Big KidsBy shrinkingman
Boy, kids are really growing fast these days...and a lot. That's very true.
It happened a dozen years ago; some kind of unknown force (maybe radiation or something) passed over the Earth and resulted in a genetic mutation. Some kids born then, back in 2004, really started to grow at an accelerated rate. So much so that they wound up twice their normal size! At first it was just a few; then, 5 per cent of kids became "Big Kids", and now about 1 in every 4 births is a Big Kid. It's spread across the globe.
They start out 18 to 20 inches tall at birth but their first year and a half of life has them really growing at an astounding rate. For every inch most kids grow, the BigKids grow 2 or 3 inches, and for every pound most kids gain, the BigKids gain 8 pounds.
I should know this as my own son Owen is a BigKid. He was among the first of the BigKids (BKs) and he is now a strapping boy of 12, standing 9 foot 8 inches tall and weighing 720 pounds. The doctors guess he may stop growing by the age of 14 or 15, at which point he should be just shy of 12 feet tall and he could weigh as much as 1,300 pounds if not more! My wife and I look so puny next to him (I'm 5'9" and 260 pounds and Brenda is 5'7" and 175 pounds). He looks like the typical pre-teen; if anything he's kind of on the fit and athletic side. Some BKs his age are more like 900 pounds!
Owen definitely seemed normal when he was born but then the growth just took off. By the age of 1, when he should have been maybe 28 inches tall, he was 4'6". At 2 he reached 5'8"; doctors have said you can predict a kid's adult height by doubling the height they were at 2, so it's a safe bet he could be close to 12 feet tall within the next couple years. Scary. He's big enough as it is, but imagine when he's 14 or 15. By then his growth will pretty much have stopped, but nearly 10 feet tall is amazingly huge, let alone almost 12 feet tall.
I almost tripped over one of his sneakers on the way to the computer (he left it lying around). His feet are about 17 inches long by 6 inches wide; astounding. And tough to find shoes, or any clothes, for kids that size. They have to be specially made.
TWO YEARS, 10 MONTHS
Once, Owen rebelled when I started to give him grief about things like his grades, how messy his room was, and when his bedtime was. There was a shoving match, and guess who lost. Before I knew it, my tremendous son had used his immense arms and hands to push me down to the floor. I injured my back! He helped me up but I started to get very upset--stuff about "just because you're so big doesn't mean you're above the rules here!" I wondered if my lack of size compared to him would make it even tougher to bring him up right.
BK LITTLE LEAGUE: As I said, we now are in the position of having one out of every four kids being a BigKid. Thus I got together with some other BK parents and started some youth activities for the little big ones; for Owen, that meant Little League baseball scaled up to his size. It's 120 feet between each base, not 60 feet (major leaguers, whose field dimensions are 90 feet between each base, would seem tiny on such a field). It's funny to see the dugout. In regular little league baseball, you have 6 feet tall coaches and players who are 4'6" to 5'6" or so; here, the 6 feet tall coaches deal with kids who range from 9 to 11 feet tall. Now the coaches seem puny!
BIG LITTLE GIRLS: Thank heaven for little girls, for little girls get bigger every day. That means 8 or 9 foot tall 8 year old lasses running and playing with kids their size, or kids who are much smaller. It can be cute though; one BigGirl from our neighborhood found a 12 year old boy (of regular size) who was about 3 or 4 feet shorter than she was and she started to play "babysitting" with him. He looked like a toddler by comparison.
BIGKIDS OF AMERICA: It was inevitable that an organization should be started for BKs and their parents. Socialize with other BK parents and learn how to handle your huge offspring; meet up with companies specializing in clothes for the BigKid; how to prevent yourself from being eaten out of house and home by your giant kiddo.
PART 2:BK NIGHT AT THE MOVIES
Here it is Memorial Day weekend and we're off to see Shrek 6 at the local theater. I had to buy a truck to accomodate Owen (he rides in the back). Hopefully his 700 or so pounds doesn't weigh us down too much. Gas mileage is affected though.
They introduced a BK size popcorn bag and BK size drinks. For Owen, that means a 128 ounce drink that he can refill if he wants (and he usually does). We walk down to the entry way to each theater and I can't help but feel small when I see the 8 or 10 feet tall kids who are running around. Or even bigger...
Suddenly an 11 year old boy stops right in front of me; probably about 9 feet tall, and maybe 600 pounds. His hands try to go under my armpits to try and pick me up; as it is, I've got my own popcorn and drink and am trying not to spill them. He laughs and tries to look even bigger than he is (twice the size of a typical NFL linebacker...and just 11.) Then Owen comes along to save the day: he's a year older, 100 pounds heavier, and maybe 10 inches taller. Owen tells him to leave me alone and actually pushes the kid, who falls down with a thud. Owen holds down the boy and that's just as well; Owen weighs 460 pounds more than I do and I know I couldn't hold down a 600 pound kid on my own. The boy's parents see him and chastise him for trying to mess with me; they apologize and he goes along with them to THEIR movie. Surely they and I do have something in common; I wondered if the same thing could have happened in reverse: My son trying to pick up that boy's dad, for kicks.
"Let's go dad!," says Owen--he kind of gently nudges me along (though his gentle nudge feels rough for a little guy like me!) Brenda emerged from the ladies' room and we all went in to the movie.
Just as I've said, 1 out of every 4 kids today is a Big Kid so the theater made accomodations. Several rows of chairs are designed for kids up to 12 feet tall. Actually there haven't been many Big Kids reach that plateau yet; many of them are no bigger than 11 feet, but give them a few years...
A few times Owen has to get up to use the men's room. We hit it one more time just after the movie ended. Adults and kids alike who are average sized stare up at him, then look away; many of them seem scared. I'm washing up and a 5 year old looks down on me. "Hi!," he says. Just your typical 7 foot tall, 400 pound preschooler. I respond, "hi". We're now in a world where some kids his age are about as big as Shrek himself.
"You're bigger than my daddy," he giggles. I soon see what he means: He's whisked away by his father, who is probably 4'8" at most. Yikes.
What's happening here? Are people like me going to be the dwarfs of a new society of 12 foot people? If enough Big Kids get born...
VERMONT KIDS WIN BK LL SERIES
Both teams were made up totally of BK boys and girls. St. Albans pitcher Melinda Swanton (10'6", 720 pounds) got the win.
I had a dream last night where the ratio of BigKids being born kept increasing, to the point where 100 years from now, the average height for adults would be 12 feet tall. Some 'tall' people would be as much as 13 or 14 feet tall, while 'little' people would be any adult under 10 ft or so.
Housing, cars, and other facilities would be gradually scaled up to our new heights. Some houses would be left as they are though; they'd be perfect for "dwarfs" who are "only" 6 or 7 feet tall. But that was just a dream.
Youth basketball in school gyms is changing; while most kids are of average size, they have to have special games/teams for the BigKids, with a bigger ball and hoops 18 to 20 feet up. Pity the poor 6 feet tall referees, who might accidentally get crushed by a BigKid who falls down!
New schools are being built with higher ceilings, but it's tough for the BigKids in the older facilities. They often have to stoop as they walk through the halls, and duck under low doorways. Bigger desks are being used though in some cases kids just sit cross legged on the floor. Some high school desks have been dispatched to first or second grade, and even they are a bit too small for 7 or 8 foot tall kids.
There have been incidents of BigKids not knowing their own strength. One school had a problem with BigKids opening doors with a bit TOO much force; they came off the hinges.
My son Owen is pretty good-natured on the whole, though I sometimes have a tough time keeping him in line. The size advantage he has is a minus for me; how do I discipline him when he towers over me? To be honest, I'm not the type who whacks a kid (like my dad did with me) when they mess up...so I have to yell at him (and yell UP at him, for that matter); take away privileges, and so on. No computer or TV for you, young man...I haven't had to "ground" him yet but who's to say that if I did, he wouldn't just push me aside and go out to see his friends anyway?
When I was his age I was probably just shy of 5 feet tall and probably weighed less than 100 pounds. Times sure have changed, and it's not easy for parents of BigKids when it comes to keeping them in line.
to be continued