I held off on viewing Little People, Big World for awhile since I figured it would be exploitative. Sorry if I don’t trust network execs but dwarves+ reality show just seems like it would be too easily turned into a bad idea. However, mindlessly flipping through the channels one day I stumbled upon it and 1) It’s not exploitative and 2) It’s completely fascinating. They have four kids, only one of whom has dwarfism.
Tiny mom Amy Roloff tells Celebrity Baby Scoop: “There are multiple messages that the show addresses including advocacy and education to others about dwarfism. So many different images come to most people’s minds about dwarfs and people with dwarfism. We wanted to let people know we are a lot more regular than people may think. This is our norm, and we wanted to normalize dwarfism.”
Sounds like a good plan, but going on reality TV can be risky business. Not only are your airing your dirty laundry in front of a national audience, but like the Hogans or the Gosselins, many relationships end up in divorce. Amy safeguards against this kind of demise by making sure the kids know that even though they are on TV they are normal and reminds herself and her husband Matt that they made the choice to lead public lives. “I think because we have kept the kids life normal as normal can be when you have media in your life and Matt are into other things our life will continue after TV. Our faith also plays a big part. Faith is what keeps me grounded.”
As for her kids, Amy describes daughter Molly as the “balance and stabilizer in our family.” Jacob, who is thirteen, as someone who “is bright, does well in school, gets bored, loves the computer “techy” world, games, loves to horse around with this brothers and friends, plays soccer, a little martial arts, but is sometimes stubborn and not talkative.” Zachary and Jeremy, who are about to turn 20 “are keeping busy and still playing a little soccer.”
Jeremy is a whopping 6’1 compared to his brother who is a dwarf. “Their difference is their ‘normal,’” says Amy. “So for the most part the boys have done quite well. There personalities are defiantly different as well. They are two individuals and we have tried to help them appreciate themselves and do their best for who they are while still appreciating the other. Sure they have their frustrations but they often come back together too.”
When she first got pregnant, she weighed the possibility that they would have dwarfism, but felt OK with that. “We also have had, from my memory, a good experience with my doctors during each pregnancy. I have been asked questions early on as to why I would want to bring a child into this world knowing they could have ‘issues and/or challenges’. Our thinking was and still is, it is not up to us to determine someone’s worth or purpose or that they may face challenges. As I mentioned before, a lot of what someone may have to overcome is attitude, from oneself and others.”
Matt had previously spoke to Babble.com about how height has affected his parenting. “Obviously, you’re less physically intimidating, but there’s a reason why teaching is the biggest profession for dwarfs: the relatability factor. They’re the same size as the kids, so it opens their hearts and minds better,” he said. “There’s a certain vulnerability kids see that I think is advantageous. None of our kids is embarrassed to come up and kiss us. My dad was a huge guy, and I was always embarrassed, like “Dad, get out of here!” But my kids see us and they’re like, “Hey, that’s my dad!” It forced them at an early age to be proud that their parents were little people, and if you can teach your kids to be proud of being different, it makes them more open-minded.”
Little people, big inspirations.