Time out

I’ve got an old friend visiting at the moment, you know the kind of friend – they have a spare key, let themselves in while you’re at work, eat all the food and then just lay around for days on end expecting you to wait on them hand and foot!

He’s been keeping me really, really busy – I’ve only just noticed how the attention he demands is affecting everything else in my life.  He’s like a possessive boyfriend, and I started to feel suffocated before I realised he was up to his old tricks.

He’s essentially prevented me from doing all the things I enjoy.  I’m not writing, reading or even watching tv!  The house is beginning to show signs of neglect and the kids haven’t had veges with dinner for weeks!  I’m struggling for conversation, he’s managed to steal my voice.

In the space of a few weeks, he’s succeeded in stripping me of the joy my life gives me.  Shitty house guest right?

So now I’ve realised what’s going on, he’s gotta go.  I’ve told him, and surprisingly he seems to respect that our days of “friendship” are done and he’s getting packed, preparing to leave.  

This is great, it’s only been a few weeks, last time he was here for months.

So, life should begin to return to normal, in time for my sister’s wedding, Christmas and the Great Summer Hols.  Maybe I’ll even get my writing mojo back!

I’ve known my inconvenient friend for over 30 years now.  It’s hard for him to pull the wool over my eyes these days!  But he’s probably got a string of other friends who might not be so savvy- maybe that’s you, or your partner, your child, your colleague?  If so, the short video linked below might help you see through him. Xx

I had a black dog – his name was depression.  

Guest Post – thoughts from Izzy teacher

We were incredibly fortunate to end up at the kindergarten we did, someone was smiling down on me when I made that decision!  Either that or our lovely Kindy owner/manager has some kind of power to pull in the people that really need her?   I wouldn’t put it past her! 

 The staff have been so incredibly supportive, and understanding.  They’ve approached this unchartered ground with great dignity and respect and I’m honored to share Izzy’s  journey with them.  They’ve given Izzy unconditional love.    One of Izzy’s teachers, who made a guest post awhile back, emailed me tonight with some thoughts she’d put down and with her permission I’ve copied them below.  But first I just want to say the following:

Anyone who know’s Izzy is welcome to share their thoughts, it’s really special to me to be able to share Dani’s.  If anyone has questions, or things they want to say,  but feels awkward approaching me at kindy, please feel free to talk anonnymously here.  

Reading Dani’s post I feel slightly guilty because I don’t want to cause anyone else problems, and I know Izzy would be dismayed to think she had- when I first informed the kindy staff of Izzy’s transition I was offered the opportunity to write something explaining it all in the newsletter.  At the time, I didn’t want to do this because I didn’t want to make a huge statement and put it out there in peoples faces. Perhaps this would have been the better thing to do, not for us, but for others.  There’s not much of a guidebook for parenting a transgender child and I’m kinda doing it by gut instinct and what I think is best for Izzy  (with of course the support of a pyschiatrist  who specialises in supporting transgender youth, and pooloads of my own research).  Having said this, my number one concern remains, and will for the rest of my life,  ensuring Izzy is not part of the 42% of transgender people who attempt suicide.

Recently I have had the urge to re-post but unsure about what.  While I am honoured to be a part of Izzy’s transition (as her teacher) and support her through the never ending struggle that life holds with being transgender or not.  I wonder what it is that people struggle with. What is it that people are scared of? Do we really still believe it is a ‘choice’?  Why is it that people are still afraid of asking questions or make a statement, but find the strength to say it behind closed doors? 

As a teacher of a small tight knit centre, which provides a welcoming environment to allow children and parents to ask questions, talk about issues or struggles in their life (child’s life), we have been faced with parent(s) feeling like we have not given enough insight into transgender and explaining it to their children.  However at aged 2, 3 and 4 how far do we need to go.  

As a teacher I will not lie and “sugar coat” it and say it has been an easy process filled of rainbows and sunshine but, I will say the children have been accepting.  While one made the statement “but Izzy is a boy I know!” (Shared bathrooms, which Izzy has developed enough confidence to go in front of friends) that was quickly overcome when we explained why she might look like a male but is a female (thanks to some well selected words from her mum).  She might have informed a few friends with her findings but they didn’t care.  They acknowledge Izzy as a girl and the children don’t exclude her for that. 

My point I am trying to make is children are more and more accepting of Izzy.  They might struggle at times, but that is not because Izzy is transgender.  Most of the time it is because of the mixed personalities in a small centre, trying to find their direction and role within their game.  They don’t need to know all the facts and figures but do need be told why****** (pre Izzy name) is now called Izzy.  

On an end note – a simple statement from a parent, explaining (I hope you don’t mind me sharing but I think it might help, wording might not be exact):

“Well, Izzy might look like a boy on the outside (meaning male genitals) but in her heart she feels like a girl” and “In your heart what do you feel like….?” 

What Alarmist Articles About Transgender Children Get Wrong

I thought this article might be useful to some out there who are hit with questions and statements about their parenting choices because I don’t think raising a transgender child is listed under 30 Fun Things To Do With Kids and I feel exasperated when faced with statements like you should just accept your child as he is and you must have secretely wanted a girl because you let your son dress up as one and now you’re saying he is one…

Excerpt from the article…

In describing her own childhood gender dysphoria, Soh praises her parents’ approach to her dysphoria. She explains:

I myself was a gender-dysphoric child who preferred trucks and Meccano sets to Easy-Bake Ovens. I detested being female and all of its trappings. Yet when I was growing up in the 1980s, the concept of helping children transition to another sex was completely unheard of. My parents allowed me to wear boys’ clothing and shave my head, to live as a girl who otherwise looked and behaved like a boy. I outgrew my dysphoria by my late teens. Looking back, I am grateful for my parents’ support, which helped me work things out.

Soh implies that if only parents weren’t so rigid about gender norms, so stuck on the idea that only boys can do boy things and only girls can do girl things, then their children wouldn’t feel the need to socially transition. We see the appeal of this argument, and we admit that at least one of us had this view as recently as a few years ago. In the intervening years, we have recruited and studied more than 150 families across the United States and Canada who have supported their children in social transitions. These families are participants in our study, the TransYouth Project, a longitudinal study that aims to track the gender development and mental health of these children, as well as children who would better be described as “gender nonconforming” (children like Soh), through adolescence and young adulthood. After three years of traveling around the country to meet with these families in their homes, in support groups, at camps, and at conferences, our beliefs have changed. Most parents of children who ultimately socially transitioned describe spending months or years doing exactly what Soh praises her parents for doing—explaining to their children that they can play with whatever toys they want and wear whatever clothing they want without having to become the other gender. Unlike the young Deborah Soh, these children were decidedly not satisfied with this solution.

Click here to read the full article by By Kristina Olson and Lily Durwood

Reblogged from Growing Up Transgender – Sticks and Stones

I came across a blog I’ve not read before called Growing Up Transgender.  The author is a mum of a young girl just like Izzy, and the post I stumbled across resonated with me, not just because of this fact, but because I am her getting down to the comments section.  I know I shouldn’t look, but I do and just like her my heart is broken but I can’t tear my eyes away.  Just like hear I wonder if I should respond, try to persuade, even one person, that I’m not a monster and my kid’s okay – and like her, I know it’s futile.  

So reading her post, and the answers she has for these commenters was wonderful.  I highly recommend you read it through.

‘Another week, another article on transgender children and their “crazy” / “abusive”/ “attention seeking” parents. Even when articles are not actively offensive and transphobic (as so very many are), they retain a heavy tone of scepticism and judgement. And then I get down to the comments section…

I know I shouldn’t look. I know there’s nothing there I want to see. I know I will leave in tears. But somehow, I can’t help myself. Partly, I want to learn what views are being shared, to try to understand what people are saying and, once I start, I’m so horrified, I’m unable to look away. A bigger driver though, is the knowledge that in a few years’ time my child will be the one on the internet. She won’t be able to look away, and I won’t be able to protect her. And the hurt I feel now will be nothing compared to the hurt she will feel when she realises how the world views her. It breaks my heart.’

Click below to continue reading

Sticks and Stones – http://wp.me/p83fFr-2Z

Yin Yang

Lou and I were talking the other day, about Izzy.  Lou said she just sees Izzy now and can barely remember/believe she’s ever been anyone else.  I said, it seems like something I dreamt – having had a boy.

It’s not a terrible feeling, but it’s strange.

The other day we were doing a bit of art n craft, as ya do, and Izzy decided she needed a frame to display her work.  All of our pictures and photos are sitting in a bag in the cupboard, because we’ve been planning to paint the walls, for the last three years.  Anyway, Izzy grabbed one with a photo of that Dream Boy in it.  She sat at the table, turned the frame over and carefully removed the photo and handed it to me.  My heart was, a little bit, in my mouth so it was difficult to speak, but I managed to ask – what would you like me to do with that Iz?  She looked up thoughtfully, and said – Mum, tuck it away somewhere safe.  I’m going to have a boy and a girl when I’m grown up and I’m going to call the boy *****.  It’s a nice name, she said.

If it feels strange, and like a dream to me, her mum.  What must it feel like for Izzy and for other children just like her.  I’ve noticed lately that she’s become thoughtful rather than angry when she hears reference to the days gone before.  I hope it’s because she’s found a place in her heart to keep those memories and a safe place in her mind to process them.  I hope that as she grows, she’ll hold these experiences in her with grace and use them to accept and love others.

 

Breaking out

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  There’s really just two reasons for this, the first is there’s just been too much going on that I haven’t been able to (wanted to?) process it, so writing about it hasn’t been an option.  The second reason is, that in that frame of mind, the idea of picking away at a post on my phone has been totally unappealing!  BUT joy of joys, tonight Harry came home with a little gift.  I am now the proud owner of a KEYBOARD!!!  I can prop the phone, or tablet up in it and type away as God intended.  What?  Glass of wine too many.  As my Form 3 & 4 typing teacher intended.

So this week we had Freddie’s neurological assessment.  Hmmm.  He loved it.  Next week we’ll hear the results.  Harry and I sat in the waiting room, we decided finally on a colour for the walls, at least the kids room.  Resene Opal.  It’s nice. They have it on the waiting room wall.  I’d like the sofa too.  I’ve always thought it would be great for the kids to have a sofa in their room.  We could ditch the chest of drawers, they’ve only got enough clothes to fill one drawer each anyway, maybe a sofa with two drawers underneath?  That’s sounding a bit bestoke, pricey, and never going to happen.  Maybe just the paint then.

I had to leave, before the testing was completed, to attend a brainstorm on how to build resiliance and how to tackle a couple of behavioural issues in Izzy.  As I drove between the two I  thought about how we got here.  How the hell did this become the norm?  Is this the norm?  Is this what my fellow parents are taking time out from their day to do?

At this brainstorming session, the child pscych who led it said something about what a service I’d be doing to write about all this stuff.  How it might help other people.  And I thought to myself how lacking my blog has been, how much more it could be.  I spent a night or two wondering what?  What do I write about?  To date I’ve just been emptying my mind, trying to eliviate the load.  Anything really to educate readers has been “reblogged” from other peoples posts.  I wondered, do I have anything worthwhile to share?  I’m still wondering.

Finding Hope for LGBT in Trump’s America

 I’m not American and I live in a country far, far away.  A place I strongly suspect Mr Trump could not pick out on a map. 

 But I feel crushed that this man has been voted in and I’ve been trying throughout the election to understand how anyone could vote for him.  

Then I read this post on the brilliant blog The 4G Show and I feel like there will be a way forward for Americans and the rest if us.  Maybe it will lift your fighting spirit to read, it has mine.

Reblogged from The 4G Show – http://wp.me/p7FroT-mG