Friday, September 28, 2012

My towering twins

Silly me.
I had worried that Matthew and Jonathon would be labeled by their shared DNA in school.
But does anyone say, "Hey, are you the mom of the identical twins?"
They say, "Hey, you're the mom of the tall twins, aren't you?"
Yes, Jonathan and Matthew have a greater claim to fame. They are off the charts for height, just like their older brother and sister, and thanks, probably, to their six-foot-five dad.
I haven't measured them since July, but they were 50 inches tall then.
At five years old, that puts them in the highest category, according the National Centers for Disease Control: "above the 95th percentile."
Their height has always been a problem.
(They are precisely the same height, a sore subject between them.)
Public tantrums were bad when they were three years old, especially since they fed off each other. But they were made worse by people who assumed they were two years older.
Once, a woman who saw one twin melting down in typical 3-year-old fashion as we passed the grocery store's chip selection -- a total stranger -- told me I should beat him because he was too old to behave that way.
(I suggested that perhaps the same discipline would be appropriate for her -- the one and only time I ever managed a good comeback in the heat of the moment.)
Several times when we visited the mall on their day off from preschool, some older woman (why the older women?) or a store clerk would demand to know (not "ask," but "demand") why they weren't in school.
I admit I took pleasure in watching their nosy jaws drop when I'd say they were only four.
So I knew they were taller than average and I knew their height might someday be an issue.
But, honestly, I didn't realize the difference was that great.
Few people said anything when they were in preschool.
But the private preschool they attended two days a week was small and two other boys were not far behind them in height. The public preschool, where they now attend kindergarten, had a much larger class, but the kids were tucked away on one end of the building, at least during the two days the twins attended.
Few people outside the preschool ever saw them.
Not so any more.
Now they are in the hallways, on the playground and in the cafeteria with the rest of the elementary school crowd.
Their little (still "little" to me) heads shoot up above their classmates, more on level with the first- and second-graders than with their peers.
It might not seem like a handicap.
People tend to reserve that stereotype for shortness.
But it is.
Even when people know how old they are, it's hard to conceive. They subconsciously raise their expectations ... just like I do ... just like I have always done to their older brother and sister, despite my best efforts.
Once again though, their twinness comes to the rescue.
Rarely do they care what others think.
They have that confidence -- that impenetrable space between them -- that they derive from each other.
They are, as they might say, "cool with it."


Mary said...

I can only imagine what it was like going to get your "kids under 3" discount with them. People always seemed to think I was scamming b/c mine don't look like twins. I am sure they thought you were scamming!

Twinsmom said...

My older kids are tall too. When my oldest son was 2 years old, I took him to the Phoenix zoo with my in-laws. I asked for three adult tickets for the Safari because kids three and under were free. The woman in the ticket booth repeatedly told me I needed four. I finally quit correcting her and asked her why she thought we needed four. She pointed at my son and said, "You can't tell me he's not four years old." First I was stunned, then I laughed, then I was angry. In the end, we paid for three tickets. Very frustrating.

Tamika said...

I feel your pain with my middle child. He is taller than his older brother now - who is 16mths older and at 7yrs of age, was already taller than his brother was when he turned 8yrs.....I always get asked if I have two sets of twins (my youngest two are twins) and when he is in class he stands an entire head above the other kids. It wasn't so bad when he was the 1 in a 1/2 split - but now that he's the 2 in the same split....yah, poor kid.

vanessa said...

this is an interesting post. at 18 months, my boys are 34 inches. i'm 5'10" and their dad is 6'4", so we figure they're going to keep shooting straight up. strangers on the street and in the park tend to assume our boys are closer to 3, and i've wondered how this may get more difficult for them as they get older and their height outpaces their developmental level in settings where more is expected of them. (right now they are home with grandmom and there are no overly high expectations!)

Twinsmom said...

Tamika, that must be hard! I think my twins will outgrow my oldest, but he is likely to be at least 6-foot-4 as well and he is seven years older, too big a gap for comparisons at young ages.

Vanessa, the worst stage for us so far has been age three. The twins would have public tantrums that were typical of three-year-olds, yet I would get some pretty nasty comments and looks now and then from people who thought they were at least five. Most people appeared shocked and apologized when I told them how old they were, but I didn't always have that opportunity.