Author Topic: Um, he's ten....  (Read 14242 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Elisabunny

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1358
Um, he's ten....
« on: January 17, 2008, 11:24:27 AM »
This actually wasn't an "interesting" assumption.  In fact, it was more or less reasonable, but still....

Younger Son is ten, but is very small (3rd percentile) for his age.  We were at the library yesterday when he asked the librarian about the scanner-thing they use to deactivate the theft monitors.  She explained what it did, but then asked, in the sweet voice used for Kindergarteners-and-under :o, "Have you ever heard the doorways beep when you leave?"  YS just mumbled, "yeah," while I stayed quiet.

Obviously she misjudged his age.  As I said, it's a reasonable mistake, but it's going to come more frequently.  Would it have been rude or snarky for either YS or me to say, "Of course!  I've/he's been coming here for ten years!"?

You must remember this: a ghoti is still a fish...

Veronica

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5158
  • the Patron Saint of Judgmental Statues
Re: Um, he's ten....
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2008, 11:36:19 AM »
This actually wasn't an "interesting" assumption.  In fact, it was more or less reasonable, but still....

Younger Son is ten, but is very small (3rd percentile) for his age.  We were at the library yesterday when he asked the librarian about the scanner-thing they use to deactivate the theft monitors.  She explained what it did, but then asked, in the sweet voice used for Kindergarteners-and-under :o, "Have you ever heard the doorways beep when you leave?"  YS just mumbled, "yeah," while I stayed quiet.

Obviously she misjudged his age.  As I said, it's a reasonable mistake, but it's going to come more frequently.  Would it have been rude or snarky for either YS or me to say, "Of course!  I've/he's been coming here for ten years!"?



I don't get it.  He didn't know what the scanner was for and she explained it to him.  You might not have liked the tone but you admit that your son is very small for his age and that she probably misjudged his age based on his size. 

Does the librarian know that your son has been coming there for ten years?


Florida

bms2000

  • Guest
Re: Um, he's ten....
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2008, 03:01:14 PM »
I understand where you're coming from. My youngest is 6, looks about 4. My niece has the opposite problem - she is 4, and is as tall as my 7 year old. Generally, I talk to all kids above the obviously nonverbal stage in the same tone as I do to adults, as I find the baby talk irritating and unnecessary. But is it worth correcting the librarian in this case? Not sure. If your son was asking for help finding a book and was being directed to books that were too young for him, I would definitely speak up.

Xallanthia

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5371
Re: Um, he's ten....
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2008, 04:31:19 PM »
The condescending tone is annoying, but correcting her is probably useless.  Though I agree with PPs who said correction would be necessary if he were not being steered towards age-appropriate books.

Ashe311

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 412
Re: Um, he's ten....
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2008, 04:44:05 PM »
The reverse also happens as well.  My DD is almost 2 but she looks like she's 3.  People approach her and expect her to act like a 3 year old, and she gives a 2 year old response, they give me a pitying look.

Kaylee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5035
  • No power in the 'verse can stop me!
Re: Um, he's ten....
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2008, 03:27:33 AM »
The problem will be solved when, as is very nearly inevitable, he goes through a growth spurt and begins to look his age.   ;)

If you can carry off your "line" in a joking fashion, it wouldn't be rude at all.  It's just not necessarily rude of a stranger to assume that your son is the age he more or less appears.  It would also not be rude of him to respond in a fashion that makes it clear that he was asking for more technical information.  That might give her enough of a shock to be gratifying, too.   8)

I have a younger brother who, from ages 10 to 12 or so, had very long hair.  People were always assuming he was a girl (very sweet face, big brown eyes).  He took it all in perfect good stride and would politely correct people (one waitress's face is still etched in my memory, but it was completely understandable and just something he had to deal with if that was the hairstyle he wanted.

Elisabunny

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1358
Re: Um, he's ten....
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2008, 11:09:11 AM »
Unfortunately, if he's like his dad, he'll just grow slowly until he's about 21. ::)

Perhaps a more general question would be, When a child's body size is extremely out of synch with his/her age, when is it appropriate to correct people?

My concern is mostly for the effect on the children.  A 97th percentile kid (like YS's best friend ;D) should not be treated as a brat or mentally handicapped when he is simply incapable of acting older than his age.  Conversely, it's not good for the little kids to be treated as younger than they are, because they can absorb the idea that it's ok to act younger than their age.  Which is not cute to their teachers, and not socially acceptable to their peers. :-\
You must remember this: a ghoti is still a fish...

Kaylee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5035
  • No power in the 'verse can stop me!
Re: Um, he's ten....
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2008, 02:33:55 PM »
Unfortunately, if he's like his dad, he'll just grow slowly until he's about 21. ::)

Well, there's that.  Pesky ol' genetics... ::)

Perhaps a more general question would be, When a child's body size is extremely out of synch with his/her age, when is it appropriate to correct people?

I don't think it's ever inappropriate to correct people as long as you do it simply and in good humor, without indicating that you're taking offense--"Actually, he's ten, so he does belong in the intermediate class", or whatever.  It's not like they're making assumptions about whether he's adopted or something, and we seem to both be talking about people who he is interacting with on some level.  (I wouldn't bother correcting a fellow passenger on the bus, but the librarian he may see again.)  Adults with whom he interacts regularly certainly do need to know, as you say, so their expectations will be appropriate.  (For example, depending on where you live, it might be appropriate for DS to spend a couple of hours at the library by himself, but it wouldn't be if he were the age he "looks".  Vice versa for the 97th percentile kid--anyone who is supposed to be watching her needs to realize that she's not as mature as she looks.)

I actually think it would be ideal in your son's case if he learned to correct them himself--it would certainly be more effective.  My brother was very good about it--if a waitress said what a pretty young lady he was, he'd just say, "Thanks, but I'm a guy."   ;D   If your son had been there without you, he could have said, "Sure, I've seen it before--I've had a library card here for five years now, since I was five.  What I was actually wondering was.." and clarify his question.

It's unfortunate that children so often have to deal with the silliness of their elders (I am not a big fan of the 'talking down to kids' method of explanation, as it can be insulting even to a bright child of the actual younger age), but since, as you say, he may well be dealing with this for years, he might as well get good at it now.   8)

Elisabunny

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1358
Re: Um, he's ten....
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2008, 04:33:44 PM »
I actually think it would be ideal in your son's case if he learned to correct them himself--it would certainly be more effective.  My brother was very good about it--if a waitress said what a pretty young lady he was, he'd just say, "Thanks, but I'm a guy."   ;D   If your son had been there without you, he could have said, "Sure, I've seen it before--I've had a library card here for five years now, since I was five.  What I was actually wondering was.." and clarify his question.

Thanks, I'll have to do that.  This has actually been bothering me more lately, I suppose because his two younger sisters are even tinier (Baby Bunny- 0.04% for weight! :o ;D)
You must remember this: a ghoti is still a fish...

TamJamB

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1572
Re: Um, he's ten....
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2008, 04:42:27 PM »
Perhaps a more general question would be, When a child's body size is extremely out of synch with his/her age, when is it appropriate to correct people?
I think it's always appropriate to correct a misassumption when the misassumption actually causes a problem.  To stick with the library example, if he were being steered towards books or programs which were too young for him, then you could say, "Actually, he's ten years old, so he's far too old for Story Time.  He is interested in your Blastoff to Reading program."

The situation in the OP was irritating (I know, see below), but hard to correct.  You could say, "Don't talk down to him -- he's ten years old!"  But that really seems to make too much of it -- especially since we don't know that the woman would have used a more mature tone with him even if she'd known his age.  Some people are just not natural with kids.

My daughter (now 20) has Cerebral Palsy, and is very, very short (4 ft. 9) and small.  She looks significantly younger than her age and always has.  In high school, people frequently mistook her for a grade schooler.  Now she is in college and was just mistaken for a middle schooler 2 weeks ago.  She combats this by always using very good grammar when she speaks, and a very mature attitude, and makes very clear corrections when they are called for.  Usually people figure their mistake out pretty quickly once they start to speak to her.

Katia144

  • Guest
Re: Um, he's ten....
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2008, 06:31:28 PM »
I'm 25 and look about...well, MAYBE 18 now.  If I wear enough makeup.

Our office Christmas party was at a casino and when we walked in, I was the only one carded.  The security dude asked me how old I was, I told him, and then he said, still suspiciously, "Can I see your ID?"  Welcome to my life.  :)  I'm pretty sure that on occasion, people think my partner is a cradle robber (I think he probably DOES look 25).  Or maybe that I'm his little sister that he has to drag places with him.  I often have people ask me if I'm in school (a couple years ago, I had a cousin I don't see much ask me, "so are you going to school?"  "No, I graduated."  "No, I mean, are you going to go to college?"  "No, I graduated."  Now I just try to head the "are you going to school?" question off at the pass with "I'll maybe to go grad school some day, but not right now") or if I'm an intern (although considering the nature of my job, plus my looks, that's understandable).

It can be annoying.  I'm always afraid that someone will refuse to serve me alcohol because they're convinced my license is a fake (I feel a bit better about it now that I have a new license picture that actually looks like me).  I would like to be taken seriously from the get-go rather than having to try to insert into conversation how old I am so it's not assumed I'm some dumb high-schooler who's barely old enough to drive without Mommy.  I don't like being called "honey" or "sweetie" in that condescending "isn't she so cute I bet she's so excited to be going to junior Prom next month" way by waitresses and the like, especially not when I'm pretty certain I'm OLDER than they are.

Everyone keeps telling me I'll be glad for it when I'm older, and I'm sure I will, but in a world where it's sometimes difficult enough for a young adult to be taken seriously and people tend to have a low opinion of teenagers...I'd like to not look like a vapid little choir girl who isn't even old enough to vote yet...

GoldenGemini

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1857
  • One of these days, Alice....
Re: Um, he's ten....
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2008, 08:03:20 PM »
I'm 29.  I get called "sweetie", "honey" and "dear" all.the.time.  It's really annoying, but I just grit my teeth. 

However, I have been asked several times to get my mummy or daddy when I answer the phone.  Sorry, they don't live here! Sometimes, I say that they have left me all alone >:D

The gardener at the apartments where I used to live handed me a note one day and asked me to pass it on to my daddy!  He could see me, not just hear my baby-ish voice.  (As for the daddy - my male flatmate at the time was two years older than me!)


Consistency
It's only a virtue if you're not a screwup   - Demotivators(R)

snappylt

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 459
Re: Um, he's ten....
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2008, 11:01:27 PM »
I am a man who (many years ago) used to teach elementary school.  Some of the teachers I taught with used that "smarmy" tone of voice with their students, and it always used to bother me.  I talked with my students as if they were real people.  That is, I spoke with them politely and matter-of-fact-ly, as if I was speaking with adults.  (And, of course, I expected them to speak respectfully back to me.)

I guess I thought of speaking "normally" to students as a good opportunity to model appropriate behavior.

I cannot see educators (and a librarian is a type of educator) talking down to students.

Cady

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 60
Re: Um, he's ten....
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2008, 11:47:59 AM »
Slightly off-topic, but I am a mother of 3. My 2 DDs, ages 10 and 12, are petite by nature. People always assume that that they are much younger (and stupider) than they really are. I can understand how you feel. It annoys me and the girls very much.

extranormal

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4024
Re: Um, he's ten....
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2008, 03:09:39 PM »
I thought of this thread the other day.

My 11-year-old son and I were at a casual restaurant, and he ordered a sandwich and milk. Pretty straightforward, I thought: "I would like a chicken sandwich and a milk, please."

Well, the waitress acted as if he'd solved Fermat's Theorem. "He's so smart!" Really? For being able to order a sandwich? He isn't especially small for his age, but I guess the waitress thought he was younger?

She was very sweet, and I certainly wasn't offended, but it was a little weird.