Skinny legs and new wings
Skinny legs and new wings
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
In the past year James has gone from being a small boy to a lanky, skinny teen who chuckles to himself as he peers over his granny’s head. His last year of primary school has seen him growing in shoe size- first he matched his mom’s shoe size, now mine. His uniform flaps, mid-calf, his shirts hover at belt-height, and I can’t figure out when it all happened. When did he stop being helpless?

Surely a parent should notice every single centimetre or growth their child goes through? Maybe that only happens for all of those weigh-ins the first year or so. I’ve never kept up with the ‘pencil-marked-height-on-the door-jamb’ thing. Perhaps it’s impossible to see the changes happening.

Emotionally, he’s still quite young- for example, he and his sister spent the weekend making fake news reports with an old video camera:

Hannah: ‘Today, sadly, 15 000 people died in a car accident in Muizenberg. The driver of the car has been arrested for “dancing while driving.” In other news, Mince Rotney is debating Barack Obaba...’

They both cried with laughter.

Saturday, we went for a walk in the local park. During our stroll, we came across a quivering speck on the path: A tiny flightless chick, which had obviously fallen from a nest. The parent birds seemed to be looking for it, as there was plenty of bird-speak going on. I couldn’t see the nest, and the chick couldn’t fly. We didn’t want to touch it for fear of the mother bird rejecting it. We left it, hoping the parent birds would feed it on the ground.

As we headed home, we passed the little bird again. That was when it happened: There, right in front of us, it stretched its tiny, stubby wings and flitted into a tree. Not very high, but just enough for it to claw back to the safety of the nest. First flight.

When my back is turned, I think my kids do those reckless attempts at flying, too. One minute they’re blindly calling for worms from the safety of the nest, metaphorically-speaking, the next, soaring high above it. Some of my role involves feeding, nurturing and protecting them, and some of it is to simply bear witness to the most awe-inspiring leaps that they take on their own.

Time to stop measuring, and start appreciating?

What has been the biggest (and most surprising) change you have seen in your child? Tell us at and you could win a R250 voucher.

Congrats to last week's winner, Marinda Stark for her letter called "Judging"

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