Last Friday was field day at the kids' school, and parents were invited to come picnic with their ragamuffins.
What struck me about the above picture was everyone's height. Cord, who will be starting middle school next fall (don't ask me how I could possibly have a child old enough to start middle school. don't ask. it's personal. teen prego.), is roughly the same height as my niece, Frances Beck, who is in first grade. And see Maddie Beck standing two feet taller on his other side? She and Cord are both starting middle school together, same grade.
Is this normal boy/girl development stuff, or is my child freakishly small?
Cord has always been small, that's no shocker, but I think the gap has been widened more recently, due to the fact that his peers are starting to go through puberty.
On Thursday, we attended orientation at his future middle school, and it was clear that a good 90% of his peers were deep in the throes of puberty. Cord looked like a new born babe, compared to the rest, and factor in his extraordinarily
But don't count this kid out yet...
I don't think there was a more confident middle schooler at that orientation. It was chalk full of pre-pubescent awkwardness, and Cord walked in like the owned the place. I'm not saying he was cool--he was far from cool--but he didn't seem to notice or care. First, they announced that the principle was going to stand up and speak to the new sixth graders, and Cord jumped up and started cheering and clapping ("wooohooo! go principle whatsherface! sixth graders rule! woohoo!) and MY face went beet red because Cord was the ONLY one cheering and clapping. The auditorium was dead silent, except for his cheering and clapping, echoing off the walls. Awk. Ward. Then, when the principle was done speaking, he asked if anyone had any questions, and I saw Cord's hand shoot up from the corner of my eye. I tried to swat it down, telling him, "no, no, just parents ask the questions, not kids," but he scooted out of my reach, refusing to put his hand down. He asked his irrelevant question with complete confidence. When it was over, Cord leaped down the bleachers to personally introduce himself to the principle, while I waited by the exit with Gus and Homer.
This scenario repeated in every meeting room, with every faculty member that got up to speak. Cord would cheer and whoop and holler when the speaker was announced, and then his hand would shoot up to ask an irrelevant question ("So, if I sign up for guitar class, will you be my teacher?"), and then he would leap up to meet the speaker when it was over.
So I decided I'm not worried about Shorty Pants Esplin starting middle school. Through all of that, he seemed to have the respect of his peers--maybe because they were so painfully awkward, while he displayed absolutely no fear.
Yesterday, Cord and Gus brought home their class pictures, and I saw to my relief that there is a boy in Cord's class who is smaller than him. Phew.
"Nice smile, Cord," I told him. And he said, "They told us to say 'Pepsi!'." And I imagine that he said "Pepsi!" with all the enthusiasm that he could muster. Which is quite a bit.
This is Gus's class picture below, and after seeing it, I realized for the first time that he too is a shorty pants. For some reason, I thought he was more average height. But he's the shortest in his class.
"I didn't know you were the shortest in your class, Gus," I told him. And he said, "Yeah, but I have the most friends." (<--said like Patrick Starr) Our only hope for a little height around here may be in the hands of our padawan, Homer.
PS. I did another one of those brilliant podcasts with iLandee the other day. We discussed such interesting topics as freak show magic tricks, fake legs, what would happen to Big Ben if there was no one alive to wind the clock, etc. Click here if you wanna hear.