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.

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Confusion…

I looked out the window at the gently falling snow and decided I was going to have a walk through the woods instead of a walk on the indoor track. Jeremy didn’t want to go, it was too cold… too blah. He’d much rather stay inside.

I found my hat and two mismatched gloves… there had to be another one in the winter box.

“Mom!” Jeremy screamed. “If you leave for your walk, I’m going to kill myself.”

Huh!?!

“If you walk out that door, I’ll be dead when you come back!”

And with that, he ran to his bedroom… bursting into tears moments before he slammed his door. If he hadn’t cried I’d have left. I’m not one for supporting manipulation or mind games. The tears changed the situation so I puttered around looking for the glove and doing some light tidying.

Jeremy came out less than five minutes later and asked if we could go to the hospital so he could get admitted. Apparently he’d been mad at me (I have no idea why) and was going to call and give me a 5 minute warning to get home before taking a bottle of pills. The woods are a half-hour walk away. I wouldn’t have got home in time.

And so we went off to the hospital to wait and talk with various doctors and nurses. Jeremy ranked himself a 4 or 5 on the depression scale. I’d ranked myself a 0 or 1 several days earlier. He chatted about being suicidal for years while the crisis nurse looked confused and gently suggested he might be mixing suicidal up with feeling down.

“If you were suicidal for that long, you’d be dead,” she said bluntly. He just shook his head.

“This is the same as when you came in, right Mom?” he asked as we waited to see the psychiatrist.

I found myself unsure what to say. It wasn’t anything like when I got admitted. I got put on an involuntary 72 hour form when the first doctor saw me. By the time I saw the psychiatrist, I was in hospital clothes and eating dinner in the back under constant supervision. The doctor was far more interested in Jeremy’s autism than his depression. Jeremy went in voluntarily because, well, there’s a bed and maybe he is suicidal. The doctor seemed very iffy on that maybe.

Now Jeremy’s walking home from the hospital after discharging himself because it was boring… 16 hours after reaching the floor. And I find myself struggling with how to handle an angry nineteen year old who insists he’s suicidally depressed yet only wants to kill himself if he doesn’t get his own way.

“I didn’t like the hospital… it was boring,” he repeated again.

“Did you get your prescriptions from the doctor?” I asked.

“I don’t know! I got papers from the doctor but I don’t know!” he screamed. “Are you going to stop interrupting me now!!!”

I remind him, yet again, that we don’t treat people like that. He complains, yet again, that he doesn’t like being interrupted and it’s rude. And on we go again.

And I’m tired.

The wrong way to teach sex ed…

Jeremy and I were having one of those conversations about the silly things zie and zir sister said when they were younger. I told Jeremy about zir unusual conclusion regarding anal sex then, to give the conversation a bit of balance, brought up the time Emma asked me how lesbians had sex… on our way into the local mall.

“There wasn’t much I could say,” I concluded. “I don’t actually know how lesbians have sex. I told her if she was that interested, she could Google it herself when she got older or try it for herself.”

Jeremy gave me a look that said zie was not only concerned about my intelligence but that zie was obviously more knowledgeable than I was.

“Oh Mom,” zie sighed. “Everyone knows how lesbians have sex.” Zie held up zir hand then opened and closed two fingers, bringing them closer to me for emphasis.

“Yes, hon, I have heard the term scissoring before. I just don’t know what it means and have never been interested enough to look it up for myself.”

“Well I know what it means,” zie announced.

I gazed at Jeremy expectantly and waited for zir to continue. I could tell when zie realized why I was silent because that was when the expression on zir face changed from “worldly wise” to “deer in headlights”.

“Oh… well… you see…” Jeremy stammered. “They, umm, put their legs around each other’s necks then open and close them as fast as they can.”

I’d been trying to keep a serious expression but lost it then. That had to be the most unlikely scenario I could come up with and, as usual, unlikely was Jeremy’s first choice.

“Hon, I think you’re confusing lesbians with black widow spiders. No one gets decapitated during sex.”

“But you said you don’t know what scissoring is,” zie protested.

“Seriously Jeremy,” I blurted. “I’m reasonably sure I’d notice if my friends were losing their heads. That’s not how scissoring works.”

“Okay, I guess…” Zir tone was pure reluctance. Jeremy has a really hard time admitting zie’s wrong and that’s the closest zie gets to admitting it.

It wasn’t the best sex ed talk I’ve had with either of my kids but at least Jeremy’s no long confusing lesbians with spiders (seriously, zie will never live that down). All I got out of the conversation was a few laughs and the realization that if Jeremy’s watching porn, there’s a good chance it’s not of the lesbian variety.

Anger and confusion…

Jeremy’s been careening between both these days. Twice today he’s gotten furious over something inconsequential. Once because I was standing about a foot away from him texting while I waited for him to finish his game and get off the computer. He closed his fists and hammered the keyboard three times before getting up and punching the dining room wall hard enough to knock the kitchen clock off. The clock’s a mirror, it fell on the tile floor and shattered. The second time was when we were trying to figure out what office our management is building near the main front door. Jeremy figured they were going to move the management office downstairs and stop allowing people to pay rent upstairs then he freaked out when I disagreed. Management office currently takes up half a floor while this new office will fit maybe a desk and a couple of chairs when they’re done. Neither of us know what’s really going in there but that didn’t stop him from assuming I wasn’t listening simply because I disagreed.

Then there’s the confusion. He mentioned a few weeks ago that he would wear different clothes if he felt safer but had no idea what they’d be. He still has no idea, he hasn’t been able to point out a single article of clothing in any store we’ve been in or tell me if he’s wanting tops or bottoms… or clothes for summer or fall.

He had his hair cut today and it ended up shorter than I expected. The hairdresser was friendly but picky, she just couldn’t get the sides even enough. Even after she’d put purple mousse in his hair, brought out the mirror to show him the back, and got his approval, she still picked up the scissors and trimmed just a bit more here and there… until she finally cut off at least five centimeters. She originally said no more than half a centimeter.

Jeremy couldn’t tell me if he liked the cut or not. It was okay but he agreed he’d have said the same if she shaved him bald. When I pointed out he needed hair for braids, he wasn’t sure if he wanted braids… but wasn’t sure if he didn’t either. In short he had no idea. This despite the fact he said yesterday that wanted to have his hair up when Amy comes for her visit, saying his only worry was getting beaten up while waiting for the bus.

Then we went to the dentist and I started filling out his form. The first question involved dental pain or discomfort. Jeremy could not tell me if he’d ever noticed his teeth hurting. How the hell do you not know if your own teeth hurt?

I mentioned my concerns to his counselor and she had no idea. Her only thought was maybe his lack of awareness had something to do with autism, but freely admitted she suggested that because she doesn’t know anything about autism.

I find myself struggling. Pushing him for answers and suggesting ideas then asking if they’re okay ends up feeling too close to forcing him to do something (especially since I usually don’t get an enthusiastic response, just a mild okay). But if I don’t do or say anything, he ends up simply sitting all day in his pyjamas, staring at the computer.

There’s been a couple of hopeful signs. He picked out his own water bottle a few days ago without me asking if he wanted one. I pointed out the display of sparkly bottles because I wanted one for myself. Once I picked mine out, he asked if there was a purple one then grabbed it for himself. And last night he asked me to feel his nails. He’d dug out the nail buffer and polished all his nails while watching videos. And he wanted to write that letter to Just Kidding News. It didn’t receive any reply but he wrote it at least.

Jeremy just called me into the kitchen to see the clock. He pieced it all back together then glued it into place, fitting back the clock mechanism and hanging it back on the wall. He promises this isn’t my birthday present, that he’ll do something even better.

Which is great but all I really want for my birthday is for Jeremy to know his own mind.