Monday, May 18, 2009

Small Packages

I am a petite person. I am 5'2" and small boned. I had a very late birthday so I was always the youngest in my class...and the smallest. I was a late bloomer nicknamed "Strawberry Shortcake." During our 6th Grade Presidential Physical Fitness Test I weighed in at 49 lbs and 4ft half an inch! My PE teacher, Mr. Screws, always said he was going to put fertilizer in my socks to help me grow.

With that background it should come as no surprise that my children are very small for their age. One week from their 5th birthday they weigh 31-33 lbs and are about 40inches tall. (This puts them between 5th and 10th percentile for height.)Their small stature was one of the reasons we decided to 'give them the gift' of an extra year rather than sending them on Kindergarten in the Fall.

We don't make a big deal about it to the children, but recently height differences have come to K's attention. A few days ago she asked me, "Mom, why did God make me so short?"

We talked a bit about how made us all differently--and that I am short. Because she is currently into cheerleading, I reminded her that cheerleaders who are short get to be on top of the pyramids and do flips high in the air. (She liked this thought!)

Nothing else was said about it until last night. As I was tucking her into bed she said, "Mama, when we play house at school, they always make me be the baby."
I tried to suggest that it was just because she was the youngest and that would change. She corrected me immediately saying, "No, Mama, it is because I am short."

So far, the boys have not seemed to notice their size. I know it is just a matter of time.

Tonight my husband and I were discussing the fact that this is the age where all the 'building up' they have gotten at home will begin to collide with the 'tearing down' of the world. I am reminded of the importance of building up the right things...deeper, meaningful things that are much more difficult for the world to see and judge.

I want to build up her character, her heart, her talents and gifts. And, yet, I am a girl. I know the outside of the package will matter to her too. It still does to me.

Lord, help us remember how you define beauty. Please help us grasp it deep in our hearts so that we can model truth to our children. I don't want to be a hypocrite. I must embrace the right perspective in order to effectively transfer it to the little hearts entrusted to my care. I need you.

12 comments:

My name is Cait said...

i was always the short one too. although it honestly never bothered me. just tell her she will rarely (if ever) have to worry about finding a boyfriend that is taller than her... well maybe don't tell her at this moment in time, but it will be an upside later in life.

Danielle said...

Your children have been so blessed to have parents who value and invest in their hearts and souls. We've had our first experience(s) with recognizing - and questioning - differences now that our boys are in school as well. One has eczema that can be very prominent at times and kids just do not have any hesitation to express their fears/opinions about difference. His feelings have been hurt alot this year :( Another of our boys is tiny - barely 35 pounds and just 41 inches at 5-1/2 but his brothers are not small so he is beginning to self compare and wonder why he is so little. And so do other kids since he has two same age brothers who are clearly bigger than he is. I know it's part of life and we do the best we can to offer our support, love, encouragement, acceptance of who they are. It is still heavy on a mama's heart when they must navigate this intolerant world without our protection...oh, I wish I had a bubble!!

Kellie said...

Thanks for sharing that - I am 5'0" tall and 97#, my husband is 6'4" and 205#, my daughter has always been very average - around 50% in height and weight, but my 2 boys are off the charts (the bottom side) in weight and height. My oldest son is not a good eater, so I've always blamed it on that, but my youngest is a super eater and is still only 17# at 12 months old. Being only 2 and 1, they do not recognize it yet, but I know the day is coming and I hope I can handle it with the tenderness and love and grace you do. My biggest fear is that the boys will both be short and have issues with their "daddy" being so big!!

Traci said...

I know this is weird, but it worked for mine-I'm petite too and so is she. She LOVES the song Little Bitty by Alan Jackson- it's kind of her theme song now and she revels in her littleness- it might work- and if not, it has a really good beat and it is fun to watch kiddos dance to it!

elizabeth said...

Oh my word....49 lbs in 6th grade!? My K is 43 lbs, is almost 6 yrs old and is so skinny!... I can't even imagine you in the 6th grade that little! I'm short as well but haven't had the blessing of being "little" like you. I've always liked the comment that "small things come in little packages." Think about a stick of dynamite! :-)

Nicole said...

I had no idea yours were little peanuts! My boy will be 5 in just a couple of weeks, and he is only 32 lbs. I can't remember the height, but it was 5th %. I am also 5'2" and have always been petite. My son hasn't noticed his small size compared to his friends...YET...but it's very obvious to us when we see group pictures. For various reasons we ARE sending him to K this fall, but I think your decision is a good one too! Glad to know someone else deals with the smallness!

Mindy said...

I can so relate to this.....I am 5 ft tall and small boned also. And even though my birthday is in December and I was in the middle as far as birthday's go at school, I was still the smallest. My oldest daugther is literally one of the oldest kids in her class and is still one of the smallest -- at her checkup this year -- she was in 10% across the board. I think she weighs about 44 lbs. And that fluctuates -- when she was sick a while back she was down to 41. My other two girls are falling about 40 - 50% right now. And B was in 5 % for weight and about 75% for length at 6 mo (which cracks me up because my husbands isn't tall either). I'm anxious to see where he is at 9 months.
My kids haven't talked much about this in a negative way - yet.....Although, my oldest isn't much of a talker and she probably wouldn't discuss it with me. But - I remember struggling with my shortness. My sibling are both much taller than I.....
all that to say-- I can relate and understand the struggle. I am very aware with my girls --especially my middle one-- these days about the outward beauty stuff. I'm workng diligently on helping them all understand the importance of inner beauty to God. It is hard in this world we live in.
Praying for us all in this struggle!

Emmy said...

Oh tell K we think she is just precious... tell her L and MH are very short for their age too... the most fun part is that she will get to be a "Flyer" (that is the lingo now) when she is a cheerleader ... that is what L does, because she is one of the shortest! MH is dreaming of the day she cam be a "Flyer" too! (It will make you a nervous wreck though! : ) )

Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate said...

The more you feed them with the knowledge that they are just as God intended them to be and the more comfortable they are with themselves...the less what others say will bother them. Kids who tease don't generally continue to tease the ones who brush it off; they tease the ones who it bothers.

You are so aware of what you are doing and what message you are sending that I'm sure you guys will do a wonderful job of building that knowledge up inside them.

I always had the opposite problem, being much taller that most everybody else in grade school, and I'd have given anything to be petite. It just goes to show how hard it is to be happy with yourself when you measure yourself against others' standards--or against others at all.

Amy said...

Excellent. I have the same prayer regarding my own 2 year old daughter.
Amy@balmingilead.typepad.com

life with the wisners said...

building up at home colliding with tearing down of the world.

bundled in a nice little sentence. which is exactly how my husband and i have been feeling lately.

wow...you nailed it. thanks.