Tales Of A Child-Sized Woman

Written by  René Harper

"When I was little"...now there's a phrase I can never get through without some smart ass correcting me. You see, I am a 38-year-old 4-ft, 9-inch woman. My Papa likes to take credit for this fact. When I was a young girl, he held me in his arms and proclaimed, "I never want you to grow up."I spent my first years as his "dollie" and "sweet-n-low."When I got to elementary school, I was "shortcake" and "half pint."In 8th grade, I proudly stood in the font row with first- through third-graders for an all-school picture. In high school plays and local theater I was always relegated to the child roles. Although I longed to play the lead paramour or be described as willowy, I embraced my diminutive stature.

Photo courtesy of Animaster


There have been a few caveats, the most frustrating of which is not being able to find clothes that fit. Most everything has to be hemmed or taken in. Not being taken seriously or getting respect can also be a challenge. Especially in department stores where the salespeople don't know that I am not a teen girl. If I am with my 18-year-old daughter, forget about it. I don't mind being called a "little doll" or a firecracker. I don't mind being swept off my feet when someone hugs me tightly and I have made many a new friend by asking someone to reach something from the top shelf at the grocery store. In truth, I have always loved being spritely. My connection with children is one of the biggest reasons. They seem to think I am one of them. Recently, a child sailing by me in a cart at Target called out, (much to the horror of her mother) "are you a kid or a grown up?" My answer: "a little bit of both."


Image courtesy of Natashi Jay

When I was 30, I was pulled over by an officer who saw me get into my car at a supermarket and didn't think I was old enough to drive. I did get an escort home out of that because he felt so bad when he saw my license. When I was seven months pregnant I was given a kids menu and crayons at Perkins...an older gent at the post office recently inquired as to whether or not I had been a child bride...and every time I go to an amusement park I clean up on the "Guess Your Age" game. Sure, movies and concerts can be a challenge, but not many adults can get in those "jumpy things" with their kids, or get shoes and clothing cheaper by shopping for staples in the kids department. I also love that people find me approachable and open up to me with ease. So I guess my point is this, we all have things about ourselves that are viewed as less than ideal by society's standards. Embrace your body at the size and shape it is...with all of your perceived flaws and oddities because those things are undeniably YOU. Even if other people don't know it, I have never forgotten that I am a woman...just one who's scaled down a bit.

My name is René Harper. I am a stay-at-home-and-work mother of two girls ages 18 and 2. I am the creator and designer of www.chickabiddybaby.etsy.com where I make dollies and stuffies and lovies for young and old alike. My husband is an elementary music school teacher and we live in a creaky old house in midtown Omaha with our girls and two mongrels. I love writing poetry and singing and performing in my spare time. Oh...and I like pie.