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"Mama, Jack said I was small": When size matters

"Mama, Jack said I was a small boy," said my four-year old, a little forlorn.  "He said I couldn't play basketball.  Aren't I a big boy?"  Many children pride themselves in being independent, being "big", being capable, and - yes - being athletic and coordinated.

Growing up, I was often on the smaller side.  I was an autumn baby, always a bit younger than all the rest.  I think I was pretty fit and active, and I had a good shot at being chosen early on teams for games like capture the flag.

A friend commented the other day that her son was feeling less confident on his basketball team, being one of the shorter members.  He, a fifth grader, was about the same height as his 2nd grade sister.

Does size matter?  A few years back, we talked about being vertically challenged and some medical interventions.  But for those that let height run its natural course, how has size played out on the playground, on sports teams, in friendships and beyond?  Is it a big deal when they are younger?  Is it a bigger deal when they are older?  Is it not a big deal at all?

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I have a daughter that is on the smaller side. She is almost 9 and just reached 50 lbs. She is in 3rd grade and her classmates are all several inches taller. Many of the kindergarteners and first graders are taller. She is short and thin.

She goes through phases when she doesn't like it, mainly because people underestimate her until they know how old she actually is. But, for the most part, she likes that all the kids at school think she is "cute" and "sweet" cause she is little. During the times she doesn't like it, we just reiterate that her size does not define who she is. She is smart, capable, a swimmer, a dancer, a gymnast (benefit of being small!), a budding scientist, a big sister, etc etc etc.

Basketball may never be her sport, but there are plenty of other things she excels at. Just help your kid find their niche.

I have a son who is pretty little for his age too, but in 1st grade it hasn't been an issue. He is fast and while basketball isn't his thing, he plays soccer and tag with the pack of boys on the playground. And his personality makes him liked by all regardless of his stature.

People can be snotty if you are small. I am still small and STILL get snotty 'oh you are so LITTLE' type comments- at the age of 40! But, I imagine it goes the other way too... people comment on both big kids and small kids. I admit to being amazed how much larger some kids are than my own at the same age- not in a bad light, but it's the type of thing one will internally notice and then some people will say out loud. As I wasn't into sports, it was mostly an issue of not being taking seriously for my age- I always desperately wanted to look what other people considered 'my age' (I still don't, apparently) so that I would be treated as such and not get told that I couldn't POSSIBLY be my own age (I had to pull out ID in high school more than once to prove it to people). It probably didn't help that I didn't 'act the age' either, again by the standards of many. It's not real fun to feel that you have to act extra mature while others get to be silly- which of course can backfire too if you are thought too serious. I honestly think I just had to learn to not care... not respond to snotty people, and just MOYB. People who give you grief for being small are just not worth the energy in my mind.

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