Childrearing

My Child Doesn’t Need Growth Hormones Because Being Short Isn’t A Disease

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should i give my child growth hormonesThe other day, I had to take my child in to get some new glasses. The woman working behind the counter was quite smitten with her.

“I just love glasses on little kids!” She gushed. “How old is she? Five?”

“She’s almost eight,” I said curtly, knowing where this was headed. It’s a conversation I’ve had a lot.

“Ohmygoodness she’s so small!”

“Yep.”

“What’s wrong with her?”

Nothing. Nothing is wrong with my kid, including her ears. She can hear you, rude lady. No, I’m not worried. No, we won’t be putting her on growth hormones. No, no, no.

I don’t know why people are shocked to see my kid, admittedly quite bitty, next to me, a woman who tops out at 4’10”. We are small people. It’s in our hemmed genes. Also, fuck off.

The constant interview that nearly always ends with a discussion about growth hormones is one that’s happened a lot since she started school. For about half a second I was worried about it, too, when her pediatrician narrowed her eyes at my daughter’s chart at her pre-Kindergarten well check. She wanted to see her in three months, and then we’d talk about an endocrinologist.

And talk we did. In the end, my pediatrician told me there was nothing to fear–yet. She’s growing, just very slowly, and there isn’t anything in her blood work to indicate that she is deficient in growth hormone.

It’s puberty we have to look out for. The doctor warned me that growth hormones aren’t a great idea if you just want a couple of inches for your kid, they are better employed if your child’s short stature is being caused by a deficiency in growth hormone or associated with delayed sexual maturation or a secondary disorder, like Turner’s syndrome. Growth hormones will never make your child tall, just taller, which in my daughter’s case means that even with them, she may never see anything above 5’2″.

Everyone is fine with this. I’m fine with this. The doctor is fine with this. My daughter, who kills at limbo and will make a fine roller derby jammer is super fine with this. The kids in her class, the ones that I expected would tease her, also seem fine with this.

Adult strangers, however, are not fine with this. They want to know what’s wrong and why I’m not worried and whether it’s “midget” or “little person”. For the record, it’s neither, my daughter doesn’t have dwarfism but if she did those questions would seem even ruder. What sucks the most is that my kid is at an age where she reveres adults as the holders of great infallible wisdom who can never be wrong.

After we ordered the glasses and headed home, I heard her crying in the backseat, something I’ve gotten used to since her dad headed off to Dallas a few weeks ago. I glanced back at her.

“What’s up, Duck?”

“Mommy, what’s wrong with me?”

I pulled over and told her the truth: not one damn thing was wrong with her. I was short, so if something was wrong with her, it must be wrong with me, too. Which of course prompted her to ask me if maybe something was in fact wrong with me, to which I answered “yes, lots of things, but not my height.” She was not amused.

There’s lots of things that I’m not proud of. I’m not proud of telling my child that the lady in the eyeglass place was just mad because she was a towering, unsightly garbage monster who always bumps her head on stuff  and that’s why she insists on sucking at life. I’m not proud of answering douchery with douchery.

But I am proud of my daughter, who, when asked if she would take a special medicine to make her taller, said no, because she likes herself the way she is.

Now if only there was a special elixir we could inject into dickhead adults that would make them more palatable.

(Image: Luiscar74/Shutterstock)