From what I’ve observed as a parent, and recall from my own childhood: children yearn to be bigger. From birth, our children are praised for growth and weight gain. As they grow older, they seek acknowledgement from “big kids” and find pride in growing out of a favorite pair of sneakers. Most little ones (including my own) are swift to correct if the half is left out of their numerical age.
I was usually the smallest in the class, I think I stopped getting taller somewhere around 7th grade. At just over five feet tall, I actually enjoy many aspects of being small. I can comfortably curl up on an airplane seat, while my husband (at six feet tall) is cramped with no leg room. I’ve also learned that I can easily hold little hands while walking down the street, while my taller counterpart has to lean substantially to achieve this feat. I’m OK with my packaging, but I find myself wondering and hoping that my own children will embrace their own genetic destiny- whatever that may be.
My son was suspected to be growth restricted in utero, resulting in weekly growth scans and all sorts of hoopla. I remember pleading with my medical team to let me be, because I innately knew that I would be blessed with a child that my body could birth. At ten days late, my Adrian was 6 lb 14 oz and hovered around the 5% percentile for his first year and half of life. At Adrian’s two year checkup his pediatrician measured him three times, because he could not believe that his height was closer to the 50% percentile. I found myself beaming, although cautiously concealing my thoughts around my impressionable children. As a child, I witnessed my own brother being bullied for his small size (he was a super preemie), and as a parent I have an instinctual drive to want to protect my children from such ridicule.
Today after school, I watched Lucia’s new Kindergarten girlfriends call her “Little Lucia” and take turns picking her up in the playground. In that moment, I again questioned our decision of not holding her back (she made the age cutoff by five days). I had to take serious steps to redirect my fueling mama-copter. I inwardly screamed “NO LABELING!!” and hoped to hear Lucia speak up for herself. Instead, I found my daughter belly laughing with delight and then yelling “Hey guys follow me!!!. As I watched the gaggle of little girls excitedly follow Lucia’s (very directed) play, I cheered for the visible mightiness inside that small packaging.
I think my girl is going to be alright.
And I think that her mightiness is absolutely larger than life.