I've decided to quit lurking b/c this thread hits a serious nerve with me. I have one kid in each category. DD#1 just turned 5 and wears a size 8. DD#2 is 2 1/2 and is finally wearing 18 mo clothes.
I don't worry so much about DD#2 at this point, the comments are just funny sometimes. As I put her down after carrying her once, a lady commented "Oh look, she's just learning to walk." (I thought, "Yeah, and she's potty trained too.") I was caught off guard and before thinking said,"Actually, she's 2 1/2. She's been walking since she was 9 mo old." That probably wasn't too polite, but that didn't occur to me until after I said it. I did at least say it with an understanding smile in my voice.
It's DD#1 that I worry about. While it's offensive to be talked down to, it's a whole other problem when people think a child is a lot older and expect their behavior to reflect that. Besides being very tall, DD#1 really does look a lot older than her age (long thick hair, glasses, mature face). I worry that people's reactions to her implying that is immature will affect the way she feels about herself. The summer when she had just turned THREE, she used to get direct questions asking what grade she was going to be in next year. She didn't even know what they were talking about. I would politely smile, and say "DD#1, can you tell her how old you are?" The adult would always give me a funny look and sometimes say,"Is that right?"
I can handle direct questions like that, but it's a different problem when a remark is made about her behavior (typical for a 5yo, not for an 8 yo). Last year, I even remember hearing, "You mean, she can't read yet?" Uhhhh...no, she's 4. Any suggestions?