My son Aaron is incredibly delicious.
He is hilarious, snuggly, sweet, energetic, beautiful, and all boy. He has eyelashes people pay thousands for and a mop of thick, heavy hair. He wakes up ready to go, but he also loves to curl up and read or be read to. He loves exploring new places and being a doting big brother. He loves all animals and superheroes. He is very much a boy. My little boy.
Except he’s not so little.
Aaron was born a respectable 7 pounds, 1 ounce. He grew at a normal rate and always fit into age-appropriate clothing. But around his first birthday, the growth spurts started — and they haven’t stopped! Aaron began to tower over all of his friends. He grew taller and taller. All of his pants got too short. His shirts became belly shirts. We went shopping for more clothes. Again. And he keeps on growing. My husband and I aren’t exceptionally tall people, yet Aaron is off the charts for height and has been for years. At the age of 4.5, he’s wearing clothes made for a 7-year-old.
There are no concerns from my doctor, thankfully — he’s just a big kid. But I’m starting to notice that Aaron sometimes can’t quite find his place. He loves his friends in his class and at camp. LOVES them. They are his peers and are socially and emotionally his equals. Except he is a full head taller than some of them!
It’s where Aaron isn’t an equal that things get a little tricky. For example, at the playground older kids will want to play with him because they think he is their age. Aaron can’t quite hang, though. They use words and expressions he doesn’t understand and play games with rules too complicated for him. A volunteer at the aquarium will approach him and attempt to explain things way beyond his comprehension. He doesn’t quite get it, but they assume he’s older — and therefore a little wiser.
Parents look at me with concern and questions in their eyes when Aaron can’t maneuver the bigger kids’ playground with as much ease as kids his size. I find myself defending him — “Well, he’s only 4.”
When adults speak to Aaron and he doesn’t respond the way an older child should, I get those looks. “He’s only 4 years old,” I say.
Those times he’s a bit confused by directions that are a little too advanced, I find myself saying, “Aaron, did you tell this nice lady how old you are?”
I don’t know why I care. He’s big — so what? To me, he’s just my little boy. My really tall little boy. One day the growth spurts will slow down, and he’ll be the same size as his friends. He’ll know where he fits in, and he won’t have to question whether he can or should play with certain kids, or which playground is a more appropriate fit. Until then, we’ll do our best to make him comfortable in his own skin. He’s proud to be “really, really tall,” and we hope he continues knowing how special he is, no matter his size.