I’m pretty tall, as it goes.
Once, when working at my Saturday job on a UK Pharmacy counter as a hapless 16 year old, an elderly lady looked up at me, over 6 feet tall in my totally-unsuitable-for-standing-all-day high heels and asked ‘is it cold up there?’. Happy memories…
Anyway, one might think that height has no bearing on parenthood but I have found the following:
1. Maternity clothing is nigh on impossible to find
There’s a picture of me at 8 months pregnant on a beach here in Abu Dhabi. It is a lovely picture in many ways. When looking at this photograph, in addition to thinking I look like a ship in full sail, I can’t help wishing the dress I was wearing was a little longer. Pregnant ladies bemoan the hardships involved in finding clothing that doesn’t look frumpy and doesn’t cost a month’s salary for one outfit. Add extra height into the mix and it becomes a recipe for awkwardly exposed wrists, knees and ankles, waistlines partying around the chest area and trousers at half mast. Finding ‘tall’ maternity clothing is like searching for rockinghorse food.
If I had a whiff of entrepreneurialism about me, I’d start my own clothing line for this very niche market. But for the moment, I’ll just giggle nostalgically at my pregnancy photographs.
2. Big feet
Having ‘canoe-shoes’ -as my family like to refer to me- is part and parcel of being blessed with extra inches in the height department. There’s an old wives tale (or maybe there’s medical fact behind it, I don’t know)… that big feet means an easy labour as the hips and birth canal would be in proportion to the size of the feet. I can categorically, one thousand percent confirm that my gigantic feet (and hips for that matter) did not make that process any easier….
3. It’s a long way down
When, a few hours into my labour, the Midwife brought me a birthing ball the size of a beach ball I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The chances of me squatting to the height of that ball were slim to none. Unfortunately due to the unforeseen way Little O’s arrival into the world commenced, my extra large birthing ball did not accompany me to the hospital.
It didn’t stop at labour. Being a parent involves a lot of bending to the floor action. I estimate I pick up Little O from the floor at least a zillion times each day. When you’re a bit Giraffe-like, it’s a longer way down. My poor, poor back.
4. Baby Equipment is Made for Short(er) People
Baby changing tables – check
Strollers – check
Push-along ride on toys – check
Just a few examples of items made to torture the spines of tall parents and turn us into the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
5. Tall baby
Having tall parents generally means a fairly tall baby. Little O is obviously (as we all believe about our own children) the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen. She is tall and gets through clothing sizes every few weeks. She grew out of her Jumperoo quickly, even on the highest setting. She stands taller than all of her baby friends. We are super lucky as there’s more of her to love!
I’m going to add a sixth point: actually it doesnt really matter….
Yes, sometimes being tall makes things a bit more tricky. But, when I outstretch my arms to say I love you this much, on the basis that arm span mirrors height, that’s a whole lot of love to go around. When Little O gets to the playground stage of ‘my dad is bigger than your dad’ she’ll be able to say that about mummy, too. I can happily reach toys from the top shelves stacked floor-to-ceiling in all the best toy stores. When carrying Little O on my shoulders she’ll have a fabulous birds’ eye view of her surroundings.
Tall or small, Hunchback or not, the beauty of parenting is that whatever our shapes and sizes, our little ones will always think we rock!