I used to have three little kids. One was Small, one was Medium, one was Large. Their clothing, their shoes, the servings on their plates all reflected their birth order appropriately. We had no trouble determining whose clothes belonged to whom, which bicycle was the right size for which kid. They were spaced out by enough years that there were clear markers of birth order by the size of everything.
You may not know this yet, we’re smaller than the average family. Dad’s a towering 5’6”, and mom a proud 5’2”, so our offspring are destined to be of short stature. By other people’s standards, we’re all small. But within our home we’ve always had a distinct – albeit relative – range of sizes.
As any mom of small kids will tell you, we watch growth carefully. We celebrate when we make it to the 5th percentile on pediatric growth charts, and then have “the talk” when we fall back off the charts. Growth ebbs and flows in pre-pubescent boys, and small boys often go through puberty later than their taller friends, exacerbating the physical differences for a while. But we are what we are, and in this house, we’re okay with that.
Slick was two years old when we first began monitoring his slow growth. My pediatrician did that little formula that pediatricians do with a child’s two-year-old stats and calculated his estimated adult height. His came out 1” taller than his older brother’s. The doctor laughed, being a younger brother himself, and told me to expect Slick to pass The Trailblazer up in height at age 16.
Lo and behold, in the last six months, they got to be the same height. When The Trailblazer comes home from college for visits, we have the mandatory height check to compare stature. And it happened. He passed his brother up. Only by a half-inch or so, but that was enough to make it official. The older brother is now the smaller brother. And both are taller than mom and dad.
It’s strange. And wonderful. Because it means they have become men. And they are comfortable with who they are. (Except for The Trailblazer. He’s a bit miffed about the taller little bro.)
Then, last week, another strange thing happened. The Caboose needed a green t-shirt to wear to school for a Spirit Week event. I pulled a green T out of the dryer (y’all know I hate folding laundry), and realized it was The Trailblazer’s. But it looked about the same size as The Caboose’s. Puzzled, I held it up to the child and, although it was a little big, he could pull it off. So Small wore Large’s shirt to school
Small, Medium, and Large are gone. I now have one Medium and two Larges.
Family photos will look different from now on. When standing in order there will no longer be the familiar downward trend. It’s strange, and wonderful.
Watching my little boys grow up into smart, compassionate young men has been the greatest reward of motherhood. When juxtaposed against learning to ride a bike and read a book, the accomplishments big kids are far more fulfilling. And there’s the added bonus of not having to wipe their butts or cut their food anymore.
So saying goodbye to Small, Medium, and Large isn’t bad at all. Because Large, Large, and Medium have made me so proud.
I know your pain, but it’s been fun to watch them grow. Both my kids will be in college this year, so I won’t see their laundry until they come home for vacation. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry 😉
I know you posted this a few months ago, but I’m seeing it for the first time. Loved this. Many of my friends are boo-hooing the passage of time as our kids move from preschool to Kindergarten to–gasp!–first grade. I LOVE watching the Maiden get older. She just gets more and more interesting!
Oh, and I have three younger brothers–and the youngest is the tallest. At least I’m taller than my sister, though. And if I wear really high shoes, I’m the same height as my middle younger brother, a fact which I never, never let him forget (all in good fun)!
I think some women are conditioned to think they’re “supposed” to be sad, so they are without even thinking about it. I’ve never taken that bait.
I try to embrace change (except for this whole Facebook Timeline thing, that is). It makes us stronger, keeps us young, and chases away the blues!
Thanks for stopping by!
It’s always those subtle milestones that catch us unawares. I also have a large, large, and…well much smaller (we went for large spacing between kids). Eventually I will be the shortest one in the house. 🙂
But I’m okay with it. They are each becoming awesome human beings.
Exactly, Kelly. I wish I could bottle up the excitement I feel when my son calls from college and shares his new world with me. He has become such an ‘awesome human being’ I can hardly contain myself! (BTW, I talked to him last night about coming in for the weekend. He said he couldn’t, because he had a meeting of his Aerospace Students Association Friday night, and 3 tests next week before his spring break. How great is that??!!)
I had to laugh and thought of your post this weekend. My son has been doing a lot of laundry folding, as I mentioned earlier, and then has to put the laundry into the appropriate person’s room. I went into his room for some reason, and saw that he had a pair of his pants, a pair of my pants, and a pair of his sister’s pants all in the pile that he had thought were his clothes. I can understand about his and my pants, because they are just about the same size. His sister’s, however, are quite a bit smaller. Though, in his defense, they are the size that he wore just a year or two ago!
When Mr. Wonderful puts away laundry, there’s a 10-day treasure hunt to find your clothes. I still don’t get how he can’t tell my stuff from the boys…
As an older who is smaller (although still 5’6″), I identified with this. And Trailblazer. It’s okay–we can lead in other ways. 😉
Natalie, thanks for the sweet words. He’s finding his place in the world, and transforming before us into a fine man. But his little brother’s been waiting his whole life for this, so the taunting will continue for a therapeutic while!
Unlike you, I’ve always enjoyed doing laundry. From the itty bitty socks to the high school football jersey, the little girl undies to the thongs(!), laundry was my own little way of charting my kid’s growth. Fun post!
Would you like to move in next door? Because I would L.O.V.E. to have a BFF like you!
Thanks for stopping by, Sharon!
Great post! I always think that this is what I eventually will look forward to. Thanks for sharing!
When you start having trouble figuring which clothes belong to which boy it gets fun!!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing the Happy!
Awww LOVE! They made you proud as Small, Medium and Large and now they make you proud as Medium and Large, Large. I know that one day the shoes will grow and the clothes will grow, I know that we will keep going forward but my heart loves those little shoes and socks and ponytail holders. Now Q is big and E is small even though they are both small (for now:) But big or small, like you, they make me proud in more ways that they will ever know.
They’re already legends in their mamas’ minds, aren’t they? 🙂
I simply love this post. The love you feel for your kiddos and the way you embrace each stage of motherhood always jumps from the page and warms this mama’s heart.
In our home, my first born was and is my tiny one. She came out at average size (7 lbs, 6 oz) and, although healthy, proceeded to get smaller, it seemed. By the time she hit high school she hadn’t broken 100 pounds, and was barely 5’2″. She hasn’t grown much beyond either number 4 years later. Her younger sister, however, defied predictions. Even though almost a month early, she was 7 lbs, 8 oz. Today, she is very thin and towers over her older sister by about 5 inches. Needless to say, they don’t share pants. 🙂
In our house, we call it the ‘scrawny gene.’ Evidently it’s pretty dominant. The Trailblazer has a girlfriend taller than he, which I find kind of cute. 🙂
Nice post. My younger sister and one of my younger brothers are taller than me. It will be amusing to see the day that Big Boy rises above the Little Lady. Right now she has him by a whole head.
Thanks for the kind words. I don’t know what their age difference is, but since girls often have their growth spurt at a younger age than boys, she may keep her height advantage for quite a while!
With all the chaos going on in my day (life), I wanted to see how you were doing! Today was the perfect day to pop on by for a looksie! You made me smile as, we too, are going through the same changes in our house! The older boys have passed me by and are gaining height on their dad! The little gymnast is whining bc she is still so tiny but realistically, in a few years, she will pass me as well!
Enjoy! and thanks for the giggle!!
Thanks for stopping by. I was over at your page today!
I think the boys passing dad was more traumatic than anything. (Although at 5′ 6″ dad should be happy they passed him up!).
This is so sweet, and so true.
Also: I’m the youngest, and yet am taller than all my sibling, save one. Every time they complain, I remind them how they shoulda drank their milk like mom said. 😉
Thanks for the kind words. Ironically the taller ‘little’ brother is lactose intolerant, so he doesn’t drink milk!
I love how you wrote about the joys of your boys being older now and becoming men. My son is 23 now and i could completely relate. These are good, good years.
Thanks, Kate. I’m amused at myself sometimes, when it takes something like a t-shirt to make me realize that the gap between them is closing.
These are, indeed, good years. 🙂
Once upon a time I had two daughters. Even after they became teenagers, I often referred to my youngest as “the small one”. I can’t do that anymore – not because she’s bigger; she’s still very petite. I had her baby sister four months ago. Ironically she’ll probably grow up to be bigger than her much older sisters.
Wow! What a great contrast your family photos now will be from those in 10 or 12 years! They’re always little in their mama’s heart, though!