Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Does Size Matter?

As we arrived home from our walk today, I was super excited to find a package waiting for us. I had won an awesome Ebay auction that was a 12 piece lot of new-with-tags Zutano duds for Dash. When I opened the box, the stuff looked big - it was supposed to be 18-24 mo, but most of it was straight up 24 month. And because Dash HATES being dressed, much less "trying things on", I decided to see if they fit Fin. And they did. The WHOLE lot of it.

My three year old can wear all 24 month stuff.

Now before anyone chimes in with a "it must run big", he's also still wearing pants from the Gap and Children's Place that are 24 month. And his friends TOWER over him. People look at me incredulously when he tells them how old he is. I actually had someone ask me last week if he was a preemie. (FYI, no he wasn't, he was born 7lbs and plenty long) And why do people think it's acceptable to say crap like that anyway. Even today some dude told me that his one-year-old was bigger. Is that supposed to be funny? I'm seriously considering redirecting him to tell people he's one.

And before you tell me that he'll have a growth spurt and I should quit worrying (and last time I checked, worrying was in the job description), know that I was once the same height as my classmates. I just stopped growing somewhere around 8. My brother was once taller than most of his classmates too, I think he stopped growing by 10. And in case you needed an exact figure, I'm 4"11...and a half. When Woob and I decided to get married, I joked with him that part of my husband selection process was adding some height to my gene pool. He's tall-ish. And it's not like my parents are particularly short, but there are a fair number of people in my fam that don't achieve 5'5.

Yes, I hope that I'm rereading this in ten years and laughing about how Fin's now a giant manchild, but for now I have to plan for other futures. I was reading a heated online debate recently on growth hormones. I was amazed at how many people felt like taking growth enhancers was messing with mother nature. And more so that the vast majority of those people were a)not short b)not the parents of short children and/or c)not the parents of short boys. And if taking hormones is messing with mother nature, then what about hearing aids? Glasses? Fertility treatments?

And yes, I made a distinction between boys and girls. I know what the suck factors are about being a short girl. Woob even integrated "cute" into our wedding vows just to irritate me (I HATE CUTE!). But, as my mother was always quick to point out, at least I could wear high heels and never have to worry about being taller than my date. For a man? Not so much. And when I worry about my boys being short, it's not like I'm worrying that they won't get to six foot. As a friend put it, I just want them to "blend."

Then there's the argument of "it builds character". To which I recall any other "aid" that might thwart mother nature - I can't imagine telling a deaf person that to restore their hearing would impede their character. Then again, my father's father was short but you never really noticed it - his personality was huge. When he spoke to you, you felt like the only person in the room and he could make you feel like the most beautiful woman on the planet with one complement. He was a great man. Would he have been different if he had been taller? Who knows?

Yes, he's only 3, but if the next three years go by as quickly as the first three, then we, our family and my child, will have some choices to make. Is it wrong to just want to make life as easy as possible for your kids? To want to smooth this one wrinkle (for which I feel more than a little responsible)? What do you think?


Kim Edwards said...

Maggie, we have been going through the same thing with Beth Anne. She has always been smaller than her classmates. When she was 3 we were sent to a specialist and they checked her growth hormone level, which was normal, but still wanted to give her growth hormones.I was not concerned about interfering with nature, but what effect they may have on her as an adult. I talked to a Dr. at Johns Hopkins, and he said that if her growth hormone level was in the normal range, DO NOT give her growth hormones. She is still slowly growing, and is a very happy 12 year old. Erin has a friend who was always the shortest by a good foot or two, and in the summer before 8th grade grew six inches and is now one of the tallest at 5'6. My mother was tall, her family was all over 6 foot, my brothers were tall, and my nephews are 6'3 and 6'4. I am only 5'2 and of course Chuck is short. Erin was one of the tallest girls in 6th grade, and towered over most of the boys, and at 16 she is only 5'1. She prays that she will make it to 5'4. My Beth Anne in kindergarten was the size of a toddler. We have always told her that better things come in smaller packages. She does not let her size bother her or stop her from doing the things that she wants to do. Why don't you ask Fin's Dr. to do a bone age x-ray, where they x-ray his hand, and they can determine how much potential of growth he has. Bethie's bone age has always been younger than her actual age, so the Dr. told me that she has room for a lot more growth, and not to worry. They measure and chart her growth every year, and she is slowly moving up the curve. It is when they level off that they worry. Remember, that it is ok to worry, that is one of our jobs as a mother.

Maya Isabella, Leila Angelina said...

Maggs, I tried to say some of this while we were walking the other day but the kids make it hard to have a conversation, as you know! but since you blogged about it I will give you my two cents.
what is worse than being a small guy is being a small guy with issues about being a small guy. the easiest way to give a guy those issues is to not have approval from Mommy ( the most imortant lady in his life). I know you try not to mention it around him but some day he will catch on and if you ever did something like giving him growth hormones that would be sending him a clear message that his height is not okay or acceptable. when of course it is! the only reason height is an issue is because we make it an issue. many small guys have everything they need in life. I think he would have twice the disadvantage if he was short AND had issues about it instead of accepting what is and knowing that he is perfect the way he is. you are into woman's lib, you can't wish that there wasn't pressure for woman to be a certain way and then try to change something about Fin that is just as superficial.
since we are friends I have to say that I wouldn't have been this forward about my opinion if you hadn't asked for comments and if I weren't so tired! so forgive me if you didn't like what I said because I will forget I said it tomorrow. now good night ( I am going to bed at 9:30 like you said I should!)

Maggie said...

I would never even suggest that there was anything wrong with Fin being short and I'd be just as happy with him if he didn't grow any taller than he is today - but you can't argue that his life wouldn't be a tad easier if he fell into the "average" category. And truly, his being short doesn't worry me or stress me out. It's the fact that I have to make a decision for him on whether to treat it (since those decisions have to be made before puberty and really before he is capable of making such a far reaching decision on his own). I think that's the hardest thing about being a parent, that we have to make so many decisions that can alter the course of our children's lives. And in this case, the decision is such a tangible one and I'd hate for Fin to turn to me at 21 and tell me he wished I'd made a different choice. Know what I mean?