Thursday, December 11, 2008

That Look

Pretty quickly after the boys were born, I learned "the look" that fellow parents of twins give each other. You can tell the difference between looking at your family because they are incredulous they are seeing identical twins and that knowing, reassuring look of "honey-I've-been-there".

This week I realized I'm in another group with its own distinct look.

While riding the subway I sat next to a mother and child. The child, who looked about 8 year old, was appropriately bundled up in a hat, scarf, mittens and a huge puffy coat with a big hood. I could only see the child's eyes, which were closed shut.

I settled in for the ride to the end of the line. After two stops, the mother gathered her belongings and quietly asked the child to wake up. The kid didn't budge. She shook the child and started to get a frantic look. There was no way she could carry the child. I asked if I could help.

She explained her daughter needed to wake up because they had to catch a bus from the station. I offered to carry her bags to the subway platform so she could lift the girl. She politely declined and kept trying to get her to wake up.

I asked how old her daughter was.

That was when she made a face. A weary face I recognized. It was a face I often make when preparing for the response this other mother was about to give.

"She's four years old" the mother wearily replied as she looked down. Her four-year-old had the height of a second grader.

I gave her a big smile and said "My daughter is four as well and just as tall! She wears size 7 clothes. Does yours?"

Her head came up and shoulders relaxed. She smiled. She didn't hear the usual incredulous questions of "What? She can't be!" or "I'm sorry, she's how old?" or - my favorite - "Are you sure?". She nodded and said that her daughter too wore size 7 and 8 clothes. We then arrived at her station.

Eventually her little lady did wake up. Or woke up enough to get off the subway safely. And the mom and I exchanged the look.

Because I'm in the club of parenting an extremely tall child. And coping with the inane comments people say.


CableGirl said...

Wow, I'm getting that already too. No one every believes that my MJ is 2. She talks clearly and all the time and is easily as tall or taller than most other 3 year olds. I know that look alright. When it comes from me it usually means, "Yes, in fact I DO know how old my child is. Better than you, I'm sure."

Goofball said...

We had a Scottish manager working in our company for a while. He had a toddler aged 3 and just got a new baby.

when I got to see the baby pictures he already snapped before I could say anything "he's not big, he's a normal baby". Oops clearly he had dealt with some frustration already. And I must say....I really did think his baby was big.

Afterwards we started talking and he says babies in Belgium are on average smaller than Scottisch babies (huh? weird) and that his wife was so fed up with Belgian doctor and nurse comments already. His toddler also had difficulties sometimes as people would expect him to be 5 rather than 3 and then expect him to have skills that a 3 year old simply doesn't have yet.

I guess you both could exchange that look as well with each other!

Heather said...

My oldest daughter has always been very tall for her age too. It is frustrating when people expect more maturity even though she is not as old as she looks.

She is slowing down a little in her growth finally at 6, but she is still taller than most of the kids in her grade, if not taller than all of them. She wears an 8 pant and a 10-12 shirt. Size 2 1/2 shoes.

Patois said...

I love when we connect with others with "the look." For me, it's having a drummer boy as my littlest. I love making eye contact with other parents of budding "musicians."

Jenn in Holland said...

I get THAT LOOK all the time too, but for the exact opposite reason. Drew is a little man in every way... and I get the incredulous stare when I say he's five years old.