Week 1, Grade R, Take 2

So the first week of Ava’s repeat of Grade R has been done. I won’t lie. It’s been tough, not just for Ava but for us, her parents too. This will be a tough transition for her and she is struggling, to understand why she’s staying back, to find a reason for it and to come to terms with making new friends and having her old friends in a different grade, in school uniform and in a separate building from her.

On the first day, my fearless child, grabbed my hand as we were walking in and kept repeating: “Mommy I’m scared!”


She woke up on the second morning and instantly burst into tears. Telling us she didn’t want to go, that she had no friends, no one to play with and that she felt very left out with her friends being in the other building and her alone with a group of strangers.


On the 4th day she got angry and her anger was directed at me. She screamed and yelled at me because we’ve also taken her out of aftercare and that’s the only time she got to play with her friends because she never saw them during the school day anymore.


On the fifth day she said it was unfair, that everyone had lied to her and told her she had to be 7 to go to Grade 1 but that Emma-Lee (her friend from last year) is still 6 and only turning 7 in February (this was after we got invited to Emma-Lee’s party next month). She doesn’t understand that she is. in some cases, 11 months younger than the kids now in Grade 1.

There have been a lot of tears. A lot of hurt and confusion and one little shit that laughed at her (he can count himself lucky Walter was there to witness it and not me, because this Mama Bear would have taken him down at the knees!)

In my heart I know we’ve made the right decision for her, but I have second guessed this decision every time I look at this precious child and see the hurt and confusion in her eyes.

I want to make life easy for her, but that’s not realistic and it’s not life is it?

I made a positive affirmation poster for her and printed a small copy of it to keep in her school bag. My child, she has the heart and spirit of a lion and I want to remind her to not be fearful but to roar every day. Roar in the face of those who make fun of her, roar in the face of adversity, roar in defiance of her circumstance. To stand bravely and courageously and face the tough challenges. Stare down the fear and keep moving forward. She loves it of course, lions are her favorite animals after all and every morning when we leave for school, we repeat:

You are brave!

You are strong!

You are courageous!

You are smart!

You can do this!

Heart of a lion

You’ve got this Babe, now roar!

And I’ll sit in the corner and lick my wounds while you’re not looking!


  • Debs

    January 20, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Oh man…:( Sharon, how can she NOT succeed with you and Walter in her corner? With this kind of love and unwavering support, she will fly. And I must admit, a lot of your posts have hit a nerve in the last few weeks. Sometimes I feel weak, as a Mom. So to see this, gives me the strength to want to be strong for my own child. xx

    • catjuggles

      January 20, 2016 at 9:18 am

      Oh gosh Sharon I know how hard this is! Have been there and we had a twin moving on. That all being said it will be the best for her. Imagine doing this in grade 3 or 4? Lots of love for you all and will be thinking about you as you move through the year. It will get better.

    • sophia

      January 20, 2016 at 9:19 am

      Love this ๐Ÿ™‚ To be honest as a mom I am so confused ๐Ÿ™ as I was also told my little girl must be 7 in grade 1. So shes turning 6 in March and is in Grade R. And i am feeling guilty as i feel i kept her behind a year. But is it correct for them to be 7 in grade 1. Please help!!!

      • Sharon

        January 20, 2016 at 9:22 am

        If she’s turning 6 in Grade R then that seems perfectly right to me?! Ava turned 6 in Grade R but it was AFTER the school year already ended so she was very young. Your daughter being a March baby means that she will turn 6 now, then 7 early in Grade 1 which is perfect. I’ll experience that with Hannah as she’s a February baby, so she’ll turn 6 in February of the year she does Grade R too. It becomes confusing when the kids have birthdays late in the year and especially December when the school year is already over.

        • sophia

          January 20, 2016 at 9:48 am

          Thank you so much Sharon ๐Ÿ™‚ for clearing that up for me. I cannot explain how much your advice means to me. I can now stop beating myself about it ๐Ÿ™‚ Ava will adapt with your love and dads ๐Ÿ™‚ Be strong Ava.

    • nunu5

      January 20, 2016 at 9:59 am

      It is hard to do the right thing when they seem so upset by it. But stay strong. I stayed back in grade 8 and while hard (luckily we moved cities) it was worth it as I was not emotionally ready. She will make friends but it will take a while. Some people make such a fuss about age, so she will always have someone commenting but hopefully she will meet others who stayed back too. I honestly would keep all December babies back a year it is just not fair for them to compete with Jan to April kids.

    • Jozi Wahm

      January 20, 2016 at 10:57 am

      Good luck (and hugs) to you and Ava. Hopefully she will understand your decision later on in life, if not now. My daughter has also just turned 5 in December and is doing grade R and I am also a bit worried about the fact that she is the youngest in her class. She is definitely ready academically but already feels conscious of the fact that some of her (older) classmates can do some things (like tie shoe-laces) when she can’t.

    • Jodie

      January 21, 2016 at 7:43 am

      Shame – I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you especially with her reacting the way she has been. You know the saying “this too shall pass”. As you say, in your heart you know you’ve made the right decision. Hopefully things will go back to normal soon xxx


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