about these egregious oversights, heh heh). 2. For parents of twins, did you place your children in separate classes or the same class? (educators please comment as well) Ro and Ree play really well together, constantly flip back and forth on who's the dominant one, protect each other, are much braver and less shy when they're together, and just generally lovelovelove being together. I truly think that they could face anything together. They do play with other kids; right now there is a group of three girls that they play with at preschool, and they seem to play with those girls whether they are together or separated. They're a little bit competive with each other, but in more of a "hey, cool, if you can do that then I'll give it a try too" way, rather than a "you're going down, sister" way. But... they can create chaos in a classroom if the teacher doesn't have really strong skills or if they're bored. They can feed on each other's energy and are easily able to rope other, previously angelic kids into their shenanigans. 3. What's your favorite thank-goodness-it's-friday alcoholic drink? I love mojitos, mmmmm. No secret there. (And ice tea, for my everyday drink, in case anyone's curious.) But it's really hard to find a place that can make great mojitos (actually the only two places where I get consistently good ones are at our neighborhood pool on summer weekends and at the Cheesecake Factory). I don't get to go out very often, but would really like to have a backup drink that I can ask for if the place just can't make a good mojito. Any suggestions? 4. Has anyone triumphed over varicose veins? Ugh, I know, sorry to bring this up. Feel free to just skip ahead if the subject grosses you out. So, has anyone dealt with varicose veins (not spider veins) successfully? Is there some magical non-surgical solution that I just haven't stumbled across? Has anyone had the surgery, and was it as unbearable as it sounds? Specifically, what was your pain level and recovery like? Ugh again. I've always had an annoyingly visible vein on one leg, but it was never too bad. Once we came home with the girls, though, and I was on my feet 99% of the day, the thing got big and bulgy. It's just gross, and clearly ignoring it (my favorite treatment plan) isn't working. Great, now everyone I meet is going to be ogling my leg trying to see what's going on there... Oh well. 5. Does anyone have any good ideas for a 4th-birthday photo shoot? As mentioned, Ro and Ree will be turning four in early October, and TubaDad will be slaving away to set up the photo studio in the garage for me. Hopefully we'll get all the lights working perfectly this time, and I'd love to try some of your ideas on creative props, poses, backgrounds, outfits, etc. So, lay 'em on me. Please! 6. When exactly are you supposed to transition your kiddo from a carseat to a booster seat? Is there a federal or state law or is it just up to the parents? The last time my pal Catherine visited, she asked me what the law was here in CA, and I'll be danged if I knew. We spent about 5 minutes surfing around on the internet trying to figure it out and couldn't find the legal answer (then we got distracted by some Ghirardelli chocolate that she was trying to hide from me and never got back to it). I'm curious because the girls will probably get too tall for their Britax Marathon carseats before they exceed the weight limits, and I'm not sure if we're supposed to buy a bigger carseat (is there a bigger one?) or go to a booster seat thingamajig. Can anyone give me a link to the official answer? Alrighty, I guess I should just wrap this up and stop pestering everyone with endless questions. I already know this is going to be one of those posts where TubaDad says "Uh, that was a little long, sweetie" and my mom says "Not one single, lousy picture of the girls?" Heh heh. Thanks so much for your opinions and experiences!

153 comments:

  1. 3. Thank Goodness its 5PM Drink:
    Chocolate Martini (live for it!)

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  2. I have twins boys who will be turning 12 soon. Their birthday is in mid-August and our school system has a Sept. 1st age cutoff, with school usually beginning around their birthday each year. We let the boys begin kindergarten the year that they were four (they turned five about three days later) and ended up holding both of them back. One of them was more ready academically and the other socially. It has all evened out in the end. I cannot even imagine them heading into 7th grade this year instead of 6th.

    As for keeping them in the same classes...our school doesn't care either way, it's entirely up to the parents. We tried it both ways over the years and have found that our boys do MUCH better when they're together. They have been through the past 6 years of school with 9 other sets of twins and almost all of the twin pairs are in the same classrooms. For one thing, as they get a little older (3rd grade and up) it's going to make life a LOT easier on YOU if you only have one teacher's science projects, field trips, papers, book reports and grading systems to worry about. Plus, they can help each other out with homework if one wasn't so clear on the lesson that day. (And believe me they will let you know if their twin was rotten at school that day, too!) The only thing we've had to do is insist that one cannot rely on the other to bring home the math book every day. If they have homework, they both have to remember their supplies! Teachers have never had an issue withthem being overly disruptive, competitive, excluding others or anything. Your girls may stick together at first, but they will quickly make their own friends and branch out, too. By the time they're 7 or 8, they will be inviting different bext friends over to spend the night! However...nothing will ever get in the way of that twin bond!

    I have no idea about the car seats. Except that I have an almost 12 yr old son who's technically still short enough to be in a booster. I can't make him go to middle school sitting in a car seat, though!

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  3. In terms of the kindergarten question..
    Think about how it will affect them now (readiness) but also ask
    how will it affect them when they are growing up? Tweens? High school?

    Some studies say that being older in their peer group is beneficial to kids. (not the youngest in their class.) I know with my daughter (who has an April birthday, so non-issue right now) she is always going to be shorter than her classmates, and I like it if she isn't always youngest too. I think it helps her self-confidence. :)

    make sense?
    c

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  4. The car seat thing is based on state law. Here in MA they have to be in a car seat until they are 5 and 40 lbs. Then booster seat - Fed recommondation is 4' 11" and 80 lbs.

    As for starting school my SIL (a teacher)says that she sees socialization issues later (age 10-12) with kids who start early. My 4-year old is an October baby and will have to wait until she's 5 before starting school - again state law here.

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  5. First things first, fave drink... champagne :) I'll take it with OJ for brunch, and with cassis as a cocktail (Kir Royale, yummy).

    My son is an August birthday and his school's cut-off is July 31 (private school), so the decision was made for us and I'm so happy with the result. He'll be starting a 3 year old program and turning 4 a couple of days later. I was always the youngest in my class and I would've rather been one of the oldest (especially in middle school!).

    There was a great car seat article in a parenting magazine a while back (can't remember which mag) and it recommended keeping children in 5 point harnesses until 65lbs. Our son outgrew his B.ritax (height wise NOT weight wise) and we found that G.raco makes a great transition car seat that has 5-pnt harness up until 65lbs, and then turns into a booster with back and finally a backless booster... Good luck!

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  6. My son has a July b-day and our cutoff here in IN is 9/1. We decided to hold him back an extra year. My hubby has the same July b-day and started a year earlier. He said he wished his parents had held him back, especially for sports, etc. Our son is a full year older than a couple of his friends, but we think it was the best decision based on maturity issues, etc. It's a personal decision based on your kids' abilities, personalities, etc. You'll know what's right.

    As for those vericose veins. Ugh! I've always had a patch of spider veins on one leg, but now I'm noticing them starting to get darker and bulge (eww!) I don't have any fantastic insight, but I'll be checking your comments for others' ideas---I just keep wearing longer shorts!
    Just wanted to let you know you're not alone :)

    The car seat/booster seat law in IN is ridiculous! It's like 8 years old and huge height and weight for a booster. There are some kids that based on height and weight would be DRIVING in a booster. So stupid. I think the carseat law is like 5 years old here. Lili went to a booster before kindergarten.
    Shouldn't your BMV know the rules for your state?

    And, by the way, I'm a beer girl, so no insight on the fancy drinks :)

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  7. Not sure about 5-point vs. shoulder strap, but ... I read that the straps on a 5-point should always be above their shoulders .. if the strap hole sits below their shoulders, it's time to move the straps up or get a new seat. Maya is just over 40 lbs and she is now using the shoulder strap in a booster seat. Made me nervous at first, but we've both gotten used to it.

    Good luck on the rest of the stuff .. I have no answers for you. I wish there were national standards for education, though .. your state has a cut off of Dec for starting kindergarten, my state says August 1st .. that's a big difference!

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  8. We have a strict 1st September birthday requirement, with no flexibility, so my DD with a 3rd Sept birthday had to wait until the following year. I was very disappointed that she couldn't go to school earlier however waiting has been fabulous for her. She is the oldest in her class, very mature compared to her friends and has learned to read and write so quickly compared to her sister who was middle of the year birthday.

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  9. This is for question #2. Putting twinos together or separating them. I'm an identical twin and atter Grade 1 we were separated. (Hmmm...makes you wonder what happened in Grade 1 eh?)

    I lean toward separating (though I adored my twin). For a few reasons. Because we shared everything - a name....everyone just called us twin...I still turn around when I hear that word), same clothes, same room, same friends, same talents, same everything. I think it helped us with our individual confidence to be seen as a separate person and helped us with the responibility of being on our own and not hiding behind the idenity of a duo. I think it also helped us play and live together better as we were not bored or tired with eachother. We missed each other and it made us appreciate it better when we were together - which was every other second of the day.

    Just my 2 cents.

    As for a fav after 5 drink? Margaritas with lime. Make 'em myself. Oh, and a lemondrop martini is a close second.
    :)

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  10. Well I am actually excited that my daughter has an October birthday so she will almost be 6 when she starts, although I think maturiy wise she would be fine, but I like that she will be one of the older kids when it comes to driving ect. You could always let them go to kindergarten 2 years or just stick with what you are doing. Our cutoff here is before her birthday so basically the decision woule be made for me regardless (WA)
    On carseats I am not sure about the booster, I have 2 different convertible carseats that are suppose to go to 100 pounds and I feel that they are safer, and my daughter is from Guatemala so poor girl might only make it too 100 pounds full grown.
    I love love love pictures and take them constantly I am so in awe of your cool set up that you have made. what about doing some fall pictures with some sunflowers, fall skirts, and boots? or a pile of leaves, they could throw them at eachother. I took some sunflower pictures you can see on my blog, I really like the way the sunflowers contrast against the black or darker hair and eyes, if you look at my pictures don't mind her eye's she started getting sick later that night so I guess the redness should have told me something. Good luck, of and on drinks, I do love mojito's but her somehitng easy but sweet I love malibu run in just about anything.

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  11. Useful leaflet on California carseat laws here

    http://www.chp.ca.gov/community/pdf/4_steps_for_kids.pdf

    We moved to a highbacked booster at around 4, it uses the car seatbelt, but positions it correctly at the neck and supports the head in an accident. I prefer these to the small cushion style of booster seat.

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  12. When it comes to starting kindergarten early, boys and girls are different. Boys with summer birthdays tend to do poorly when early started and girls tend to do ok.

    And as a girl with an October birthday who was started early I can say there are no lasting ill effects of starting early. :-)

    Since have been attending preschool, Ro and Ree are going to be familiar with a classroom structure and expectations. And since they are doing everything on the kindergarten readiness list, I would worry about the girls being bored if you didn't start kindergarten until next year.

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  13. We separated Kyle and Owen this past year, at age 4, in a mixed age kindergarten (they are in a Waldorf school and Waldorf does two years of kindergarten -- at ages 4/5/6). They will be in separate classrooms again this year for their second year of kindergarten, having just turned 5 in May. It was a HUGE decision for us to separate them, and I never in a million years thought we'd do it like we did (so early!), but honestly, it has been WONDERFUL in so many, many, many ways for everyone involved. If you want to 'chat' about it, email me at
    hbj2
    @
    lehigh.
    edu
    (all one line, no spaces, obviously)
    As for the drink...
    in the summer...
    Gin & Tonic with double lime, of course! :)
    In the winter...
    nothing quite does it like a good cosmo.
    And of course the occasional margarita is always nice too (any time of year!)
    :)
    I don't think I can help you with the carseat booster thing because I think our boys are probably about double or triple the size/weight of your girls!!! K & O were in boosters when they were 3 years old (but they are HUGE).
    Heather

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  14. I'll start with #3-By far, my favorite drink is a Cadallac Margarita. El Torrito makes the best.

    I don't qualify to answer #1 or #2, but I will butt in anyway. My girls are 9 months apart. My youngest has her birthday in January, just after the cut off and I was so glad that I did not have to make the decision. But knowing her, I knew she wouldn't have been ready for KG even if she were a month older.

    I think it depends upon the individual child and how they learn and how they perform in a structured setting and how they will interact with the other kids socially. You will know better than anyone else if your kids are ready.

    My youngest is very sensitive and self-conscious, so I spent this past year helping her to get ahead so that KG will be very easy for her. She is starting to read and knows her shapes and colors really well. I think this will help with her self-confidence. She will start KG this fall.

    My oldest just finished KG and she didn't know a lot of the things they taught in KG when she started, but she picked it all up very fast. She is a better reader than most 3rd graders and she has so much confidence she is almost cocky. She can spell long words like "restaurant", "dictionary" and "sequoia". I feel like I have to reign her in rather than encourage her.

    I am thrilled that it turned out this way, with the confident successful/quick learner being a grade ahead. Now she can mentor her younger sister and we already know exactly what to expect (so we can better prepare the younger one). Even the KG teacher is the same.

    Best wishes with your decision!

    I think I zoned out after #3. Forgive me.

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  15. As an October baby myself, I went to full day CATHOLIC kindergarten as a 4-turning-5 (now that's strict!). I did fine, and I chalk it up to the fact that I was very independent and also a younger sibling so I think that also bridged any gap. The only downfall was that the cut off for school enrollment was December and the cut off for community sports and activities was usually August. So there were always times when I was held back from my classmates in softball, cheerleading, summer camp, etc for a year and got stuck with the "little kids" (I was held back from the first year of wanting to do these activities and also during any transition year from a "younger" level to an "older” level). Although this was in New York in the eighties and nineties so things may be different in your neck of the woods.

    Speaking as someone who worked in Early Childhood for years, I would say that Ro and Ree are beyond ready for a half-day kindergarten and would probably love it. I think there are pros and cons to keeping them together vs. separating them, which I’m sure you are bouncing back and forth on. My two cents here is that they will most likely do fine either way, but of course there will be a rough patch in the beginning if they are separated. If you do think you will put them in separate classes in the long run, I say do it in kindergarten as the half-day schedule would be a great way to prepare them for the longer separation once they hit full-blown elementary school.

    Check my next comment for my car seat answer (I had to break it up into 2 comments because I wrote so much!).

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  16. Ok, you might want to hold off on reading my car seat answer until nap time or when you tip the girls off on a candy stash they can raid...


    I used to work in a high end baby gear store in MA and have learned how to de-code the confusing jargon. What I have gathered from this link:

    http://www.carseat.org/Legal/636_CAlaw_guide.pdf

    is that they need to be in some sort of child restraint until they are 6 years old UNLESS they weigh over 60 lbs. I'm assuming the twinados won't hit the weight requirement until around then, but you would know better.

    A "child restraint" means some sort of car seat (whether it be a car seat with a 5-point harness or booster seat). From what I am reading, it seems like they need to be in the 5-point harness until they reach 40 lbs. Then you can transition them to a booster seat until they hit 60 lbs and are tall enough that the seatbelt rest comfortably enough that they are not tempted to put the shoulder belt under their armpits or behind their backs.

    My solution for you is this:

    By law, you have to keep them in the Marathons until they turn 4 (and I doubt they will reach the height limit before then). My next suggestion is to keep them in the Marathons as long as possible (until they hit either the weight or height limit). A 5-point harness is ALWAYS safer than a seatbelt.

    Once they outgrow the Marathons, you will need a booster. Again, it looks like CA law says they have to be in the booster until they weigh 60 lbs. Most booster hold up to 100lbs and it is my suggestion again to keep them in the boosters as long as possible and until they are absolutely tall enough and comfortable enough that the shoulder belt lies in the correct position on their little bodies.

    My suggested booster seat is the Clek oobr (funny name, I know). The Clek line of car seats is unique in that they still have two latches to securely anchor the seat to your car. I don't know of any other booster with this feature. All other boosters are simply held down by your child's weight and the seatbelt. Think about the force of a car accident and how easily a regular booster may shift off the seat without anchors. Those latches on the Clek are going to keep the booster anchored to the car and the seatbelt will keep your child anchored to the booster! Reason enough for me to buy an oobr when I have kids.

    Other pros of the oobr is that it is a high-back booster, meaning that its not just your typical seat under the child, but also has a back with some side-impact protection wings, and even better, slots to correctly position the seatbelt on a child's shoulder so there are no worries of the shoulder belt being slid behind the back or under the armpit.

    Added bonus: there are 2 Paul Frank designed seats that I think would do your little fashionistas proud :)

    WHEW! That was long winded but I know how tough it can be to navigate the information with car seats and car seat laws. Always better to have more info!

    E

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  17. Anonymous7/29/2009

    I have twin girls who are now nine (4th grade). Regarding choosing one class or two: I kept them in the same class through first grade - since that was the first time that they were in school full-day. Once they hit second grade, I split them up - feeling that they were used to being away from mom for all that time by then. It has done wonders for their self-esteem and most importantly, it has allowed them to gain friends individually. All too often, they are seen as a unit and their friends (friend's moms, really) feel the need to invite them BOTH over for playdates. While having only one of them invited does create hurt feelings for the other, it teaches them early on that this is a part of life and not to compare themselves (and their experiences) to the other. Good luck!

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  18. For the photo shoot, there must be a million neat things to do. Maybe get a small neon sign made (they are not expensive) that had Ree and Rose - 4 years! on it and put that as a backdrop above their heads. Have them hold photos of their first,second and third b'day photo shoots. Put them in the stinkin-est cute outfits in their favorite colors (now we ALL know their favorite colors) and let the magic begin. What a fun shoot that will be!

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  19. I LOVE appletinis, made with a little watermelon liquer and a little vodka, yum! Also, a Kiss on the Lips is always good(if you like peaches)And ever since our cruise to Jamaica, I have been obsessed with Rum Punch, so good when made right! Yeah, can you tell what I spend my time on? ;)

    4th Bday pics? I think it is really cute to get those wooden letters and have them spell out their name or a fun word... one pic for each letter. Then you can make a collage. Take some from above with the girls laying on their back and the letter on their tummies, some shots sitting, standing, holding the letter behind their back and peeking over their shoulders, even some gymnastics type shots;) You could do them individually or together. It would be really cute to have them do alternating shots(this would be for every other letter) and then do the last shot together, either for the last letter or the whole word... Anyway, just an idea. Oooh, it would be neat if you did something like "mei-mei"(you probably know that means little/younger sister). Okay, okay, I could go on all day with ideas for this!

    And for the carseat, here is the national safety blah, blah, blah site;)...
    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/portal/site/nhtsa/menuitem.9f8c7d6359e0e9bbbf30811060008a0c/
    Under the title "Consumer Information and Services" in the middle collumn, the fourth item down is "Chart on Correct Usage of Child Seats". If you click on that, it will pull up a pretty acrobat document that says 4yrs and 40 lbs is about the time when kids outgrow their toddler seats and need a booster. Though, we had to move our son sooner than that.(He is starting Kindergarten this fall also, turned 5 in April, and he only weighs 32 pounds)

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  20. We have a daughter, now 6, with a September birthday. Cut off for Kindergarten is October 1. We held her back to start when she was 5 turning 6. I kept thinking ahead that she would start college at 17, and I couldn't handle that. Also, I was told if you want a leader, start them at 5 turning 6. If you want a follower, start them at 4 turning 5.

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  21. Oh, I should make a correction to my comment...
    We had to move our son early when our daughter was born. We only have a 5-seater jeep, so no room for two toddler seats. We got info from the doctor who said it was okay. As far as I know, state laws are about car seats(boosters included) in general, but not movement from one type to another. I think your doctor is really the one you should talk to about that.

    Oh, and about youngest in class issues. Some it is tough for, but others it works out wonderfully. My bf in school was an august bday(the cutoff here is in aug, so she was the very youngest in our class.) She excelled at pretty much everything and not because she was a natural genius or anything. I think she had just grown accustomed to working a little more at things, particularly sports. She was lead in a few procuctions, STUCO VP, and prom queen. She also carried high grades all the way through school. She also had a determined personality, but I would say that it would not have mattered which class she started with.
    I think ultimately you have to decide whether your girls are emotionally ready more than anything. My oldest was ready when he was four to start school, but the boy starting this year is still a little freaked about the idea;) I won't hold him back, but I know it will be a struggle this first year! Good luck with whatever you decide!

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  22. As someone with an early October birthday myself, I always found it to my advantage to be one of the oldest people in my class. FWIW.

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  23. Our school cutoff is Sept 1st, and both my kids b'days are in August, which makes them the youngest in their classes (they're now going into 7th and 4th grade), so I've had quite a while to rethink what I would do if I had to do it all again. Honestly, I'd hold them both back a year. It's especially obvious for my 7th grader. They're both very intellegent and athletic and don't have a problem keeping up with their peers academically, but emotionally, they'd both be much better off if they were not the youngest (and smallest as both girls are very petite) in their classes. Maturity wise, it would have been helpful.

    Our schools have always kept twins together in Kindergarten, then break them up in 1st grade, but in K, they've found it best to keep them together. L had two sets of twins in her Kindergarten class.

    Only other question I can respond to is the booster seat. I believe it's 40lbs, but neither of my girls hit that till 4th grade, and REFUSED to sit in a "baby seat" about age 6, so they transitioned just a bit before that 40lb milestone. :-)

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  24. Anonymous7/29/2009

    I have fraternal b/g twins. Their b-day is 9/3. They started Kindergarten when they were 4 turning 5. We've never had any problems academically or otherwise. As a matter of fact, when I look at the class below them, they look so much bigger than those kids that I'm glad I went ahead & put them in.

    They are in 3rd grade now & have always been in the same class. It probably helps that they are b/g twins. Their teachers say they do their own thing. It has made my life much easier. They have the same homework, the same field trips, holiday parties etc. I'm not running back & forth between two rooms.

    B-day pictures: if you end up putting them in Kindergarten, do a school theme. Plaid skirts, apples, rulers, books, letters, etc.

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  25. Marg NY7/29/2009

    Definitely use a 5-pt harness booster seat, not just the thing that lifts the kid up higher. Go here for recommendations and reasons why you shouldn't use the belt-repositioning type: http://www.kyledavidmiller.org/pages/3137/Our_Recommended_Car_Seats.htm

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  26. From a family of educators, so will answer like a teacher-- your girls will be ready! I wouldn't keep them back.
    My cousin has triplets & they separated the kids. It was good for the kids- but makes more work for the parents (but aren't more kids by idea more work?!)
    And for some reason, I thought you were in Texas! (I'm in Ukraine, so it kind of all gets blurry for me anyway!) I love reading your blog either way! :)

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  27. I'd say for school...definitely talk to the preK teachers to get their opinion next summer, look at the skills lists again next summer, etc...then decide. I have one child that turned 5 in June before starting kinder and got a major lecture at the first parent teacher conferences about why would I have ever started her in kinder at her age?! Ugh. To this day, I can see the benefit of waiting. BUT, that said, my 4th child could have gone to kinder at age 3 and done just fine. Seriously, we got to kindergarten and the teacher said he wouldn't be challenged unless he was in a grade or two higher.

    As for the twins in the same class thing...I don't have twins, but I think that if there are two half day classes run at the same time, you might try to separate them, just to see how it goes? You know how they are together(preK), so maybe try them separate? Then you'll know what to do in the future.

    I think whatever you do for the 4th b'day photo shoot it should have 4 props in the picture with the girls.

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  28. No more answers to the questions than when I was there. Some help I am, eh?

    My question....where is that chocolate?? I neeeeed it right now! 3 weeks and counting down.... tick, tock, tick, tock!

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  29. Question #1: I'm a kindergarten teacher, M3, and I can tell you emphatically that YOU know your girls better than anyone and YOU and TubaDad are the ones who have to decide about kindergarten. My usual advice is that you can't go wrong by waiting the extra year. But there are definitely cases where the kiddos are ready and can handle it. Just think about it from these angles: socially, physically, academically, maturity. The kids you put your children with will be their peer group. Can they hold their own?
    #2: As for the same classes, I've had it done both ways there, too. Sometimes twins are kept together, and sometimes they're split. Splitting makes it harder on the parents, I know, because you have to know two teachers then. If the girls aren't too dependent on each other, you could put them together. But I'd recommend trying to get afternoon kindergarten if your schedule can accomodate that. Afternoon classes are usually smaller. If they can each be in a separate afternoon class, that's probably best unless you really want them to be together. I'd start splitting them up in 1st grade if it were me, I think.

    My little one's birthday is in March. She's super tiny, too. I may not be able to hold her back a year, but I'm certainly thinking about it. Academically she would be ready, but there are other areas where I think the extra year would really pay off.

    Vericose veins, Friday drinks and booster seats will have to be topics for another time. This is already too long. Take care!

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  30. Re: Car Seat vs Booster

    I did notice how tall the girls are getting and that their heads were almost if not at the top of the back of the seat. They can stay in it until their ears reach the top of the seat. Don't know how comfy I would be with that but Britax has a booster seat, there are lots of options out there. I put my son in one when he was 4 and he loves it. We made sure that he knew never ever to undo himself while we were driving/moving. He has been excellent. Unlike my daughter who managed to get herself out of the Marathon while we were driving at 110kms an hour on the highway !!

    I like the idea of the girls being a little older when starting school. I really believe that not being the youngest is a good thing. I know someone always has to be the youngest but. My son also has a twin in his class, their mom seperated the twins because they would sit together and do their "twin thing" and not participate etc. lol cute but not productive :) they have done much better seperated. they are b/g twins.

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  31. 1. This is a question I agonized over. You're so smart to be considering it already!

    I have an almost-five-year-old (adopted from China at age 22 months) who has a birthday of August 30th. The cutoff here in VA is birthday before mid-October. I was lucky to find a school with a specific transitional kindergarten class, and that is what she'll be doing.

    She's tended to show language delays and occasional social delays, but nothing dramatic, nothing that qualifies her for special help. She had a heart condition (now repaired) and some failure-to-thrive type issues as a result, which seemed to have made her a teeny tad behind her buddies in some areas -- plus she's the youngest of her current grade group.

    Before we chose to do the transitional kindergarten, we talked to both her current private school, and the exceptional public school she would attend kindergarten at. We asked her current teachers to discuss pros and cons and do some basic testing. Then we talked to the principal and kindergarten lead teacher at the elementary school and asked them to meet with her and do some basic testing. Their finding was basically this:

    "She's a tough kid, and she would have what it takes to do fine in either situation. BUT ... she has some weaknesses in a couple of areas which would make some things harder for her" (the more academic, sitting-at-desk-for-a-long-time structure of kindergarten, for instance, would tax her socially, as she is still very wiggly and can lack focus). But what really made a difference, even more than the consistent responses from the different teachers and administrators, was this "We've often heard of parents regretting they didn't keep their kids in preschool a year longer; we've never heard of any regretting that they did."

    That kind of clinched it for us. That said ... if along with being a good beginning reader and good at math, which she is, she was ALSO ready and willing to speak up for herself in class, and able to sit still and carry out tasks that weren't necessarily her very favorite, I'd still have her do kindergarten with her friends. So you've got to look at your kids' strengths and decide based on that.

    Last but not least, you can always sign them up for another year of Pre-K or a Transitional Kindergarten, and then decide come June that they'll be fine in elementary and register them with the elementary school instead. Because kids don't mature at steady rates based on the school year, and sometimes a kid sudden;y is "ready" for challenges that would have been a major failure 2 months previously.

    Sorry this is so long -- feel free to e-mail me if you have other concerns/questions/etc.

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  32. You have helped me so much! I am happy to post some suggestions to your questions! :-)

    Re K: My 2nd son will turn 6 in Sept (we have a Sept 30 cutoff here in CO so I held him back.) He still naps, wears a pull up at night, cries easily etc. He is YOUNG. He'll be ready this year for sure, but NO WAY last year. Mae's bday is Aug 5 and I COULD hold her back, but I won't. She is tall (43 inches tall) and strong (45 pounds). She's got 2 big brothers to follow and she doesn't miss a beat. She's off training wheels, PT'd herself around 18 months and THINKS she's 6. At least. Maybe 13. I think holding her back, even though she's young, would not work for her. She's ready for anything and always has been. So, it's different for each kid and you know your kids. People are shocked that I held Sam and won't hold Mae. But they're different.

    Twins: My friend's twins, so are starting 2nd grade this year, were together for K/1 and are going to be separated for 2/3. It is the school's suggestion to keep twins together for K/1 (they are a combined class) for security, and then separate them to promote individual friendships. One twin is PSYCHED and the other is terrified. But their mom is confident that they will make their own friends and really love it.

    Drinks: I love mojitos too. Also, you know that wine in a box company? They make a SUPERB sangria. REALLY good.

    Veins: don't know - can't help but SORRY. That sucks (any suggestions for obscene chin hairs? hee.)

    Car seats: Here in CO, you move them to a booster at 40 pounds OR 4 years old. You can always keep them in longer (my son has a 2nd grade friend who is still in a 5-point) but you CAN move them at 40/4 if you want. Mae will move to a booster seat (a full back booster, not just the little butt seat) when she turns 4, although she's over the weight mark already. I think Britax does make a larger carseat for 'big kids' if you want to go that route. I remember reading about it.

    GOOD LUCK! I love your blog.

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  33. Hi M3,

    Okay, my two cents;

    1) As an educator and parent I would lean toward waiting a year for K. We started our November birthday child (granted he was a boy)late. School is so much more academic now than when we went. The expectations are much higher. I have no doubt Marie and Rose would be ready for school, but it just gets more and more intense as the years go by. I say, let them have one more year of being carefree kids!

    As far as a booster seat, I had always thought the rule was four years or 40 pounds whichever comes later. Lizzie is in a booster seat now(the kind with the support back that still has a plastic dohickey for the seatbelt to go through to prevent it from cutting across her neck) which she can buckle herself. She's 42 pounds and four years old. When the boys were over six I let them sit in the booster seats with no backing. When Cooper was eight I let him sit without anything all together, he isn't even close to 80 pounds, but he's tall enough to sit without having the strap cut cross his neck. I think height is the issue more than weight.

    Food for thought!

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  34. Wow! So many questions! Regarding the Fall birthday: I personally am late September and my mom squeezed me in after I passed some academic tests. I was always top of the class, but.... I was so emotional. I had major anxiety issues about socializing and finding friends. I had boy drama issues and I cried a lot about it. The girl in the locker next to mine was a full year older than me and she was as cool as a cucumber. Obviously personality plays into it, but I often wonder if high school would have been better for me with one extra year of maturity. Of course it's your choice. And with such a wide variety of responses making your decision(s) will not be any easier!

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  35. Anonymous7/29/2009

    Think down the road. If they start now they will leave the nest sooner. Do you want to send a 17 year old off to college, or would you rather send an 18 year old?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Q1. Where we live Sept 1 is the cut off. My kids are all fall birthday's & I'm so glad they are. Both of my boys were academically ready at 4.5 but having that extra year of preschool helped them with the big adjustment to full day school. It's great you have half day kindergarten. I wish we did, my kids were ready for the full day but I wasn't ;-)

    Q3. My favorite summer drink is a Lemondrop. I mix lemonade with raspberry vodka, yummm.

    Q6. I don't know what the state law is but a friend of mine who does car seat checks says leave kids in a 5pt harness as long as you can. Britax makes one, the Frontier I think, that is both a 5pt & a belt positioner. You have an advantage of having no older kids so your girls hopefully won't fight you about staying in a 5pt longer than their older sibling did.

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  37. Kindy: In this area they have to be 5 by Sept 1st. Rae turns 5 on Sept 28th. So she will be a 6 year old kindy kid. I think academically she's more then ready for kindy right now, but socially I think it will serve her better in the long run to be the oldest kid in the class.

    Carseat; it's entirely by weight/height/age. My freshly three year old son has been in a booster seat for months, because he's a giant moose and I don't have the $400 necessary to purchase a 5 point harnass carseat that would fit his giant size. According to the crseat experts at our local police/firestation carseat safety gathering, it's safer for him to be in a lap/shoulder belt on a booster then to be over height/weight on a 5 point. So he's already in a booster. Which sucks, BTW, as he's still wiggily. It was a few months of constant fighting to get him to stay in his seatbelt. I'd keep them in the 5 point as long as their little bodies will fit in them. Safer safer safer.

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  38. Our nurturing, loving K-2 school greatly discourages placing twins in the same class so it very seldom happens. Instead twins are typically placed in side by side classrooms. I can't believe that Ro and Ree are going to be 4. Why don't you ask them for their ideas for the photo shoot? They are bound to be creative.

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  39. 1. Educator (1st-4th grade teacher)/Parent perspective here...The girls sound like they'd do fine going on to kindergarten now, but if you have any reservations at all...hold them back. I struggled with this issue with my middle child. He had a June birthday and the cut off was in Sept. He just wasn't ready. I did a lot of research while deciding what to do. What I found was some people were glad they held their child back, some were sorry they didn't, some were glad they sent their child on at age 4 turning 5. No one regretted holding their child back. I've dealt with a lot of children that should have been held back and they suffered. I've never run across the "bored" child. Honestly, I know we all think our children are geniuses, but school is so much more than just academic. A lot of it is just the experience. A good teacher can keep even the most advanced child engaged. I also, as a parent, looked ahead to when my child was in middle school and high school, the fact that they are the older ones, may help them handle the peer pressure better. Also sending them off to college a year later has got to be a plus. So my advice, if in doubt, hold them back.

    2. Not a parent of twins, but I've taught many. Some together, some not. If your school does not have a rule about this, then I'd keep them together when they were younger K-2ish. It will be easier on you. Maybe separate them when they are older.

    3. Margarita or a lemon drop martini!

    4. Sorry, no advice here.

    5. Still thinking here.

    6. 4 yr or 40 lbs is the rule, but sometimes rules are less than safe. You need to consider maturity. Is you child ready to sit properly in her restraint without unbuckling or wiggling out of the restraint? Here is a great resource sheet on car seat safety.

    http://www.carseat.org/Resources/629_Selecting_Seat.pdf

    or

    http://www.carseat.org/Resources/Repro_Mat_Lst.htm

    Hope that helps.

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  40. I can only comment on two...the others, I have no clue.

    Fall b-days....hold them back. Let them do pre-school again. It is far better as the years go on to be the oldest in class rather than the youngest. It seems to help with socially and academically. Even just a few months or weeks, makes a big difference in maturity level. It has worked well for Alex. He was a fall b-day. There have been so many advantages to him being one of the oldest.

    Boosters...isn't their a weight range. Like 40 pounds? Anyway, by 5 I had them moved into boosters. I could see for comfort reasons, they needed a booster.

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  41. Our girls aren't twins, but we held the oldest one back so they are in the same grade and I can not wait until our girls go in to separate classes this year. They will have their own friends and get to shine on their own. There won't be any competition in class and they won't depend on each other. That was the problem this year. One of them was always helping out the other one and she had a hard time getting things on her own. I also think its good because then the teacher can't compare the the two.
    Appletini's are the best!

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  42. Anonymous7/29/2009

    When wen turned five in Feb, we ditched the britax carseat and got a britax booster with the five point harness. She is only 31 pounds, but her legs were growing too long for the carseat.

    As a teacher, I prefer twins seperate. However, K would be the best year to have them together if you wanted them.. More social, emotional time then in upper grades.

    Christy Bailey

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  43. I'm having an iffy brain day so the only one I'm going to attempt is the drink one. I love.love.love. a good Hurricane, but the key word is good. My favorite place is Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans and down in Orlando. Since most folks fail at making it, I'll always go for a traditional margarita and when I'm feeling a little islandy, I'll have a pineapple margarita. So-Co and lime is always a nice sipper and if you sip a little too much makes you a little loopy so watch that.

    :)

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  44. Ok, this is my educator response, not blog reader who's "known" Ro and Ree since joining your fam....

    In Ohio, Ro and Ree wouldn't even be able to start kindergarten until they were five. Our cut-off is Sept. 30. You, in California, have two good options. (Actually, you have three, but again, as an educator, in my opinion, only two are good.) One, the one which I recommend, would be wait until the following year when they are already five. They'll have another year of maturity on them which far outweighs the academic/skills issues. Option #2 that my best friend stands by (and who is a long-time 3rd grade teacher with three of her own children) is to send them to kindergarten at an early age then have them repeat kindergarten. She swears by this saying the 2nd year of kindergarten makes their confidence grow by leaps and bounds. The third and less desirable option would be to just send them to kindergarten at the early age of 4 and then on to first grade. I have seen this done many times with not great success. Sometimes, kindergarten goes well and their young age becomes an issue later in first, second, third grade (and sometimes even later..... like middle school when puberty hits). Is this all clear as mud? Let me know if you have any questions.

    As far as twins in the same classroom question.... again, this is coming from an educator who has had numerous sets of twins in her classroom and not the mother of twins.....

    Separate them. It leans a little on the chaotic side in the classroom when twins are in the same room. Chaotic for all.... the teacher, the other students, and even the twins. This is a very personal decision for twin moms I realize, but looking at it from the other side, separation seems to be the best for all, especially the twins.

    One more thing..... your pool serves mojitos??? Seriously??? I wanna join your pool! :)

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  45. I will separate my virtual triplets 3 classrooms. Hard on me dealing with 3 teachers BUT they are always together, fighting, one speaks for all sometimes and I think it would best for all to separate and maybe they would appreciate each other more when they are back together at home. Fav drink - margarhita (can't spell) frozen, on the rocks, don't care. My mom had surgery for veins 20 something years ago. It's improved a lot since then. I thought car seats were 4 AND 40 lbs to go to a booster with seat belt strap but 5 point is still safer if used correctly for taller kids.

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  46. I'm glad you asked these questions, I've asked a few of them myself, and I'm always looking for more insight.

    Favorite Drink - Mojito's - coconut and prickly pear are my favorites. Can't wait to see your recipe on it. I also like Midori Sours. As for a regular non alcoholic drink - coffee and tea. I'm a Peet's and Starbucks Junkie.

    We have the same carseats as you do. I was sure they could use them forever.. or at least til 60 lbs. Our older daughter stayed in the Captains Chair til she was 7, just wanted to keep her safe. She still wasn't the 60 lbs but she was closer at 7 than at 6.

    From the advice I got on keeping the girls together vs on their own. I think I'm opting for together... at least in the begining and if later on we need to change it up, it will be more work for everyone ~lol~

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  47. Hi, I'm just a random who found your blog and thinks your girls are pretty darn cute! Had to comment on the age thing though, I'm a July birthday and have always been the youngest or close to it through out school. Didn't like it! I was the last to get to do anything in terms of driving and other age-requirement type things. I think driving was the hardest though, not sure what the laws are for where you are but in MN it's 16 so all my friends were driving their junior year of high school and I didn't get to until a month before senior year started. Sometimes was frustrating because I felt left out and that I was missing out on things because I had to wait so much longer than my friends to do things. I think someone else mentioned the sports and summer camps that have birthdate cut offs. There were things I couldn't join that my friends were unless my parents were able to sweet talk whoever was in charge. Also starting college less than a month after I turned 18 was hard for my mom to deal with :)

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  48. #1 is a question I've talked to many a parent about (This is now my 5th year to work with kindergarten at church). December 3rd is the latest I've heard of any state as a cut off date. I grew up in Kansas where it was September 1st (I think) and here in NC it was October 16th and now is August 31st. I wouldn't begin to say that there should definitely be a hard and fast rule...so much depends on the child. Yet, I see so many benefits from children not starting kindergarten until they are 5 or 5 1/2, and it's almost always a social issue. Kids who are on the younger end often have more behaviorial issues and struggle more with fitting in, though of course there's lots of other variables as well.

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  49. 1. For parents of kids with fall birthdays, what did you do about kindergarten? My son Jack will turn 5 on 10/20 – in Missouri, children have to be 5 by 8/1 to enter Kindergarten. He can do everything on the Kindergarten readiness list and then some and while he could handle Kindergarten intellectually but emotionally my husband and I think he needs the additional time in Pre-K. He’s in a number of enrichment classes to keep him stimulated so we think he’ll be okay.

    2. For parents of twins, did you place your children in separate classes or the same class? Doesn’t apply to me

    3. What's your favorite thank-goodness-it's-Friday alcoholic drink? I am a wine drinker. Pino Grigio is my favorite and sometimes will make wine spritzers to “stretch” my drinks out a bit more.

    4. Has anyone triumphed over varicose veins? Nope – I only got a few when I was pregnant with my boys and they kind of disappeared as I lost weight (40 lbs thanks to Jenny Craig)

    5. Does anyone have any good ideas for a 4th-birthday photo shoot? No, I can’t help there – sorry.

    6. When exactly are you supposed to transition your kiddo from a car seat to a booster seat? I have Jack (my oldest) in a 5 point harness booster from Eddie Bauer that can transition to a seat belt booster and the weight limit is 100 lbs.. He hasn’t complained about being in a “car seat” so we’re not changing him from it until he does.

    I hope that helps some! Love reading your blog and seeing your pics – you have a beautiful family!

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  50. My daughter has an October birthday as well so I'll be curious to hear the answers.

    My carseat (5 point harness) is good until 40 pounds or 40 inches, whatever comes first. She is very tall and I'll bet we'll be flipping to the shoulder strap before her 3rd birthday. Not sure if a carseat with shoulder strap and booster seat have the same requirements. My son used his from about 4 to 7 years old. He is 8 now and there is no way I can get him on a "baby" seat. Our car has adjustable heigh seatbelts which is helpful.

    4th birthday idea: How about you add tons of colorful balls and have them wear polka dots? I love pictures where kids are holding those enourmous lolly pops! Or how about you give them big handfuls of confetti and take a picture while they throw it in the air? Lol! You'll need a good shop-vac for that one! :o)

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  51. Continue sending the girls to preschool and wait until they are 5 going on 6 to send them to kindergarten. (I waited a year before sending my youngest (Guangxi girl) to K and it was the best decision. She has a Sept. birthday. I would also separate the girls when they do start K.(I'm speaking from both a mom's point of view and also from an educator's point of view. I teach elementary.)

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  52. My brother has a December 14th birthday, and started school early, and was always the absolute youngest in the class. He struggled socially more than academically, and my mom always said that she would have kept him back if she could do it all over again.

    I have a September birthday, and started kindergarten when I was 4 as well. I actually enjoyed being one of the younger kids (made me feel smart to be in with the older kids). I guess it really depends on the readiness of Ro and Ree -- You still have time to think about it, but from reading your blog, I'd say that Ro and Ree are ready NOW!

    I think it's worth giving it a go in fall 2010. If you sense that the girls are struggling, you can always pull them back. You can also do that in first or second grade if it becomes an issue then. But I suspect that Ro and Ree will likely go through kindergarten with flying colours even if they start early.

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  53. Anonymous7/29/2009

    1. For question one, I have twin girls who are going into 1st grade.
    We too have fall birthdays. Evie and Ava, started kindergarten at 4.
    I was very nervous about their late birthdays but since Im also a teacher I decided I would try them at 4. Only because most kids whom start at 4 are some of the smartest in the class. They ended up being very ahead.

    2. For question two, I had the same problem with choosing whether or not to place them in the same class. Ava and Evie have very diffrent personalities, and have much more of an attention span if they are together. I chose to place them in the same class because they already play independantly at home, and since the end of Kindergarten they made their own group of friends and are much more social with other kids.

    Hope I helped,
    Rebeca

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  54. Anonymous7/29/2009

    Car Seat transition:
    My daughter, Delaney, is still in her car seat and she is 8 years old, but she is only 38 pounds. I asked my pedeatrician, and he said that it depends on the size of your child and the state law.

    *Kate

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  55. Anonymous7/29/2009

    3. Thank goodness its friday drink: Frozen or on rocks Margirita!
    And also a smooch with my hubby :)

    Annie

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  56. Anonymous7/29/2009

    3. Thank goodness its friday drink: Frozen or on rocks Margirita!
    And also a smooch with my hubby :)

    Annie

    ReplyDelete
  57. As the mom of a child with a Sep 2 b/day and a Sep 1 cutoff, (I am also a teacher) I can tell you that there is no clear cut answer. All children are different and you know your children best. Maturity is extremely important regardless of their age. I pulled many strings to get my son into kinder early. The is very tall and brilliant and I though he would be bored and stick out like a sore thumb. But he HATED being the youngest in his class and reminds me often how his friends got tooth fairy money first, drove first, etc. He is now 21 and if I had it to do over again, I would wait. On the other hand, my 20 year old daughter had no issues regardless. She is introverted, into her own thing and rarely is influenced by those around her unlike our more sensitive son. Now with the 2 year old things may be different. She is a pushy and bossy little monster and does better with older children. (Meaning, older children are safer around her!)

    As for keeping them together, our school system separates them. I have had twins in my classes before and most of the time 1 "controls" the other making it difficult for either to accomplish
    tasks individually.

    Finally, our son went to a booster at 3 (he was very big) our older girl stayed in the car seat forever until she was old enough for just seat belts (she was petite).

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  58. Anonymous7/29/2009

    Here in Ont. the law for booster seats is that the child has to be in one until they are 8 years old, no matter how tall or heavy they are. At the age of 8 the skeleton is strong enough to go without the booster no matter what the size of the child is. This law has been great for preventing teasing amoung kids as they are all being let out on their birthdays and not when the parents feel they are big enough. Some kids were being teased for being "babies" still.

    In Ont. we have jr. kindergarten where some of the kids starting are still 3. Seeing as your girls can do all on the list except for 2 things is a strong indication that they are very ready for school. A lot of kids in gr 1 and 2 still have difficulties with buttons and it will not take them a year to learn how to bounce a ball.

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  59. Varicose veins: mine are terrible. I mean really horrible. I actually had the laser treatment (EVLT). It was very painful and they all came back!
    Mine are so bad that I am too embarassed to wear shorts and I am extremely self-conscious of them. My parents both have them and since it is hereditary, I am doomed.

    If you find out a treatment, please let me know.

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  60. Anonymous7/29/2009

    This is coming from someone who works in a school and with a daughter whose birthday is in the fall (with a December cut off). I think holding them back the year is a wonderful idea..mainly for later on. I wish I had held my daughter back..socially and mentally she would have benefited soo much more. I see the "older" kids in her class and they seem to do so much better.

    Just my thoughts.

    Sonja

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  61. 6. I recently bought a car seat for my S2000 roadster when Margaret turned one. I was worried about size - the car isn't very big - but I also wanted to make sure there was a progression path. I ended up with the Britax Diplomat, which is generally like your Marathon except the upper limit on weight is 40 pounds and it fits in a bit smaller space.

    Here's the part that will be useful to you: when Margaret reaches the size limit, I'm planning to move her to a Britax Frontier. The Frontier is convertible between a forward facing car seat with a five point harness and a booster seat. As a car seat with the harness, it fits children from 25-80 pounds, height 30-53 inches. As a booster seat, it fits children from 40-100 pounds with a height from 42-60 inches. Here's a link:

    http://www.amazon.com/Britax-Frontier-Booster-Seat-Rushmore/dp/B001NPD72Y/ref=pd_sbs_ba_14

    That sounds to me like that, or something like it, is good choice to replace your Marathons if the twins are getting too tall for them. Plus, it comes in pink for Ro if you want them each to have their own color.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Meh, blogspot truncated the link. I'll try again:

    Britax Frontier

    If that doesn't work, just go to amazon.com and search for "britax frontier".

    ReplyDelete
  63. Keep them in 5-point as long as you can! Even a good belt positioning booster isn't as good a 5-point for safety... particularly when they fall asleep or want to reach for something and slip out of position of the belt.

    My daughter made her K cut-off by 3 days, and she needs to repeat K. However, that is a decision that is so individual to the child and mine is just behind, your daughters sound ready.

    Don't have twins, but there were twins in my daughter's class this year. The kids completely treated them as individuals. In fact, my daughter was big buddies with one and knew very little about the other. I'm sure this is based on the twins themselves and on how the teacher and parents frame it. Sorry, not much help there.

    For their 4-year-old pics, do you mean in your home or elsewhere? Try to find 4's out in the community on signs and such and have them pose with them.

    And, I love mango mojitos, but I haven't made them, just bought them.

    Oh, and I love being asked for my opinion, even if it wasn't specifically directed at me. :)

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  64. Coming from an educator POV:
    1. For parents of kids with fall birthdays, what did you do about kindergarten? I was a fall baby, and I was the youngest. It was rough at times, but I think it challenged me to grow a bit faster. That being said, kids will generally get more positive attention if they are bigger/older/more mature when they enter school. There is a big section on this in the book "Outliers."

    2. For parents of twins, did you place your children in separate classes or the same class? Again, from an educator POV, I think spliting them up helps the social development a lot! Forcing children to become "their own person" and to have different friends.

    3. What's your favorite thank-goodness-it's-friday alcoholic drink? Mai Tai!

    4. Has anyone triumphed over varicose veins? Haven't had them yet! Stay tuned!

    5. Does anyone have any good ideas for a 4th-birthday photo shoot? Nope!

    6. When exactly are you supposed to transition your kiddo from a carseat to a booster seat? I found this useful:
    Toddlers/Preschoolers Convertible seats It is best to ride rear-facing as long as possible. Children 1 year of age and at least 20 pounds can ride forward-facing.
    School-aged children Booster seats Booster seats are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing car safety seats. Children should stay in a booster seat until adult belts fit correctly (usually when a child reaches about 4' 9" in height and is between 8 and 12 years of age).
    Older children Seat belts Children who have outgrown their booster seats should ride in a lap and shoulder belt in the back seat until 13 years of age.

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  65. My favourite drink is something called a Bellini. I love fruity drinks that don't taste like liquor - yeah, I'm tough like that!lol For boosters, there is a height/ weight rule here, I don't recall the height, but the weight is 40 lbs. My 4.5 year old only weighs 35 lbs or so and she's still in a 5 point, although I now have her in a Britax booster/5 point - so it's shaped more like a booster that a baby carseat, but it has a 5 point harness until the child is big/strong/tall enough to have it turn into the regular booster. All I can say about the vericose veins is that I'm with you...will be reading comments on that one. And finally, our cutoff is Dec. 31 and our daughter is born in late December. So, she'll be turning 5 approx. 4 months into kindergarten. We're pretty sure we're going to send her through. She seems really ready...her teachers at preschool this year all said she could do as much/more than the January kids. It probably helps that she has an older brother she adores and copies all the time. This being said, next week we're meeting with a lovely lady who specifically studies 4-6 year olds to determine if they're ready for school or would be best held back. She'll spend 2 one hour sessions of play with our daughter and then give us a report. She's a psychologist but I think her area of expertise is "educational consulant"... I'm sure they have them in your area as well if it's something you're interested in pursuing. Well, that has to be the longest comment ever so I'll move on now!lol

    Julie

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  66. I don't generally comment to you but this one caught my eye - although I do love reading about your girls and your family.
    My oldest daughter just started Kinder last week - her birthday is 9/24. The cut off here is 9/1. The district did some testing and deemed her "ready" She loves it so far. My son who is now in 4th grade has a 12/23 birthday. We lived in CA when he started and with the cut off being 12/1 he didn't start until he was 5 going on 6. This worked for him.
    As for having twins in the same class - I have a twin sister myself and we did not have any classes together until Jr. High. We each had our own friends but also hung out with some of the same people since we did eat lunches together and play on the playground together in the earlier years.
    I have a friend with twin sons who are in 5th grade and they have been in the same class every year. This has worked for them. They have the same friends but are individuals.

    ReplyDelete
  67. I think you will notice from the comments that a lot of people hold their kids back in CA. Therefore, I strongly believe the young ones are at a disadvantage and fall behind socially and in confidence. Won't be a problem in K or 1st, but by 2nd grade, when it gets really tough, it will catch up to them.

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  68. Our son was 4 at the end of September and oh how I wish we had held him back one more year. Even though he was smart and creative and dexterous he was still not emotionally ready to be in a formal educational setting. He missed me too much and he really was much younger than most of the other kids in the class, he was one of two 4 year old starters (the other child had an equally difficult time). Hindsight tells me that they are only young for a short time so don't rush them to grow up and fit into a mature mold until absolutely necessary! In the grand scheme of things will they be harmed for delaying school entry until they are 5 full years old? Your little girls are thriving on the environment they are now in and would probably continue to do so and become even more secure people as they mature for another year.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I didn't read through the comments, but, I would try a photo shoot with a few bubble machines. First, bubble machines always give kids joy and the giggles and secondly the light glistening off the bubbles will be like magic in the camera.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Here in the South children with birthdays I believe after Oct 1 wait until the following year to enter school. Prior to that of course you have the option...I would wait...

    As far as having twins together in class...they also do not allow siblings in class together so they can have their own identity...I have twin sisters and brothers and that is really important.

    If you like tea add peach schnaaps to it for some "Georgia tea" add lemon and sugar or slenda and so refreshing and a little kick.

    Can't help on the veins.

    Good luck
    Emily

    ReplyDelete
  71. Starting Kinder: redshirt them - My twins are turning 6 in Sept and we had to redshirt them, and I'm so glad we did. They are so ready and so am I. Think about how old they will be when they start mid school, high school, and graduate from high school.

    Separate classes: As a mom and educator, I say keep them together until kinder if you want, but separate when they start "big school". They and their teachers will thank you. My son has three sets of twins in his grade (starting 4th) and every set has tried years apart and years in the same class, and every mom says that the years apart are much more positive by far.

    Favorite Friday drink: Diet Dr. Pepper or if I'm feeling all loosey goosey, pina colada wine cooler or rum sunrise

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  72. sorry another thought - Starting kinder: I also have a friend who started her "strong-willed" son when he was 4 knowing that she would probably have him repeat Kinder. School and the structure were great for him, his teacher loved him and it was such a positive experience. They don't say "we're holding him back" they just say he's going to have mrs. so and so agian.

    ReplyDelete
  73. M3,

    My Aunt has been an elementary Principal for decades and she strongly believes that if your child is ready, you start. There are good tests that can gauge kindergarten readiness. She worries that her oldest kids in the classes bore easily and underachieve.

    Both of our girls sit right on the cut off, but both have met their milestones, so we are plunging forward thus far. Sara starts Pre-K in 2 weeks (she turns 4 on 8/15) and Kelly will start a 2 hour per week Co-Op preschool (she turned 2 last week) with Mommy in full attendance. Both will turn 5 just as they start kindergarten. If they are not ready at that time, we'll wait, but I think it's different for every child.

    My sister and I were split up. My parents thought my older sister would be stigmatized because I was younger but academically stronger (I was skipped ahead, but only in a few subjects). By high school, we put ourselves in classes together and did our homework together so that I could help her. I wish we could have been together all along. I think it would have helped her self-confidence to have me nearby, and I could have tutored her and helped her fall in love with learning. I think their plan to protect Jenny backfired and made us competitive instead of team-oriented. But sisters are as different as they get! Whatever you think will work for you!

    Best of Luck,

    Indiana Lori

    P.S. I'd take a Mojito if you could get one in Indiana. So I go for cider beers and Smirnoff Ices. It's hard getting good mixed drinks in the Bible Belt! My kids will be in carseats until they are 20. 20th percentile for weight.

    ReplyDelete
  74. I can't answer much, sorry.
    We have a Recaro car seat for my 17 month old and I love it! Recaro also makes a booster seat that looks like a regular car seat (I'm sure most manufactuers do, but I really love Recaro)
    I had a fall birthday and I always lamented that I was so "young" heh, funny thinking about it now.
    For 4th birthday photos I love tutus! (I have a pretty serious tutu thing right now,) You can find some really pretty ones on etsy, or if you're crafty you can get a pattern for a really fluffy petticoat for little girls, I've seen some photos and they're amazing!

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  75. I'm always late, but here's my opinion...Kindergarten. I held Cameron back (he's August 5th). because he had speech and occupatonal therapy issues. He could not do anything on the kindergarten readiness list...Best thing I ever did. He is going into 2nd grade is at the upper end of his class academically, but not bored. Grace was born September 19th. Everyone told me she was ready. She could do almost everything on the readiness list. She has excellent fine motor skills (something Cameron still struggles with). She finished Kindergarten in June and has to repeat. But I dont think it is because of her age. They think she may have some sort of learning disability. So you just never know. I will say that I do no think there are any disadvantages to holding back in the long run. You could put them in and if they need to repeat, it's not that big of a deal...Grace is taking it fine. As far as separating them, I am a twin who was in the same class until 5th grade and I loved it, but it did make me less likely to make friends on my own...

    Car seats. They keeo changing the law in ca, but I think it is that they have to be 4 AND 40 lbs...we just switched Grace because even though she is almost 6, she just hit 40 lbs...then there is that youtube video about the 4 year old who died because his seatbelt failed and they tell you to keep in in the 5 pt harness as long as possible...scared me a litle..

    my favorite friday night drink is sangria...you can make it with white wine, too.
    1 Bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rioja reds, Zinfandel, Shiraz)
    1 Lemon cut into wedges
    1 Orange cut into wedges
    2 Tbsp sugar
    1 Shot brandy
    2 Cups ginger ale or club soda
    Preparation:
    Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the lemon and orange into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and add sugar and brandy. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale or club soda just before serving.
    I also just tried Mojito in a bottle by bacardi, and it was pretty good!

    not sure I can help with the other stuff, good luck!

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  76. PS
    I should mention that as a preschool teacher, I truly believe that the cut off for kindergarten should be September 1st...then why did I send my daughter? I'm not sure!!

    ReplyDelete
  77. Sorry, me again! I should also mention that Grace's class this year had 29 kids, only 8 of which were girls (poor teacher) out of those, over half had July-December birthdays (poor, poor teacher!) Only Grace and one other boy had to repeat. everyone else did fine...

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  78. Anonymous7/29/2009

    1. We held our little boy out, and it was the single best decision I ever made as a parent. HOWEVER, our Kindergarten is full-day and there was no way possible to hold him back once we put him in. The state insists that if they are academically ready, they be promoted. We were certainly more concerned with his social readiness.

    Carseats: All of my kids are still in 5 pt harness. We have the gigantic britaxes for all of them. Probably time to move the 2nd grader to a booster!

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  79. First things first - my Friday drink is a margarita from this incredible New Mex restaurant where they use fresh-squeezed lime juice. Ahh. Is it Friday, yet?! Runner up is a vodka martini because I'm a broad.

    Our school cut off is 5 by Sept 1 and Piper's birthday is December, so we don't have a choice. She'll be 5.

    My parents started me in Kindergarten when I was 4 and with an October birthday, I was always one of the youngest. It was fine, no problems until everyone turned 16 and I was still 15. By the time I could drive the "thrill" was gone. I was in misery watching everyone else do what I couldn't. Same with turning 18 and 21 - and of course I mean voting! ;-)

    I lean toward separating the girls only because all my twin friends say they while they love their brother/sister, they also love having their own identity and their own "thing." Being the only one in their class would give them a chance to spread their wings and be their own person. Besides, there will be plenty of opportunities for togetherness in school.

    And I have NO idea on the car seat issue - I'm still trying to figure that one out for myself!

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  80. Personal decision, but I urge you to check into a bigger 5 point harness! I love my Britax Regent, my good friend has a Graco she loves...the longer you can keep a kiddo in a 5 point, the better! You can find some great research on the web...good luck!

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  81. Anonymous7/29/2009

    Forgot to share this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pDnBO76RFM&feature=related

    Type 5 point harness into Youtube, it will change the way you think! It did for me! Made me wonder why I would take recommendations concerning my child's welfare only from the government! LOL
    PS-researched and bought my daughter's carseat on elitecarseats.com Great experience!

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  82. Anonymous7/29/2009

    Well M3 you probably wont need my
    answers to your questions but I
    will shoot any ways.

    In our state car seat is 4'11" or 80 lbs

    Kindergarten. We tried Kindergarten
    which started here Aug 26 and she had turned 5 Aug 22 the cut off was Oct1 I think they have backed it up this year. Kindergarten did not work for her at 5 even though
    she is smart and socially ready .
    She had not previously attended a pre school. She went to 3 day a week pre school and we started kindergarten a year later and she excelled . We are a first grader with a week under our belt now.

    As for twins I only have one child
    I have friends with twins and one seperated them and loved it and one
    kept them together and loved it.
    Its going to depend on your children.

    Good luck !

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  83. Anonymous7/29/2009

    Regarding Kindergarten, I would definitely NOT rush them. There is really no point. I have spoken to tons of parents who say if I put my daughter with a July bday in K when she is 5 she will be the youngests child as so many parents wait until kids are 6. They have a lifetime to be educated and I would give them the best possible chance and wait until they are 5 turning not 6.

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  84. As a former kinder teacher in CA and having a daughter from China who has a birthday in October, I have to say that I have no hesitation about putting Gracie into kinder when she turns 5 in two years. I had students who were 4 and to be honest, some of the 4 year olds did better than those who were older. Each child is an individual and unfortunately, our system likes to group everyone together and treat them the same. I also have to laugh at some of those kinder readiness lists as they are a joke. I have seen students who couldn't do a lot of the stuff on that list. Parents would freak out because their kids couldn't do the things and I had to remind them that that was what school is for and they would learn! Don't worry, your girls won't get graded on ball bouncing! :)

    Your girls are in preschool now and those who go to preschool are usually more ready for kinder than those who haven't. Preschool helps not only with socialization but also learning how to follow directions from someone other than a parent, sitting for short periods of time, etc. things that are done in kinder.

    If you feel your girls are ready, and you are comfortable with it, then I say go for it!!

    Regarding the twin thing, we had 3 sets at our school. I taught one, the other kinder teacher had another, and the 3rd was split between us. They were all boy/girl twins. The ones that I had, were very close and even freaked when I separated them and put them at separate tables a couple months into the school year. By the end of the year though, they had each made separate sets of friends and did great! So keeping your girls together, is entirely up to you. Sometimes, schools won't allow twins to stay together so you would need to check into it.

    I hope I've helped a little bit. :)

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  85. I also have a little one that has a fall birthday (Oot. 3rd). In the state that I live in Sept. 30th is the cutoff for Kindergarten. She has been in 2 day/3year old preschool. She entered when she was just 2 almost 3. I worried at first, but after I observed her a few days, I forgot about that. She fit in just perfect. She even cried when I picked her up to stay there. She will be in the 3 day/4year old this year. These classes are only 3 hours. She is so excited about it. She is over the top for a 3 year old. I think a lot of that is because she has 3 brothers. (18, 15, 10). She does everything that they do.

    I am going to put her into kindergarten in a private school in 2010. It is just 1/2 day. I am very afraid that if I hold her back until she is 5/6 she will cause trouble in school. She is very independent. She is already doing all of the Kindergarten bench marks and more. Lets put it this way, she takes nothing off of her brothers. She is very social, never cries unless she is hurt. Loves to be around people. This is a lot of why I am putting her into Kindergarten at 4/5. If I see that there is a problem, I can pull her out. She will eventually go to public school.

    My husband, son and I graduated from high school at 17. My husband and I did fine in school and college. My son is headed to college this fall and I feel I have educated him and he has the ethics to become a well rounded student. I am not worried about him at all being just 17. But like everyone says, you have to know your child. If you do not feel that they are ready for school, then don't send them. My daughter is ready now (she also thinks she is 10 too).

    My daughter is still in a car seat. None of my children got out of their car seats until they were in the 2nd grade. I have small children. My 10 year just got out of his booster seat this spring. When we travel, he rides in it.

    I have enjoyed this discussion. On one of my yahoo groups we are talking about this too.

    I love reading about the girls. Since my daughter is from Hubei also, we have a lot in common.

    www.tfljourney.blogspot.com

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  86. I'm just going to comment on the twin thing:

    I have a set of boy/girl twins that are 10 and a set of boy/boy twins that are 7. We have done it both ways separated and together, and I can tell you that for us personally together is what works best. In both cases we don't have a dominate twin, they always are switching who is bossing who around. In both cases we have varying degrees of intelligence on a yearly basis, one yr. one will do great in Math, the same year one did great in reading and then the next year it all switched up. However, in both cases, we had issues with a twin being bullied and pushed around by other children when we separated them, however, when we put them back together, it was like they got a back bone because they knew that the other one had their back and therefore they stuck up for themselves.

    Just my two cents!

    ReplyDelete
  87. Drinks: I've been making my husband make this daily all summer:

    http://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/2009/08/dark_and_stormy

    School: My daughter has a Sept 10 birthday. We just moved from WI, with a Sept 1 cutoff, to NH, with a September 30 cutoff, so I"m trying to decide what to do. What my mother keeps asking is, "Do you want her going off to college at 17?"

    My mother also points out that if you start them early, you end up with one less year with your kids at home---I know, it seems like a lot to think about now, and it's hard to balance that with a girl who knows her alphabet and is mostly ready for kindergarten.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Anonymous7/29/2009

    I am a kindergarten teacher and highly recommend that you wait until the girls are 5 turning 6. From years of experience I can tell you that those who wait are much more successful and happy in school. It is also beneficial to be among the older students socially. Many states now use Sept. 1 as the cut-off date because the research shows that being a bit older is better. The girls will be grown before you know it, so no need to hurry things. Also, for the girls development as individuals, it would be best for them to be in different classrooms once they begin kindergarten. They will still see each other at recess and lunch. This will give them a chance to accomplish things independent of one another, as well as to have that bond when they come together at the end of the school day.

    ReplyDelete
  89. 1. We have 1 fall birthday here, but we need to see how some developmental milestones play out before I make too many decisions, From a teacher perspective I can ALWAYS tell which boys are young for their class, but rarely for girls - unless they skipped a grade.

    2. As for other-than-mojito fav Friday drinks: its definitely a margarita with Cointreau OR a Caiparihna - but if they don't do mojitos then they don't do Caips - they are Brazilian and are fabulous. Have you tried the herb mojito at Big Bowl - amazing!

    3. I don't have twins but I have taught for 8 years. I have had a number of sets of twins in classes (I am a band director) and as long as their mom/dad comes to conferences for each child individually and treats them individually then I LOVE it. I love having siblings.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Anonymous7/29/2009

    we are red shirting, BabyGirl's birthday is late November, since we are in CA with a Dec 9 cut off date we're redshirting for a year.

    Check your car seat's specs. Ours was 4/40lb so we got another car seat that seats up to 6/60 and then converts to a booster for up to 8/80. I believe a kid is supposed to be in a booster of some sort til 8/80.

    christina

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  91. So I am getting on my soap box with permission? Thanks M3!!!

    Credentials:
    BS - Elementary Ed.
    MS - Elementary Ed.
    Teacher: This is my 35th year.

    By ALL means red shirt the girls. Here in TN our cut off date is Sept. 30, which the teachers think is too late. We would like to see August 30th as the cut off. I made the grave mistake of not red shirting my daughter with a birthdate of August 21st! She was tested by her pre-school and was in the 97th%. I listened to her teachers and sent her on. She was in the gifted program all through school. What is wrong with that, you ask? MATURITY - and she NEVER caught up. Turns 40 in August. Back to the girls. Not only do they have an October birthday, but they are twins. Yes, that makes a big difference. Most twins are not full term so had to develop after birth. You will never know that for sure. It is always wise to err on the side of caution. Oh my, October ... please do not send them ... I don't care how smart or outwardly developed they are. They will NEVER struggle in school and will be mature enough to handle situations if you red shirt them. (do you know how close the 'r' and 't' are together on the keyboard LOL)

    As far as the same classroom - NO to that, also. They need to branch out, make new friends, and depend on others. You have 'different' children. One will always outshine the other. Self-esteem is something they need to develop. If one finds something easy and the other thinks it is difficult then how are they going to feel when it is right there in their face? If they are in separate classrooms there will be no tattling on the other, one will not know the other one struggles in a subject, and they will be so happy to see each other and can share different stories. There in lays another self-esteem booster - one will not correct the other, because they don't know.

    This is a hard decision. Parents rightfully believe that their child is the brightest, most talented, socially mature and can endure anything. They also are SO ready to have them out of the house. Please consider this carefully. I know you will make the right decision for your circumstance.

    ReplyDelete
  92. I can address the twin question. We adopted our now 8 year old daughters a year ago from China. After a quick 3 month "get to know you" summer we opted to separate them for first grade. We decided this based on their personalities...one if very talkative while the other is more withdrawn. It worked out well for both of them...chaotic for us, but we tend to be a rather chaotic family with twins anyway :)

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  93. Anonymous7/29/2009

    I was trying to be patient but how long does it take to add one cute picture? I'm sure you have a "few" hundred you could choose to post.

    love,
    poor wela

    ReplyDelete
  94. Keep in mind, I'm a teacher, but I've never taught any lower than first grade.

    If they were boys, I'd say keep them back for another year. Boys just mature more slowly. Since they're girls and they can do almost everything on the kindergarten readiness list, they may be very well be ready. The things you mentioned that they aren't doing yet are small motor skills (bouncing a ball might be considered large motor, though) and they will develop those skills in time - probably very soon.

    in my experience, many parents of twins choose to put their children in the same classes when they are very young, and then request they be separated by third or fourth grade. The girls may be ready to be separated sooner, and they will probably let you know if/when that's the case. I've had lots of twins in my classes, but usually just one of the two. I once had twin boys, and one went on to fifth grade and the other was held back. The other sets I've had were boy/girl twins. Everybody needs their own space at some point.

    Are you planning ahead for this Friday? If I were drinking this Friday, I think I'd want a martini. They go to work fast on me!

    Sorry, I can't help with your other questions, but it looks like you've got lots of feedback to consider already.

    :-)

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  95. Anonymous7/29/2009

    Just a random lurker here. I don't have any kids yet. But as someone who had a fall birthday, and who was redshirted...I never liked it. I was always the oldest and had multiple friends a whole year younger than me. Plus I felt like I had to justify my age and explain that I never failed a grade. But then again, maybe I wouldn't have liked being the youngest either...I do think girls have less of an issue with being young than boys do. Anyway just my two cents.

    The twinadoos are super cute! And I love reading about their antics.

    -Emily

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  96. 4 year old photo shoot -

    Why not get a whole bunch of fancy, grown-up, dress-up stuff together (especially the older type stuff from the 30's 40's and 50's if you can find it) big hats, feather boas, fancy shoes and beaded dresses and necklaces and let the girls go to town in dress-up! It's really the last year that they will be "toddlers".

    ReplyDelete
  97. HI! I struggled with the K question the moment I got my daughter's referral and saw her Oct 27th birthday. She can start this fall. I asked EVERYONE under the sun and decided to start her in K at the private school she is currently attending and then having her do it again in '10 at our local public. It's a hard decision because she is so bright. If she wasn't, it'd be easier.

    Of course my daughter can handle K, but it's junior high/high school/college that I worry about.

    Also, I had K teachers tell me they have NEVER met a child that was redshirted that they thought should not have been. NEVER.

    Also, consider the school you will send your girls for K. Is it public or private? What's the philosophy? The private school ours will start out in is non-competitive and only 12 students in the class. Our public is VERY competitive, in fact ranks academically as one of the highest in CA. She will be surrounded by children just as "brilliant" if not more and these children are very pushed by their parents to excel.

    VERICOSE VEINS-- I have them too. Years ago I got these shots in my legs that actually KILL the veins. I am not sure they do this anymore... but the veins are gone. Other spider viens are appearing and I was recently thinking of looking into these shots again.

    GOOD LUCK!

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  98. I teach 4th grade and I have a daughter that "had" to wait to start Kindergarten. She missed the cut off last year by just a few days. I was mad because I knew she was ready. By the time she starts this year, she will already know all the kindergarten standards because I have been home schooling her outside of Pre-school.

    Whenever I am asked the question of Kindergarten readiness, I always say, "It depends on the kid...you know your kid(s) better than I do." As a teacher I do not notice a difference in the age factor. I have no idea who is the oldest or youngest in the class based on their grades. I also taught up to 8th grade and found it to be true them too. However, I do know whos parents work with them and helped them gain strong study habits.

    You sound like a person that will work with your girls and keep up on their studies. They should be fine in Kindergarten if that is what you want to do.


    Should you split the girls?

    Every twin that I have ever had did great together. I would keep them together because of two reasons.

    1) It will be good for the girls socially. They will always have each other...split them when they get to middle school.

    2) You will go CRAZY trying to keep up with two rooms...two different assignments, two different supply lists, classroom field trips, parties...you get the point. Don't put more pressure on yourself.

    I hope that helps.


    Sharyn

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  99. Anonymous7/29/2009

    My biggest kid has an Oct birthday and our state has a Sept 1 cut off. While I would love to be sending her this year (and saving the preschool tuition) I am glad she will be older. It's not so much now but when she is 18 instead of 17 when she leaves for college and is the one driving rather than being driven around by her friends. I think there are benefits to both but the extra year with my girl makes me happy (I'm 1/4 done having her live in my house...can't believe it).

    As far as the car seats go check kyledavidmiller.org then get a pair of high weight/height seats and keep those kids harnessed. The graco Nautilus is great and works as a harnessed seat then a highback then backless booster. The britax frontier is also nice though the straps aren't quite as high and the britax regent is great but can't be used as a booster (nor on planes, and is huge).

    ReplyDelete
  100. Anonymous7/29/2009

    Take this simple five-step test to tell if you child needs a booster seat. .

    1. Does the child sit with their back all the way against the back of the vehicle seat?
    2. Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the vehicle seat cushion?
    3. Is the lap belt low and on the tops of the child's thighs?
    4. Is the shoulder belt centered across the chest, in between the shoulder and neck?
    5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

    ReplyDelete
  101. Mom put me in kindergarten at 4 because I was driving her nuts (birthday Oct 28, cut off Oct 31st). But I could read at 3, so that was a big part of why they went ahead and enrolled me. I was also tall for my age so I wasn't picked on for being the youngest.

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  102. Oh and favorite drink is Tres Generaciones (Three Generations), the dark aged one. I mix Sprite and squeeze limes in it - YUMMO!

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  103. I don't have a lot of answers for you but do have a great Mojito recipe!!!

    1 bunch fresh mint, cleaned
    1 cup sugar
    4 lemons, juiced
    4 limes, juiced
    1 1/2 cups rum
    1 liter club soda

    In a large pitcher, muddle mint sprigs with sugar and lemon and lime juices until well combined. Add rum and club soda and stir. Pour into glass with lots of ice. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  104. Kindergarten: The Cupcakes will be red-shirting this year. They will be entering Kindergarten next September.

    Our state requires children to be five by Sept. 1 to start Kindergarten and the C's don't turn five until November. Even if they could start this Fall I'd probably still have them wait a year after reading the bit in 'Outliers' about the academic outcomes of younger vs. older kids in the same grade. The fall-birthday, younger kids have grades that are on average ( I think I have the number right) 11.6 points lowerthan their older peers. This difference continues throughout their school years. The age advantage the older kids have is just too huge...

    Car Seats: The C's are still in 5-point-harness car seats and will remain in them for as long as I can force them to stay there. They got too tall for their Marathons about a year ago and we bought Brixtax Frontiers to replace them. The Frontiers will hold them until 53"/80lb as a car seat and 60"/100lb as a booster. With any luck it will be the last car seat we need to buy.

    Favorite TGIF Drink: Champagne. Not that I get it, but a girl can dream. ;-)

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  105. Ok, I will try to remember these in order. I am going to start Miss S in kindergarden next year and not hold her back. Yes she will be young, but better than bored in school her whole life. Alcoholic bev, used to be a nice glass of cab, now a mojito (my new fav too). Hmm, booster seat, Miss S will be in a car seat forever, still not 30 lbs. Heck, I think I am supposed to be in a booster seat. And vericose veins, I have lost a ton of weight and dont see then anymore. Hope I was helpful in some way!

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  106. P.S. I forgot to mention something another adoptive mom told me. She said that it's around grade 2 that kids start really "getting" adoption and how they came to be in your life. Therefore, some adoptive kids might have more moments of zoning out in school during that time. An extra year, might help our children cope and have more time to process it in a less intense environment.

    irena

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  107. First of all, our school separates twins at "older twos." And I'm all for it. In our case, I think it's best for my twins to develop some independent social skills. It's pretty much required at our school to separate, and I"m just okay with that. I find that decision is very individual, so go with your gut.

    Holding back. You can't lose by holding back. I was held back with a november birthday and it was all good. Maybe they should've held me back another year. In our state, summer and beyond gets held back no questions asked

    I'd say hold back. But you know your kids best. Only you can make the best decision.

    But they are just four this year, right? ( i can't fippin believe that.) But you have at least another year before kindergarten. You have time to think about it.

    xoxo

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  108. Anonymous7/29/2009

    I teach 1st grade here in WA, and I'll try and give you some advice based on MY experience!
    1st, if you girls can do that well on the pre-K test, then give it a go. You can always stop and start over next fall. Or they could do K again. You'll know in the first month whether or not they were ready. Because they have early October b-days, that's not that 'late' of a day.
    One of my 1st graders turned 6 on August 30th, two days before school. She was one of my smartest, brightest kids.
    2nd-I've had twins 3 years in a row. The year I only had 1 of the twins was harder than the year I had both twins. As long as the teacher realizes how different the girls are, they should do fine. My twins last year had separate friends, and were really independent but boy they really looked after each other (they were girls too). I love having twins because it is so fun seeing how different they are! I would recommend NOT separating them because they will be more comfortable being with each other.
    3rd-I love a lemon drop martini with absolut citron. Delish!
    Hope this helps-email me if you have any more questions... :-)
    teachmcnetti@comcast.net (Michele)

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  109. Okay, so I had another birthday picture idea. Your girls just love to dress up, so maybe you could go get some fancy new dress up clothes and just let them have fun. You could try a candid/live-action session. I'm thinking big jewelry, tutus/skirts, maybe some tights/leggings, boas/scarf, shiny satin or sequined tops, headbands/bows/hats, your heels, the whole big deal...
    That sounds fun actually, I just might do that for the heck of it with my munchkin;)

    Oh, I have another. If you just happen to have a large drop cloth or similar that you don't need anymore, you could paint a huge sloppy 4 on it. Then put the girls in white tops and overalls. Give them some big brushes and paint. Let them paint whatever they feel like, even each other(a little). I bet even Mom and Dad could join in the fun of this one a little... you do have a great timer on your camera right?! Lol, okay, that one just sounds messy!

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  110. speaking as an identical twin girl who just recently completed her first year of college I was happy with the education decision my mother made for us. She chose to keep us in the same kindergarden class, so we would get used to the idea of going to school and would have each other in case we became homesick. (our school system works in a similar fashion of am/pm classes) After kindergarden it was ALWAYS separate classes. It helped us to make different friends and let us become our own person. To be honest it ultimately made the decision to go to different colleges easier because we were both so used to being on our own at school. It was a big change being so far from my sister but we both love our college lives and our lives together at home. (we skype all the time!) As for age appropriateness to enter kindergarden I say holding back a year never hurts. It can give you time to work on the little things and will help them get an educational head start kinda by being older/more experienced.

    As for those vericose veins (which my mother also suffers from after having 2 kids and twins!) the best advice i can give you as a premed is to wear a tight sock/stocking. The sock/stocking causes vascular constriction(in a very minor and not painful way) and helps to keep them from causing swelling and increasing in size.

    Good luck with the girls!! Im a huge fan of your blog and it's definitely making me consider adoption when im ready to have kids! Your girls are adorable!

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  111. Hello~
    Here are the answers I have to your questions:
    1. Fall bday: For us in the San Antonio area, kids have to be 5 by the time school starts, so Martina (with an Oct bday) will be 5-turning-6 when she starts. No choice here. I'm happy because I get to have her for one more year before I send her off to college!
    Also, she is a bigtime napper, and I'm glad she has one more year before we have to wean her off of it.

    2. 4th bday photo shoot: You probably already take Chinese New Year photos so you may not want to do this for bday, but the family REALLY loved the one with the little umbrella we got in China.

    3. Car seats--we got the seat that converts from a 5-point harness to a booster. We had to get it when Martina was too tall for her Evenflo Triumph. We really like her Evenflo Chase, and we plan to use the 5-point harness as long as possible. We are very happy with it so far. If you go for the Britax version of it (Frontier?), you can keep them in the 5-point harness even longer. Martina straps herself in these days, so that simplifies things for me!

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  112. Oh-I forgot one. 5 PM drink: Margarita with sugar instead of salt on the rim. Frozen or on the rocks. Flavored or traditional. They're all good.

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  113. Anonymous7/29/2009

    1. I have two daughters who are the "old" ones in the class (missed the cut by 1 week and 6 weeks respectively) and a daughter who is the young one in the class. Things are definately easier for my older two. Not that I want things to be easy but they are adequately challenged straight A students. A kindergarten teacher told me that kids can usually catch up academically but socially, they are almost always behind. She was retiring after 35 years of teaching kindergarten! I'm a junior high teacher and can usually find the young ones in the class based on social skills. Academically, the young ones are anything from top of the class to the bottom. A friend told me to look at the big picture - the "old" ones will have an extra year to pick their career, college, etc. That was the selling point for me. If it matters, teachers usually only repeat students in the primary grades. After that, the gains seen by repeating a year are not typically realized. I would consider their social development as well as their academic development.

    2. My brothers are twins and like Ro and Ree, most people can't tell them apart. They were in the same class in kindergarten but after that, were separated and happy about it. They still had the same friend circle but got to be an individual and not one of two for a few hours. They're almost 45 and talk/text constantly.

    They are your kids and you know best. Whatever decision you make will be the right one!!
    kara

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  114. Rhonda7/29/2009

    I've never posted on your blog before (just a lurker LOL) - but I thought I'd post now. In our school board the cut off is Dec 31, my daughter's bday is Dec 29. We also have Junior K here so kids start K at age 4 - which means she was only 3 when school started. She did fantastic. She did have experience at montessori preschool before starting public school so I'm sure that helped (and it seems Ro and Ree have the same experience of having preschool). I can't even imagine my dd being a year behind where she is now.

    For boosters, not sure of the CA law, I'm actually from Ontario like Catherine (I'm a lurker on her blog as well...I have friends adopting twin boys from China and started lurking on all these other blogs from theirs). I will say my dd who is 4.5 is still in a 5 point harness, just makes me feel more secure, and she'll stay in a 5 point harness until she's over 40 lbs. Right now she's in an evenflo carseat and she's perfectly fine for height, she's 40 inches right now. I just bought the new Graco Nautilus for my 1.5yo dd - it has harness up to 65 lbs, height adjustment as it turns into a booster.

    As for school, no idea as I do not have twins. My dd had 2 sets of twins in her classroom this past year and they all seemed to do fine together.

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  115. My son has a summer bday ( the cut off here is August the 30th) and we waited a year.

    He taught himself to read at 4 and had long ago mastered all of the k readiness skills. We just felt he lacked the emotional maturity. No wait a minute we KNEW he lacked the maturity. For us it was a no brainer. We have never regretted, it fact we feel it is one of the best parenting decisions we have ever made.

    Twins. A friend of mine has twins. Her girls were together in K and the teacher felt they should be in different classes for 1st grade because the visited too much. The little imps simply arranged to meet and visit in the bathroom lol. They have been in the same class every year since.

    Just remember the younger they start school the younger they will be when they head off to college. Is it about Kindergarten maturity or long term college bound maturity?

    I strongly feel this is a parenting decision and not a school decision. You know your girls, do what works best for them. Do what feels right.

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  116. M3,
    Such hot topics and some great input, thanks for bringing it up.

    This was a big decision for us as well- I'm glad I kept my twins together for Kindergarten, they made friends within the same group as well as seperate, and they were happy and confident all year. One concern I saw was they excelled at different rates, in different areas, which caused a bit of compition/comparison, nothing too bad though.

    The school system here almost always suggests seperating twins, of course the choice is ours. After a lot of thought, we decided to go ahead and seperate them for first grade and see how that goes. It's a big choice, but it will give them a chance to keep their own identity and then really enjoy each other after school. They'll also have some one on one time when I join them for their seperate fieldtrips and class parties. The downfall will be when one is invited to a b-day party or playdate w/out the other- but life isn't always fair, right? That's something I'll help prepare them for.
    I'm sure you'll do the right thing with Ro & Ree.

    Regarding starting Kindergarten. I was in the same boat but with my son. I started him on time with his late August b-day, he was ready socially & academically although he was one of the youngest. Then I had him repeat when we switched from public to charter school (more academic, so he was still challenged). He's been a good leader in the classroom (student body officer) and done better in sports. Girls mature earlier, so it may be fine either way. If you do hold them back, It's crucial to keep them challenged with their young developing minds, like you do. You're a great mom to consider all of this.

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  117. Hi M3,

    You have so many comments that you've surely received wonderful advice. However, I have to put my two cents in about the benefits of waiting on school.

    My little one from Shangrao, Jiangxi will be four Oct. 25 (very close to the twins) and she misses our cut off, so she'll be waiting. But my experience on the subject comes from my eleven year old.

    Valerie's bday is July 7 and her Dad is 6'6". She is very tall for her age and I debated for years whether to send her when 5 or 6. I received two excellent pieces of advice from her preschool teacher. 1st had to do with her height and does not pertain to your situation. 2nd, she said, "You may well regret sending her, but you will NEVER regret waiting."

    That helped seal the deal for me. All those years of tossing it around were over.

    She is now going into the fifth grade and we would have messed her up completely if we had gone the other way.

    I wish you well in your decision making.

    Traci in OH

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  118. Amanda7/30/2009

    Tangeray & toni with extra lime is a no fail drink at any bar. As long as there's enough ice.

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  119. Amanda7/30/2009

    P.S. I am a July baby that slid under the wire of an August 1st deadline back in '81 for kindergarten.

    As an adult, I wish I'd been held back a year. The teachers advised my mother to do so but she was a newly single mother with two kids while finishing her college studies so needed the cost savings of using a day care for me. :P

    Academically, I always did very well and am very successful today, but I think I lagged behind my school level kids a bit socially. I believe my social skills are still impacted.

    In the end, it's really only a choice you can make and you won't ever really know which choice was the "better" choice for your girls.

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  120. Why have I never heard the term "red shirt"? Hmmmmmm.

    I read several comments and wanted to add this:

    Many people are speaking of starting college early and this is a valid point. However, another fact that helped in making our decision was thinking ahead to 7th grade. Having the youngest child in the class when they enter 7th grade would not be my choice.

    As you're well aware, school is so much more than academics.

    My best to you with these difficult decisions. Reading all of the opinions about same classroom or separate is making my head spin. I can't imagine what it's like for you.

    Good Luck!

    Traci

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  121. As the kid who skipped a grade in grammar school, I think the older the better for kindergarten. I graduated HS at 17 (17 in March and graduated in May) and there were so many age-related milestones that I didn't get to experience with my peers. And I soooo wasn't mature enough for college...

    Carseats? We're using Sunshine Kids, they're good until 60lbs. I'm hoping at that point there will be no need for a booster.

    Friday cocktails around here involve what we call "Joy in a Jar"
    Pineapple rum, coconut rum, Sunny Delight (the original), and some lime slices. I throw it all in a sun tea jar... Makes you think you're on a beach in the islands...

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  122. Anonymous7/30/2009

    Hi. Regarding the vericose veins, I had one long ugly vein. It started to bulge and hurt. I went in for a out-patient procedure where it was a laser surgery and they cauterized the vein. It was much, much easier than having it stripped. The procedure took less than an hour (they put you out) and the recovery was easy. I had to stay on the couch for one day and then I could move around normally after that.

    7 years later and no signs of any new ones coming!
    Amy

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  123. Anonymous7/30/2009

    I have been an educator for 15 years, If you go by the statistics there are hardly any negatives to holding them and lots of positives to having them held back (all of the things already mentioned) Self esteem etc are very closely tied in studies to early success/confidence in school.

    Bottom line is ~ you are wise to be asking the question. Listen to all the advice with an open mind/heart and go with your gut. Because it is always the parents I see that didn't do what their heart was telling them who have the most regret if their children have trouble.

    In regards to the twin thing.. I would keep them together initially but would not recommend that past 1st grade. A lot of schools have that policy. They need to learn to survive on their own, develop themselves as an individual, and have something that is 'just theirs'. You don't want Jr. High to be the first experience they have 'alone'... Just my two cents

    Good luck!

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  124. Our twins are just a couple of months older than your two. We are without question holding them back. I have asked this question a LOT, too, and I have never once been told that a parent regrets holding them back... but I've been told MANY times of the regret of sending them too young.

    We would much prefer our children to be older, more mature, leaders, rather than the younger immature followers.

    Several of my teacher friends have said that in the younger grades it doesn't seem to be a problem... but the real difficulties show up in middle school/junior high.

    I'd rather they have an 'easier' time of it than struggle physically/academically/socially/emotionally as the youngest.

    Of course *age itself* doesn't guarantee anything... but we're choosing to err on the side of caution.

    Plus... it's one more year we get them all to ourselves! Once they start school there's no turning back.

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  125. My boys have January and November birthdays so not an issue for them but my birthday is in September and I went to K at age 4 and college at age 17 and I think I would have benefited greatly by waiting a year, especially socially. I was reading at the age of 3 and had excellent grades and test scores all the way through school but I was painfully shy and teeny tiny all the way through too. I hated being the youngest one of all my friends. I think social issues are far more important than academic issues. If you are a smart kid, you'll still be a smart kid if you start a year later and there is plenty of time to learn. My mother will get angry if we discuss the subject and can't believe that I think I should have been held back since I was reading at such a young age, but I do.

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  126. I'm not a parent, so I'm no help with those questions. But my parents had to make a similar decision about when to start me in school. They held off for a year, which meant I ended up being one of the oldest members of my class instead of one of the youngest. I always appreciated that, especially because it meant getting my driver's license during my sophomore year of high school rather than my junior year and it meant I was 18 when I left for college (much easier for signing paperwork, etc. rather than having to get my parents to do it). Just my two cents.

    I do have some expertise when it comes to yummy drinks, though. I recommend a Citron (or any lemon vodka) and 7UP (or Sprite). It's easy to make and it's very refreshing. And it works with any flavored vodka, of course. I'm also a fan of chocolate martinis.

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  127. The only thing I can really comment on is the school issue. I have a lot of experience with this issue and the best question to consider is not how they will do in kindergarten, but rather how will they do during puberty and the high school years?

    For example, iff they are very young for their class, it could be difficult to be the last to develop, both physically and emotionally. They may be exposed to issues that they aren't quite ready to tackle yet. No one can decide this but you and your hubby, but you can go into the school and meet with the school nurse and the principal and talk about these issues. The school nurse is the one that hears about all the "locker room" issues and is always a great source of information.

    Good luck!!!

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  128. Hi, a former 1st grade teacher here. It is my experience that red shirting is best. I myself was red shirted because I had a Nov. birthday and so when I did start school I was 3 months from turning 6. My mom said I had a very easy time in school because like Ro and Ree, I already knew a lot when I entered and had a chance to mature. I really liked being older when I was in high school too because I didn't feel "left out" because I got to drive earlier than my other classmates. ha.ha. No, seriously, I have found that most of the time the kids who have had a while to mature do better. It is totally up to you though. If you think they are ready now, it wouldn't hurt to send them early. Since you all seem to work with them at home, I'm sure they would be fine either way. I just say there is no need to rush it if you don't think they are ready, keep them in preschool instead.

    As far as the booster seat goes (the high backed ones), most of the booster style car seats, you have to be 3 to ride in them and 40 pounds. I think the other styles of seats (convertible car seats) provide more protection though, so I'd keep the little dolls in them as long as they still fit in them!

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  129. Anonymous7/30/2009

    1. Where I live the cutoff is October 1st. My birthday is September 29th. I started kindergarten when I was 4 and then turned 5 about a month into the school year. The only complaint that I would have about that is being the last one out of my friends to get their license. But I think that as long as you think that they are ready then they should start kindergarten.

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  130. Our School system tries to break twins up (You, over there! Break it up, Salsa Girls!). You may want to talk to your local mom of twins club.

    Margarita or mudslides. Seriously

    Redshirting is not a good idea if you see that they are ready. Since you only have a half day, I would go for it!
    S turned 5 years old 5 weeks before Kindergarten started and she is just peachy!(our cut off is August 31)

    VV? Ick, let me know

    Photo shoot? I'll just wait for the pictures

    Boosters. UGH DON"T GET ME STARTED. I have very strong opinions on this.
    State laws are usually up to the manufacturer's information. I would judge by maturity of your kiddos. However, I will warn you that some kids in Kindergarten will make fun of kids with backed boosters. Go figure. Peer pressure at 5. Our state requires a carseat or booster until 8 (EIGHT! And this was after Soleil was out of her carseat at 5. They changed the laws before her 6th birthday)

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  131. Anonymous7/30/2009

    I think each years photo shoot should represent things they've done in that year. That way, when you look back on them, you'll say "Oh, the girls learned to swim @ 4" or "They learned to read a book @ 5". I know I try to buy my kids Hallmark Christmas ornaments to kind of correspond with where they are that year.

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  132. Re: vericose veins. I can't find if this has been suggested yet, so I will throw it in. I do not have a vericose vein (yet), but I have been diagnosed with venous reflux disease, which is the cause of vericose, and my doctor wants to use this procedure to fix it: http://www.vnus.com/

    From what I understand, it is minimally invasive and allegedly has very little pain associated with it. Good luck!

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  133. Anonymous7/30/2009

    Just remember that when you decide at what age to start kindergarten, you are also deciding at what age they will be leaving home to go to college.

    Also, if they are in the younger group in their classes, they are still going to feel as if they are just as old as the oldest person in the class and thus entitled to the same privileges (wearing makeup, dating, etc.).

    You know it is one of my goals in life not to be an interfering grandmother, and I am not offering an opinion either way here, but these are a couple of things to consider when you make your decision.

    You always make good decisions for your girls, and it will be no different this time. They will do great either way!

    Ma

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  134. Anonymous7/30/2009

    Vericose veins. There's a newish treatment out. But insurance only covers it if you are symptomatic, not just for cosmetic reasons. So find a physician who does this treatment and tell them your legs feel achy or heavy (or whatever symptom, just remember "ugly" is not a symptom). ;-P They inject saline at the top of the vein and at the bottom of the vein and the vein will collapse disappear in a couple weeks time.

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  135. Anonymous7/30/2009

    Hi M3,
    Here is my take on the school question, as an adult with an October birthday. I am going to say that it depends on your girls. I started the fall I turned 6, so I was one of the oldest in my class. I am also an only child, and was rather mature for my age. That being said, I often had a harder time relating to my peers in school and tended to spend more time with older children, which was sometimes a struggle. I had a very hard time in High School, but blossomed in college. That being said, I would suggest having the teachers meet your girls and then give their opinion.

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  136. I had a november birthday and was held back, my sister in law has a september birthday and was held back. I think holding back is an individual decision based on the child, but I'm all for it if there's any question in your mind.

    I will be separating my twins in preschool starting this year i(n a month.) My preschool separates twins unless you have a really good reason not to. I'm all for it. My kids need to be separated. But again, it's a call a parent has to make for their very own special children.

    Drink? Vodka, diet sprite, LOTS of lemon.

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  137. I just wanted to mention something because I don't think anyone else has.

    Identical twins and fraternal twins are very different situations. Fraternal twins are pretty much normal siblings that are the same age; sibling rivalry can be strong, they may have substantially different interests, etc. The identical twins I've known are not like that: any rivalry or competition is much more friendly, never the kind of thing that's truly resented by the other twin.

    You may want to keep that in mind when considering the advice from other parents of twins.

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  138. Okay - you asked for it - here's my two cents worth!!!

    1. I have a fall birthday and I was sent to school at age 4. I hated grade school because I always thought I was stupid (well and talking to others in class probably didn't help either ;). Once I had my own children I discovered what a difference 6 months can make in a child. I did catch up by the 8th grade and excelled in high school, graduating with honors. I had a supportive mother who kept encouraging me to do better which I'm sure made the difference. The one disadvantge of being one of the youngest in my class was that I couldn't drive until my junior year (disadvantage for me, advantage for my mother?) but I still think it makes me look smarter to say I started college at 17 instead or 18 or 19. lol

    Now, that said, my two oldest were both born in January and so the fall question was never a question with them. My twins, however, were born in July and we decided to send them off to kindergarten even though they didn't meet half the items on a kindergarten readiness chart. They soon caught on and after finding that they both needed glasses and one needed tubes in her ears (she wasn't hearing well) they really caught on and they have been going like gang busters ever since. (Amazing what those required tests can catch that my pediatrician missed!)

    The girls are heading off to 7th grade in a month and I can't imagine them being in 6th grade this year because they are so ready to move on (unlike The Source whose boys are in the opposite position) and are too physically developed to be 6th graders. The decision to send them at a very young 5 worked out well for us so far. Personnally from what I have seen and read here on your blog I think your girls will be ready for kindergarten in 2010, but the question is - will you?!

    2. My twins started out in the same kindergarten class because we really liked one of the K teachers and not the other. ;) I worried about them being together as one of the girls (E) had a tendency of waiting for her sister (A) to answer questions for her when she wasn't sure. E could also be shy in some new situations without A in the same room. The teacher had taught many twins before and because of E's issues she kept them at different tables to allow E a chance to grow on her own while still having the comfort of A nearby. If you were to meet them now you would NEVER guess E had EVER been shy. lol

    Since kindergarten the girls have been in separate classes. They like their independence. It has been difficult as the parent to help them keep up with separate assignments, field trips, volunteering, etc., but I think it has been worth it and has prepared ME AND THEM for junior high and high school where the chances of them being in the same classes are very slim. They have learned to be responsible for their own assignments, which has been wonderful for me!

    3. Sorry, my drug of choice is chocolate. ;)

    4. My friend just had the vv surgery a month ago and seems to be doing well. She recovered quickly. I've heard of a laser surgery option but don't know much about it.

    5. Princess! I think Ro and Ree should be given a box of poofy skirts, tutus, crowns, high heels and such and be allowed to dress themselves for the photoshoot.

    Oh one other thing! I remember seeing someone who took a one piece bathing suit in an adult size and photographed their child in the suit every year on their birthday. The daughter had some years where she loved it and some where she hated it but ultimately loved the pictures as an adult. The swimsuit was very outdated by the time she fit into it, but it was a great journey of how she had grown. Something I wish I had thought of when my children were little.

    6. No idea as the rules have changed so much since my daughters were little.

    Okay I think that is more than two cents worth, don't you?!

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  139. Hi M3!
    My birthday is Oct 3rd and I started Kindergarten at age 4. I lived in NC where the cutoff date for the school year was Oct 25th. I was one of the youngest in my class growing up and I never had an issue with it. But I really think that it will depend on the child. Just wanted to offer my thoughts.

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  140. Geesh you have a lot of comments already!

    I'm a teacher, a mom to a fall (and winter) child, and a fall-born child myself. The best (and most correct) answer to all your school-related questions is: It depends. I know, helpful, huh? It depends on whether you think the girls are ready for kindergarten, not just academically, but socially (sounds like they are academically). They are October birthdays, if I recall, and so they will be "younger" in their class if you start them next fall. There has been recent research that older kids do better in life, and there's be a lot of "redshirting" lately (parents technically holding their kids back a year and starting them "late"). I think at least some of it has become necessitated by the increasing difficulty of kindergarten. That said, I started when I was 4. So did both my brothers and my husband and my sister in law. We all did very well in school. My younger brother always started a little behind, but then would catch up by summer's end. So you have to trust your instincts with the girls. If you go to your pre-K evaluation (most schools do them to get a sense of how to place the kids), and they aren't ready, your public school will tell you.

    My oldest (who just finished kindergarten) had a set of twins and one of three triplets in his class this year (the other two triplets were kept together in another class). Again, this really depends on the girls. Teachers will recommend separating them if you think it will help one (or both) of them develop independence-- socially speaking. The twins in my son's class led very separate social lives, so keeping them in the same class was more of a convenience. The triplet was intentionally kept separate from his siblings so he wouldn't have had to feel like he needed to watch out for them and take care of them. And the other two were kept together because their mother felt like one of them needed the other, like she needed a set of eyes in the classroom, and like the "eyes" wouldn't be put off by the task. It helped that both the twins and the two triplets kept together were opposite genders because that promoted separate social groups. Since your girls are going to be going through a big transition (2 mornings to 5 days is a big leap), and going to a new school at the same time, you might want them together; you can always separate them next year.

    The one tricky thing is that I wouldn't recommend separating them in years-- I mean starting one of them next fall and the other the following. I think that'd cause tension at home. That means if you think one of them isn't ready this fall, you might want to consider keeping the other one back, too.

    And, for what it's worth, my November baby will be starting kindergarten next fall. She is academically ready now. The social transition will be difficult, but she wouldn't get anything out of staying in preschool another year. (Our kindergarten is full-day and her preschool is, too.)

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  141. Anonymous7/31/2009

    Forty years ago I was one of the youngest kids in my kindergarten class. I struggled all the way into at least middle school with being just a little bit behind most of my classmates. On the playground, I found I fit in better with kids in the grade below me. Please give Ro and Ree an advantage by waiting until they are five to send them to school!

    Another way to think about it...you're not sending four year olds to kindergarten. What you are considering is sending seventeen year olds to collge. Does that seem like a good idea?

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  142. Anonymous7/31/2009

    This is an educator's opinion. . .I have a masters' degree in elementary education. I have taught 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Separate the girls. . .as soon as 1st grade. They need to form their own identitites, their own likes, and their own friends. Due to the fact they are twins, they have to share everything. They need their own place, their own time. Also, if one performs slightly better than the other academically, it is HARD on the self esteem of the other twin. Why do that to the other twin all day long??

    As for waiting, I'm a firm believer in starting kids if they are ready. If your girls are doing great on the kinder readiness checklist, then start them in kinder. Lots of people have stated the fact that they want their children to be leaders, they were concerned about physical stature, etc. Research shows that the differences in age level out around 3rd grade to where teachers cannot seperate fall and spring birthdays. Also, at this age, you never know what is going to happen in the future. What if, in the worst case scenario, the twins struggle in fifth grade and the school holds them back? Then you have girls who are two years older than their peers.

    As for my favorite drink, I love, love, love vanilla rum and diet coke, with crushed ice of course!

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  143. I'm late to jump in on this, but really, from what I read on this blog and know of you...no worries! You will figure this all out beautifully :)

    You are a darling mom and are so aware of your girls your mommy intuition is all you need to trust! Plus, just look at the 100+ experts who are right there with you! The time goes by so fast...my two oldest are both in high school this year :(

    Love
    Kim

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  144. as far as 4 yr. old picture, have them make a 4 with their bodies and take the pic from over head.

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  145. Anonymous7/31/2009

    Lots of comments here already, but I'll offer mine anyway. My son has a November birthday, but we hope to start him in kindergarten next fall. He's been assessed by an educational consultant who said he was ready. It was a bit of a tough decision for us because I was a November birthday who started kindergarten at 4, and I was fine, while my husband who was born two days later waited until 5, and he was fine too. I think it's whatever you're comfortable doing.

    That said, there is a fair bit of research from the economics literature (based on large panel studies in multiple countries) suggesting that kids who are old for their grade are significantly more likely to drop out of high school (or the equivalent). I think our son is low-risk for this no matter what, but it's something I would regret very much if it happened.

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  146. Cal law is that kids must be in an appropriate seat until they are at least 6 or 60 lbs. That means, technically, once the girls are 6 you don't need them in a booster at all. (I think this is insane.) Booster seats usually contain guidelines for themselves- like 3 and 30 lbs. Some of them are 35 or 40 lbs. I know lots of people will tell you to stay with 5-point because they are safest (they are!), but really, then why not keep them in carseats that go up to 60 lbs? We moved both our kids at 3 into full-back boosters (Britax used to make the Parkway), and I don't regret it one bit. They were both around 35 lbs (my 3 1/2 year old is around 42 lbs now). And I don't think they are unsafe. At a school field trip last year, they told us we only needed to send boosters if our kids weren't 6. Thankfully, every single parent (me, included) sent boosters, even for the 6 year olds.

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  147. Red shirt the girls. I did 2 of my kids and I have never regretted it. I have heard of several people who didn't and wish they did, but I have never heard of someone who kept them out one extra year and wish they had sent them.

    Keri

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  148. The only one of these subjects that I can speak of with any authority is the varicose vein one. Marc had (key word is had) horrible ones. He has a heredity issue with them and he is a mobile Disc Jockey and is on his feet ALL the time so his really bad. We researched the options several years ago and found Vnus Closure. Now, I have not searched the previous 147 comments to see if this was mentioned but you can google it or just go to www.Vnus.com and check it out - Non invasive and it is amazing. Marc has no issues with his veins anymore.

    Hugs!

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  149. Anonymous8/01/2009

    As a teacher, I'd say absolutely separate them. They need to develop individually, and it's also very hard on the teacher when twins are in the same class. Separate them.

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  150. Our cutoff is 9/1. I don't know anyone who has held back a child unless they had an August birthday and their parent felt they were not yet mature enough to handle Kindergarten.

    Your girls make the deadline by quite a bit so I can't think of a reason to hold them back. Especially since they've already been in preschool for quite awhile.

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  151. Next answer please . . . :)

    M&K are going to be in the same Kindergarten class.

    There is extensive research on placing twins together or separating them -- e-mail me if you'd like some links -- and after reading way too much I can tell you the research says it should be the parent's choice since every child and every set of twins is different. (Hmmm, that makes sense doesn't it!)

    Sadly, it's not a parent's choice in most states, which seem absolutely ludicrous to me. (Of course the rules at private schools can be much different than public schools.)

    Interestingly, the standard school reason for separating twins -- that it allows kids to develop their own identity -- simply doesn't prove out in the research. Instead, it shows that separating twins is easier for the teacher because they don't have to work at telling the twins apart.

    I actually asked my girls if they'd like to be together or apart. They, in unison, told me "together." I then asked why? They again, in unison, told me "We're a team."

    That was good enough for me.

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  152. 1. No opinion as a parent, but as a teacher, definitely go by maturity. I started school at age 4 and had no problems. But I've seen some five year olds who aren't mature enough for K.

    2. We debated this one for a long time and decided to separate the kids for kindergarten. Unfortunately, the mere idea of separation caused extreme anxiety for both children. At the very last minute I had them placed in the same class and never regretted it for a second. Upon completion of kindergarten, I had a conference with their teacher and assistant, asking if they thought the kids should stay together or be separated next year. The teachers recommended keeping them together. Amazingly, the kids still had their own group of friends, and only played with one another as they would any other child in class. As a parent, it was MUCH easier when attending field trips and class events. I'm hoping they'll choose to stay together for a while!

    3. Amaretto Sour for me.

    6. We made the transition when the kids started kindergarten. Easier to get in and out of booster seats.

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  153. Anonymous8/05/2009

    I am so surprised at how many people are leaning towards holding back. My daughter turned 5 in June and although everyone told me to hold her back based on her size and age (they said her strong academic and strong-willed personality made her ready but felt it was not enough) we decided to move forward and not hold her back (her teachers agreed but not the other parents or the Principal). So what happens to the kids who are not red-shirted if everyone else is? What is the point of cut offs if the majority of people don't adhere to them? Would love to hear more comments from people who did not red shirt their daughters - good and bad. How are they treated by the older kids in their class or their teachers? Hard to believe that my daughter being born in June will be the youngest in her class. I see the differences in maturity in preschool between someone who is 5 vs 5.5 but is it really still that apparent when they are teens? Thanks, Jennifer

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