Saturday, August 15, 2009
My daughter is very petite and thin. Compared to most children her age, she is half their size. As tiny as she is, A. is packed with lots of energy and words. She loves to eat. She loves to play. She loves enjoy the world. Instead of people noticing what a spunky, fun girl she is, they never fail to comment about her size and it's never in a nice way.
Conversations with random people always start out with "How old is she?" and when I tell them. There is always a look that is comprised of horror and confusion on their faces. I don't quite understand it. Many times this is followed up by "Well, what is wrong with her?" The first time I heard it, I was very incensed and dumbstruck. How can you ask that of a child standing right there who can understand everything you say? I assume they meant is she a little person or have some form of dwarfism. I don't really consider that having something wrong. Something wrong is having no troubles issuing rude comments to strangers. I try to be polite though and tell them that she is fine and healthy, just a wee one. Of course, this leads to furtive whispered conversation about my daughter when they think she's out of earshot.
Yesterday, I took my kids to a mall play area and just let them run. They are very much like unbroken horses and it's better they run in a specified galloping area rather than around the clearance rack at Gymboree. There was a group of moms and their kids about 10 feet away from me and I noticed that they were pointing at my girl and obviously talking about her. I whispered "motherfuckers" to myself and just tried to enjoy watching my kids really indulge in their equestrian activities.
Unfortunately, just talking about her wasn't enough, they had to call out to me "How old is she?" I told them and then they said "How much does she weigh?" I told them and one mother had the nerve to say "Are you sure you're telling the truth?" I replied tersely that she just had her 2 year appointment so I was pretty sure. I then rolled my eyes and thought about scooping up my kids and leaving. They were chatting furiously now, very concerned I guess about my child's size. How exactly that affects their life, I don't know. Maybe they have CPS on speed dial and plan to call about malnourishment? Little do they know that this pint size toddler can polish off a Happy Meal in mere minutes. (I know, you aren't supposed to give kids Happy Meals, but I do!)
A few minutes later, one of the mothers' toddlers wandered over to me and proceeded to sit and buckle herself into my stroller. I thought that was awesome. What should I do about that? The mother comes over and sits on the ground and says "Toddler Girl (don't remember name) how old are you?" and her daughter answers "1". "When is your birthday?" and this kid says "October". Meanwhile the girl is 2X the size of A. and I guess this conversation was another comparison about how big kids should be. Then the mother looked at me and asked how much my daughter weighed when she was born. Honestly, I don't know why I didn't go into full expletive mode, but there were kids there so I just answered. She said "Well, that is normal. What happened to her?" I just icily said "I don't know."
Moments like these really help contribute to my intense hatred of the human race. It's one thing to think things in your head, but why inflict it on others? Most American kids are quite sizable. Much more so than they were in years past. I am not a tall person, my daughter's paternal family comes from a country of much smaller people. She is on her own curve, she is healthy, she is normal. I wonder what would happen if I commented to a mother "Did you know that the vacant stare and extraordinary size of your child is very much bovine?" After they looked up bovine in the dictionary, I'm sure they'd be pissed and rightly so. Think your shitty thoughts, just don't pollute the world with them.
I plan to just tell people from now on that my daughter was descended from elves. It will probably stifle my urge to punch them all in their self righteous faces.
Posted by Jessica at 7:44 AM