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Back to School With Triplets: Easy as 1, 2, 3?

Think he and the other two will make a splash at school?

For years, my wife and I assumed that our lives would become a bit easier once our triplets finally started school. What we didn’t realize, however, was just how complicated of a decision-making process awaited us.

First, there’s the question of which school we should send them to. Had there been just one child, there’d likely be no debate. We’d probably send “that child” to the same school our rising fifth grader goes to — a private school she’s attended since kindergarten.

But I’ve always had an internal struggle with the concept of forking over big bucks for a private-school education that begins in kindergarten as opposed to one that begins in, say, the fifth grade. You multiply the cost of that kindergarten year by three, and that internal struggle just turned into an internal fist fight.

Of course, this is nothing new, at least not at this particular private school and others like it — parents balking at the cost of the kindergarten year, that is. The other side of that coin is the “far fewer spots will be available down the road, so you better claim yours now” argument. Incidentally, I’m not scared of that flip side at all, regardless of whether it’s a fellow parent or a school administrator making such a case. I’m perfectly comfortable with rolling the dice.

But I will admit this — if one child stands a smaller chance getting into that school in fifth grade versus kindergarten, it stands to reason that the chances of all three of my children gaining admission in the fifth grade would be far less, still.

All of which has compelled Caroline and me to look at our public school option. And, luckily, we’re zoned for a fine one, indeed. That said, it wouldn’t be the first public school we’d select if we were afforded the choice. But it would be one of our top choices, and, again, an excellent option.

Of course, if we were to enroll the triplets there, we’d then be sending our oldest child to one school and our triplets to another. And that means that the lives we’d always assumed would become easier once the triplets started school would remain a bit more complicated than we’d like.

But forget all of that. Because while the whole “public vs. private” debate is a riddle in and of itself, there’s another riddle we’ve found ourselves trying to solve: how should we divide our little ones? Because with either school, there are two kindergarten classes, and to this point, our trio have been a package deal. So something’s gotta give.

They’re thick as thieves, but there is one triplet that does a bit better on its own compared to the other two. (Forgive me for the gender neutral pronouns, but there’s no need to tip my cap as to which triplet falls in which camp.) So do we put that child on its own and have the other two in the other class, thereby running the risk of inadvertently creating a chasm between two of our triplets and the third?

Or do we put the most dependent of the trio on its own in hopes of that child becoming more independent? I could argue either way. On the one hand, that seems logical, but on the other, what if that triplet went even further into its shell?

The one thing having triplets teaches you is exactly how democracy came about. There’s hardly ever a unanimous movement, instead a decision made by majority. (Incidentally, the minority is often a vocal one.) And while I’ve always greatly appreciated this about the number “three,” it’s not so great when you’re the one in charge of picking sides for them.

So, as you can see, before the triplets can begin school, my wife and I have a bit of homework to do.

But at least we’ve already made one decision — long ago, in fact: we’re “holding them back” which means we have one more entire year to mull over all these questions. By holding them back, the triplets will be among the oldest in their eventual kindergarten class as opposed to the youngest. The fact that they were preemies and born at just 36 weeks made that decision to keep them in preschool for another year a pretty easy one to make.

If only the other ones were as easy.

Do you have any school dilemmas to share? Or any insight which might help us with ours?

Read more of JCO Multiplied:
How the DVR Ruined My Vacation in Specific and Parenting in General
Beach Vacation by the Numbers
15 Things Every Stepparent Should Know
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Check out my personal blog over at JohnCaveOsborne(dot)com

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