What Happens When Your Child Is Suddenly Taller Than You Are

child growing height chartThe day I knew was coming has finally arrived. My son is now officially taller than I am. Though he'd been using his hand as a level to illustrate that we were neck-and-neck, or forehead-and-forehead as the case may be, for the past few months, somehow it still seemed to happen overnight.


I swear, we went to sleep one evening and I still had him by 1/16 of an inch (okay, maybe 1/32). By the next morning, we were the same height. And even though he turned 14 this month, part of me feels like I just brought him home from the hospital. So, how is it possible that he's suddenly able to look down at me and gently mock my ever-graying hair?

I'm 5'6", and I assumed I'd be looking up at him one day. I just didn't expect it to happen so soon. Yet, for the past several weeks, everywhere we'd go together people would point it out. "Mom," they'd holler, "he's about to pass you by!" Strangers who'd clearly been in this position themselves would chuckle at us at the grocery store, bank, and post office. (It must be a secret rite of passage you only find out about when you're on the brink of being referred to as "Shorty" by someone who still needs you to drive him everywhere.)

I ignored their warnings and stood up straighter, buying myself another eighth of an inch. Since I'm shorter than both of my parents (my mom assures me she's shrinking, but she's still several inches taller than I am), it seemed unnatural for me, the mom, to be surpassed.

To friends with older and taller kids, I'd inquired, "How do you make someone who's three inches taller than you are brush his teeth?" and "Can you insist that someone who's nearly six feet tall go to bed at 9:30 p.m.?"

Some offered their hard-won wisdom. "If you have to put him in his place, put on a pair of heels first," one mom told me.

Another suggested that if we needed to have a serious talk, I start with, "Sit down, son," while I remain standing.

When I'd overhear him and his equally long and lean pals whispering about a cute girl in algebra, and as I'd watch him figuring out the chords to an Eric Clapton song on guitar, I knew my firstborn was really growing up -- I just didn't realize how fast it was happening.

Just after he was born, a family friend gifted us with a lovely and colorful growth chart. It was personalized with my son's name and birth date, and featured cloth pocket picture frames, so we could add a photo as we marked the milestones. I had no excuse not to use it. Heck, it even came with two pens! Still, I didn't pick up those pens as frequently as I should have. Time flies and life happens and our recordings became fewer and further between. Soon, he'll be off this chart completely!

More from The Stir: The Coolest DIY Growth Chart Around

Though I'm not one to offer new moms advice, I will say this: Use your growth chart! Put it in a prominent spot where you can't miss it. (Don't hang it on the back of a door like I did!) As cliché as it might sound, our kids do grow up so fast. Parents often say that the days pass slowly while the years fly by. It's so true. One minute you're teaching your child how to tie his shoes; the next, he's pointing out that his shoes are twice the size of yours.

I wish I'd used that growth chart more often, because when we did, it really forced us to stop for a moment and marvel at the changes happening before our eyes. At least there's still time to make a few marks before our son is taller than his dad!


Image via brianajackson/Shutterstock

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