Being the “Younger One”

Our 2nd son is just 16 months younger than our 1st son. Understandably, he often thinks he is “equal” to his older brother. He asks fair questions such as “when can I get to go to kindergarten?”, as his brother graduated preschool and now is now a kindergardener.  To that, my husband says “why don’t you just enjoy being a 3 year old? You have plenty of time to grow up.” But being just 12 months younger than my own brother, I completely understand how our younger son feels. When I was 5, my brother started going to school in Japan. At that time, our parents purchased a desk/chair set for him. After all, he is going to school! But I demanded – literally – that I get the same exact thing, right there and then. To appease me, my parents bought me a set too, except that on the expected delivery day there was some kind of hiccup in order and the chair didn’t arrive at the same time the desk arrived. I remember going outside of the house and waiting for the delivery of my chair. I was probably very determinately thinking “I will not be left behind!”  In my mind, my brother and I were equal – just because he was going to school and I had to wait another year, that didn’t mean I shouldn’t get what he got right now!

So yes, I can relate to our second-born. In fact, his birthday is in November, and it might mean that there is a possibility that he needs to wait even longer to go to school. Recently I learned that the State of California decided that they are going to change the criteria on when kids are allowed to start going to public school. For the school year 2012-2013, it was proposed that you have to turn 5 before November 1, 2012. However, I also learned that the board of the school district we belong to has not yet decided on officially implanting the new rule. So as of early November, we do not know whether or not our younger son will go to the same school with his brother next year. If they do decide to follow what the state has decided, he has to wait not only until September 2012 but one additional year to go to school with his brother. This is, by the way, one of the things that amazes me about this country – it will not happen in Japan that you don’t know whether your child is going to school or not in less than 10 months time. I really hope that he gets to grandfathered in somehow, even if the board decides to implement the changed California law, so that we don’t have to tackle the impossible task of explaining why they changed the rule on him.