Four years of writing…

WordPress informed me today that I’ve been writing this blog for exactly four years now, that my first post was written on December 22, 2013. Back then we were using pseudonyms. I was Michelle, Colin was Jeremy (the male name I’d picked for Kait), and Kait was Emma(the female name I’d picked for Colin). We showed no pictures with faces and made sure to mention only that we were Canadian and near Toronto. Colin was still in high school, which he’s since graduated from (refusing their additional program called school to work) and Kait was working for No Frills, a Canadian grocery store chain. I was working full time for Tim Hortons, a Canadian coffee chain.

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Four years later and so much has changed. I’d always struggled with mild to moderate depression but it wasn’t enough to affect my job. Then it burst into full blown depression (Major Depressive Disorder) and extreme anxiety. I take a handful of pills a day and my psychiatrist doesn’t think I’ll ever work again. Which is a blow since I’m in my 40’s still but it wasn’t a surprise. I belong to a couple of groups in meatspace and do a variety of activities such as bowling, yoga, making bath bombs, and extreme couponing. Both groups are near a walking trail so I walk on the trail either before or after group to get my 10,000 steps.

Kait no longer works at No Frills, instead she’s a store clerk for a gas station, working their midnight shift. She’s doing an amazing job there, they say she’s their best night shift worker ever. Plus she loves her home and her two kitties. She’s been with her boyfriend for about as long as the blog and is doing well with him.

Colin is the focus of the blog and he’s the one who’s gone through the most transitions. He started out wondering if he were bisexual then realized he didn’t like-like boys, only girls. Right from the first post he identified with Jazz Jennings, a trans teenager from Florida, except he wasn’t uncomfortable with his body at the time, he just had a “girl’s brain”. Then, a little while later, people started doing those genetic tests. I used to hang out a lot in a forum called Regretsy (sadly it no longer exists) and one of the people did one of the tests and posted the results. I read them aloud to Colin and he got excited right at the beginning when it said the sex was male. Could he take the test too? I had no idea what he was talking about until he added “so I can find out what sex I am”. I explained it would only tell him his birth sex, not how he feels inside. Another time I pointed out we were having a lot more trans readers and Colin’s response was, “That’s not a surprise.” It took me a long time to realize that Colin wasn’t cisgender but he was patient with me. Then came the sorting out. He started out as bigender (feeling both male and female) then pangender (feeling like all genders) then started exploring more towards being female. He drifted into being female and picked out the name Emma (which was the name I’d chosen when I was pregnant with him). He was happy with the name and being referred to with female pronouns. Then he started worrying about fertility. He’s wanted to be a parent since he could talk so that wasn’t a surprise but the lack of fertility preservation was a shock. Freezing sperm only works 50% of the time and is expensive and stopping hormone therapy has an unknown success rate because it seems like only trans people are talking about it. The doctors claim 100% infertility once the hormones take effect. So now Colin’s still female but not sure about transitioning. I use Colin on the blog and both Colin and Emma at home. He’s happy with that. He’s also in school, taking mostly math, and hoping to eventually go to college. He builds and rebuilds computers in his spare time and plays PC video games.

Kait and her boyfriend are coming over for dinner, stockings, and presents tomorrow. I’m going to make Kait’s favourites; pasta with pumpkin sauce and Christmas Crack. I’ve included the link because the dessert is easy and amazingly yummy. They claim it’ll last a week, like you’re not going to eat half a pan standing over the kitchen counter. I don’t have a link to the pumpkin pasta, sadly. It was a recipe from the Today’s Parent forums, another site that no longer exists.

Colin and I are going to my parents’ house on Christmas Eve and sleeping over that night. Which saves a heck of a lot of driving, rather than going back and forth each day. Kait’s going to be there on Christmas Eve too.

I wonder where we’ll be in four more years. Where ever it is, I’m sure it’ll be fabulous!

 

Happy Holidays!

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Transgender Day of Visibility

trans day of visibility

I made this for Jeremy today while zie went out to Rona to look for “stuff” in general and “needed things” in particular. I’m reasonably sure zie was simply looking for anything to spend money on but zie came home happy with two new plants (both lilies and both well out of the way of our cats) and two wall adaptors that allow zir to plug light bulbs directly into an outlet. I had no idea these were necessities but apparently they are.

Jeremy came home and informed me that zie’s been thinking a lot about zir gender lately and zie’s decided gender is not very important to zir personally.

“I don’t mind when people call me he or him and I’m fine with people calling me she or saying I’m a girl,” Jeremy mused as zie gently pet one of our cats.

“What do you think about me using zie and zir for pronouns?” I asked then watched as zir mouth widened into a huge smile.

“I like those pronouns,” Jeremy said firmly.

Of course it isn’t as simple as that. It bothers zir intensely when people assume zie’s male and persistently refer to zir as he/him. Jeremy’s still furious with zir teachers for constantly referring to zir as a boy and snapped a few days ago when zir father referred to zir as son.

Jeremy’s not male, zie’s pangender so is all genders. And zie is so much more than that. Zie’s a gamer… a computer geek… a Whovian… a cat person… an RC car enthusiast… and someone with a passion for chocolate, flowers, and purple.

Zie’s too fabulous to be invisible!

Raising the trans equivalent of Jello…

Persistent and insistent.

These are the two words I see over and over when it comes to transgender children. In some ways they describe Jeremy, especially when it comes to electronics and anything purple (seriously, no, you don’t need a purple miniature frying pan when you don’t even cook) but they don’t describe zir at all when it comes to being trans. Jeremy can be so vague and ambivalent I end up feeling like I’m raising the trans equivalent of Jello.

I’m not going to say Jeremy never gave me any signs of being trans as a child because zie was definitely gender creative. Zir favourite colour was pink and zie loved Barbie, stuffed animals, and taking zir baby out for a walk in the stroller.

gender creative Jeremy

The flip side is zie was also passionate about Magic School Bus, Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, and just about anything with wheels…

Jeremy watching Granddad fix the car

Jeremy “helping” Grandad and zir uncle fix the car

Jeremy cheerfully wore zir sister’s second hand clothes but was just as happy with Hotwheels shirts and Pokemon runners. Zie loved zir pink Build a Bear and zir Matchbox cars track and went from a very feminine looking long hairstyle to a buzz cut with equal appreciation for both. Even when zie got older and increasingly uncomfortable with pronouns, Jeremy didn’t come right out and say so. A friend of mine finally suggested a trial run of pronouns and it took changing temporarily to they and them before Jeremy finally admitted zie was trans (after months of hinting).

The only real persistence Jeremy has is the insistence that zie is definitely trans and even that’s somewhat vague. At this point Jeremy’s not sure if zie’s pangender but knows zie falls somewhere on the trans spectrum. I’ve assured zir that, yes, it’s fine not to know and zie will sort zirself out eventually. I’ve also assured zir that it’s okay to be pangender and interested in RC cars, computers, and rebuilding and rewiring everything in the apartment. It’s equally all right for zir to be female and interested in RC cars, computers, and rebuilding and rewiring everything in the apartment. Zie was very relieved about both.

Which is why I’m posting this. In an online sea of posts about toddlers demanding dresses or blue boy jeans, there needs to be an additional narrative. Not everyone sorts out their gender at two and it’s equally important to realize that someone who doesn’t figure out their gender until after puberty has just as valid a narrative as someone who sorted it all out at three. And they are just as photogenic and awesomely cute (although I could be biased there).

our new hall light

Absolutely adorable and very handy. Jeremy found this Tiffany lamp and installed it in our front hall. Next to work on shortening the chain a bit 🙂

Christmas chaos…

I had three days off in a row mid November and decided that would be the perfect time to decorate for Christmas. I just needed to take down our Hallowe’en decorations and convince Jeremy to move all zir RC car bits and computer parts to somewhere more inconspicuous than our couch and dining room table.

“Jeremy, we really need to clean up…”

“That’s a great idea!” zie interrupted enthusiastically. “I really need to give my room a thorough cleaning. It’ll probably be easier if the bed wasn’t in the way…”

This was so not what I had in mind!

This was so not what I had in mind!

And off zie went, dragging even more stuff into the living room while pushing the Hallowe’en decorations to, well just about anywhere (including under the couch). Luckily zie did clean up fairly quickly and we were able to bring up the decorations from storage the following evening.

Last year I figured I’d make decorating easier by leaving the tree set up with the lights and garland already in place. That way all we needed to do was put on the decorations. What could go wrong? That question was answered almost as soon as we opened the locker door.

“Mom? Did you notice the tree?” Jeremy asked.

At first I thought zie was talking about the two loose branches dangling from the side. No big deal, they’d be easy to fix. Then I looked down. The tree went to the storage locker with four plastic feet. Now it only had three. It leaned against the wall as if it had snuck into the eggnog and rum a month too early. I have no idea where it could have found alcohol but where ever that was, it had apparently left a foot. It was nowhere to be found in the locker; we even got on our hands and knees to look under the baseboard heater. And there was no way I could put our ornaments up unless I wanted to replace them all next year. I’ve been carefully collecting ornaments for the past thirty years so that would be a distinct no.

so many bins

Jeremy insisted on taking all the bins up at once while I carried up our tree. When we got back to our apartment I hurried to put the tree into the living room then came back down our front hall to let Jeremy in. Zie let zirself inside instead.

“I could have opened that for you,” I blurted as the door banged against zir skateboard.

“I’m a strong, independent woman,” Jeremy retorted.

Jeremy tossed zir hair back and placed a hand on zir hip, holding the bins steady with the other. “I can do it myself,” zie added cockily. Alrighty then.

I propped the tree up against the bookcase and informed Jeremy we were eating before doing anything about the tree. I don’t think well when I’m hungry. Theoretically we could run across the street to Value Village. It was early enough for them to be open and they might have a tree. But we’d only had this one for a couple of years and it was still good, aside from that damn foot. Maybe I could make a foot but it would have to not only be strong enough to support the tree but also bend to fit into the groove on the base of the trunk. If only we had a metal coat hanger… I got up and hurried to the closet. We didn’t but I found a sturdy plastic hanger and Jeremy’s wire cutters.

our recycled leg

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. At least the tree skirt covers it.

tree and living room

I’d say that the decorating fiasco is over except Jeremy’s now decided to rearrange all zir bins in the hallway closet, which means zie’s dragged half the contents of the closet into the living room and, for some bizarre reason, placed a bentwood rocker onto my bed. Blackie’s enjoying sleeping under it. There’s no way on earth I’d fit.

Then there’s the chaos of shopping.

I don’t like shopping. I don’t like crowds or noise and shopping seems to involve an abundance of both. One of my coworkers introduced me to an online China based website where I could order all sorts of items, which means shopping in my pjs at bedtime with no crowds (other than my cats). I immediately ordered a bunch of Jeremy’s presents including a wall art sticker which looks like a window into the Minecraft realm, a Five Nights at Freddy’s brass game token, and a small RC forklift (something Jeremy’s wanted for years). I also ordered a small purple RC car which fits into a soft drink can. This was back on the first day of September. It has yet to arrive. Neither has Jeremy’s light up gaming headphones. My new strand of glimmer lights haven’t arrived either. The good news is I have enough presents for Jeremy without them. I still want zir to have them though and not just because I’ve paid for them.

The presents which did arrive here promptly were the ones I bought for my nieces. I ordered them on a Saturday and had them show up that Monday, which would have been amazing if they were supposed to arrive here and not the other side of the country. Luckily my Mom shipped them with her gifts, reasoning that three little books wouldn’t cost anything to add in.

At least our Christmas outfits are sorted out. I have decent black jeans and several sparkly sweaters while Jeremy has teal leggings and my black velvet, glitter spangled top. I get the feeling sometimes that family thinks I’m pushing zir into feminine clothes. Meanwhile I gave zir the choice of three coats yesterday at Value Village and zie went immediately for a very feminine 50’s style coat in vivid purple with a double row of gold buttons. It sadly didn’t fit but zir next choice, a soft plum, did. It looks fabulous on zir.

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I booked a day off next week to shop for stocking stuffers and one last spontaneous gift. We were at the check out on Sunday when Jeremy spotted a stuffed animal zie absolutely had to have.

“OMG Mom… I need it! Look at how cute it is! Please!!! It’s only eight dollars and it’s adorable!”

“Ask for it for Christmas,” I replied idly as I flipped over the tag. It’s a phrase I say at least once a day for three months of the year. An orange Beanie Boo cat named Muffin, it wouldn’t be that hard to find again. Right?

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This is Tabitha…

This is Muffin

This is Muffin

I’m sensing a bit more chaos ahead.