Sunday, March 9, 2008

Life's Short

We had a conference with Gus’ teacher on Thursday. As we waited in the hallway the kids messed around. Ms. Williams came to the door only moments later saying goodbye to the couple before us. She looked out at our kids and said, “Gus in the oldest isn’t he?” We replied yes, and she said, “Will is taller.” I hate it when people do that, however I’m sure I’ve done the same thing at some point in my life. Well, the cat’s been out of the bag about the whole height thing for a couple of months anyway. I mean it’s obvious.

We made it home around 6:45 the kids were hungry and exhausted. We didn’t eat until 7:30 which is our normal bedtime. When we finally got headed in the direction of bed it was 8:15. At that point, I realized Gus had not done his EIR reading. I told him he could sit downstairs and read to Will. They sat on the living room couch, while I did some things on the computer, Joe had taken Griffin up to bed and things looked like they were going to follow plan.

Then Gus and Will started goofy around. No reading was getting done, just lots of messing around. I gave one warning. I gave another warning. Third strike they were out. It was time for them to go to bed. Gus was furious. I told him he could finish his reading in the morning, which sent him into a tirade. He went stomping up the stairs screaming at the top of his lungs, “I hate you!” I’ve heard it before. I know it means nothing. It’s just a kid with no other ammo trying to get a rise out of his mom. They went upstairs brushed their teeth and got ready for bed. Gus had forgotten chick and asked Joe if he to go down to get her. I heard Joe tell him to go down and apologize to me, which he did and then headed back up. Everything was quiet upstairs. Could the night be winding down? Well, no because this is a Shenfeld Family story.

Joe and I were listening to a thing my mom had sent from YouTube when suddenly Gus appeared on the top step crying. Up the stairs I went. I brought him back into his room as he began sobbing and tucked him in and said, “Gus, what is going on?” Niagara Falls broke loose and he told me about the kids at school that have been calling him “midget.” It was heart breaking.

My first instinct was to get names and addresses, but then I thought about it and hunting down and killing these wasn’t going to help at all. These were just the first kids, future teens and possibly adults that were going to have something to say about Gus’ height. He is the smallest kid in his class and has been following the same growth curve since birth. I doubt one day he’s going to shoot up. Although, he comes from a family with seven foot tall men on one side, the other side has five foot six men. I’m assuming he has the Shenfeld height gene.

Here I am with this kid flipping out about his height. Why that night? Well, because his teacher made that comment about Will being taller. What is damage control going to be? We talked about what a great personality he has, how much fun he is and that what he lacks inches he makes up in creativity. We talked about how when “little people” walk into a room people stop talking and stare and when my cousin Josh, who is seven foot tall, walk in a room people stop talking and stare. Gus isn’t going to have that problem, because he’s going to be somewhere right in the middle. We also had a conversation about all the famous and fantastic short people in the world. But, we did talk about the reality that he is short; it’s a fact. A fact we can’t do anything about at this point. He has to work out some strategies to handle comments. We decided to best thing to say if someone says he’s short is, “Yep. I am” or “You’re right” or the snide remark, “I am. I hadn’t noticed.” He has to own this. He had to be able to take the control back.

He was able to fall asleep. The next morning he said he felt a little better after our conversation. Now I have to find all the “Short People” recordings by Randy Newman and destroy them. While I’m at it I could track these kids down and have a word with them. J But, could I keep it just a word.


Mindy said...

I would have hunted down that teacher. I'm so glad our years with her are in the past. Poor Gus. Height such a ridiculous thing to make comparisons about. It's just what you get. I like how you focused on the many ways Gus is special, you're a cool mom.

~Amy said...

My friend Derek's (Tina's husband) nickname in school was Midge. He was as tall, or should I say as SHORT, as me all through high school. You see how tall he is now! So, you never know. But, even if it doesn't happen I think you've given him the confidence he needs to handle the kids (and unfortunatley the teacher)

Heather Leigh said...

Awww, poor guy. You handled it SO well! I've had the same conversations (MANY of them) with Jordyn, albeit for different physical traits, but the message is the same. I always point out to her how those hurtful words about something she can't control are just wrong wrong wrong and emphasize that whenever she sees someone different, freckles, red hair, height, whatever, to remember how horrible she felt when she got those kinds of comments and just don't do it to others. Stop and think about how it made you feel.

Laura said...

Deep psychological issues aside, I LOVE this picture of Gus and Will. I know those moments are rare, but when they happen, isn't it great?

Mindy said...

Did you notice the ad currently running on your sidebar? Height lifters for shoes!

kid_curry said...

That's rich!