Confession time.

My kid failed 4K screening.

I’m a total failure as a parent.

Okay, not really…the failure as a parent part.

Or the failing 4K screening part.

You don’t fail a screening, but you do get labeled.

I was told that C was developmentally behind.

Total disclaimer: I had no intention of sending him to 4K as I loved our play-centered daycare, but I did it because ‘everyone’ is supposed to.

It hurt my heart to hear those words…developmentally behind.

Then it made me angry when I was told the why.

He failed cutting.


He was not quite four and a lefty.

They gave him right-handed scissors and asked him to cut out a semi-circle.

He did a bang up job until the end where he cut off part of the black line.

Perfect almost three-quarters of the way around, but then…

He failed to stay on the line.

Had he left white around the line he would’ve gotten points,  but once he cut off part of the line…no points.

In my head, I imagined the screener as Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi.

No points for you!

Ah, but he was behind in more than just cutting.

He couldn’t hop on one foot.

She had to repeat questions for him as he was easily distracted.

When I asked for clarification on what that meant, I was told he kept looking around the room instead of focusing on the adult.

Imagine the nerve of a not quite four-year-old to check out his surroundings!

Posters covered the walls.

The shelves and counters were filled with toys.

The adult asking the questions wasn’t nearly as interesting.

It didn’t matter that I knew my little guy was a chatty, active, inquisitive kid.

It didn’t matter that during well baby checks the pediatrician placed him at or above all the developmental milestones.

What mattered was that according to some magical school readiness checklist – he wasn’t ready.

So I politely (through gritted teeth) said thank you.

I took that chubby little hand in mine, and we walked out of the school.

The kid who couldn’t hop on one foot skipped down the hall.

He pointed out things on the walls and asked a million questions.

And I knew their baseline data was useless.

He was full of curiosity and joy.

Who needed points for cutting?

I can joke about it now.

But it still hurts my heart.