Friday, August 12, 2005


Size does matter

I'm not entirely sure why my boys are so big. Beloved is a perfectly average and accessible 5'10", and while I'm tall for a girl at 5'8", I'm hardly statuesque. My brother is a bit oversized at 6'4", so I guess it is in our genes somewhere.

My boys are huge. Gigantic, almost. Both of them are 90th to 95th percentile for height. At not quite three and a half, Tristan is 43" (about 1.1m) tall, taller than your average five year old. So far, Simon has been larger than his brother at almost every milestone. While we've joked about the upcoming difficulties we'll face in keeping two towering teenage boys stocked with groceries some day, we've recently started discovering that there are other issues with big boys.

On the more banal side of the equation, I've lamented previously that unless we get on the potty training bandwagon soon I'll be contacting Omar the Tentmaker to requisition some larger diapers. Pampers really should think of expanding beyond size 6 in the same way that women's clothing manufacturers are finally waking up to the fact that a ceiling of size 14 is just not sufficient for a lot of the dress-buying public.

And having a three year old brain with a five year old body is a bad combination. They're not at all aware of their own strength. I'm just grateful that they're both large, so while they may barrel right over the other kids at play (I'm cringing thinking ahead to our days of organized sports), at least they're well matched for each other. Wish I could say the same for my living room furniture. It may be ugly, but it doesn't deserve the punishment meted out by 40 lbs of bouncing preschooler (times two!)

There is a Chinese buffet restaurant near us that allows kids under six to eat for free, and they've started to take long looks at Tristan when it comes time for the bill. (Not that he's done any damage to their business. I think the one chicken nugget, three pickles and two bowls of ice cream are pretty reasonable. In truth, it's Simon the bottomless pit they need to keep their eye on.) I see a day not far in the future when I'm going to have to carry identification for him, because nobody believes he's only three.

Last week, we brought the family to Mont Cascades water park, and for the first time I started thinking about height restrictions at amusement parks, fairs and the like. Many kiddie rides and amusements are restricted to kids under 48" tall. Since Tristan grew three inches in six months, it's not inconceivable that I'll have a four or five year old too big to play on the kiddie slides or ride on the kiddie rides. That's just wrong, considering he's just barely of an age where he can start to enjoy them.

But there are social issues as well. My caregiver has an eight year old who is by far the tallest boy in his class, and she and I have discussed this issue at length. Because he is so tall, people assume Tristan is older than he is and expect him to behave accordingly. The behaviour you'd expect from a three year old is a whole lot different than what you'd expect from a five year old. I've seen this on the playground already, where Tristan was a bit petulant (okay, threw a tantrum) about sharing something with another (obviously older) kid and the other kid's mother's gave me the hairy eyeball. When I shrugged my shoulders and said, "He's three, you know how it is" she was obviously taken aback. But I won't always be there to explain, and I while I don't want to make excuses for him, I do feel bad that Tristan will constantly be (ironically) short of people's superficial expectations because of his height.

This isn't a complaint. I'd rather be dealing with too big than too little, to be honest. When my boys were born at 9 lbs (Tristan) and 10 lbs (Simon) and I struggled with nursing, I knew we had some wiggle room. And it's probably much easier to be a large man in today's society than a small one (or a large woman, for that matter). But it's my job to worry over them. I'm good at it!

What do you think? Does size matter?