Katie was always fascinated by Little People. She adored “the tiniest dwarf” and the Roloff family on television, but I believe this affinity began when she was in early elementary school. She was little for her age and would hear me explain to people that short stature is a Prader-Willi Syndrome characteristic. She would also hear her father’s family tell about how short their ancestors were; I believe her paternal great grandmother was reported as being 4’8″ or 4’10”, I don’t remember which, but definitely short compared to my family. She was wearing size 3 dresses when she started Kindergarten, so she frequently heard comments about her diminutive size. Sometime after age six, she encountered her first little person. He completely captured her attention. She watched him unabashedly, contemplating how his small stature didn’t seem to accurately reflect his apparent age.
After studying him sufficiently she turned to me and asked, “Do you think he comes from a family where everybody is small? Or do you think he was born on Leap Day?”
Barely choking back laughter, I sputtered, “What? What do you mean?”
With the patience only Katie had, she calmly repeated with more explanation, “He is little. Do you think his whole family is little, like how Dad’s Grandma was little or do you think he was born on Leap Day?”
“I don’t think his whole family was little. What do you mean about him being born on Leap Day?”, I was still perplexed by that part of the question.
“Well,” she began explaining, “if his whole family isn’t little, I figure he must have been born on Leap Day because he is old looking, but he is still so short that he must not have had enough birthdays to grow big.”
I will never live through a Leap Day without thinking of this delightful conversation and without remembering how Katie loved people, but most especially little people.