Friday

I have always been tall. My mum loves to tell the story about how, when I was born, the obstetrician held me up by my heels and said, "My goodness, what a long baby!"
And I am long. I am nearly six feet tall. My back is so long that it's difficult for me to find shirts that hit at the hip, and don't leave my midriff bare.
I am far taller than both my (Mexican, French and Dutch) parents, and apparently inherited my height from my maternal (Dutch) great grandmother who approached six feet in an era when that sort of height was virtually unheard-of.
In grade school, I was always the tallest child, male or female, in the school system. By 5th grade, I could win the high jump in gym class every time...not because I could vault (I couldn't) but because I could hurdle the high jump standing upright.
It was profoundly embarrassing.
In sixth grade, a boy named Peter finally overtook me at the high jump, and I was tremendously relieved.
As an adult, I have come to appreciate my reedy height. I can enjoy it now. It is no longer a cross to bear.
And then came Q.
When we met her in the adoption office in Nanjing, she was tiny. At 11 months of age, with an unrepaired cleft lip and palate (which make it difficult to eat), having had only the benefit of necessarily meager orphanage rations, atrophied from a life spent on her back in a crib, and with a rollicking case of intestinal parasites, she weighed only 14 pounds.
Since coming home, and being cured of her parasites, Q has been a champion eater. She eats voraciously and she has a sophisticated palate. We have never had to be concerned about her not eating enough fresh fruits or vegetables, or suffering from a lack of protein. She loves food.
What we did notice was that, on our little wall chart where we mark off the months in Sharpie pen, she has grown a full inch nearly every month since coming home. At first we thought it was amusing. Then we began to be amazed.
Recently, when Q stood up against the size chart in the children's department, I noticed that at just under two years of age, she was on the brink of the 3T size marker.
Huh?
Then, not a week after her 2nd birthday, we took her to the pediatrician for her 2-year checkup. She was, they told us, in the 90th percentile for height. 90th!!!! It boggles the mind. And that's on the US chart, not on the Asian charts which tend to run somewhat smaller.
The kid, I'm afraid, is going to tower over both of her (tall) adoptive parents. I suppose it's a good thing, since basketball has been her favorite passtime since she received her first ball not long after coming home from China. It was her choice, not ours (neither of us is a fan of ball sports), but we have encouraged and fostered it the best we can.
One big point for nature over nurture. There is a good chance we'll never know where she got her height (or her penchant for ball sports), but I tip my hat to her birth parents and to her gene pool. She is one long, tall, gorgeous drink of water, and as an athlete she is already far beyond the pale.

10 comments:

Jeanne-ming said...

Bamboo.
tall...graceful...bending...hollow to carry water...stong to build houses ...nuturing shoots to eat...

beautiful girls

Anonymous said...

hi again, i'm the same anon who posted last wk about your writing. i'm enjoying your postings about Q. she is v. beautiful and you're obviously so in love. i'm half chinese and have thought of doing what you did.

thanks also for all your blog links to people with wonderful unique esthetics and points of view. so refreshing visually. i can't wait to dig into them. i only need a whole other lifetime to do them justice!

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

Jeanne-ming, you have a way with words as well as images.

anon - glad to see you back. I guess I don't have to tell you that our year with Q has been the most amazing experience of our lives. I think it's probably fairly obvious that we're giddy in-love with her. Nothing in my lifetime has even approached the sheer joy of her.

...and I agree - my blogroll is long, and I myself can't keep up with them all! But there are so many good bloggers out there and I hate to lose track of them.

TheBeautyFile said...

Wow...that's amazing...I love this story. This post sounds like the beginning of a beautiful children's book....I think you should definitely write it!

Maia said...

I don't remember if I've told you before that Jiangsu women are widely known in China for their beauty, their long, gorgeous hair, and for being extremely tall! Both of our girls are gorgeous, of course, but so far, apparently FF got the hair and QQ got the height. Hee.

Yoli said...

Two beautiful tall girls. It is amazing how much you two are alike. How do your personalities harmonize?

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

Yoli, we harmonize beautifully...not because we have the same personality, but because we compliment one another. I am an introvert, she is an extrovert. I am a lone-wolf, and she is a social animal. We get along beautifully, and I am grateful that her extremely social personality brings me out of my shell. She is athletic and I am artistic...but I am also athletic enough to keep up with her, and she is creative enough to emulate me from time to time. I learn from her team spirit, and she learns from my drawing, which occasionally slows her down and focuses her enough for her to work on her pencil skills, reading and imaginary play.

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

Maia, you have told me that before, but I'm glad to be reminded...makes me think her height is genetic, and of course her beauty (her birth parents must be something to behold! Those EYES!!!) As for the hair...well, again, she and I have that in common: fine, scanty, unmanageable hair. Oh well. FF will have to luxuriate in her long hair in our stead ;)

Juniper said...

What a nice connection between you too. Having a string of very tall female friends (one Dutch, one Serbian and the other from Togo) and a new one in Malta of all places (being half British must explain the height) I have heard a fair share about it's hardships, not least because you almost always stand out, and for being an introvert it may not always be your aim.
A 3T already, that is pretty amazing! She sounds like she is truly thriving in your home.

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

Juniper, sounds as if I had a similar experience to your other tall friends. As a child, I had several friends who were petite and compact, and whom I envied painfully. One was Dutch/French, another Swiss, another Mexican-American, and I very much envied their gymnastic ability, and their self-confidence. It did feel to me at the time that I stood out when I would have wished to blend into the background. I blamed my height for many awkward early moments which were, in reality, probably just the same awkward moments that everyone has at that age. As an adult, height becomes an asset, and I have learned (belatedly) to feel grateful for my height. But deep inside, I'm still the timid, awkward girl who would love to vanish, chameleon-like, into the scenery.