Both of my boys were damn near 2-feet long when they were born. They had huge noggins, big eyes, and long limbs. I remember looking a them and wondering how I walked around with that much baby crunched up inside of me, but it happened — I grew and carried all of that. At 10 weeks old, most thought they were closer to 6 months old.
Because of their size, and because I had a daughter in between who came out weighting 6 pounds and was 19 inches long (one person even said to me, “Look, you can make a normal-sized baby”), I noticed a big difference in the way they were treated: They look a certain age, so they should act it, right?
Well, wrong. Behavior and cognitive development are not based on height or weight, so they are actually acting appropriate for their age. Let’s stop assuming a child is a certain age and should therefore behave in a certain way based on their size.
People constantly comment on my kids’ size, which is usually fine, as long as they don’t expect my kids to act a full three years older than they really are. I realize they may seem like they are acting young, but I can assure they are not. And I refuse to make them conform or feel guilty about their age-appropriate behavior.
Both of my boys are the tallest in their class. Their whole life people have commented on their size, including myself when I have to fork over the money for the grocery bill. I wonder when this growth-spurt-after-growth-spurt madness will be over, and they will stop expanding in their sleep, and I can put a halt on buying them pants and socks every two months. I literally cannot keep up.
The other day I dropped over 20 bucks for four pairs of underwear for my oldest. Although he is 13, we are already deep into the men’s section. I can’t even talk about his shoe size. I have a feeling we will soon be dipping our toes in the big and tall stores. They come from a long line of big men, having grandfathers on both sides of the family who stood at 6’4″ with long arms and legs and a wide chest. There is no fighting it.
Dropping the amount of cash necessary to feed and clothe these boys makes me want to cry into the receipts. I will soon be the oldest and the shortest one in the family — please hold me.
They have always been very aware of their size and felt a little different than their peers. In kindergarten, my oldest son had a friend who was much smaller than he was. I remember tucking him in one night and him saying, “Mom, I wish I was smaller like Thane.” It broke my heart. I knew there would come a day when my kids would have self-esteem issues and start to not like things about themselves, but I wasn’t expecting it so early.
After a trip to the pediatrician, where she informed me that my 11-year-old was the size of most 14-year-olds, and my 8-year-old was the size of most 11-year-olds, she reminded me there was a huge range of normal, something most people forget, especially when kids are concerned.
Some grow faster, or slower, than most kids, but it certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t developing properly or that we should be worried. I know if they were smaller than most kids in their class, they would wish they were bigger; it’s just the way it is, and it’s our job to give them confidence regardless of the way they look. We just want to raise kids who appreciate their bodies and respect the bodies of others as well.
As they have gotten older and grown into all their body parts, they both seem more comfortable with themselves. My oldest likes how he is taller than most of his classmates, regardless of the unrealistic expectations and judgments strangers still put on him. And that is all parents can hope for — that our kids love themselves exactly as they are and not wish for some other body or face. We all know it can sometimes be a lifetime struggle, and we hope our kids can avoid that vicious cycle.