Yes, I know my kid is small

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Yes, I know my kid is small. So does he, thanks to a well-meaning blabbermouth. Some backstory: Kyle turned 10 this spring. He's the smallest person in our family and he's always the smallest kid in his class. He realizes this and it bothers him. We nurture him and we build him up while trying to teach him to be realistic. I would love to tell him he's going to grow six inches before his next birthday and believe that would be true. And, maybe it is true. We don't know.

This was originally written shortly after Kyle turned five. Can we all just pause for a minute and acknowledge time moves way too fast? Five, for Kyle, was the first year he really understood the importance of birthdays and the magic that comes with no longer being four years-old. I wish I got that excited about my birthdays.

“Am I a big boy now, mommy?”

“Yes, darling. You are big.” I assured him.

A few days after Kyle's fifth birthday, he and I were out running errands. I was in that “spend time alone with each of my kids” phase and I took him – just him – to the grocery store. 

A woman at the deli smiled at us while we were waiting for our cheese to be sliced. 

“How old is he?”

“I'm FIVE,” my boy heartily announced in a way that only a newly-minted five-year-old can.

Deli lady looked at me with questioning eyes, as if to say “Is he really five?”

I smiled and nodded, not thinking it was any big whoop that she wanted to fact check. When my daughter was in grade school, she had a funny habit of telling people she was 27. What can I say…kids are weird sometimes.

“But he's so tiny,” she beamed at my son. “Doesn't your mommy feed you enough?” Her tone was playful and I know she meant no harm. But, she did harm. 

Yes, I know my kid is small. I know the lady in the deli didn’t mean to be rude or hurt my child’s feelings. She was simply pointing out the obvious even though it was… well, obvious. 

We bought our cheese and moved on. My son was uncharacteristically quiet.

“What’s up, buttercup?” I asked. 

“Mommy, you said I was big.” He looked at me reproachfully.

That was true. I’d spent that last week or so talking about how big and grown up he was, only to have that bravado shattered by the casual comment of a stranger.

So how do I answer? 

At five, Kyle was the size of tall two year-old or a short three year old. At 10, he's the size of a six-year-old. He’s little. He just is. Despite his size, he’s a healthy kid, although he didn’t have the greatest start in life. He was born with complex digestive problems and was orphaned at birth. Medical care and nutrition during his early years were marginal at best. We adopted him shortly after his third birthday. He was severely underweight and malnourished on the day we met. 

Maybe his lack of care during those important developmental years is the reason he’s small. Maybe his biological parents were short and skinny. I don’t have that piece of the puzzle. Maybe he’ll have a growth spurt next month and be the tallest kid in the class. Who knows?

He’s not even on the growth charts for kids his age, but he’s holding his own. I spent the first few months home with him spooning heavy cream and butter into his food to up the calorie content and worrying about whether he was getting enough nutrients. In spite of his bumpy beginnings, my boy is thriving. Growing. Healthy. But small. I know my kid is small. He knows, too. 

I cringe each time someone asks how old Kyle is because the “Wow, really? He’s such a little guy” is getting harder to swallow as he gets older and is able to process what people are saying about his body. I tell him what a big boy he is because… well, I'm his mom and that's what I'm supposed to tell him. I find myself having to give him pep talks about differences more and more often because of the things that innocently fly out of people’s pie-holes. People who mean no harm whatsoever.

What if my kid were chubby? Would people make the same comments? Out loud, in his presence?

“Whoo, that's a hefty kid you've got there…what do you feed him?”

Um, probably not. 

We’re trying to promote positive body image and teach kids that what’s on the inside is what’s important. To be body positive and to know what your body can do is more important that how it looks. Or does that only apply to people who are overweight? While it’s generally considered rude to tell someone they’re too large, pointing out that they’re too skinny doesn’t seem to be taboo. It’s not okay to make comments about anyone’s body, no matter what size or shape they come in.

My boy is small but mighty. He can run, climb, and kick a ball… although interestingly, being asked to pick up his toys is “too hard” and makes him incredibly tired. Will he one day be the tallest kid in his class? Maybe. He’s five. So much of his future has yet to be written. Will he be a star basketball player or an award-winning jockey? I’ll settle for a happy and well-adjusted human and I think he’s off to a great start. His future potential isn’t defined by his stature.

Yes, I know my kid is small. Keep your comments about his body – and anybody’s body – to yourself, thank-you-very-much.


Yes, I know my kid is small|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals



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  1. just fyi, if they are big people will comment as well. You don’t make comments about bodies except when they are babies, young children, and pregnant women apparently.
    I’m sorry people are so thoughtless. Really they should know that one. Every kid wants to be a big kid.

  2. My kid has always been upwards of 9th percentile in growth. And yeah, people say all that stuff to him. He’s not chubby, but he’s big, I get comments all day about that. So I feel ya.

  3. No, if your kid were big they would make looks and stares. OR on occassion I have had people comment about how she is big for her age isn’t she. One time, lol I said “yes she is big, it’s genetics as you can see, we are all big. Hope your kid doesn’t make her mad one day she just might kick them into next week”. The lady smiled an uncomfortable smile and said something and went away. Who says anything like that or anything at all about a child’s size in front of them? Rude uneducated people that’s who. Maybe when enough parents speak up and talk about it that will change. All the best to your big boy. 🙂

  4. Thank you! My son is also small! He just turned 7 and is the size of a 4-5 year old. He gets sick of people at the playground telling him he can’t do something. All he needs is a boost up and he can beat others across the monkey bars, or whatever they are doing.

  5. My 4 year old has the hardest time understanding the difference between age and height, and understanding how adults can stop growing TALLER but still keep getting OLDER. No matter the size of your child, it’s so hard to explain what it means to be getting “bigger”. His little sister has always been petite and when I tried to tell him that she was getting to be a big girl, he begged to differ because she was still shorter than he was. So we’ve had lots of conversations about what it means to be a big kid (learning to walk and talk and eventually use the potty are all “big kid” skills . . . . even if the kid in question isn’t very tall!) but it’s rough when a stranger accidentally ruins all those conversations with an off hand remark :\ I hope your kiddo feels proud of all the things he can do as a big 5 year old and let’s those kinds of comments roll off his back. Good luck!

  6. This hit home for me. I was always small for my age but very athletic and loved playing sports. I remember it was incredibly frustrating in team sports especially to be overlooked in favor of less skilled but physically bigger kids (even when my teammates would ask the coach to play me). I naturally gravitated toward more individual sports like tennis, in which one’s mind plays an almost more dominant role than one’s body, and there was no question who was better when the match was over, as well as solitary and meditative sports like skiing and mountain biking, while sticking with those team sports like soccer in which only the least knowledgeable coaches would prize size over skill (the best player on the planet, and probably ever, Lionel Messi, is 5’7). For what it’s worth, I think this diversity of athletic experience–the individual mental and physical pressure and strategy of tennis, the meditative seclusion of being one with nature and testing one’s boundaries, and the team experience of working together–gifted me a much more sophisticated and rich athletic and life experience. In short (pun intended), my size was a blessing in disguise. May it be with you son also, however he grows.

  7. This was absolutely beautiful to read. My girls are also very small (my 8 year old still fits in 4T uniforms), and I’m so grateful you had the courage to put this out there

  8. My son was always so tiny for his age. Short and skinny. When he was around 14, I noticed he was getting a little full in the face. Then, like lightening, he shot up, and now he is 6’3″, not to mention strong and athletic.

  9. One of the best things I ever did after my son wailed “Mom, why am I so scrawny?” was to enroll him in a Kempo Karate school run by a short, wiry, very kind fellow. He could kick your rear to Pluto but wouldn’t, and was a living example to my son of how irrelevant outside/physical size really is. I always emphasized being a big person on the inside (unlike most judgers/haters) – which kids can understand at a much earlier age than one might imagine.

    By the way, “scrawny” boy grew up to be rather chunky. 🙂

  10. I feel for you, and for your son. People don’t think! arggg!! I have always been tall, topped out at about 6’1″. You would think that people had never seen anyone over 6′! I was self conscious growing up, was just at 100 lbs for high school graduation. I would never wear shorts, and hated short sleeved shirts because I was so thin. Finally!! at about 40 years old I didn’t care anymore. I have filled out to 165 lbs now in my 50’s, but still am 6’1″! ha! People stop me walking through the mall and ask how tall I am. Kids have always pointed “Wow! You’re really tall!!” I married my best friend 4 1/2 years ago. He’s 5’6″! 🙂 When we were younger we probably would not have given each other time of day because of our height difference, but we don’t care now. I was married before to a guy who was 6’4″ and he never took care of me the way my husband does now. He is amazed that people in the elevator make comments about how tall I am, and the cashier at the grocery store… He can barely stand it! ha! I remind him to calm down, it comes with the territory! ha!

    My heart hurts for your sweetie, just yesterday in the store as I passed a couple of women and several kids, I heard one of the kids say “Was that a Girl??” They all cracked up laughing. So…the kid probably didn’t know any better, but he never will being raised by such insensitive adults. I didn’t turn around and go back to point out that I had makeup and jewelry on, sure just a t-shirt and shorts, but my bright pink tennis shoes should have given it away?? whatever…

    So, remind your sweet boy, that he is way bigger than the rude people who make totally unnecessary comments about his size in front of him. His heart is bigger, his mind is bigger, there is more to a person than their height and weight, even if he never reaches 6 feet tall!! Bless him, and you too for putting up with insensitive people.

    1. I understand. I hit 6ft1 in the 8th grade. I’m 40 now. I’ve been called a drag queen several times (honey, I wish my makeup looked that fab and I could walk in heels). I get called “sir” quite a bit, because people just assume if they back up into someone in line this tall, it must be a man.

      and then I married a guy that was 6ft4, and our 15 year old son is 6ft5 , our 12 year old daughter is 5ft8, and our 4.5 year old wears a girls size 7x clothes.

  11. It’s so sad that we all feel the need to point out features of other people. It’s rude and can be harassment in some cases. Even saying seemingly nice words can upset. My daughter has always been shy and very blonde. She was told this over and over and grew up thinking that was something to worry about. It was so hard to break this feeling and teach her to embrace her special qualities. Hey peeps, shut up! Just say hi. Off my soapbox.

  12. My youngest is small for his age, and gets comments EVERY DAY. It bugs me to death. I don’t know why people don’t think it’s inappropriate to say such a thing to a child, but they never cease to amaze me. I tell my son he’s perfect and people are stupid. 🙂

  13. I can relate to you and your son. My oldest daughter is almost 11, but she wears size 8-9 clothes. I know she is well aware of her petite size, and have more than once cried over it. I know that no matter how much I tell her that “it’s how big you are on the inside that matters,” she will always feel just a little insignificant because of her size. Her peers are much bigger and her younger sister, who is 6, is catching up to her in height. I mean, she’s a black belter in taekwondo and can kick anyone’s @$$ in a pinch, but she has the confidence of a cricket, because she’s as small as one! My heart breaks everytime I see how her small stature hurts her feelings. And it isn’t something I can really do much about. She just has to develop her own way of dealing with it as she grows older. And I hope that someday, she’ll be one of those kinds of small women who emit confidence, grace, and bravery – even if they’re smaller than everyone else. I know she has the potential to be great in this way, but it’s hard, right now, in their childhood when everyone else is so big, to see how great they can be…

  14. I’m not certain why we have these conceptions, but I’m not sure they are always intended to be hurtful. I think grownups, just as children, often speak before they think.

  15. People…they’re the worst sometimes.

    My six year old is the same way, tiny. He’s really smart too, so he takes 2nd grade math in the regular 2nd grade class, even though he’s a first grader. One of the kids there said something about his size and, of course, he got all butt hurt about it. I just assure him that mommy and daddy are tall, so he’ll have a growth spurt and be just as tall as me someday. It’s not easy being the smallest or the biggest when you’re a kid for sure. It’s a shame people can’t just say, “you’re a handsome boy” and move on.

  16. We have had a similar experience. My daughter has been low weight since birth. She is skinny. Her dad is too. The weird thing is people used to comment on it all the time, but now that she is five people rarely comment anymore. I often wonder if that is because she now fits into some “ideal” version of what a girl “should” look like…small and skinny. It makes me sad to think about that. She has the same problem with pants. If they fit her in the waist they are too short and if they are long enough they don’t stay up!

  17. I’ve had, ‘he’s so skinny’ for both my sons, even though they too were healthy and active! I often considered responding that it’s because I ate all the food, but like you, I knew people meant no harm when they made the remark! Still, it would have felt good! 😀
    (That comment has now been replaced by, ‘he’s so tall’ for both of them!)

  18. When I nursed both my kids, I get very thin. It’s just how my body burned when I nursed- nothing I could do about that. I can’t tell you how many people said something to me about being so skinny. It was absolutely ridiculous- and incredibly upsetting. During those years, I would say similar things about how people wouldn’t point out how fat someone has gotten, if they gained weight since you last saw them. Oh, but surely they feel free to point out how thin you look- and say it with a disgusted look on their face while eyeing you up and down. Nice.

    I’m so sorry you have to deal with people who have no social etiquette. They are everywhere. I hope your sweetie pie can find a way to not let it penetrate his perspective of himself.

    1. Same. I grew up a puny little girl and was so embarrassingly aware of my body. Clothes never fit me. Now in my seventies, well meaning women still comment on my skinny ness. Every time I bite my tongue and don’t escalate it into a row by pointing out there fatness. I understand completely your concern for your little guy.

  19. They do comment if your child is big as well. I have a baby in foster care with me who is just a perfect chubby baby and I get tired of hearing how she’s “so big!” or “a chunky monkey!”. And, yes, “what are you feeding her?” has been said to me several times. She has beautiful big blue eyes, a gorgeous smile and a head full of silky hair, but no, it’s all about her roly poly legs. On the other hand my son (aged 4) is the easily size of a six-year-old. So I hear a lot of tall comments as well. I am amazed by how perfect strangers feel the need to comment on a child’s appearance as if the child can’t hear it!

  20. I have a daughter who is going on 9 and still fits into 4-5 years clothing. She is otherwise healthy and getting on fine, although she does get fed-up with people (usually classmates) commenting on her height.

  21. My 2yo is short and I have started asking people not to make those comments around him and was going to write a post similar to this as well because the other day he asked me if he was small. Then he told me his 5mos old brother is big. Why? Because people are constantly stating how he was such a small baby and his brother is so much taller. Instead of writing that post, I think I’m just going to share this one. Thank you.

    1. You should still write your story, Jules. There are so many perspectives in parenting on essentially the same thing. Your experience is your experience, to be told in only the way you would tell it.

  22. Brilliant! My friend and I were recently laughing about the fact that we both had small babies and how many comments we got. Now my son has shot up and all I get is ‘Isn’t he tall?!’ And I think, is he? Its so strange I hadn’t noticed that WITH MY EYES.

  23. Aw, I feel you on this one Jill. I wrote about this as well years ago when my daughter wasn’t on the growth chart. The comments from strangers were INFURIATING! She’s now almost 10 and still very small, but she’s cool with it and so are we. At long last. It was the biggest stress of my life for a decade! Even doctors were misinformed a-holes about it. I was a target of being told I was “disgustingly skinny” my whole childhood. It stung and people had no idea that saying that was rude or bad or hurtful. But it’s JUST as hurtful as calling someone fat.

  24. Just have to comment. My daughter is 10 and she weighs 60lbs and is 4 ft 3. Smallest kid around 😉 However she is a 4 time martial arts world champion in point fighting, and continuous fighting and forms. She has traveled around the world competing for her country and bringing home gold. Size doesn’t matter, heart does. Little kids are full of heart and ferocity, as long as you believe in them, they will believe in themselves. Here is a video of her fighting a kid her age from last year.

  25. I too get those comments about my 10 year old son who wears a side 8 and shares clothes with his little brother who is 8. He has started to get upset by the comments. I tell him that the best things come in small packages. His big personality outweighs his being small! I also tell him he’s like mommy n daddy because neither one of us is tall. I’m only 5’1″. People don’t realize that innocent comments can still hurt.

  26. Yup! They say it to “big” kids too! Both of my kids are over the chart limits in height and weight, and look 2 to 3 years older because of it! The comments are so bad that upon meeting a new person my son (6) immediately tells everyone his height (52inches) and weight (75lbs) and that “Yes, he is BIG for his age” it has been hard on both of my kids as they both had minor speech issues that made them sound MUCH younger than they were! Also, people think they can tell my kids that they eat the wrong things and need to have a healthier diet! They eat much better than most kids under 15 BTW. When my kids were little and commented on someones looks we always stopped them and reminded them that most people are fully aware of what they looked like, excessively small, tall fat or thin, and they didn’t need or appreciate being reminded of it socially, so only say positive, changeable things (“your outfit is very nice!”” I love how much you smile!” ) to people! Or nothing at all! They do very well with this advice! A shame they are treated with the same respect!

  27. My daughter, now 15, 4’11”, 75lbs, was (& still is) petite. Instead of referring to size as an indicator, we referenced age. “You’re getting older. You’re the older sister.” People are still in disbelief when they learn her age. Apparently the size of a child matters more than solving local & global crises. Who knew?

  28. Thanks for article. I have a son who was small, similar to yours. By the time he was in 4th grade and tried to enter his classroom for the first time, his teacher informed him that 2nd grade was at the other end of the hall. His reply was along the lines of “I know. Did you need me to get something for you?” I always told him that compared to big (adult) people all kids are small. He is now 32, still below average height but not too short to have served our country in a war zone with distinction. He is married and has a son, who is also on the small side. Small can be mighty and one’s height has nothing to do with the size of their mind or heart. Our “little” kids are proof of that.

  29. My son is also smaller and is almost 9. It does get harder and harder to give him a pep talk about being big. So frustrating that people do not think before opening their mouths.

  30. I love this, Jill and you’re so right. We have the opposite problem actually. My son is really tall and also developmentally delayed. People think he’s 8 (he’s 6) and then when they hear him speak like, well, somebody younger than he is… sigh. We considered holding him back in school (late birthday plus delays) but he already towers over everybody in his class. Ugh. I wish people didn’t feel the need to comment on other people’s bodies at all.

  31. It really never ends. My almost 16 year old is finally over 5′ and thrilled. She finally isn’t getting kid menus when we go out to eat. Most people think her almost 13 year old sister(both have birthdays in the next few weeks so I’m being told that they are no longer 15 and 12, repeatedly!) is older than she is because she grew faster. We’ve had many conversations over the years about how your size means nothing, it’s just a fact like their beautiful eyes and skin.

  32. Keep up being his rock. Keep your little man happy.. My little man has almost finished primary school with all of the small comments and it turns out that the happy, charming personality has attracted happy charming friends and teachers. The being small issue goes on the back burner when so many other things are going right. It still pops up, but has less effect if life is otherwise good in his eyes. They have to peddle faster in a physical competition but if you can help navigate by finding perhaps some less mainstream physical activities such as , rock climbing, kids golf, track cycling , then when team sports come up and they start looking small again, they always have their other thing. PLUS – I dont feel they need to go back for more of the same rudeness. Change your deli (if you havent already) – you may meet a new deli person who says just the right thing and feeds him a slce of calorie rich something and makes his day!

  33. Hi, dear. You know, my boy doesn’t look like he is 8. People think he is 10 or 11 years old. It was always the same situation during our vacations, at school, around my friends. I was worried about it until one day I understood that my son has no health or mental problems – he is healthy and cheerful. So, why should I worry about it? I shouldn’t and you shouldn’t either. Just be his support and don’t let him think something is wrong.

  34. Such a great post. I hate that you and your son are going through this, but it sounds like you’re handling it really well from a mom perspective. I have found over the years that people are generally well-meaning, just aren’t great about thinking before they speak. 🙂

  35. Great post. Sorry that some people ACT like five year olds without filters. I know you mentioned that they meant no harm, and while I’m sure that they didn’t, I agree that it’s not appropriate to comment on the way that someone looks- fat, skinny, small, big, etc… I’m glad he’s flourishing despite the difficulties he had in the beginning, and I’m glad he has such a great Mom in his corner!

  36. Hi Jill,
    I hope things have improved. My mums family are all small mainly around 5′ and my dad’s are ‘normal’ but my husbands mum was 4’10” and dad an official dwarf at 3’8″. I’m 5’4″ and my husband was 4’6″ until he was 16 when he jumped a foot in a fortnight and is now 5’7″.
    Our adult daughters are 5′ and 4’10.5″ (that half is important) and our adult son is close to 6′ and still growing I think. Our baby boy is on the 9th percentile and I’m always getting asked how old he is and comments on how tiny he is. He’s 13 months and looks like 9mth. I just ignore it at this point because he is so far ahead in everything else he does.
    My shortest daughter has cystic fibrosis which has stunted her growth, she still fit in 12-18mth clothes at 4. She was also a very vocal and precocious toddler and would tell people off for hurting her feelings. She was in a class showcasing the school to prospective students when she was 15 and a parent commented on the 11yr old in the class, she immediately spoke up saying ‘how rude, just because I’m short doesn’t mean I’m young!’ The woman was mortified 🙂
    Even now at 23 and with a two yr old of her own she gets comments about being a child with a child or asked for ID. She accepts the ID thing for now but I get texts about every incident.
    I would love to say it stops but not really. My mum refers to herself at 81 as a ‘short-arse’ and takes her husband shopping to reach the high shelves.
    Either your son will grow to a normal size and the comments will stop or he will have to figure out his response to it. The I’m

  37. It doesn’t get better as they get older. My middle is little. He’s the same size as his brother who is three years younger. At this point he understands that he’s a little guy and has embraced it. Good luck!

  38. My 4 year old son is in the 5th percentile for height. His twin sister is in the 85th percentile. She is almost a head taller. Even though he is much more eloquent than she is, people assume she is older. I have even been asked “Are you SURE they are twins?” As if I wouldn’t know, hahaha.
    But, he is short and squishy and perfect. He knows he is short but it only makes him more perfect, because his personality is huge and no one can resist him. I’m so glad he is the way he is.

  39. My niece is 4 and in age 9-10 clothes. She is tall! She’s so conscious of being ‘big’ because people make so many comments. Its sad! Makes me so mad! X

  40. Well Jill, AKA Ripped Jeans, I did NOT enjoy your post. I say, “So what?” If this is the worse thing anyone ever says to you — or your child — consider yourself fortunate. Mothers post on Facebook in tears because their child has cleft palate — And “someone” asked her what was wrong with her baby (who was “beautiful” to her). Or, another Mom was in tears because her child was born needing to have a drainage tube for a while and “Someone” made a rude comment after seeing the tube peek out of a diaper. Other Moms post in tears since they would give their eye teeth to HAVE a child, no matter what size. I would suggest you stop and think a bit and perhaps you can come up with better material if you are insistent on posting to your blog.

    1. Dear Libby AKA my favorite new troll:
      Thank you so much for your sage advice. You seem to know a lot more about parenting than me. I can only hope that one of these days, I’ll be as wise as you seem to be. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this little gem with me and my readers. Maybe decaf? Chocolate? Gin? A hug?
      Bless your heart.

  41. People just don’t even consider that children are people – with feelings. My daughter was small and had incredibly fine, thin hair. She was also a fabulous talker. At 5 she was the size of a 3 year old with the mouth of a teenager – I never needed to defend her, she spoke back for herself! 😀
    She’s 17 now and slim but regular sized, matching her peer group – still ready to defend herself and tell people when she thinks they are talking over her! I hope your son only grows from his experiences and never lets them beat him down.

  42. Thank you for your story. I have petite kid and she is 5 years old. She knows she is shorter than the others. Everybody tells her so. The other day, a dad of one of her friends asked her if she grew up this year…I was shocked, didn’t know how to answer. She is so proud of getting bigger… because she is, at her rythm. I want to make her feel confident by answering something but in the other way, I dont want her to begin on giving credit to those comments and spend energy on that. Everybody asks me her age and I never know what to answer when they hear my answer…”yes I know she is in the petite”…if my dear girl was not there I would be soooo mean. I feel so bad for not defending her. I always take the time afterwards to explain her how people have differences and how she will never be very tall her dad and I are 5,1 and 5,5, all our friends are taller than us… and she will be as beautiful and sucessfull even tough her height .. These comments are very hurtful for the child, and the parents. Thanks for your post.

  43. Thank you SO MUCH! I really needed to see this today! Our adopted son is 4 soon to be 5 in May and also wears 3T…very small for his age and even smaller than some younger than him. We’re really praying he does not have negative body image issues and understands who he is on the inside is not dictated by physical stature! People don’t mean any harm but words truly can hurt. Thankfully my husband was very small growing up and is now just fine so he helps him to know just because he is short does not mean he can’t be strong, fast and athletic! 🙂 Thanks again for sharing this…nice to know we are not alone in this!

  44. I can totally relate to this! Our 10 year old daughter is adopted, from Hong Kong at 7 years of age. She is incredibly vivacious and pretty but teensy for her age. She hates being called cute, which people do every day. I too get the look like ‘seriously she’s 10?’ She equates it to being called little or young. She was 14kg at 7 when she arrived in Australia, the uncertainty in her life had caused her to stop growing for 3 years. She now eats like a truck driver but the growth is slow and she’s still a foot shorter than her class mates. I jokingly tell her to stop being so cute then or that she’ll stop being annoyed when it’s the boys in high school telling her she’s cute. I don’t think she really cares, apart from the perceived slight. But I do wish people would comment instead on her long shiny hair that she has proudly grown since the day she arrived, or her amazing talent with circus skills, or her confidence in speaking beyond her years.

  45. My 5 yr old son is also very small. He stopped growing at 8 months and we had to do swallow therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy because he had weak oral muscles and couldn’t swallow solid food. It was so stressful. At age two he was still wearing 12 month clothing. He’s made so much progress. We celebrate his growth. We get comments about how tiny he is all.the.time. If only they knew how hard we’ve had to work to get him to the size he is now. Perhaps they’d cheer with us instead.