Pudding came into my room this morning, on her tiptoes, and spun around in a perfect pirouette. Well, perfect to me anyway. Then she performed her signature arabesque. With her predilection for pink, long slim body and gamine features, she appears to be suffering from a common disorder: ballerinaism.
Ballerinaism affects many girls (and some boys) throughout the lifespan, but reaches its peak in children aged 5-7. Symptoms include a fondness for taffeta and being painted by Degas.
Actually, Pudding doesn’t really meet the criteria. She dances to her own music this child, and hasn’t shown any interest in ballet or any other kind of dance. But if she were to be overcome by this syndrome, we’d be treating her with a tutu and scrambling to find a ballet teacher with an interest in the inner grace of a child with serious balance and coordination problems.
I’m being ridiculous because recently we have dealt with the possibility of Pudding being diagnosed with yet another -ism, which mercifully didn’t turn out to be the case. At an appointment, Pudding’s doctor focused on her height. I’ve mentioned before that Pudding is tall, but it turns out she is even taller, relative to her contemporaries, than I’d even imagined. Her doctor was afraid she may have a tumour on her pituitary gland, which is the cause of giantism.
Giantism. Pudding turned 5 in December, and I guessed her to appear about two years older than she is. In fact, she is still off the charts for a 7 year-old girl, and measures in at slightly taller than the average 9 year-old. The doctor took several measurements of body parts and ordered blood work, because in her words, “It doesn’t do to be too different when you’re five.”
A tiny bit late for that!
Now, I could tell you about the tribulations of a child who looks so much older, but is developmentally so much younger than her real age. But of course, those troubles would pale into comparison if in fact we’d added this diagnosis to our collection.
A blood test revealed that her human growth hormones are slightly elevated, but within normal limits. We could be looking at yet another growth spurt, but she is just incredibly tall. If any modeling agency would like to hire a supermodel who only wears pink and Hello Kitty, I’ve got your muse right here. Unlike Naomi Campbell who wouldn’t get out of bed for less than 10,000; my girl won’t stay in her bed for anything we’ve tried thus far. I’ll be her agent and manager.
Eustacia Cutler famously said of her daughter (Temple Grandin): “Different, not less.” With Pudding it has always been different, and a little bit more. But we love every extra inch of her. Having said that, she has just grown out of another dress size, so if you have any hand-me-downs we’ll be glad to take them. Especially if you have a tutu- I haven’t entirely ruled out ballerinaism yet.