The 95th percentile looks something like this. Height: three feet, seven inches; weight: 45 pounds; age: four.

I have a supersized kid in every way possible. My four-year-old son is larger than the average four-year-old. Hell, he’s larger than the average five-year-old and in some cases he can hold his own next to a first grader. It’s not just his height that makes him stand out. He’s loud, rambunctious, and active. He’s smart, and hilarious both on purpose and unintentionally. He’s a presence.

Over the past four years, I’ve realized that parenting a supersized kid comes with its own set of challenges, and in managing those challenges, I’ve learned a few tricks.

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Always order the class photo

This one I wasn’t prepared for. Of course I knew my son was bigger than every kid in his class, but when I saw all 12 of them lined up, smiling in their best outfits, I burst out laughing. My eyes immediately shifted to my son, standing in the back, proud to be surrounded by his classmates. He was a good head taller than every child. It looked like a first grader had snuck into his preschool class. He stuck out like a sore thumb and it was awkward in the most awesome way possible. I ordered the photo immediately.

Don’t sweat the dirty looks from strangers

This one I haven’t quite figured out yet. It happens a lot, probably more than it should. When an average-sized toddler has an age-appropriate meltdown in public, the mom usually gets looks of concern, empathy, and maybe even a helping hand from a stranger. When my son has a tantrum in a store, or grabs at all the peanut M&Ms on the shelf, or starts crying because mommy said he can’t have the aforementioned peanut M&Ms, I get those looks. You know the ones. The try to control your child look. The he’s still having tantrums? look. The stares.

“He’s four,” I always say with an embarrassed chuckle. Every time, without fail, the look softens into a smile.

“You’re kidding! I thought he was six!”

My response is always the same. “Nope, four. Actually, he just turned four. It’s great to have a tall boy, just not when he’s acting like a four-year-old in public.”

More uneasy laughter.

I shouldn’t have to justify it, and I shouldn’t have to feel like I should have to justify it. But, like I said, I haven’t quite figured this one out yet.

Know when it’s time to stop picking him up

This one is getting easier as my son gets older and asks to be picked up less frequently, but like most toddlers, my son still loves being picked up. Every day is like an ironman competition in my house. There’s a reason why my biceps are very defined and it has nothing to do with a gym.

About six months ago in Target I realized the days of picking up my baby were numbered. He wanted to sit in the front of the cart and I swear it took superhuman strength to get him in there. Once he was settled and barely fitting, I pushed him around the store, relishing the moment, knowing that soon he would be walking next to me like a big boy. I stopped the cart and turned my back for half a second when I heard his sweet-but-very-loud voice.

“Mommy!”

I turned back and he was standing. In the cart. His knee was in line with my nose. He towered so high above me that my heart lurched into my throat. I was about to ask him to sit down when he got that look in his eye. Shit, I thought to myself, and braced for impact. He proceeded to hurl all forty-five pounds of himself at me, grabbing onto my shoulders and kicking the huge red cart about two feet in the opposite direction.

“Mommy!” he screamed in a fit of laughter.

It was amazing I didn’t break anything – in Target or in my body.

Being a mom to a supersized kid is one of the great joys of my life. When it comes to my son, everything is bigger. It’s like the colors are brighter, the laughter is louder, and even the ice cream is sweeter. There’s never a dull moment and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But if you see us in Target and he’s rearranging the candy aisle, just remember…he’s only four.