Zach Tori Roloff’s 5-year-old son, Jackson, is just starting to realize he has dwarfism — but his parents are there to provide him with plenty of guidance (and jokes) along the way.
“I was watching dwarf soccer — a bunch of dwarfs play in a game on YouTube — and [Jackson] goes, ‘Why are those players so short?” Zach, 32 — who also has dwarfism — recalls exclusively to Us Weekly. “And he was looking at some fans with the coaching staff. He’s like, ‘Those players are tall, you know?’ And I was like, well, those players have dwarfism. They’re like you and I.’”
TLC personality Jackson and all three of their children (he and Tori are the proud parents, Lilah, 2, & Josiah, 3, respectively) have achondroplasia. This condition is a form of short-limb dwarfism. (Zach’s parents, Amy Matt Roloff, has also been diagnosed with achondroplasia. However, his three siblings, which include a twin, have the same condition. Jeremy, do not. Tori is also of average size.
“He’s just now starting to connect with it,” Tori tells Use of their oldest child’s relationship to his dwarfism. Zach adds that sometimes Jackson doesn’t realize it.
“Sometimes he’ll say, like, ‘When I grow up, I’m gonna be tall. Like mama, not you dad,’” the Pennsylvania native says, joking, “And I’m like, ‘Uh … you’re in for a rude awakening.”
In November 2021, Jackson underwent surgery to correct the bowing in his legs, and the reality TV stars couldn’t help but praise their son’s progress.
“He is doing great. Everything’s great,” Zach shares with Use, explaining that screws were put into Jackson’s legs “so as he grows, the legs will straighten.”
He adds that it will take about “four or five years” to see the change, noting that people often wonder why Jackson’s legs still look bowed. “It’s not an overnight fix if you will,” he explains.
Jackson is adjusting to being a big brother for the second consecutive time since Josiah, Jackson’s little brother, was born on April 30.
The kids “always want to help” their parents with the infant, Tori gushes to Use. “Jackson comes in, he doesn’t even say, ‘Good morning, Mom’ anymore. It’s like, ‘How’s Josiah doing?’ He’s very concerned about what he’s doing. It’s really sweet.”
When he and Lilah aren’t busy “touching, kissing and poking” their baby brother, Jackson is all about outdoor activities.
“He just wants to get out, go outside, go play with Dad,” Tori says.
Little People, Big WorldTLC airs Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Christina Garibaldi reports