It’s amazing how?I can look up?every so often?and realize that?I haven’t written a post in over a week! The new job has me busy. My boy says I’m always busy, so it must be true. Other than being a certified member of the rat race all is well. Anyway, that’s not what this post is about. It’s about my boy and his growing like bathroom mold – fast and unapologetic.
The Dev is big. Everything about him is actually. His personality is big. His ideas and words are big. But it is his?size that stands out when you meet him.
I’m not sure why my son is so huge physically. I am slightly below average height for an American man and my wife is slightly above average height for an American woman, neither of us are particularly notable, though my wife is kind of model-like. The women in my wife’s family are on the tall side, as are a few in my extended family,?aside from that?there is no clear explanation for my son’s size. Part of me?is thrilled by his imposing presence (one more?thing that I plan on enjoying vicariously),another part of me is not.?
Big kids can?get a bad rap, and he will most certainly be the biggest kid in his kindergarten class.?People assume?Dev?is older because he is as big as some seven year olds. When he speaks?many still can’t tell he’s very young. That said there are still certain stereotypes about the so-called big doofy guy. In some people’s limited, underdeveloped minds the big guy is either walking the green mile, or waiting for his brother to take him to see the rabbits. When?you’re big and black (African American) the stereotypes run much deeper -?people start talking about your child’s basketball and/or football career or wonder when your?husband/boyfriend?got out of prison. Sad but true.?I doubt Obama’s presidency will have much of an impact on those evil perceptions, but perhaps it will.?
I suppose that I’m a little fed up with stereotypes, assumptions, and people passing judgement on others. We have no right to shrink?people to fit into our individual little worlds, because like Dev most people are complex,?unique, interesting,?and too darn big to be belittled.
Great observation Keith and you’re right. I’m 6’4″ and I’m dark skinned – immediately people are intimidated by me. I have a deep voice and a commanding presence – but inside, I’m a big ol’ teddy bear. People are just intimidated. I have been called mean and rude by people when all I’ve ever done was walk into a room. It’s sad, but true. It’s not until people get to know me that they’re like, ‘Oh, he’s not that bad after all.’ So – I feel you on this. Good luck with raising Dev around this issue.
You know what though? I’m so enamored at the fact that you even are thinking about this. This is something that most parents wouldn’t even do. And the fact that you’re becoming aware of society and how it will view Dev and what his response shall be…that’s so admirable. Um, can you be my father? Really?
Great post, we are thinking a lot about this too. Kyle and Owen, although only 4, are very big for their age, and very physically advanced. People very often (and even us sometimes) expect more of them then they really should. And we worry – since they are dark-skinned, like Darius says, that people are going to be intimidated by them.
Our problem is that since we’re white, and I am a white man, I don’t face these issues; I am not really sure how to teach them to deal with it. I know openness is critical and teaching them basic respect and manners is crucial, but we also just worry. Of course.
Thanks again for posting about it – I will always love to hear more of your thoughts and your readers’ thoughts on this topic.
I enjoyed your post and appreciate the view you have. Your right stereotyping has gotten out of hand and we need to watch how we act in front of our kids.
I’ve said more than once to a father whose child is big for his age, “do you have his football contract signed yet?”. Obviously I wouldn’t make that comment to someone I didn’t personally know, but still we all need to be more aware.
I’ve got girls, not a good excuse, but the only one I have. Except my own stupidity sometimes…
Wonderful post and I luv the blog – adding you to the roll right now!!
What a wonderful post. I just found your site today when I was searching for more evidence to contradict someone who seemed to be saying there are no good African-American fathers. |Among other things, I recommended that they come see your site in my reply to their blog post (see Aliencitizens.com). Anyway, if this post is representative of the whole then I definitely want to keep your blog in sight. I’m an educator and was a teacher for 5 years. I once had a student who I will call Ted who was really really tall and imposing for his age. Well, actually he was tall and imposing for any age. He had become a bully but he said that everyone was out to get him and everything people did was just because they didn’t like him. I think maybe he might have been right at some point, perhaps in the past he had been the one bullied because of his appearance. His mom told us about how hard it had always been for him, especially because his large hands made it hard for him to write. Being different is often punished in schools by classmates and even teachers. The students who bucked this trend were those that celebrated their differences and we so fun to be around partly because they could not only convince others that their differences were either positive or irrelevant but because they brought a level of compassion to their relationships with others that was unusual and comforting. They could sympathize with other people more. There will always be the Teds of the world but then there is my other student, whom I will call Missy. She had cancer as a child and one half of her face was deformed. It never made an ounce of difference to her classmates because she was so outgoing and energetic that they just loved to be around her. She was just another part of their world and a person they loved as friends. I’ve taught a lot of boys and girls like Missy too…in fact, there were more Missy’s than Teds. Anyway, in the end, it’s a lot easier to deal with how other people react to you if you are comfortable first with yourself. I think it’s great that you see how positive being tall or “big” can be and, if you keep telling him that and showing him that, he’ll probably pick that right up and feel great about himself.
Just a note: I’ve also found that, for little kids, acting these things out with a doll or puppet before they actually happen (before kindergarten) can really help. His favorite doll says to him one day, “I’m taller than that other doll and they’re making fun of me. I’m sad. What should I do? I don’t want to be tall anymore!”…and then you let him figure it out and teach the doll. …just an idea. I’ve done this successfully before. Good luck!
If it makes you feel better my kids should be pretty big- in theory, and I’m already planning their sports careers. Those are my lotto tickets!
Your last line was awesome!
Thank you, I really appreciate your thoughtful blog – my husband is 6’5” and I’m 5’9” so our boy is destined to be the tallest/biggest African American kid when he goes to school (95th percentile on everything across the board @ 7 months). I’ve already had to figure out how to respond to, “wow what a big baby” (for the record he’s not fat just long and filled out!) without getting annoyed. Helpful to have your blog, it gives me food for thought as we enter the world of parenting an African American “big” male. Take care and again thank you.
You are right there are stereotypes out there about black men (boys). I completely get the sports stereotype but haven’t really had much experience with having a big child be equated with a father in prison. Seems like a stretch to me but I don’t doubt that some people may think that way.
My son was a large tot as well. An aunt once suggested that I stop breast feeding him because it just didn’t look right, some big joker sitting on my lap doing that. She’s right, it looked strange, but hey, I was trying to do the right thing by my son. At 11 yo, he’s almost my height now 5’3″, and I don’t think he looks that much larger than his classmates. On the other hand, my cousin’s daughter who is 2 weeks younger than mine already stands at about 5’9″. We just have to ignore the dumb ass stereotypes and teach our children how to embrace our individuality and stand proud.
To add to that, I never minded having a large child, I felt proud of him and am excited of his height potential. I never minded dating a large man either, his dad is 6’6″. I used to get teased for this cause I’m so short, but oh well. Remind your lil man to stand up straight to make folks look him in the eye and don’t slouch down to look into theirs.
Our son is blond, blue-eyed, and and at the age of 6, is about the same size as the 8 year olds he hangs out with. He also has a speech delay with fine and gross motor skill delays. Because of his size I know that a lot of people think he’s more than a bit slow. He’s actually quite intelligent and ahead of his peers in almost everything academic. People are always shocked to find out he’s only 6.
I don’t think most people realize how hard it is on tall children when they expect them to know things an older child should know and behave like an older child should behave. Just because my child is the size of an 8 year old does not mean he is like an 8 year old.
I don’t think it would be any easier or harder if he were a different race. White people can be awfully hard on other white people who don’t fit their expectations.
Thanks for your site. I too have a big boy (25 months 36.5in tall) people think that he is at least 3years old. My son is also a late talker — whatever really that is– according to MOM I did not start talking until I was around 3years old. I notice that everyone wants to evaluate my boy. Daycares cater to girls– My son at 25months can run a mile straight. He is at this point physically gifted. But as you know you get no love for that– he is also very bright- I remember being able to develop at my own pace. Now everyone has milestones- which really does not mean much. I will be coming to your site to read you posts. I believe it will give me insight as to what will come.
I?ve been looking for a site like this for years! I?m SO glad to find other parents of big kids willing to share their experiences.
?You can?t teach height?
?You can?t coach height?
These are two absolute truisms.
Only 0.3% (about 1-in-1000) adult male humans are 6?4.5? or taller.
Check these links: http://www.fitnessandkids.com/chp.htm & http://www.healthline.com/sw/clc-childs-estimated-adult-height-calculator
Let me tell you about my big boy. His projected adult height is 7?. I?m tall (6?5?), his mom is slightly above average 5?10?). Both his grandfathers are a little over 6?
He was 3 weeks premature, but still weighed in at 8 lbs 14 oz! At 5 he weighed 60 lbs and was 50 inches tall. At 10 he was 5?5? and weighed 120. Now he?s 11, and is 5?7? and weighs 130. I could not be happier or prouder of my son. He WILL go to college for free!
As another poster suggested, these are our (winning) lottery tickets. He?s a 2-sport all star, I wish you could see the faces of the parents and opposing players the first time they see him stroll into the gym, or onto the mound. He scares them. Just like another poser?s boy, mine is slow of speech. This, as I understand it, is VERY common for oversized kids, especially boys [be thankful your Dev has good speech!]. He?s smart though, and makes good (not great) grades. The girls already fawn over him, although thankfully he?s clueless about that!
He?ll never drive a sports car, pilot a fighter jet or win a gymnastics medal. But, he’s always led the rec-league in points, rebounds and blocked-shots. He’s won every jump-ball. When people ask me on the street if he plays hoops, and they ALWAYS do, I tell them ?YES!? You will see him playing for Duke, UCLA, UNC or UCONN. Count on it. There is also ALWAYS tremendous pressure for him to play football. I hear that almost daily. The last thing in the world he needs is to start getting whacked in the head or knees. He has a big future. I couldn?t be happier. I hope the same happiness for the rest you lucky folks! Keep those young ones dribbling ? both hands every day. Believe me, you?ll be well-rewarded for this small investment!