The Gentle Giant

Maks is a pretty big kid. A lot of people look at him and don’t believe that he is really seven years old. He is tall and stocky and most people think that he is closer to ten than he is to eight. He is also really strong. He can really hurt a smaller child if he is not careful but most times he is careful. He tends to err on the side of caution when he is around smaller children just because he knows that he is strong enough to hurt me, a grown up. And if he can hurt me then he can really hurt a little kid.

There have been times where his size has made doing normal seven year old things hard for him. He has grown into his body so quickly that he has not had a chance to get used to the changes he is experiencing and he is awkward a lot of the time. As of right now, he stands a head taller than all of the kids in his class. He weighs more than the NP and Mat combined. But he doesn’t see his size as an advantage; he sees it as a hindrance. He is so big that he tends to distance himself from the other kids because he just doesn’t fit in with them. The awkwardness is palpable some days. I feel him willing his body to shrink away so no one notices the giant standing in the corner. The outgoing demeanor is slowly being replaced by a more introverted, quiet child; one that just blends in.

He doesn’t fit on the same toys that the other kids do, he cannot climb on the same things that the other kids can, and he does run as fast as the other kids because his body mass is bigger than theirs. And he doesn’t want the other kids asking him to play because he knows that once he starts playing with them, the other kids will notice just how big he really is. At Judo, no one wants to be his partner for sparring practice because the other kids are afraid that Maks will hurt them and if I was a parent of one of the smaller children, I would think the same thing.

The other night, I walked into the boy’s room to check on them while they were sleeping. (Yes, I still do this.) Both boys were sprawled out in some twisted poses that would make a contortionist proud but then I noticed something that made me gasp. Maks’ legs were flung across Mat’s torso and stomach. Maks’ legs, like the rest of Maks’ body, are heavy. I know this because when he falls asleep with his legs flung over my lap; the pressure slowly builds and my legs start to ache after a while. I didn’t know how long his legs were on top of Mat but I knew Mat must have been really uncomfortable. So I wiggled myself in-between them and moved Maks’ legs off of Mat, Mat sucked in a really deep breath and rolled over. Maks had, inadvertently, pinned his brother and was squishing him and it was enough to have be worried.

And I am his mother.

And I know that he had that trying to squish his brother on purpose.

But I considered having his brother not sleep with him anymore because I was worried Maks would inadvertently hurt his brother.

Physically, he is a pretty tough kid. It takes a lot to knock him down and keep him down. But he has feelings too and they are starting to get hurt.

I have to confess; there are times I forget he is as young as he is. He is my giant. I tend to believe there is nothing I can throw at him that he cannot handle. And there are times I have to remember he is still growing and he needs to be treated like the little boy he still is. Not the indomitable giant he appears to be.

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