My son is five years old. He will be going into Senior Kindergarten in a little over a week. He is intelligent, he is sensitive, and he is loving.

He is also “small”. He was one of the smallest kids in his class, and his two-year-old brother is almost the same height and weighs a little more.

We’ve encountered nonstop comments from complete strangers about his size. Every place we go, to birthday parties and parks, someone feels the need to remark upon how small he is. It takes every ounce of patience I have to remain polite.

This past weekend, we attended a birthday party. A guest at the party who I do not know and had not met before started talking to Nolan. “Is this your brother? Which one of you is older?”

“I am, that’s baby Archer. He’s two and I’m five!” Nolan said this proudly, proud of his age and his brother.

“He’s two? You’re five? He’s bigger than you! You can’t be five,” the person said.

I was standing there, so I cut in. “No, he is five. His brother is two.”

“But he’s so small!”

“Yes, but he is five.

The person walked away and I assumed that was the end of the conversation. I watched my kids play and enjoy themselves. Later on, the same person started talking to Nolan again.

“You look like you’re three, you must be three. You’re so small.” He said to Nolan, then he looked at me. “How old is he really? Three?”

“No, as I said. He’s five,” at this point, I was getting pretty pissed off. Who lies about their kids age? Nobody does.

An old friend of mine noticed I was getting aggravated and confirmed that Nolan was indeed five, and in an attempt to help put an end to the conversation, said; “size isn’t an indicator of age.”

Luckily, that was the last comment the other person made on Nolan’s age and size, otherwise my patience would have completely evaporated.

Nolan is small, but I don’t understand why that matters so much to people. I don’t understand why they feel the need to continuously comment on his smallness, as if he’s not standing right there listening.

Yes, I get defensive. My teeth clench in frustration and eventually, my responses get cold. Especially when the person does not pick up the cues of my growing aggravation. I’m not getting defensive because I’m worried of being judged for his size. I’m not worried that they’ll think I’m starving him, I’m getting defensive because I don’t want my son to feel bad about his size. I don’t want it to be a negative thing and I’m worried that having people constantly remark on it and argue with him about his age because of his size.

I fear the day that he comes to me upset because someone is taunting him about his size. I just want him to enjoy one party without someone making a comment on his size. 

Can we just…not comment on a kids size? Whether they’re big or small for their age, can we just let them be people and enjoy themselves? It’s not like you go up to adults and say “you’re so small! You don’t look your age!” (And if you do, you seriously need to brush up on your social skills. Even I know that’s a big no-no and I’m the most socially awkward person I know).


About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
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3 Responses to “Small”

  1. That’s so obnoxious to comment on a child’s size. What does it matter anyway? I remember being self-conscious about being tall in my fourth grade class. Now I’m 5’3”.

  2. Mothergeek says:

    Wow! Rude much? We have the exact opposite problem. Sam is 3, but is bigger than most 6 year olds. He has autism so acts even younger than he is, and he doesn’t speak either. I am forever being asked why he’s not in school, or why he’s in a stroller. It gets me really annoyed too. I feel your pain! X

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