My daughter is petite but her class mates are dead ringers for the green giant. Sixth grade as a shorty is tough. By the way, was that girl over there wearing a training bra just now?
Sixth Grade, Ahoy!
She dreads it and she embraces it: back-to-school introduces J.C. to the sixth grade. It is her final year of elementary school and she knows that it means a likely permanent goodbye to some of her friends who will go to different middle schools next year. Of course, there is so much to catch up on, so the bittersweet aspects of this final year at one of L.A. County’s smaller schools will likely not hit her until later.
The Green Giant Goes to School?
Imagine my surprise when walking onto the schoolyard. I don’t know what the parents are feeding their kids, but these youngsters sprouted during the summer! A young man taller (almost) than myself waves frantically – a fellow sixth-grader. Clad in the customary green uniform shirt, he looms large against the line of kindergarteners … and my daughter. The little girls, too, appear to have physically matured a bit over the summer.
In the Front Row … Again
When J.C. first started school, she was dainty and slim, small and fragile-looking. In each school photo, she stood in the front row. During recitals, she is in the front row made up of the smaller youngsters. Sixth grade proves to present her with an unbroken front row record: the teacher swiftly sorts her back into the front row. Her best friend, a gorgeous Vietnamese girl of similar physique, now seems to stand just a bit taller than J.C. So what’s it like going to school where everyone is tall?
Navigating Sixth Grade as a Shorty
J.C. knows that she’s healthy. She’s fit, athletic and strong. She’s just one of the shortest kids in her grade. The disparity has just never been more obvious than now, that this last summer must have yielded a bumper crop of weed-like growth in her fellow sixth-graders.
Already the playground games prove that shorter kids don’t get picked to be on teams (the longer legs of their peers outrun them at every corner) all that quickly. Even this insult could be overlooked, were it not for the fact that her third-grade uniform shirt still fits her.
It did not take long for J.C. to express her fears during a long car ride. Would she ever be as tall as her friends? Why wasn’t she growing? How come everyone else grew over the summer? Since we have the good fortune to have a highly-skilled pediatrician who knows little girls’ worries long before they become reality, I could refer her back to the chart that the good doctor had set up.
Tracking her growth and weight patterns, the doctor early on noted that she was on a steady path to eventually reach a height of five feet and eight inches, a respectable height for an American female. Seeing that – as of her last visit – she was still very much on course, it became just a little easier to swallow the fact that most of her classmates seemed to have done a lot of their growing over this summer, while her spurts are not yet occurring.