November 8th, 2010

Tall, Cool One

Angie McCullagh

My two kids are really tall. This is no surprise. I am six-two and my husband is six-four. Height is our children’s birthright.

Before marriage, but after the bulk of my young adult I’m-too-tall-and-I-feel-like-a-circus-freak angst had passed, I began to wonder what my offspring, if I was ever lucky enough to have them, would look like. I worried how tall they would get and if extreme height would affect their lives negatively.

I wasn’t overly concerned with producing a boy, who might grow to hit six-five or more, but I did worry about how an egregiously statuesque daughter would feel when she had trouble finding jeans that fit and good men whose height was at least in the vicinity of hers. I imagined her gazing longingly at high heeled shoes and going through high school dateless.

Or maybe I was just reliving and projecting. A chronic devotion to flats and inability to land a date with a hormonally-saturated tenth-grader certainly are not the worst things in the world.

But giving birth to a girl who would grow up to be as tall or taller than I was something that kept me up at night.

A few years later, enter Belle. She came into the world long–in the 97th percentile, and she’s stayed that way her entire half-decade of life.

This fall, Belle started Kindergarten, and when you compare her to her classmates, she is easily the tallest. She’s not especially cognizant of this yet, but people will make sure she becomes aware. And soon. She’s already been referred to, multiple times, as “the tall one”.

I don’t love this. When I think of growing up as a very tall girl and then young woman, I think of a long, hard road. I know there’s lots of teasing in her future (and yes, we all get teased about something, but when you stand a foot or more above your peers, just try blending. It’s impossible.) She’ll be called Stretch and Big Bird and Tall Drink of Water. Most boys will be far too insecure or intimidated to ask her out. Beds and cars and desks will all be tight fits.

But then, I was the one lone giantess in my family (paired with a sister who was five-three). Belle, at least, has Milo, her dad, and me. And I’m trying mightily to hide any negativity I associate with growing up so tall. “Tall is cool!” I tell her. “You can reach things! And see over people’s heads!”

Somehow I think if I say those things enough times, height-pride will become part of the fabric of her being, that she’ll believe it.

Because that’s all I really want: for her to believe in her own strength, intelligence, character, and the beauty of her body, short or tall.

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This Weeks Tip

We did a review a while ago of dry shampoo. Here’s an alternative when you don’t have time to wash, but want to get rid of the oily-ness. Sprinkle some baking soda on your hair, comb through then quickly fluff your hair with a blow dryer. (note: You can also add a little scented baby powder to keep your hair smelling clean!)