Monkey Girl has always been tall.
In nursery school, she was always the tallest kid in her class.
In elementary school, she towered over the boys.
By middle school, some of the girls had caught up, and by the end of 8th grade, the boys had generally caught up, and her friend group included some supermodel tall young ladies, and she was no longer walking around, hunched over, trying to appear as though she wasn’t the Big Bird to the Bert and Ernie’s of her peer group.
But, I will never forget those early years.
Because she was tall, everyone expected her to behave like an older child.
In stores, if she was acting two, when she actually was two, people would look and shake their heads, because they would assume she was four.
When I would pick her up from nursery school, they would say “Well, she was sucking her thumb again. We talked to her again and are trying to figure out a reward system to help her stop.”
I’d say “I’m fine with her sucking her thumb. She’s three.”
And they’d smile at me and say “She has to grow up sometime, Amy.”
I’d smile back and say “Yes. Some day. But not when she’s three.”
And when she was five and she was ready…
Well, now I’ve got another tall one.
And he’s only gonna get taller.
But, right now, he’s only 11, (and he’d kill me if he ever heard me say this), 11 is little.
I’ll say it again…when you are 11, you are a little kid.
Granted, 11 today is different than 11 when we were kids, but at the end of the day, they are still pretty new to life and need to be treated as such.
And that’s hard to remember when you are eye to eye with the person you are trying to teach a life lesson to.
I curb the impulse to say “Knock it off and act your age” because he usually is acting his age.
He just looks like a 15 year old behaving like an 11 year old.
Age is not a license to act like an idiot, but it definitely is a reason why silly can sometimes be okay.
I dropped him off at a 6th grade social tonight.
He walked in among the other kid; head and shoulders above them all.
I whispered in his ear, before he ran ahead of me “Make good choices,” and I think he probably will.
But he looked so grown up with his hair gel and size one million sneakers, and in my head, I finished my thought “…and if you don’t…let the adults remember that even though you look big, you are just a little kid.”
So, if I was going to wrap up this post in a neat, little bow, I guess I’d do it by reminding you not to judge a little, tiny book by it’s great, big cover.
Being a teacher and a parent, the one thing I always make sure to remember is that all of my students are someone’s babies.
Even the ones that I have to physically look up to.