Monday, February 11, 2013

Walkers and biters

Over the summer, a friend of mine tipped me off to a fantastic storytime/playgroup near our house. They have different times and days for the different age groups, with developmentally appropriate stories and activities. Once your beloved bouncing babe turns a year old, you join the "Wonderful Ones" group.

In the stained-glass window seat.

They also casually refer to this group as the "walkers", which makes me 99% sure that they haven't read or watched any of The Walking Dead- the show OR the graphic novels. Since I have a sick and twisted unique brand of humor, Mom and I refer to the Wonderful Ones group as the "Walkers and Biters" group.

It's even more fitting since Genevieve is not the only one who is going through a mouthy phase. And by "mouthy", I mean "bitey". We're mostly past it. I hope.

(I should mention that I have never witnessed any toddler-on-toddler biting happening at playtime, involving Genevieve or any of the other kids.)

As soon as Genevieve starting topping out the growth charts, Mom told me that I needed to carefully manage what I expected out of Genevieve. Meaning, because she's big for her age, people (myself included) will treat her as if she should be further along developmentally. Acting her size, rather than her age, if you will.

Seriously at play.
This hadn't been an issue for me because she's the only baby I've ever had. We had spent time with other children, but they had usually been drastically older or younger, so development, size, and age had all been moot. She was Genevieve-sized, Genevieve-aged.

The first week we took her to the "Walker [and biter]" group, Genevieve approached a little girl who was two years old, as tall as Genevieve, but slender and willowy. Genevieve was completely taken with this little girl (we'll call her Sedona), and Sedona was very interested in Genevieve.

Sedona would try to talk to Genevieve, two-year-old to two-year-old-sized kid, and Genevieve would respond by reaching her arms straight out, toddling towards Sedona, and making a horrible, closed-mouthed zombie noise. To be fair, it was a very interested, enthusiastic, zombie noise.

Nonetheless, it scared Sedona, who would (appropriately) hide behind her mother's legs.

"Sedona, Genevieve is still a baby. She looks like a big girl, but she's really a baby," I explained loudly (and repeatedly) so that everyone could hear me clearly.

Sedona *really, really* wanted to play with Genevieve. It's probably the pigtails, or Genevieve's jaunty smile. But every time Sedona would come near Genevieve (who was a toddling juggernaut, unstoppable in her enthusiasm) I had to swoop in and keep Genevieve from unintentionally flattening poor Sedona.

Afterwards, when I got home, I relayed the whole story to Mom, including the part where I felt crazy for loudly broadcasting Genevieve's age to avoid any unpleasant misunderstandings.

All Mom could focus on was the zom-baby-ness of it all, and how aptly nicknamed the "walker" group was.


  1. Long time reader here. My son, now 22, and now 6'8", was tall from the very beginning, and we went through exactly what you are talking about. I had people come up to me and ask if I'd had him checked out for developmental disabilities because he wasn't talking - at age one. I had people criticize him publicly for not "acting his age", and no apologies issued when I informed them what his actual age was. Ack! It was miserable. Hang in there!

  2. Such a great story! I can totally relate. My kids are 3 and 15 mos, and they're both tall for their ages. I can only assume it will get easier with age.

  3. I had the same thing when my daughter was younger, very tall for her age so people thought she was much older. I made people knew her age so there was no expectations of bigger things. Now she is 11 yrs old and still gets mistaken for being about 13 which gets annoying, but one day she will be able to just blend in with all the other tall people. Genevieve sounds like she might end up with lots of friends very soon who will love to play with her, regardless of the zombie noises, lol!

  4. My Emily was 98 percentile from 3 months. But she was also physically percocious and a good learner. I think in many ways it was an advantage. She's under 6 feet now and always helping others.

  5. I was also bigger than all the other kids and my mother was very careful to make sure that she and others did not expect more of me than my age. Now I'm a Mum of a gorgeous 10 month old girl who is also off the growth charts! So I am going to make sure we take the same approach. :)

  6. I have a friend whose son is off the charts size wise as well and she's talked about this challenge as well. It's some up a few times that other parents at playgroups and the park expect him to behave more maturely than is reasonable for his age.

    I have the opposite challenge. My daughter is small and on top of that still doesn't have a lot of hair and those things combined make her look younger than she is. Now and then someone will assume that she can't do something or that she shouldn't be doing something because of how old she is.


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