How is it October already?! My boys have been in school for almost 2 full months now, so that tells you how long I’ve been meaning to blog this (and their birthday, and their party, and everything in between!). Alas, it’s the “busy season” for my photography business, what with all the families scrambling to get fall portraits done in time for cards and gifts this Christmas, so personal projects take a back seat. Actually, I think this personal project hasn’t even been in the vehicle lately, let alone the back seat!
A little background for those that may be new, or have forgotten some of these details…
I have identical triplet boys.
Early in the school year, the three of them started going into the same 1st grade room every morning, for extra reading and writing time. They loved that time – both because they adored the teacher, and because it was another chance to see each other.
Ok, so now that you’ve got the background…
I’m happy to say Jackson, Ty, and Chase are together again this year, for 1st grade! Here they are on the first day of school this year…. I know I’m biased, but I find them extremely handsome!
So how did this all come to be? Well, it started with some apologies last school year. Apologies for “pre-judging” the boys, and assuming because they’re multiples that they would be better off separated. Apologies for how things were handled at the start of last school year. Throw in an assurance that it wouldn’t happen that way again, and that they would honor my wishes in the future, and I was cautiously optimistic about the 1st grade year.
The caution was well-placed, because as the end of their Kindergarten year came to a close, it was looking more and more like they would be split again, against our wishes. Thankfully, their amazing Kindergarten teachers really went to bat for us, and got it done! As one so eloquently put it, Jackson, Ty, and Chase are wonderful, smart boys, who just happen to share a birthday, and they shouldn’t be prejudiced against just because they share the same birthday. Amen, teacher! Amen!
Ty on the first day (his glasses were broken then)
In mid-May I received a call from the principal to let me know the boys would be placed together the next school year, per our request. I was excited, but I’ll confess to being very guarded about the whole thing until Sneak A Peek night, two days before school started. After all, I’d been down this “yes, they’ll be together” road before!
Jackson, Ty, and Chase are not only together again, but they’re in the same 1st grade class they had been going to in the mornings last year. They still adore their teacher (as do I!), and even got to see her over the summer, when she volunteered in their class at church a few times.
They sit in separate desk clumps (I don’t know what else to call it!) in their room, and are making friends with the other children in their class. Their birthday was infinitely easier this year! Last year I made enough rice crispy treats to feed 3 Kindergarten classes (80 of them!), and this year I only had to bring in 19 cupcakes. Last year I wasn’t able to join them in their classrooms to hear their classmates sing, and watch them enjoy their treats, but I could this year!
Last year I found volunteering at the school very difficult. While field trips were always same place, same day and time, the boys had to stick with their respective classes, so I heard a chorus of “that’s not fair!” when I would announce which kid’s class I was going with this time. Class parties for holidays were all at the same time, so it meant spending about 5 minutes in each class, which bummed them out greatly. This year? No big deal!
Homework is identical (obviously). Last year it was mostly the same, but towards the end of the year Chase’s teacher told him he didn’t have to do one part of it anymore (even though it was still in his homework folder), and to just focus on reading. I let him do that for about a week, but then I couldn’t handle the tears and whining from the other two anymore, and told him I didn’t care what his teacher had said, he was going to do it for the sake of his mom’s sanity!
Classroom expectations, rewards, snacks, etc are a breeze now, because it’s the same.
OK, so I feel like these things need to be said…
1. Not all multiples should be together in classrooms, but I think it should be up to the parents to help decide that! Parents know their kids. They know if they will fight like cats and dogs, or will depend on each other too much, or will become too competitive, etc. My kids do well together, and as long as that continues, I’m in favor of not rocking the boat and keeping the school part of life as easy as possible!
2. Yes, I understand parents with multiple kids not the same age have to deal with a lot of these logistic issues, and you may think I need to just suck it up and deal with it. That gets a big “Eh” from me. Certain aspects are certainly not the same (birthdays, homework, field trip days, etc) while some are (the struggle to schedule P/T Conferences, classroom parties might be at the same time even if in different grades). All you need to ask your self is “If I was given the chance to make school even a tiny bit easier from a logistic standpoint, wouldn’t I?”. I’m gonna bet your answer is a “Heck, yes!”, assuming of course that it would also not be detrimental to your child’s development.
3. We did consult with the boys on this decision; 2 said they would like it and 1 said he could go either way. Each school year we’ll revisit this, and if/when it gets to the point that someone (most recent teacher, Nick and I, or one of the boys) has a strong feeling that it’s time to split, then we’ll go ahead with that. We’re not afraid to split, we’re just trying to ease what stress we can.