AudBaby

The story of Fighter’s growth (height wise)

Sometime this year, Fighter has noticed that he’s smaller – much smaller, in fact – than most of his classmates.  For example, his best friend Chase is more than a head taller than him fhl wtf.

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Here he is with his classmates wtf.

He points out the fact pretty regularly now and  we’ve been telling him that everyone is different in their own ways and because he’s so small, he’s special.  One of his teachers even gave him a children’s book about how everyone in the world is different – different hair, different skin, different cultures and traditions – but we’re all still the same inside, to teach him the concept that everyone is unique.

Before he started preschool last year, I was worried that he’d be picked on for his size.  But I was clearly worrying about nothing cos his teachers tell me his friends love him cos he’s small! They all think he’s damn cute lolol.  His class teacher told me that once, she was demonstrating something to his class and for some reason, Fighter kept reaching out and messing up her things wtf.

She gently admonished him, only to have one of his classmates pipe up, “Teacher, please don’t scold Jude. He’s so cute.” Hahahahaha.  And I can see it myself!  His classmates are extra loving to him and Chase protects him; even the more boisterous boys slow down and take care of him like a younger brother hahaha.

But all that didn’t matter to Fighter.  All he wanted was to be tall.  He readily ate everything I put in front of him, hoping it would make him grow faster.  He hates eggs but tried his best to eat one every morning cos his Ah Kong told him it would make him bigger.  One day, we marked the kids’ heights on our bedroom wall with a pencil and every few days after, Fighter would run in, asking to be measured to see if he’d grown any taller.

He would pull at the sleeves of his school uniform and tell me that he was sure his sleeves were higher up his arms now.  He would always tell us that he’s bigger than Penny (even though Penny is really catching up with him).  And he’d tell me hopefully, “When I’m same age as Chase, I will be tall like Chase!”  Because he confused age and size, thinking logically that the older he was, the bigger he should be.

One day, on the way to school, he cried in the car.  I asked him why, and this is what he told me:

“I don’t want to be special, I want to be tall.”

Damn near broke my heart ok. T______T

He continued, “Can you bring me to the doctor, mommy? I want to ask the doctor to make me grow taller.”

T__________T

So I scheduled an appointment with a pediatric endocrinologist.  Basically she specializes in children and growth, which involves hormones.

A year ago, I’d already asked our usual paed about Fighter’s growth. Cos he’s always 0% percentile on growth charts. T____T Our paed recommended this specialist but told us to wait until he was 4 or 5 cos by then we’d know if he’d have caught up with his peers. (he hasn’t.)

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Our appointment was on a weekday so I picked the critter up early from school and went straight to the hospital.  Here he is kuai kuai waiting for his turn while eating his lunch.

Basically we got in to the doctor and we went through his history, and our family background and heights.  This is what I gleaned from our conversation:

  • The cause of his size is most likely genetic cos duh half his genes come from me and the Ooi family.  Based on my height and Fatty’s and Fighter’s own current height, the doctor projected that he would reach this range of height, which isn’t very tall for a guy la.  This is if he were born a normal baby.
  • But he didn’t have a normal birth.  He had a very premature birth and prematurity affects a lot of things, including size.  Most premature kids catch up within the first few years, but 20% of them don’t.  The doctor thinks Fighter is one of those that won’t. T______T
  • Besides being premature, he also had a very low weight for his gestational age (31 weeks).  Ie. he was smaller than he’s supposed to be even at 31 weeks.  He was born at 1.1 kg which is like 2-3 times less than a normal baby so it’s like he has to catch up 2-3 times faster than normal.

All these factors combined will most likely result in him being a very small adult, possibly even slightly taller than me only.  When I heard this I had to work not to cry. T____T It hit me again that I failed to give Fighter the best start in life cos of my preeclampsia and malfunctioning placenta and he is this way cos of me.  (Had preeclampsia with Penny too so this is why I don’t want another child, bring another baby in to the world and give it a shit start to life for what wtf.)

The doctor told me there was a treatment available – growth hormone therapy.  It works best for children who lack the growth hormone (apparently Messi was one such case wtf) but for normal kids who are just born small, it won’t be as effective.  But the doc said that since Fighter was a preemie and had low gestational weight, he was a good candidate for it.

But the therapy is: injections. Daily. Which could go on for years depending on his progress. T______T

Monetary cost aside, are we really prepared to let our four year old endure injections every day for years? Until he turns 18 and finishes growing? Or until we feel he’s made enough progress?  It’s like being diabetic leh this treatment!

And that’s another thing — cos I don’t know the exact height he’ll grow to be if he doesn’t do the treatment, I will never know how much difference the treatment makes.  Whether the treatment was worth it.  Or whether it didn’t help at all and he would reach the height naturally anyway.

And what kind of message would I be sending to Fighter anyway? That size is so important until we gotta subject him to daily injections? And what if he ends up on the small side anyway?  Would he end up feeling that why go through all this suffering anyway if he still ends up short?

But on the other hand. What if he grows up really tiny…. and I regret not doing anything about it? What if he blames us for not taking the chance when we could?

(In case you’re wondering —

  1. Nutrition and exercise may make a difference but not much if he’s meant to be this size already.
  2. Peanut root soup better avoid wtf. Doc said it does contain hormones to grow but it also increases bone density and age which will shorten the period he can grow. )

That’s the dilemma we’re in right now.  But honestly it’s probably going to be a no go.  We are going back to see the doctor in 3 months anyway for her to monitor his natural growth.  Fingers crossed.

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  • Meen

    Or perhaps try getting fighter skipping rope? 🙂

  • Racheal Tan

    Hello Fighter, you are beautiful at your own way! The most important thing is to stay healthy and happy always.

  • LLS

    Sigh, it is a difficult decision…. On one hand it is important to educate him that it’s ok to be different, but on the other hand, you don’t want him to feel inferior because of his height. But I guess the worst case scenario is if he does undergo the treatment but it doesn’t help him. He’ll probably be shattered TT There really is no win-win situation here.

  • Joey Thye

    Maybe can try Pediasure (https://pediasure.com/what-is-pediasure)??
    I don’t know how much it will help…
    I have started my child on this recently…still waiting to see results

  • Yen Cheng

    I personally think you should put him on the injections. He seems to really mind his height and he might really regret not doing all he can while he has a chance. Even if it doesn’t work, at least everyone tried their best in helping him.

  • Jazel

    Maybe you should talk this through with fighter. Because it IS his life and his body, he should have a choice. Although he might not fully understand, bit on the other hand you probably don’t want him to grow up and resent you for not giving him a chance to grow (taller).

  • furnee

    I’m not offering my views because I believe that whatever decision you make for Jude, it will be the best decision as you would have weighed all the pros and cons. Sending virtual hugs to Fighter 🙂

  • Joy Khansouringuyen

    Awe poor Jude, my son is the same age as Jude but he is the same size (height, weight, bone density) as a 2 yo. It’s a tough descion …How bout start the injections later when’s hes older? Will that still help?

  • Butterflywings

    Hi Audrey,
    My suggestion is that when Jude turns 5, ask him again if he wants the hormone therapy. If he’s still very small at the age of 5, it means he’s very likely to be a small adult in the future. But if his height increases pretty well by that age, then I guess the therapy is not needed. When Jude turns 5, he can also think better compared to now. However, before getting anything started, tell him (clearly and strongly) that it’s not guaranteed if the therapy would work. Let him know the pros and cons of the therapy and how much he would have to suffer in order to grow taller. If he doesn’t mind and still wants to do it, then you should oblige. If, let’s say, the therapy doesn’t work, tell him that it was his own choice to do it. I guess he wouldn’t blame you for all the suffer he’s gone through. He knows you’ve tried your best to help him 🙂 Having said that, I really hope Fighter would grow taller in the next few months! Injection is terrifying even for adults, what not for kids. God bless you, Jude! xoxo

  • JayZee

    You hv given him the best possible start in life. Preeclampsia is NOT your fault. And Fighter is blessed to hv you as his mum.

  • Sin Yee Yuet

    Oh my god I cried reading this post. I got to know you from your post which you admit hospital for preeclampsia. Have been following you and your family ever since. You are a wonderful mummy! Even though Fighter is upset about his height now, he and Penny are still one of the happiest kid in the world. Because you are their mother. He won’t blame you. He is just doesn’t understand yet. Jiayou Audrey!

  • Cherrie Teoh

    Hi Audrey, I’m going to be honest. As I know you don’t really need those comforting words now. You already knew what the majority would say.
    I personally think that height is very important, and it’s even more so for a guy. He would grow up feeling inferior and with no confidence. How would he feel when he’s only 150cm at the age of 18? How is he going to cope with all the criticisms? You being petite is fine because you are a female, people always associate petite girls as cute. But for male it will be another story.
    I would suggest wait for a while more, let the professionals monitor his growth. I believe you can talk to Fighter again when he’s 5 plus or when he can think better. If I were you, I will go with the treatments if he’s still not growing well by then. And of course, provided I can afford the treatments.
    I always believe.. In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take. Whether the treatments are effective, at least I know I’ve done my best! Especially for my children!
    All the best Audrey!

  • Soon Ph

    I am a 30 yo man and I am 165cm in height. Ever since I realized what is height, I have been wondering what does it feel to be tall. Sometimes I would climb up the chair to see how does it feel to be tall. Basically in my childhood, everyone laughed at my height and I would just laugh with them, thats the best I can do anyway. When I was in my teen, I envy those who are tall. Basically for me, if you are tall, everyone will like you or maybe take an extra glance at you. At my age now, I am still actually thinking why am I short and sometimes I really do pray maybe next life I can grow taller a bit. Because I am short, no one really likes me. I always in this life, there are only two things I cant change; my height and the heart of the person I love. But my height is a fact, a fact that I cant change. I even tried to make some research of how to grow tall. Some told me I can try to break the bone and let the bone grows back, hopefully I can grow taller but the chance of getting crippled is higher than getting taller. I know how you feel a parent because all parent wish for the best for their children. I know well how Jude feels because I am a living example of a short guy. But one day when Jude realizes the sacrifice a mum has made for him, height is not so important after all. I pray for the best for Jude!

  • claudiakriss

    hi Audrey, i really related to this entry and thought i would take a few minutes to share a few thoughts, being a doctor now as well.
    i personally took growth hormone injections daily from around 10-12yo resulting in 24cm growth in total till puberty and my current height today of 154cm today which i think is not bad for an asian female with growth hormone deficiency.
    honestly, while the injections were not pleasant at the beginning, my parents got the hang of it soon enough, and towards the end of it, i started doing the daily jabs myself too with no fuss at all. It was really encouraging too to see the almost immediate effects in growth of about 1cm/month when previously i would be growing only 1cm/year and i remember being really distressed about it. I think my confidence was really helped by being closer in height to my peers, and was thankful that my parents eventually started me on the hormone therapy.
    They had initially sought the doctors’ opinion when i was 8yo, but were apprehensive about the needles etc and thus did not start treatment till i was 10. I thus did not manage to get the full treatment effect as puberty had set in by 12+yo.
    I don’t think there is any rush at this time to make a decision yet, as growth plates don’t fuse till much later on. it was really good to seek an endocrine opinion early though!
    Wishing all the best for Jude! (:

  • Revathi Sellappan

    Audrey, this post really broke my heart. Please know that this is NOT your fault. Also I glanced thru the comments and noticed that many people had an opinion on what you should do. At the end of the day, only you know whats best for your child. Fighter will grow up to be just fine. He has an amazing support system.

  • Sonia Lee

    Dear Audrey,
    i think for the hormone therapy, you meant that the injections start at puberty (around 10-12) till 18+ of age right? It shouldn’t be now till 18+ ? This is similiar to another ladies’ comment above, that she started at puberty age. Please check this again with your doctor :). My mother in law is a healthcare researcher in the US so she was abit surprised when i related your story to her. All the best to Jude, am sure he will turn out to be a fine young man irregardless ! <3 ***reposting comment… somehow it appeared in another post…

  • ed paul

    Give it time. Me and my brother only start gaining height only at early teen (after 13)… I was active in sport and he isn’t… But today he is taller than me. Both our parent aren’t genetically tall either. Nobody sees the future.

    And if turning out of the worst… It’s a parent job to teach love and acceptance of who we are. Not what we would’ve become of what we aren’t.

  • Onefoursix

    Hello Fourfeetnine, I can totally understand your concern on Fighter as I myself is 146cm, female ><

  • Amber

    As a mum myself, I can understand the guilt that comes with passing on certain genetics to our child. I feel the same way for my two boys. Everyday I strive to “make it up” by giving my utmost best to them. Whatever decisions you make for Jude, it will always be the best, because you are his mum. The decision you make would have fully taken into account every single thing that affects him.

  • Tan Khuay Sim

    Fully understand your doubts and worries about whether to go for the hormonal treatment.

    Just look at yourself aren’t you blessed with many things that others are deprived of. You are short( excuse me for being direct )and you might have been disadvantaged by that stature in some ways but you have through your talents have made a name for yourself and being followed and admired by many .

    Why do you want to subject him to unnatural ways of growing up with years of treatment the out come of which is still a question mark ?

    You are blessed with a child growing up well aware of many things that some of his peers don’t give a thought to them at all.
    He emerged healthy challeging the odds at birth so why not see him as a child growing up to challenge the odds instead of taxing your brains to weigh the decision to opt for treatment or
    otherwise.

    As what I saw right at the start of the posting “Life is short “,enjoy motherhood with happy and sad moments as a package .The best ways are to nurture and guide with love .Gone are days as a modern mum are subjecting your child to physical and mental abuse and torments . I think we can google short men who are legendary heroes or idols admired by many which i intend to do after posting this.

  • Louve Itt

    I’m so sorry to read about Fighter feeling so inadequate among his peers. 🙁 I’ve been an ardent reader since your first pregnancy and I salute you and your husband’s bravery and spirit.

    I do have a 4 year old myself, even though he was born healthy at 37 weeks and weighed 3.1kgs, he is considered small among his peers. I, too as a regular mum with flaws have my own insecurities about my child. A lot of questions raced through my head, but it all boiled down to 1:

    “Am I doing enough for my child?”

    It was a scary scary thought. And its a slippery slope to a lot of self blaming. I started reading, researching and contact professionals about nutrition, feeding my son strange meals/drinks or super shakes they call it. EVEN I couldn’t have a sip of it. Then when there were no results, I started becoming frustrated and easily irritable.

    Friends started to tell me to “chill” but it is in fact the worst advice. HOW CAN WE CHILL when we are programmed to achieve all goals in life (from education, to our musical hobbies and etc.)? Then that is when i reached an “AHA!” moment. Why are we programmed like this? Why is being perfect/close to perfect or achieving quantitative results so important? Even more important than being appreciating what we have now (the refugees in Rohingya are having much worse)? I’m still telling myself that everyday.

    From a mum to mum, I think being a mum is about letting go and being able to accept, and teach acceptance to our kids. When life throws you (or the family) curve balls, how we manage it teaches our kids a bigger lesson about life. 🙂

    I still do hope that fighter and my child grow overnight tho. 🙂

  • no no

    poor fighter! there’s nothing wrong with being short, but if he really doesn’t like it…? however, the HGH injections would happen around puberty, right? he would probably be fine with needles by then, and could make a more informed decision than he would as a 4 year old

  • Hallyu Surfer

    I’m not a mother, but what I can tell you that you don’t have to see injection as bad. It is not to hurt anyone, it’s just a procedure to enhance life.

  • izzy

    I understand your feelings and concerns. My son is on the 0% on the charts. He is now 3 but people think his 18 months. Reading about fighters height actually gave me a sense of relief as it meant my son was normal and that there were others just like him.

    I have also read into the growth hormones therapy but I believe his short height is based on genetics as my husband is 162cm and I’m 153cm. If his projected height as an adult is going to be around my husband height, then I believe all will be fine.

    My husband is fully aware of how society is with height but his thoughts is that we just have to teach him to be resilient. It’s about how strong a character he will have and it’s only us as parents who can help him build that. He may be small but we believe he will be great.

    Believe in fighter and height won’t matter.

  • Anh Nguyen

    fml, my little guy hasn’t said anything yet about his small stature (32 week premie here), but I probably would run out crying if he did. My boy cousin went through the hormone therapy while we were growing up and it did help him greatly. He outgrew his older brother by 3 inches in fact, so I’ve seen it work first hand. Maybe not start so young, but I would seriously consider it. Especially since it is something that Fighter seems keenly aware of. Needle pain is not too big of a deal, but the upside in terms of confidence it can bring with physical stature (especially for males) is worth the risk to me. I would rather have tried something out than to ever live with regret. The decision is up to you in the end, but I would totally give it a shot (pun not intended!) I’ll probably look into it in a couple of years myself for my boy to be honest…

  • SHIN TEH

    Dear Audrey,
    I am 158cm and my BF of 3 years is 160 cm! He is on the shorter end of the spectrum but let me tell you, he is the smartest, most considerate, most confident and filial person I have ever met. He was never bullied for his height and although close friends would tease him for it, he got over that teasing in adolescence and has never lost his confidence. So you may ask, where did his confidence come from?

    It came from his parents. They never once stopped him from pursuing his dreams and interests so he was able to participate and shine in the curriculum activities he chose, like engineering and programming contests back in middle school. They also never pushed him for good grades, just modeled huge amount of readings, so he naturally came to enjoy studying and excelled in academics as well. Therefore, despite his short height, he has enough confidence and pride to override the genetic shortcomings. So if you are worried that Fighter remains shorter than his peers, just cheer him on on the things that he enjoys and excels in, just like what you have been doing for him all this while 🙂

    Now a 27-year-old man of cheerful nature and successful career, I hope my BF’s example would help ease your worries on Fighter’s growth. As a reader of 6 years, watching you getting married, fighting through pregnancies struggles to have Fighter and Penny, I stayed because I truly admire your personality and parenting style ( as well as your blogs, keep them coming !!). I know you will continue to be an amazing mother. Wish you the very best in everything Audrey!!

  • chapter 11

    Hi Audrey! Fighter is still in the phase of growing up so don’t give up yet. I am a scoliosis patient and i know it has got nothing to do with fighter case, but i am currently doing a therapy for my scoliosis problem. At the correction clinic that i went, they are also known as Growth Taller Clinic and Scoliosis correction centre. they have this therapy regiments for kids to be able to grow taller. There was no need to have injections or such, just exercises. So many kids in the clinic actually gained height and turned taller through the exercise routines. However, the place its in Surabaya, Indonesia. I don’t know whether they would have this clinic in KL. you can try googling it, Growth Taller Clinic and Scoliosis Correction Clinic, Surabaya, Indonesia. Hope it helps! 🙂

  • enymarra

    I would let him go through the injections too. Self confidence is so
    important you don’t want him growing up always feeling inferior because
    of his height

  • Cikgu Aimi Ho

    I have to disagree here.

    What are you REALLY worried about if he is a short adult, Audrey dear?

    Low Self confidence? Even beautiful and well built adults have low self esteem. You’re the best person to teach him to love himself.

    Lack of respect from others? Leaders are those who care for others, fair and wise. Even there is an oku man who is soooo popular, inspirational and all over YouTube. (I just am forgetful of his name lol) people LOVE him.

    No gals like him? I had LOTS of crushes on short men. These men were handsome, well mannered, funny and smart. If it wasn’t because I was a shy person, I would have probably coupled with some of them.

    By giving injections, you’re planting the wrong idea in his head. What if it was part of God’s big plan all along?

  • Cikgu Aimi Ho

    I have to disagree with most people here who advocate the growth hormone.

    What are you REALLY worried about if he is a short adult, Audrey dear?

    Low Self confidence? Even beautiful and well built adults have low self esteem. You’re the best person to teach him to love himself.

    Lack of respect from others? Leaders are those who care for others, fair and wise. Even there is an oku man who is soooo popular, inspirational and all over YouTube. (I just am forgetful of his name lol) people LOVE him.

    No gals like him? I had LOTS of crushes on short men. These men were handsome, well mannered, funny and smart. If it wasn’t because I was a shy person, I would have probably coupled with some of them.

    By giving injections, you’re planting the wrong idea in his head. What if it was part of God’s big plan all along?

  • U Chan

    Hi Audrey! I’m not a mother yet so I may not fully understand how you feel. I’ve followed you from when you’re attached, to being proposed, to being a wife and now, a courageous mother of two beautiful children. May God grant you the courage to change what you can, the serenity to accept what you can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference. I believe you and Tim have done the best that you can do for both children, so don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ve done a great job!!

    On the topic of hormone therapy… I am studying traditional Chinese medicine now so I wonder… are there other alternative treatment for fighter, maybe less invasive/lesser side effects? For example through TCM like herbs, or children tui na (massage). I hope the suggestion may provide another perspective for you to consider.

    But at the end of the day, I know whichever you choose eventually, it’s all for fighter’s best interests and in his heart, you’re the best mum ever. I wish you and your loving family all the best!!