Web of Worry


It doesn’t take much to push a parent’s worry button, and the source often is another parent, either in an attempt to make conversation, or enlist you as an accomplice in their web of worry.

The other day during day care drop off another parent commented on Laurel’s maturity (a relative term, of course), looked at the birthday board, and said gravely, “Oh, you’re going to have the same problem as us.” The problem being that both of our kids were born in early September; we thus would just miss the typical cutoff date for kindergarten (August 31 or September 1 in many Mass. towns) and be relegated to an extra year in pre-school.
I immediately began to fret. As an older student, would Laurel be bored in school? Will she continue on her 98th percentile height trajectory and tower freakishly over her classmates? On the other hand, would she be a late bloomer (like both of her parents were), and thus benefit from being an older student? Or would it be good for her to be older and not be as stressed out academically? And then, extrapolating further, would any of these differences make it difficult for Laurel to make friends? Would she be happy? And so on and so forth…

Once the initial wave of anxiety passed, I felt annoyed with myself for getting sucked into the other parent's web of worry. All of these concerns were based on a host of unknown future variables (e.g., our residence, Laurel’s physical and intellectual development, the cutoff dates remaining the same), as well as my own baggage as a late bloomer quietly trying to work below my potential to avoid fulfilling the overachieving Asian stereotype. There’s little I can do about any of this, short of heading to the therapist to work on my baggage.

It’s hard not to get caught up in other parents’ worries, but for now I’m going to shelve these concerns and just enjoy Laurel’s “school” in its current form; where art and song rule, and the differences that the kids are most interested in involve the contents of one another's lunchboxes.