Weight…

Every night at dinner time my Mom would fill our plates then pull out her little white scale. Then she would carefully weigh each portion of her dinner before sitting with us.

“I’m fat,” she’d say in explanation. “I need to lose weight.”

Every Friday we would go to the local mall. My Dad would take us for an ice cream cone while my Mom wandered around the mall until we were done.

“Why won’t you have an ice cream cone?” I asked.

“Because I’m trying to lose weight,” she replied. “Besides, I have a treat waiting for me at home.”

The treat was frozen green grapes, which didn’t sound like much of a treat to me but adults could be weird sometimes.

I had losing weight pegged as an adult thing, right up until one summer when my neighbour complimented me on my looks. I felt a little uncomfortable because he was the parent of one of my classmates and I wondered why he’d commented now.

“You’ve lost a bit of weight,” my Mom pointed out. I’d been homesick and barely ate anything that vacation. “If you lost just 10 more pounds you’d be perfect”.

I’m not digging out any pictures but I weighed 125lbs at the time and was nowhere near fat. But teenage me knew what to do, at least I thought I did. I knew counting calories was a part of losing weight so I started looking at boxes and containers. A packet of Bovril soup stock was 13 calories. Was that normal? Too much? I had no idea. I made it anyway and drank it down with some water. Then I went to the garage and got my bike. Exercise was important too. And so I biked farther than I’d gone in a while; uphill and down, all the way to the local conservation area. I loved going there  but I was much too weak and dizzy to go in. Luckily I managed to get back home. Where my Mom lovingly berated me for eating too little and made me eat a real bowl of soup and a sandwich.

And that was how my weight loss journey began, later than my Mom’s journey which started in primary school.

Even now I know I have a bad relationship with diets. The moment I start one I become terrified of food and their calories. Is it too much? Not enough? What if I screw up? Then I snap and eat half a carton of ice cream or a row of homemade cookies.

Back in September I decided to start walking at least 10,000 steps a day and I’ve been sticking to it. So far I’ve lost 31lbs. My pants are pooling around my heels and my shirts are looser. I am not dieting though, that’s just not a good choice for me.

One thing I did when the kids were growing up is tell them they were pretty, strong, and brave… never thin. And I never talked about being fat, I was trying to get healthier. So far it seems to have worked. Hopefully the dieting cycle has been broken in our family.

We need to stop criticizing ourselves in front of our children. They are little sponges, absorbing everything. And we need to stop criticizing them. It’s normal for preteen girls to put on a little weight, they’re growing rapidly and need that weight as fuel. Yet I had other parents tell me I should put Kait on a diet and take away her baby carrots (one of her favourite treats) because they were full of sugar. She was perfectly normal and thinned out the farther she got into puberty. She’s perfectly normal now too.

And we need to stop linking weight with health. There are plenty of thin unhealthy people and fat healthy people. As soon as you correlate fat with unhealthy you start seeing fat as the problem and stop looking for the real issue. You can’t diet yourself out of Crohns or stomach cancer. As the saying goes, if you see every problem as a nail, soon you’ll see every solution as a hammer.

I wish I could go back in time and tell my Mom not to worry so much about losing weight, she looked fine the way she was. That one ice cream cone a week was okay. To pick out an activity she liked and get moving (the bonus being a child free evening).

You only get one life to live, make life count instead of counting calories.

Advertisements

Looking at life from both sides…

I remember, years ago in Sociology, the teacher talked about three different kinds of parenting; authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive. Authoritarian were the strict parents, expecting respect and obedience and deciding what was best for the child. Permissive parents wanted to be their child’s friend to the point of making little to no rules. And Authoritative was a blend of the two, giving the child a say but making the final decision.

I thought about that class a couple of days ago while I read comments on a Facebook post. I watched parents from both sides expressing love for their children and child abuse by the opposing parents. It was easy to see who was authoritarian and who was authoritative.

The authoritative parents were listening to their child’s insistent claims of being the other gender. They were going to doctors, psychiatrists, and counselors to sort out what’s going on. They were listening to their child but weren’t changing anything until the professionals were called.

The authoritarian parents listened to their child’s insistent claims of being the other gender and quickly and firmly told the child, “no, you are a boy/girl. I don’t want to hear any more nonsense about this”. And, of course, the child stops talking about it for years and years until they either commit suicide or come out as an adult. But, in the meantime their parents are certain they are doing the right thing. “Children are too young for stuff like that” is a comment I see regularly. Comparing being trans to sexual abuse is another, even though they are completely different things.

The authoritarian parents ask questions like “My child wanted to be a dog. Should I have got her a collar and started feeding her on the floor?” My sister pretended to be a dog for a little while too. She had to eat at the table but could crawl around and bark as much as she wanted. I was a child myself so I don’t know how long it lasted. I’m going to guess not very long. Trans children, on the other hand, are adamant they’re the other gender (or somewhere in between) and they keep persisting. And once they transition, they stay that other gender, for the most part. It doesn’t matter if they change their mind because the only thing that happens when a child transitions is they change clothes and hair styles.

I have some sympathy for the authoritarian parents. It’s hard to listen to your child’s choices when they make such spectacularly bad decisions. You put the goldfish where?!? But then I remember Leelah Alcorn and how her parents denied her truth over and over again, even after she died. And these statistics:

10847943_788033814566367_5352747072176063433_n

The pale blue bars show the authoritarian parents. They’re the parents who said “no, you are who we say you are”. The dark blue shows the authoritative parents. Now look at the difference, especially the last section which is attempted suicide, not just talking about it but doing it. 57 per cent, more than half of the unsupported kids versus 4 per cent for the supported kids. Is being in charge all the time worth losing your kid? Sure you get your chosen name on the gravestone instead of theirs but damn.

I know I have groups of people who don’t like me, they show up in my statistics. They either think Colin’s getting manipulated into being trans. That kiddo could give a lawyer a run for her money. Or that he’s so developmentally delayed that he simply agrees to everything I say. This would be a surprise for his teacher. You know what though? I don’t give a rat’s ass what they think. My kids are far more important.

Right now Colin’s wavering between being Colin or Emma. I have no idea how long this wavering will take and no idea what he will choose. Either way, it’s his decision, not mine. And as an authoritative parent, I will support him either way.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Christmas is my most favourite time of the year. The decorations, the lights, the chocolate, the music, the family and friends, the baking, the presents, the cards, the chocolate. I have to include chocolate twice because it’s so yummy.

We’re still sorting out what we’re going to do on Christmas. Is Kait coming here on Christmas morning? Will we have dinner at my parents’ house or my sister’s? But I’m sure that will all get sorted over the next couple of weeks.

I’ve already decided to make cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast. Bonus is that’s a big incentive for Kait to come over here. And both my Mom and I picked up a Gardein vegan turkey for dinner so I’m all set there. Colin’s stopped being vegan so he’ll be eating turkey with everyone else.

When I was a little girl, my Mom would ask me what I wanted for Christmas and I’d reply “a tree with sparkling lights”. That hasn’t changed. And now we have even more. I hope you enjoy my pictures and wish you could share yours as well.

tree and mantle

My electric fireplace mantle and our little tree, which is actually standing straight, no idea why it’s leaning in the photo.

sparkle ornament

My favourite ornament. It reads “Leave a little sparkle wherever you go”

dining room

Our dining room. I love this little penguin. Oh and you can tell which decorations on the hutch are mine and which are Colin’s.

Christmas village

This was Colin’s favourite decoration as a child. He’d spend hours walking the little figures around and making stories for them.

If you do want to send me a picture of your ornaments, feel free to message me on Facebook and I’ll add them to this post.

There may be some confusion…

Colin’s decision to postpone his transition has caused some confusion for both of us. What do I call him? Colin or Emma? I mean he’s still technically female so Emma fits but he’s also fine with Colin. He wants to be called Colin in public, except at his doctor’s office where he’s Emma. And he’s still wearing female tops.

So I’ve ended up with a mish mash of Colin and Emma, she and he whenever I talk to or about him. This seems to suit him just fine.

Christmas is coming, along with an assortment of presents. I asked Colin what he wanted on the labels.

“I don’t care,” he replied. “Colin or Emma are both okay.”

The presents are staying at home so I wrote Emma on the tags. And I’ll write Emma on his last remaining present, a pair of kitty cat ear headphones he breathlessly showed me and said, “I need these!”

Yesterday he went out and bought my stocking stuffers and a present. He had a budget of $20 and spent $70. Apparently we need to discuss restraint. My stocking stuffers are hanging out in a bundle buggy because they’re too big to fit in a reusable bag. I don’t know how he’s expecting them to go into a stocking if they can’t fit a bag and I’m curious as to what he actually got (although not curious enough to peek).

I came into the living room this morning and discovered my wrapped present with To: Mom written in the thickest black marker he could fine, I mean that marker’s bigger than jumbo. Then I looked down, wondering what name he’d pick for himself.

Emma's present to me

Apparently he’s just as confused as I am because it says From: Child

We’ll sort things out eventually and, until then he’ll live ambiguously. As long as he’s happy that’s all that really matters.

Christmas tree oh Christmas tree…

I thought putting up our tree was going to be easy. I don’t know why, it wasn’t like I’d had an easy time the last couple of years.

Two years ago we got our tree out of storage and it was missing a leg. I jury rugged one out of a plastic coat hanger then quickly covered it with the tree skirt. It wasn’t perfect but it held the tree up until after Christmas, which was good enough.

Then Colin and I went to Superstore during the Boxing Day sales and I picked up a new 6ft tree for $15. It was such a good deal that I called Kait and asked if she wanted one too. Luckily she refused.

I nearly cried last year when I put up that tree and looked at it for the first time. The spaces between the branches were nearly 10cm apart. I like some large spaces for dangling ornaments but not the whole tree. The spaces were so wide it resembled some sort of bizarre fern instead of a pine tree.

That’s when Colin came to the rescue. He’d kept the old tree and all three feet. He promptly stole a foot from the mutant fern tree and hammered it into the old tree’s base.

“There, you have all your feet,” he said triumphantly.

And I set up our original tree and Christmas was good.

It was after dinner on Friday when Colin and I went downstairs to get our four Rubbermaid bins on Christmas decorations and the box with the tree in it. Colin piles all four boxes onto his skateboard, the only time he uses it, and I grabbed the tree and carried it home.

The worst thing about our original tree is it’s one of those older style ones where you have to attach every single branch. I started digging out all the branches then found the tree feet at the bottom of the box… all two of them when the tree needed four. We triple checked and nothing. No more feet. At that point I declared it a night and went to bed. The next morning I went downstairs and found another foot near the back of the locker. But three feet weren’t going to cut it and I couldn’t find a coat hanger similar to the one I’d previously used.

We have a JYSK a block away from our place and a quick internet search turned up a 6ft tree for $23.99. I grabbed our wagon, which Colin’s decorated for Christmas, and headed over. The only one they had at that price was 5ft but it was good enough.

Colin came in while I was decorating and stared at it in shock.

“It’s tiny,” he blurted. Which it must seem from his 6ft4in height. But I’m not much bigger than the tree and it looks fine to me.

The best thing about this tree is it has legs instead of feet and they’re all one solid piece. Now to see what’s going to happen to our tree in 2018!

our little tree

 

Detransitioning…

“I borrowed one of your shirts,” I called as Emma untied her shoes in the front hall.

She walked into the living room and looked at me, “You can keep it,” she said, “It looks good on you. Besides I won’t be needing it.”

“So you’ve decided? You’re not transitioning?” I asked.

“I can’t,” she replied. “I want to be a parent so badly.”

I’d already talked to her about adoption and using a sperm donor. She’d vetoed both, wanting a baby that came from her.

I said the first thing that came to mind. “It’s a good thing I didn’t buy an Emma name card for your bedroom door.”

“Oh yeah,” she breathed. “I would have cried.”

“Are you changing because you really are male?” I had to ask.

She shook her head, “No. I’m female.”

I don’t know what to do now. She figures she won’t need to tell the family because they don’t use her name and pronouns anyway. I think they could use a head’s up. But then there’s Facebook and her doctor’s office and, well, me. I changed pronouns quickly when she started out with zie and moved to they. I even switched quickly when she went back to he for half a year. But switching back to male everything when I know she’s a woman? That’s harder. A lot harder.

So, from now on I’ll be doing my best to refer to Emma as Colin and using the pronouns he and him. And maybe someday I’ll be able to say Emma again.

You are..

You are loved
You are valued
You are important
You are beautiful
You are handsome
You are strong
You are powerful
You are made from the stuff of stars
You are kindness
You are courage
You are freedom
You are cared for
You matter

On this, the Transgender Day of Remembrance, you are honoured and treasured. Even if you feel alone, there are people out there who would love to meet you, would love to be your friend.

If you are depressed there are numbers you can call for help. Or you can message me on my Facebook page. I will listen.

Trans day of Remembrance