Height doesn’t de­fine me, says short mother

Taranaki Daily News - - News -

Be­ing fol­lowed around the su­per­mar­ket by chil­dren point­ing and whis­per­ing be­hind her back is not un­com­mon for Blen­heim woman Vicki Howe.

There are days when she doesn’t even want to leave the house, be­cause she knows she will have to deal with people’s re­ac­tions.

Howe, 49, a ‘‘lit­tle per­son’’ who is 120 cen­time­tres tall, wants people to stop treat­ing her like she has a con­ta­gious dis­ease and re­alise that while she is shorter than the aver­age per­son, she is just like any­one else.

‘‘People think just be­cause I’m short, I can’t do any­thing,’’ she said.

‘‘The only dif­fer­ence be­tween me and you is I can’t reach high places. That’s the only thing.’’

Chil­dren in su­per­mar­kets would fol­low her around from aisle to aisle, whis­per­ing when they saw her.

‘‘I smile at them, but there are days I want to throw things at them,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s very frus­trat­ing. I’m not poi­sonous, I don’t have dis­eases.’’

Adults quickly look away, em­bar­rassed to be caught star­ing.

‘‘People have this per­cep­tion that nor­mal is just like them,’’ she said.

‘‘You just need to treat people for who they are, not what they are.’’

She said people in Blen­heim seemed more ac­cept­ing of her height than those in the Auck­land sub­urb of Pa­pakura, where she used to live, but chil­dren still stared and pointed.

Howe, who has a 19-year-old daugh­ter with her ex-hus­band, was born with achon­dropla­sia, a com­mon cause of dwarfism. She in­her­ited the gene from her fa­ther, who was also a lit­tle per­son. The gene skipped her daugh­ter, who is about 170cm tall. The aver­age adult height for people with achon­dropla­sia is 131cm for men and 123cm for women.

Howe moved to Blen­heim to be with her fi­ance Wayne Carey in March last year.

It was hard for her part­ner, who is 172cm tall, to see how people treated her, she said.

‘‘When some­one makes fun of me it does get to him, it gets him down,’’ she said.

‘‘Some of them don’t want to give me the chance to get to know me.’’


Ev­ery­day people: Blen­heim cou­ple Wayne Carey and Vicki Howe want people to stop star­ing and say ‘‘hello’’.

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