Sorry for not posting in a loooonnngggg while. When I logged on I could not believe my last post was over 7 months ago. I originally started this blog as a personal therapy tool for me; as well as to share my experience as a mom with a transgendered child. I know I have let a bunch of you down who had been following this post. I apologize for my absence, but want to continue the updates at a more regular interval. There has been so much that has gone on in the last several months to say the least and I have been a little overwhelmed. But I’m passionate about sharing my family’s story if it might help someone else in the same situation, and especially Jamie’s story, because it is heading towards a success story as unconventional as her childhood has been.
The last several months we have seen some “changes” to the family and I will try to give as full and open an update as I can. I will likely be bouncing all over the place.
Not sure where to start…
Since my last post, we were considering letting Jamie end her school year early. Our therapist advised us against that, since we were so close to the end. I was praying for the end of the school year to come as fast as it could.
Jamie totally understood the decision, its not like she pressured us in any way. She has always been a great student (straight a’s), and has continued to do really well. But I knew she was struggling, putting on the “boy” facade everyday.
As we got closer to the end of April, I was letting her grow her hair out, so that helped a little.
At that time she hit her 3 month mark since starting hormone therapy. We had an endocrinologist appointment in April, and another physical. Obviously we have continued the lupron therapy, and with the added medication, her estrogen levels were increasing, and as such female puberty was starting for Jamie. The good news for Jamie, the doctor had assured us she will have a normal puberty, as if she was born a female. As I have mentioned in previous posts, she has not had any male pubertal impact whatsoever. Even though she had just turned 16, she was physically like a 12 year old girl starting puberty. Similar to Aly. (Lucky me two girls in the same household going thru puberty 🙂 )
She had a good physical, was very healthy. She had put on 6 lb. since her physical in feb; the doctor had said due primarily to the estrogen. You could tell at that time her face was getting fuller – more feminine, and starting to get a little rounder around the backside. She felt fine.
At that time the next big decision was when we were going to increase Jamie’s estrogen to a more aggressive dosage. The proposal would be in May, which her therapist was supporting. The doctor said that’s when things will accelerate physically from there.
I’ve let Jamie know, that all of the private things she wants to discuss with her doctors and therapist, I totally respect her privacy and won’t invade that. But I also wanted to let her know that there is no question that is out of bounds about her emerging puberty. I got the sense that she was not nervous at all, and is very comfortable and excited about as she says “being the person I always meant to be.” She is very determined.
It’s the same conversation I’ve had with Aly, especially once she starts getting her period and stuff, I want her to know I’ll be there. But the conversation is a little different with Jamie.
Puberty was no picnic for me, as I had no sister and only brothers around the house.
Aly and Jamie have been are getting very close. Since I’ve never had a sister, it’s neat to see that relationship develop. Aly is so open-minded, she is not set back by any of this. She is sooo supportive of Jamie.
Sometimes with both Aly and Drew, I don’t want Jamie’s situation to consume the energy and attention of the house that gets to the point where they feel neglected. But I’ve wondered with Aly, if she feels a little intruded on with some of the mom and daughter stuff. But she is doing great, and is loving the sister relationship with Jamie. More on that later…
Easter 2010 is when I went into my funk – BAD.
I know I might seem real pollyanish when it has to Jamie. I love my child, and would do anything for any one of my children. Since I got divorced, I’ve had to deal with my ex’s misgivings, my family and friends, Drew. Am I doing the right thing as a parent? I really started to question everything.
When I came back from those doctor visits, it was unbelievable, but things are happening. We are just not talking about it anymore.
What do I mean? As a mother of a TG child, you just try to come to terms with all of this the best you can. I didn’t understand any of it, and was pretty naive to the whole transgender concept. Sure you see it on the talk shows and read about it I guess, but I never knew anyone who dealt with it personally or with someone in their family. Sixteen years ago I gave birth to this beautiful little boy, and a little over a year later, a second little boy, and had all of these visions of these boys growing up into talented young men with families of their own.
I stood there at that point, with raising both boys exactly the same from birth, it’s amazing how different a life they are heading too. My little boy was becoming a girl, and would eventually grow up to be a woman. It’s crazy.
I was depressed, second guessing everything. I was looking at old pictures, especially Drew and Jamie when they were younger. What did I do wrong?
It took a lot of support from my therapist to get me through this time, I was seeing her almost every week.
Easter was a big day for Jamie. As always we were going go to church, and then have a big dinner at my parents house. But this year Jamie wanted it to be her coming out party with relatives. I gave them all a head’s up, both my brothers, their wives and their kids were going to be there, plus a few of my aunts and uncles were going to be there.
I thought she would be a little hesitant but she was all in.
“Mom I want to buy a dress!!”
Now for me as a little girl, I loved getting dressed up on Easter. My mom and I would go shopping and it was a big deal. It was always a big event, taking pictures with my brothers and father, and wearing Easter hats and all. I have tried to keep that tradition with Aly, although she has always resisted any hat wearing, but I can always manage to get her dressed up. You can always tell how much that hurt Jamie in the past, and I always encouraged him to wear his suit, or dockers and a sweater. He was always miserable at these family events. It kills me thinking about it now.
It was time to allow her to spread her wings a little.
So Jamie, Aly and myself headed out “dress” shopping.
I thought Jamie might have felt uncomfortable going in and out of dressing rooms trying on dresses, so I told her we can pick something out and return it. But she said she was fine. Her confidence always surprises me.
Dress shopping with Aly and Jamie was pretty surreal. We headed out to a mall in New Jersey so Jamie wouldn’t see anyone from school. They have a few departments stores and a couple of clothing stores within the mall.
I remember starting in Macy’s, and I don’t know if they both had something in mind, but saw nothing there, even to try on. I suggested to both of them, to not limit themselves to just dresses, a cute skirt and top would look real nice too. They wanted a new dress.
We hit another couple of stores within the mall, express, forever 21, nothing…
Jackpot, JC Penney’s had the styles they were after. They hit the racks.
I was impressed with what they were picking out, something I had to assess is Jamie is 16, Aly is 12. Jamie is looking for something more mature, but so is Aly. Which is natural, but it’s not apples to apples. I was hoping and encouraging Jamie to pick out something conservative, since this will be many of her relatives seeing dressed as a female. Which Jamie responded, “I know, that’s why it is so hard choosing, I want the right thing.”
She had no problems going in and out the dressing room, even asking the salesgirl a question, her and Aly were bouncing off of each other. My job was easy, just stand back.
I remember watching the both of them, just thinking about how good kids they both were. But watching Jamie, again it was hitting me hard. Things are happening…
Aly found hers first, a cute blueish floral sundress. She looked real cute.
Jamie found hers around the corner, it was a daisy dress, with yellow trim, with a yellow short jacket on top. She said she felt it would be more comfortable in it (without a bosom), to wear a jacket. It was a good choice, and very cute coloring with her blonde hairpiece.
We crossed that hurdle….a few hours later 🙂
Don’t they make normal junior dressy shoes anymore? Curse that Lady GaGa…
Jamie wanted something with a heel, and I said no, stick to flats. They both found some dressy shoes that matched their dresses, that wasn’t too crazy.
Ok we’re all set..NO
Aly wanted tights for her dress, so we headed over to that section. We picked out a pair for her.
Jamie wanted to wear pantyhose with her dress. Yikes, again surreal moment.
Now I know it’s a big moment for her, and she wanted to do it up, but standing there, explaining colors and styles trying to match her skin color, because her dress needed a nude color, was at first uncomfortable – but fine.
Tough time for me….I couldn’t shake it. I just remember thinking about what her dad was going to say.
Easter came, and when relatives saw her, they all said they can’t believe that 1) how incredible and feminine she looks and 2) how happy she is.
My sister in-law told me that she always worried about Jamie because how sad he seemed all the time. she can’t believe how confident she is.
Jamie was beamin from ear to ear all day. The first she ever felt comfortable at a family event. She would always tag along with Drew and the male cousins, now hung out with me, Aly, my mom and my sister in-laws.
She acted like a lady all day, her and Aly. Crossed her legs, and knew how to wear a dress. Where did that come from?
Easter was a big success and moment for Jamie. Then back to school, she was miserable.
My ex was wrapped up in his girlfriend, and Drew’s baseball season. Drew had a huge freshman year, making it to varsity by the end of the year. I was very proud of him. His Dad has always gotten wrapped up in Drew’s athletics, and fairness to him tried hard with Jamie, coaching their little league teams. Jamie never had the interest.
Drew is sports crazy, and very driven to succeed.
I don’t know if my ex was giving up his fight with Jamie, but was less combative. I know Jamie was getting positive support from my ex’s girlfriend, so I’m sure that helped. It’s crazy where support can come from. I know he still disapproves about any of this, I just had hoped that Jamie would retain a relationship with her dad. I know she gets jealous sometimes of Aly’s and her dad’s relationship.
Since most weekends that the kids were with their dad, was weekends at Drew’s games. Jamie would just come home with me. I felt bad for her.
School was getting increasingly hard for her.
I was seeing a therapists almost weekly as well. The end of the school year was dark times in our household. You can tell Jamie was depressed going to school everyday, and I think Drew was excited to have practice or games everyday so he did not have to be home, which made me sad. After school Aly and Jamie would just disappear to their rooms and listen to music, play with clothes and makeup.
In some ways I was starting to feel for Aly. Jamie has now become not only her sister, but her best friend. Aly did not bring many friends home (Drew for that matter) anymore. She was still dancing a couple of nights a week, but they hang out and do homework until bedtime.
I was concerned in how healthy that was Jamie too, being 4 years older than Aly.
May came and Jamie’s follow-up with her endocrinologist. We had several therapy sessions prior, and this was a big step because we were going to up Jamie’s estrogen shots to more aggressive levels. This time I got no argument from ex, he gave his consent. What no drama?? 🙂 Nope.
The doctors explained everything to Jamie, and she was sooo excited. We were only a month from the end of school as well. She got the more aggressive shots.
Over the next month or so physically Jamie was doing great, her doctors appointments had gone really well. Since I saw Jamie everyday it was hard to say I notice anything extremely different about her physically. She has started getting some swelling in the chest area, and by the time school was closing we were getting weather in the 80’s for the first time. So she was careful to wear an undershirt under a baggy shirt (she was wearing everything baggy) with her school clothes. She was aware that they are growing and self-conscious in her boy mode at school.
Her physical weight hadn’t changed much from the prior visit, but we did have to buy her a bigger pair of boy jeans because they were starting to get tight. So she was starting to thin out on top, and filling out a little on bottom.
You could notice her face getting more feminine, I noticed it especially around the eyes.
I would ask her if she was ok, and how did she feel other than the obvious? She noticed her skin was becoming very soft, but I notice a general overall softening of her. I especially notice it when she is wearing boys clothes, she looks like a girl.
Her hair was s growing out, we have fixed it a little here and there, but she was looking to grow it out one length.
Jamie did not have many friends at school, so people must wonder what’s going on, but I think with the hair growing out and the baggy clothes, Drew says she was of getting away with a skater look. Which I guess was working for her. Thankfully she never got teased or harassed by anyone. I know Drew looks out for her. Drew keeps me up on that too, but her safety kept me up (still does) at night.
School ended without any incidents and we made it.
Summer was not one day old, when Jamie wanted to shed anything male from her life. We gave it all away. She was as they say in the community “Full-time.”
This was a pivotal moment for me, as I stating with my blues over the last several months previous. This was happening…No more hiding, no more duality for my child, no more fighting and bickering from my ex. I was coming out of my funk.
Aly, Jamie and I did a bunch of clothes shopping for summer shorts, tops, skirts and shoes of the like. The other thing that was apparent was boobs, she was developing. Yikes!!
Bra shopping with Jamie was interesting, another surreal moment. For me, I don’t go cheap on bras. Nothing worse than a bad bra. I am a Victoria Secret girl for all of my bras and panties, they are the most comfortable and durable out there. This is no commercial. We went top shelf (no pun intended) and splurged at VS. Aly is going to be there in no time as well.
Late July Jamie had another physical and endo appointment. This time they upped her meds to her normal dose that she will be on until surgery. She made it.
All of her tests came back great, nothing abnormal other than the doctor wanted her to get more active. She started to get up with me before I got ready for work, and did some workout videos with me. She was a shy over 5’2 now and almost 120 lbs.
Aly has actually passed her a little in height.
The summer was uneventful for both Aly and Jamie, since I had to work all summer. Drew was playing on some summer baseball team, then headed right into football camp. So he was gone most of the summer.
Their dad vacationed with his girlfriend down in Ocean City in August, but only Aly and Drew went. They both took friends. I was a little concerned that when I told him Jamie wasn’t going, he only said “Ok.”
Jamie and her father are drifting apart.
Things were getting so routine during the summer, I kind of forgot the main reason why Jamie did not want to go to the shore with her father.
She did not have or feel comfortable yet wearing a bathing suit. Oh yeah??
I told her, “why don’t we go get you one?” She said she didn’t feel comfortable yet, putting one on in the store.
So I told her to try some of mine on, and if she liked it, she could have it or know what to buy. I have both two pieces and one pieces. Suprisingly she tried on the one pieces.
I know in one of my way earlier posts, a lot of the TG women on here explained to me about the art “tucking”, and obviously Jamie is doing that normally. But being a bathing suit, wasn’t sure what to expect.
When she came out of the bathroom, I started crying. I could not believe how grown up she looked, how shapely she had become. MY GOD!! She’s arriving. I did not ask her how, but she could easily pass it off.
So I told her when her father had Aly and Drew, “why don’t we go to a shore location just me and you for the weekend?” She was excited.
This way she can get beach acquainted in her new attire. I told her all women have trepidation going on the beach, so that’s normal.
We headed to a quieter beach on the jersey shore. My friend has a beach house, with only local access, so I know it would not be dripping with people. Especially in late August.
I could not tell you how long it’s been when Jamie and I were alone with each other, away from home for a long period of time. Probably not since was a newborn before Drew was born.
We packed all of our stuff and were off. The drive over there was a couple of hours with traffic. Which gave us a lot of quality time to talk. It was great. She is sooo happy, and I am so proud of her. We talked mostly about life, and the upcoming school year (she is going to be home schooled by my mom.)
Looking over at her, I know I have been using the word feminine a lot, I can’t believe how feminine she is. Voice, mannerisms, everything. But to me she was looking pretty, and maturing. She is thriving.
I’m happy, she’s happy.
We got there later that night, and just hung out watching TV and fell asleep. It’s a cute two bedroom cottage in Lavalette.
The next day she was up before me, all dressed in her suit and cover-up. By now she has her own long hair, she straightens it, and was in a pony tail. She looked cute.
I wanted to get her comfortable, so I sent her out to the corner store to grab some drinks and chips for the cooler.
We packed our cooler, bags, radio, blankets, chairs, so on…and headed up to the beach. It’s too long to walk, and a nightmare finding a spot. But we got one.
After several trips back and forth from the car, we got settled. We have this small little cooler that we put our drinks in, that has these wheels on the bottom of them. It easy to move from the car to the steps, but it was comical watching Jamie and I try to maneuver this thing to our spot.
We are both extremely white from the non-exposure all summer, applied some 37 spf suntan lotion 🙂 and kind of stayed under an umbrella.
I wanted to encourage her to get off the blanket, and get comfortable, so I asked her to come with me into the water. She was like “NO, please”. So I started walking towards the beach, and then in 10 seconds she scampered behind me. The UNVEILING!! lol
We got our toes in the water, but you can tell she was looking everywhere nervously. I kept telling her relax, she was fine.
We got all the way in, and she got dove into the water and we were both in the wake of the waves.
I could tell Jamie was just wondering around, taking it all in. Then all of a sudden, tears were flowing big time. I kept asking her “what’s the matter honey?”
She’s like “I DON’T KNOW, BUT I’M SO HAPPY”. I gave her a huge hug. I know it was a big moment for her.
So we went over the hurdle and she survived. When we were laying on the towels, I could tell her eyes were wondering behind her sunglasses in the same pattern some boys her age were walking back and forth.
I asked her if she has been noticing boys more. She said “big time.” We both laughed. She said she has a big crush on one of Drews friends who comes to he house sometimes. “He’s sooo cute.”
I know it has to be tough for her, that’s the next bridge way down in the future to cross.
So for the next couple of hours we both picked out who we thought were the cutest boys for her, and the cutest men for me. She actually has good taste and a good eye.
The next day got a lot easier, we had some nice walks on the boardwalks, and talks at dinner. Quality mother-daughter time. We got some beach time in on Sunday and drove home in our beach clothes.
Great weekend I think for both of us. Becoming less surreal. More normal. It’s good.
When we got home, Aly and Drew beat us. They could tell by our now reddish skin tone we went somewhere beach related. I could tell Aly was a little disappointed.
All three of us, Jamie, Aly and I were talking at the kitchen table about our weeks and weekends. Drew was at the refrigerator kind out of eye shot, when Aly asked Jamie to show her – her bathing suit. Jamie took her cover-up off, and spun around, and kiddingly struck a pose – now all confidence. Aly was ooo la la lahing, but I could see out of the corner of my eye you can tell Drew was uncomfortable at the sight.
In 1998 when I was pregnant with Aly, I was the odd one out. I had two boys, a husband, two male dogs. I grew up with two brothers, and I swore that Aly was going to be another boy. I thought I was destined a household full of testosterone until Aly came along. At that time I had not suspected anything with Jamie yet.
Looking at Drew right there, I actually knew how he felt. Except he is the odd one out in a house of girls. I feel bad for him, I know he would move in with his father in a heart beat, but his father travels so much – he is hardly home.
I know I have said this before, but it becomes more compelling as time goes on. Before Jamie started lupron therapy, Drew and Jamie were roughly the same size and build. Granted Drew was all boy in actions, but still the same size and very close as brothers.
Now Jamie is 5’2 120 lbs and now with the full estrogen treatment is starting to really fill out as a female.
Drew on the other hand is growing like crazy, almost 6’2 close to 200 lbs, and solid muscle from all of the working out and weight lifting for football. He is starting varsity tight end as a sophomore. We are so proud of him. He is starting to shape up as a man. When I hug him, I can’t get over how solid he is.
I was cracking myself up when I asked him to get the cooler from the car when we got home, the same one that Jamie and I struggled with that was still full of our stuff, he just hoisted it on his shoulder and brought it to the backyard.
They are both going into completely different directions, I hope develop and keep a relationship.
Aly always hugs Drew after his game when he does something well, Jamie is starting to do that as a sisterly gesture.
I am really proud of him, he seems really focused and is enjoying what he’s doing.
School started uneventfully for Drew and Aly, with Drew being a Sophomore and Aly going into seventh grade. They got in a groove pretty fast. I talked about Drew and football, doing awesome. Aly is planning to try out for cheering this year when basketball comes around, on top of her dance schedule.
Jamie I’m driving to my mother’s everyday. My dad had set up an area of their house dedicated to school and learning. They have internet connections where she takes tests, my mother is involved in every aspect of her curriculum.
I can’t say enough how much I appreciate my mom and dad getting involved and following thru on this. As a condition, my mom did not want Jamie coming over there “in her sweatpants, and she needs to be committed to it.” She has been. Although how wonder how sustainable it is.
It’s a short term approach to get thru this year. Jamie wants to keep it up until college, but she is missing connections with kids her own age and people in general. We may want to try to get her into another school somehow, out of this area. I could not afford a private school.
We are discussing a job for her, maybe something afternoon where people don’t know her at all. Even if it is a McDonalds or something.
As I write this in Mid-October, physically Jamie is doing great, I’m in awe of her strength and courage to go thru all of this. She is seeing her therapist regularly, and she has another physical/endo appointment coming up in November.
I know this has been an exhaustive update, but once I started I could not stop. I hope everyone is doing well. Love, Dana
20 comments October 20, 2010
Apologize for not posting, not sure how to categorize the last several weeks, but appreciate everyone’s thoughts, comments and concerns.. This is the first night I have sat down at the computer in awhile, which I think is a good sign. I may have sounded a little crazy there for awhile, (deserved the title). But overall the last several weeks have been very productive for our family – especially for Jamie, a few setbacks but overall a lot of positive wins. I am sooo proud of her. A few highlights not in any particular order:
Jamie’s dad finally got to meet Jamie on her terms. After the episode I commented on in my last blog, my ex husband actually initiated a dinner with Jamie, Aly and Drew a few Friday’s ago. Its funny and surprising where allies and support come from, but my ex’s girlfriend (who I have shared before seems put together and very nice and seems to be pretty good with the kids from what they tell me) has told my ex to “wake up” in terms of Jamie – as he put it me. Good for her! Supposedly she has been talking him thru it, and telling him to be more open-minded. Can’t believe it! Thank god!!
My ex did not want me to be there, which again I saw as a positive, and did not take offense to it. But he did ask if I minded if his girlfriend would come. I was skeptical, just because I knew it would be a big moment for Jamie. But that’s when my ex interjected that she has actually been real supportive, and he really needed her support there. I was cool with that.
When my ex called the kids to set it up, and talked to Jamie, she was real excited. She wanted to overdo it a little, they were just going to the olive garden, so I told her to play it down a bit. “Ease your dad thru this” I have been encouraging her. We have been seeing her therapist more regularly then usual, will explain later, but getting this past her dad has been a big topic of conversation this past month.
When my ex picked the kids up, he actually came to the door, and welcomed the kids. He seemed to me a lot more put together, then the last couple of times I have seen him. Jamie wore this pretty yellow sweater, skinny jeans (got her past the leggin stage 🙂 ), and some cute sneakers she bought. She looked cute, of course she was all made up, and wearing the blonde hairpeace she has. She and Aly must have confided on dress code, because Aly followed suit and dressed very similarly. As much as Jamie has been hurt before by her fathers recent actions, credit to her, she is still keeping her head high and keepin at it. I think her father’s acceptance is very important to her. Needless to say, she was excited.
When her father came to the door, Drew kind of went straight out to his truck, not wanting to probably witness what happened last time. It was kind if funny, like “get me out of here.”
Aly gave her dad a big hug, and Jamie followed her a little hesitantly and gave her dad a hug. But what transpired from there, from a mothers point of view and my heart I knew it would be ok, my ex gave Jamie a strong hug and Jamie squeezed harder. It was so subtle, but WOW!, I knew right then the possibilities were endless. I am not sure where the motivation came from, but it was real. THANK GOD! Of course, I went it inside afterwards and cried my eyes out.
Aly was texting me from the restaurant giving me the play by-play (she is sweet and cares so much about everyone). Everything went very well. No DRAMA! What else can I ask for, nothing! All of your prayers are helping, THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Her dad dropped them off a little while later. Jamie was smiling ear to ear. Of course Aly and Jamie were beaming on how cool her dad’s girlfriend is, not that any mom wants to hear that. But I pick my battles.
Things aren’t perfect in that my ex has not had Jamie or Aly for that matter sleep or stay at his house at all in the last 5 weeks. I know he can’t handle Jamie in the entirety yet, which is not fair to her or Aly, but again will pick my battles. I love having them here all of the time. But the last few weeks have been a huge leap for him.
Plus Drew has been spending most weekends with his Dad, and quite frankly I think Drew needs to get out of here. I respect that too. He has kind of been a fish out of water, and he needs a little male influence of his father. With all that is going on it has gotten a little femininely out of balance for him here in the house to say the least. Drew hasn’t come out to say anything negative or derogatory, but he just kind of hibernates in his room. He is looking for an outlet. I am a little worried, because this was the pace he and his friends would hang out. I am not sure what he is saying to his friends, but since Jamie has started dressing at home, he is not inviting them here. Which from Jamie’s standpoint, all he has to do is tell her, and she would dress as his friends see her in school, as a boy. So I think he does it out of respect for her, but I think he is feeling a little isolated. Still keeping a strong focus on him.
To that point, as far as Jamie is doing? I think I referred to it before in my blogs, as opening a Pandora’s box. It’s a theme I have been discussing with our therapist. I guess my expectation of Jamie initially would be a lot of subtle exploration and learnings, and a gradual pace toward “her finding her way home” as I have titled this blog. She has always been such a reserved, shy person. I know that she put on an act s boy, she did her best trying to fit in and present herself that way. I know how much it hurts her, and still does. But I guess I never knew how much until now. I am amazed how she has shredded the male persona she had so easily. Without that barrier she is so funny, outgoing, alive….Her and Aly are constantly giggling, laughing, dancing around the house. It’s so great to see, but I never thought it would happen so fast.
She is so much trying to build that life she always wanted. The second she gets home from school, and all weekend, she wants to 100% experience life as a girl. It’s almost like I want her to slow down a bit, and relax. But she wants to absorb everything.
As always she had taken an interest in my clothing, as I stated before I have given her some of my old and forgotten stuff to explore with. As she has started to build her own stuff, she is less interested with my stuff. Which is good for both of us. Although she is now fixated on my shoe collection (what girl doesn’t want a closet full of shoes), and she is about the same size as my foot. So it works for her, but now I am trying to separate what she can use and what she can’t. Since most of my stuff, especially heels and flats, I need for work. I can’t afford to buy new stuff. As any near 16 year old girl will do, getting into her mother’s heels is a part of growing up. But seeing her try on want to learn to walk in heels, as she did much of this weekend, is sometimes a little too much for me to see or grasp. Things are moving too fast.
On the other hand, with Aly, I think she is trying to explore the girlhood she never had at Aly’s age. I think I have stated before that Aly has been dancing competitively since she was 5, and belongs to a dance studio here locally. She’s a beautiful dancer. I could write another blog on how proud I am of her. Well she has obviously collected a bunch of costumes from all of the recitals she has performed in over the years. Jamie has taken a lot of interest in it, so many nights Aly and Jamie have been dressing out in various costumes and fooling around together in the basement. I know for Aly, she is loving the camaraderie and friendship, she does this atuff with her friends all of the time, and its no big deal. But Drew saw Jamie in a full leotard costume get-up last week, that I know made Drew feel uncomfortable. Which I told Jamie, although I know its harmless, she needs to find a little restraint at home. I know she is just exploring.
I knew this year, especially with her starting estrogen treatment, that eventually things were going to get a little difficult. But I think for her and the more she is getting comfortable being female more regularly, I can see it getting more difficult for her to present as a boy. Which is a dilemma.
I know she is on a low dosage of estrogen, but I can see subtle changes in her face, especially around her eyes. It probably has more to do with her confidence, but combined with her mannerisms, posture and behaviours she looks female even dressed as a boy. I may think it is just me as a mother, but last week, I picked Drew and Jamie up at school, and Aly at the babysitters and we went to Friendly’s for dinner. Just to grab a quick bite to eat, because I did not want to prepare anything. Well Jamie was coming straight from school in total boy clothes, when the waiter came over to us and asked us for our order, Jamie was sitting next to Drew and he said “what can I get you miss?” Now initially I thought she may be a little embarrassed, but not at all. She was beaming from ear to ear, and never missed a beat and told him her order. Drew of course rolled his eyes. So others are seeing it too.
With all that being said, I worry about her safety and well being at school. I am possibly contemplating taking her our of school earlier then planned. At this point, I’m thinking to myself what’s the point? If she is going to start homeschooling next school year, what is the value of keeping her in school now, and putting her thru that everyday. We have talked a lot about that subject in therapy, and we may be heading that way soon. My mother could start helping her out at any point in time, and she can help Jamie finish her studies this year and start preparing for next year. I have to get my ex’s approval, and I doubt he will be supportive on that, but who knows. Especially after the latest events. I know for Jamie it is getting tougher and tougher everyday to put on that face. What does everyone think out there? Is it a horrible thing to do or message to send?
The other big thing for Jamie coming up is Easter weekend. We plan on spending Easter at my parents house, and my brothers and their families will be there. Jamie and Aly already told me they want to go shopping together for Easter dresses. This will be Jamie’s first, and I always remember when I was a girl, going shopping with my mom for my Easter dress was a big deal. So I will take them both out within the next couple of weeks or so.
Easter weekend for Jamie will be her unveiling with her cousins, aunts and uncles on my side of the famiy. So she is excited and nervous at the same time. More excited then nervous I would guess. My parents saw her a couple of weekends ago, and they were great. Even with my dad, which I was nervous about was great, so there is a lot of love and support there. I think my brothers will be real cool about it. They will prep they’re kids beforehand.
We have an upcoming appointment with her endocrinologist, we will see how things are going there. The big decision will be increasing her estrogen therapy come May into the summer. Things are happening fast.
Other then that, hope all is well out there with you. Sorry I have not posted in a while, it’s been crazy busy here, for all the right reasons. Things are good. Love, Dana
Pretty eventful week this past week or so, Jamie did not end up going to her father’s this past weekend (as many of you predicted). Of course it started a lot of drama, not sure how I feel about it. I don’t want this to be a start of a separation between her and her father. My ex is accusing me of being a facilitator of that, and we got into a big blow up over the phone. I spent a few quiet nights crying last week.
Early last week I talked to Jamie and asked her about going to her father’s for the upcoming weekend. I explained to her that a lot of his friends and family were going to be there for a Super Bowl party, and that her dad is not ready to share “Jamie” with his family yet. She bluntly responded, “Then I am not going to his house.” Which in some ways made me think then; she is ready and confident to show herself to extended family. I think that’s good for her to gain her confidence. But at the same time, I believe in compromising and helping my ex slowly get there. I was mixed. But she was determined and stubborn about it.
The last couple of weeks have been interesting, the second Jamie has been coming for school, she heads up to her room, and changes all of her clothes and is presenting as Jamie for the rest of the night. Make-up and all. It’s a lot of work, but she is determined.
In a lot of ways, I have been real proud of Drew, and Jamie for that matter, they are starting to (struggling for the best way to express it) cohabitating or co-existing in the house. Not really engaging each other, which is sad, but comfortably invading each other’s space. I think eventually they may be fine. At first I think in Drew’s eyes he really struggled with seeing his older brother like this, but now may be seeing that Jamie is really a whole other person then what he perceives. I think once that perception changes, then I think the two of them are on a different road relationship wise. You know, brother-sister. It goes back to “changing that lens”, I wrote about before.
I am not sure from Drew’s standpoint, if he cares or maybe be is even jealous (probably not fair of me to say that) of Aly and Jamie’s relationship. They are getting really close. Jamie and Drew were once like that growing up; they were always known as “the boys” because they were so close in age. Aly was probably the outsider sibling, now in some ways I guess that is becoming Drew. In all he may feel a bit isolated. I don’t know. He has a therapy appointment this week; I’m curious what he ends up talking about. He is not really sharing any feelings with me, but I am trying to get him to open up.
As I stated, Jamie stayed determined all the way up until last Friday when my ex came to pick the kids up. “If dad does not want me to be seen, I don’t want to go!!” Aly really wanted to go, but was disappointed over the whole situation. It was kind of stressful for me, for everyone for that matter.
My ex called me 7 pm last Friday night, “I am getting off the exit, are the kids ready? I will be waiting outside.” I said to him, “You’re really not bending on Jamie?” He said “Dana don’t push me, you know how I feel about it.” You can read my whirlwind blog all over again for how the conversation went; it’s like that movie “groundhog day” with Bill Murray, where everything repeats itself.
When my ex pulled up, Jamie was upstairs, Drew and Aly came to the door, Aly had tears in her eyes and was crying. I went out to my ex’s car, and asked him to come in. He kind of grunted and came to the door, and gave Drew and Aly a hug. Jamie came downstairs (she was waiting for this moment) all made up head to toe with her blonde hairpiece, make-up, in one of my sweaters, a black skirt, pantyhose and a pair of my flat shoes. I’m thinking, here we go. She said cheerily “Hi Dad”. My ex kind of had that shocked look on his face, didn’t know what to say. He started to tear up. “how you doin kiddo?” Jamie said, “I’m feeling great dad.” She’s taking the high road. My ex will not use the name Jamie; he is now referring to her as “kiddo”. COME ON!!! I noticed Drew went to the car as soon as Jamie came downstairs. He did not want to deal with it. Aly stayed right there, almost as a support for Jamie. I am proud of her.
There was some real awkward silence that felt like an hour, but was probably like 45 seconds. My ex said to Jamie “look I know you want to dress like this, but you have to give me some time, I’m not comfortable or agree with it.” He couldn’t look her in the eye. She said “Dad it’s who I am, I can’t change it, so I do not want to go to your house anymore unless you allow me to be who I am.” He responded, “Why don’t you go upstairs and get changed, and we can talk about it this weekend.” Jamie responded “no, I don’t want to.” He said “alright” and turned to Aly and said “Aly you ready to go?” She was crying, and just turned away and went to her dad’s car. I didn’t know what she was going to do. But again don’t want to cause a rift between Aly and her dad. I was surprised she left.
They turned around and left. My ex was silent. I should have yelled, or screamed, or got confrontational. But I did nothing. So disappointed in myself.
I turned around in our foyer, and Jamie who was trying to hold everything in up to that point, just crimped her face, and just started balling her eyes out and hugged me, she was more like grabbing me, she was crying so hard. We went to the living room and sat down on the couch, and she was just laying in my arms, and I was rubbing her back just holding her. Her all body was shaking. “I HATE HIM SOOO MUCH!!! WHY DOES HE TREAT ME THIS WAY???”
I told her I was proud of her, and completely understand why she drew a line in the sand. In some ways I do wish she had compromised a little, and may have suffered a little and went in “boy” mode, because I think my ex needs some time. But as I have been saying, it has been like opening a pandora’s box. She will not relent. I get it. I don’t know what to do???? It is difficult trying to understand and make everyone happy. I know it can’t be accomplished.
I want to say she cried for almost a half hour straight, and it was all internal coming out of her. May be the first side effect of the estrogen she has been taking. When she looked up at me, we kind of had a light moment as I was wearing a white top, and her mascara and eye liner she was wearing was all over my shirt. She was like “I’m so sorry Mom!!” I told her it was ok. She was broken in her father’s reaction to her. I kind of wished we had talked about it a little, she kind of went to an extreme I think in the way she presented herself, but I think she wanted to make a statement. I also wished I had scheduled that dinner with my ex and the kids to present Jamie. My bad. My ex was not ready for that.
Aly texted Jamie on her phone from the car, telling her sorry, and making sure she was ok. She also said my ex did not say a word in the car on the way back to the house. Aly said they did not discuss it, and it was real awkward all weekend with my ex. When people asked my dad where Jamie was, he said “He has something going on this weekend with his friends.” Aly said she did not feel comfortable correcting her dad, but said she was disappointed in him. I hate how he sets the precedent to his kids that it is ok to lie. A lot of bad examples of parenting going on, especially with avoiding problems.
Jamie got changed into her pajamas, we watched TV together for awhile and went to bed.
My ex called me about 11 pm (probably after Drew and Aly went to bed) and really layed into me. He thought I made Jamie do that on purpose, and he wasn’t prepared. It just went on and on. I just hung up on him. I couldn’t take it anymore.
I called my friend Patty late Friday night, and just cried my eyes out to her. We were on the phone until like 2 am in the morning. I keep beating myself up. I know I am being hard on myself, but had a great therapy session this week (yesterday), I feel much better as I write this.
I think I stated in one of my other entries my girlfriend Patty, is soo supportive of me and of Jamie. She came over on Saturday morning with bagels and coffee and spent the weekend with us. Giving me a break all day on Saturday, to kind of collect myself a little bit. HUUUUGE. On Saturday, she took Jamie out shopping and bought her (if you’re reading this Pats – way too much!!! J but extremely grateful) stuff. They came in together Saturday night, Patty took her too lunch and dinner, with so many bags. Jamie was smiling ear to ear. Patty’s husband is pretty well off (you know it Pats and he’s a sweetheart to boot); she’s a stay at home mom with three boys and the one with the shore house. We have known each other a long time, and she was my maid of honor at my wedding. Bottom line is we’re close. All my kids call her aunt Patty.
She said she was happy to “splurge” on Jamie, but I scolded her for buying too much, but was very appreciative. Jamie was not comfortable trying any of the stuff on and using the dressing room at the stores. So she spent the night trying stuff on, and basically performing a mini-fashion show for us. Patty said she consulted, but basically Jamie picked out everything. I think I said before she’s got good taste. Thank god! So her own wardrobe has expanded. She got a lot of good stuff.
For Patty, obviously she has known about Jamie a long time. I have confided in her all along about all of the events of the last several years. But to listen to Patty’s observations Saturday night once Jamie went to bed, she could not get over Jamie. “She is so much more confident, outgoing and personable then Jimmy ever was. I can’t get over it.” She has seen Jamie grow up since diapers, and she was one of the first people to ever notice Jamie’s disposition, she used to say Jimmy always seems so sad. She used to say all the time, “I have 3 boys at home, and trust me he is no boy.”
You can tell Jamie was really happy to share her true self with someone else as well. She did not hold back. Patty was mentioning to me as well, that she could not get over her mannerisms, and especially her speech. “Dana she is already talking like a girl, she is not going to have any problems when she goes full-time” she said. So the re-assurance from someone else was good for me to hear.
Sunday, Patty had to get back to her family before the game. Jamie and I just layed around and watched the game together. Jamie was in bed before Aly and Drew came home Sunday night, which was pretty late. My ex did not come to the door, and when I asked them how the weekend went, Aly was groggy and headed upstairs, Drew was still excited about the game. He was rooting for New Orleans. Looked like he had a great time. My ex could always throw a good party.
Monday came and went back to normal. Last night on Tuesday, my ex called me to apologize on how he acted. He said that Jamie really threw him for a loop and when he saw her dressed like that; it all hit him at once. He again re-iterated he is not ready for any of this, he is struggling with it, and he needs time. He asked how Jamie was, and I said she was EXTREMELY hurt by what went on. He called back again last night and apologized to her. I told him I do not deserve to be talked to like that, and he REALLY needs to get into therapy fast. We all do together as a family unit. I could go on, but I do appreciate he reflected on his behavior and called to apologize. What can I say…sigh
I appreciated the fact he apologized to me, but needs to grow up and be mature about this, and realize he is a parent in all of this. Jamie needs him now more then ever. I am so proud of her, that she is standing up for herself. He said we need to go out as a family unit soon, maybe dinner. That’s a good sign.
So it is again, like that movie groundhog day where everything repeats itself. I keep telling myself that “time heals all wounds.” People will come around. The whirlwind continues, as I write this I am mentally fried.
I mentioned some of the emotional outbursts with Jamie, as I stated to her “it comes with the territory about being a female honey.” She has had some crying fits, that I think are due to the obvious stress she is probably under with all the is going on, but also as her doctor said are part of the side effects of the estrogen she is taking. I could write whole other entry of male and female emotions. Jamie is opening up outwardly, which is obviously not a male trait, and to she is quickly realizing that it is very difficult to hold back. I just keep telling her to let it out. Don’t hold it in!!
The other observation she shared with me last night when she took her pill, is her skin and hair are getting much softer, which again her doctor shared with her would happen. But I guess also signifies that changes at least subtlety are beginning to occur. She is starting the process of letting her hair grow out, she was probably due for a haircut (as a boy) a couple of weeks ago. We have been discussing which style she wants to grow it into, and she wants it one layer, which will take some time to grow out.
So things are progressing. I’ve also been sharing with her different skin care products, moisturizer, nightly facial care…ect. She is so excited about all of that stuff. Her next physical is next month, so far so good.
I am going to try to respond to all of the comments tonight, but if not, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT! It means a lot to me. Love, Dana
My friend Patty called me the other day and left me a message about the Tyra Banks episode last week on transgendered children. “You have to see it!!! There are kids on there just like Jamie” I got a few more references to the episode from a couple of comments on my blog. So I had to find it and check it out. Someone referred me to youtube. I have said before I am kind f technically challenged, but I was able to find it. If I knew how to post a link, I would do it. Sorry 😦
There was an 8 year old girl on there named “Josie”. To say the least, I am in AWE of this child, her sister, and her parents. I wish I had half the courage and strength of that whole family unit. They are AMAZING. Josie was sooo cute, but so confident in who she is. Even the other daughter, when she told Tyra “I love my sister because she is transgendered”. Tears just came to my eyes. As you can tell from my posts, I probably over-analyze and over think everything. I guess it just comes out as fear, I have no other way of saying it. Fear of doing the wrong thing, fear of how others think, fear of family, fear for my children, fear of life. I don’t know. I pray all the time that Jamie grows into the woman she has wanted to be. After watching Josie, I hate myself for having Jamie present herself as a boy everyday. WHY DO I MAKE HER DO THAT? I feel awful. That little girl and her family were so inspiring to me.
I had Jamie watch tonight, she started to cry. But she was so happy for all of the children on the episode. She was really intrigued by the final woman who was on there, I think her name was Alaina. Sorry if that is wrong. She has already had her surgery. Jamie kind of paused the computer, she was like “I hope I grow up beautiful like her. She seems so sweet.” I think what Jamie so was potential, and she is so excited about her future. Hang in there honey. It’s coming.
The other person there, who I have traded e-mails with is Kim Pearson. YOU GO KIM! That doctor could be a stand in for my ex husband, that’s exactly what I deal with almost every week. Like they are the same person. They have all the answers and do not consider the needs or feelings of the children. Dr. Marci Bowers (I think I spelled that right) had the ultimate perspective when she said the average age of her patients was like 46 years old. That’s older then me!! There is NO WAY I could ever imagine taking on a life change at that age like that. I can’t even imagine. As she was explaining that to the doctor, he was just talking over her. Marci was so professional and patient in her response, the guy wouldn’t even listen to her or Kim. IT IS SO FRUSTRATING!!! This is so real, these kids need help. I am glad for Jamie there are people like Kim and Marci out there. Thanks to you both!!
Again I am in awe, I wish I had that strength.
This was the first weekend in awhile that actually was slow in pace, and pretty relaxed. I needed it. Drew slept over his friends house on Saturday night, and did not get back until late Sunday. I am sure he was saying “get me out of here!” But it was ok. I know he needs some space. He’s been quiet, but ok towards Jamie.
Jamie, Aly and myself just rented movies all weekend, pretty uneventful which was an event in itself. That’s what I pray for is the normalcy to set in, and I know it’s early to expect that. I know Jamie likes the freedom when Drew is not around, but I think that will get better over time. On Saturday night, I think I have said before that my daughter Aly is a pretty accomplished dancer. She’s into ballet, Jazz and hip hop. She likes it all, and is very good at it. I did ballet all the way up to high school, I loved it, although was not as talented as Aly is. I know Jamie has probably yearned to be able to take the classes. I offered it up to her once before, but she said “I want to go as a girl, not as a boy.”
Back to Saturday night after Drew left, I went downstairs to our basement (half of it is finished the other half is the laundry room) I had not heard from the girls in awhile. When I came downstairs, Aly said “look mom I am teaching Jamie some ballet positions.” I was like “OH”. Jamie and Aly were both dressed in Aly’s leotards, with dance shorts and tights (footless kind). Jamie I doubt would have done that with Drew home, I am sure of that. Jamie just wants to catch up sooo bad, and Aly is such a willing partner. They were just doing simple positions, and plies’ on Aly’s mobile barre down there, but I guess it was cute. Again seeing her there dressed life that is surreal for me to see it, but again good for her, she has no reservations for me seeing it. Which is fine by me. Aly has no issues sharing with her, so it is very healthy. They stayed dressed like that the rest of the night, while we watched the movie. They got changed into pj’s and just stayed in the TV room all night until morning. They love each other’s company and are becoming very close. I can’t complain.
Again I sent a miserable “boy” to school today. I know it pains Jamie until she comes home. Monday nights are her new favorite night, because it is Bachelor night. She loves watching her Jake. She gets almost giddy, it’s funny. “He’s soo hot.”
That’s how my night ended before I came up here to write this entry. It’s been two weeks today since she started her hormone pills, so far she says she feels great.
We still haven’t figured what to do this weekend, when she is scheduled to go to her fathers. Aly will be there as well, with Drew. We’ll see. I may just not send her there. Give me strength.
As you know from my previous post, I was kind of gong back and forth on the open weekend. I talked to our therapist Friday afternoon and she basically just told me (as many of you commented on as well) to just relax and let things play out. Allow Jamie space to get comfortable at the pace she wants.
So when the kids came home from school on Friday (I was home from work on Friday) Jamie came home and immediately asked me “are we going shopping for clothes for me this weekend?” So I knew where her mindset was.
I asked what her expectations were. She said “I don’t know.”
Drew texted me “can I sleep over (his friends) house tonight?” I was wondering if he just did not want to be home this weekend, and I hate when he does stuff like that on our family weekend – when we are all together. I said to him “fine, but I want you to be back here on Saturday.” He said that was fine, that’s what he planned on anyway.
So I actually called my neighbor who watches Aly until 5:30 every night, if she did not mind in watching Aly until late that night. I figured what I could do is take Jamie out shopping, just the two of us, and would give us some ability to talk and give Jamie the ability to have a comfortable setting.
My friend said she was “fine” also; she followed with “Do you want Aly to just sleep over tonight?” Since it is one of Aly’s best friends; I knew she would be excited as well. So the night was clear for Jamie and I to hit the mall.
So I said to Jamie, “why don’t you go upstairs and find an outfit to put on, and we can go across the river and hit one of the malls in Jersey together, go shopping and get some dinner.”
She was like “REALLY MOM??? JUST YOU AND I??? I am sooo excited.” She was cute.
I did tell her, that “hey we are just going to go shopping-lite, which means only a few outfits. We can build your stuff as we go along.”
She said, “that’s ok mom. I know. Thanks”
At this point much like I was last week, I was downstairs and feeling pretty nervous. In some ways Aly has been a pretty good buffer between the two of us. Now it will be just me and Jamie. Which is good for me, but I will be honest, again I was pretty nervous.
When she came downstairs, I still can’t get used to the hairpeace, it totally changes her. I know it is something small, but it’s like when superman puts on his cape, another person emerges. (bad metaphor I know) It will take some time for me to get used too. Of course, she did up her make-up, which again I am amazed on how well she does it. It’s a subtle style.
What was kind of an interesting spin is she put on one of Drew’s Eagles sweatshirts he got for Christmas and never wore (which she was swimming in; I am sure it is an XL) put on a turtleneck white long sleeve under layer of mine under the sweatshirt, some black form fitting casual pants of mine, and a pair of my black flats. The sweatshirt covered her past her behind, which is what I think she is trying to accomplish. As she confided to me later on that night, she wants to her hide lack of shape. She looked like a normal high school girl. I told her she looked great!
It was dark out when we left which was kind of good; we live next to an elderly couple who saw us leaving, and must of just thought it was Aly. But Jamie nervously kind of jumped in the car. We need a way to figure out the neighbors soon.
We headed off to a mall, which was about 45 minutes in traffic from our house. I was asking Jamie how school was going this week. She said “I just can’t wait until this school year is over Mom. I just hate being there, but I get how you want me to finish out the year. I just want to get on with my life.” She sounded so grown-up the way she said it.
I keep asking her the uncomfortable question (for both of us) on how the pills are making her feel. She said “I feel good knowing that I have estrogen in my body, it is so exciting to me that I am going to be able to be who I was supposed to be. But so far I have not noticed anything out of the normal.” I know she wouldn’t just yet, but want to know she can talk to me about anything.
From the driver’s seat, and I will say this over and over again, I just can’t get over how feminine she behaves. Now I know she can pull off the feminine look, she looks female. That’s amazing in itself. But what surprises me is she acts so feminine, it is almost like she has been bottling up inside for all of this time. Like holding it back. The learning curve for her will be pretty small. Where is she getting it from? Some of you have commented that she has been observing all of this time; I think you are all correct. She has just waited for the moment and time to express. She sat there with her purse on the floor, looking in the vanity mirror, and sat there with her legs crossed sideways talking to me. It’s sooo crazy. I felt good that she feels comfortable enough with me to express like that, it is not an issue at all. I am probably twice as hesitant as she is.
We got dinner at Friendly’s of all places – the big spender I am. It was her choice. She asked me “what can I get tonight mom?” I said “Jamie, let’s be realistic, what are your expectations? I think your goals are to spend nights and weekends initially around the house correct?” she said “yes”.
I responded “Then I think we should just buy some casual stuff for at home, maybe some shoes, some sleepwear, and when events arise that we need to get some more stuff we can buy that stuff as we go along. I said how does that make you feel?”
She said. “Great”
I said “one exception to what I just said is I was thinking about taking you, Drew and Aly for a celebration dinner tomorrow night. Somewhere down in Penn’s Landing.”
“What are we celebrating?” she said.
I said “you.”
She was like “OH, really? How do you think Drew would feel?”
I said “he gave me his commitment that we have his support on this, it may be a good way to acclimate him to you.”
She kiddingly said, “It might make him grossed out.”
I said “maybe, or completely the opposite he may come away from it as no big deal or anything. You never know with Drew.”
She said “Let me think about that. I really appreciate that a lot.”
I said “No problem honey.”
From Friendly’s we went into JC Penny’s. Why JC Penny’s? Well, I figured we could keep it to one store, kind of explore a lot of things and if we needed to move onto the mall, fine. But it was almost like I wanted her to set the tempo. We ended buying mostly everything there (I know that sounds like a commercial, but she was fine.)
She did not want to use the dressing rooms, she did not feel comfortable in that setting yet. I totally got that.
She mainly came away with sweatpants outfits, some hoodies, t-shirts, leggin pants, mostly casual at home stuff. I was actually impressed with her taste. She bought a couple of pairs of real cute pajama outfits, including a long flannel nightgown. I know you are all thinking (what about the thrift stores, or taking it easy, I KNOW but I could not resist.) She loved every second of it, I could resist talking out the VISA card, even though I promised myself not too. She deserves it. There are so many sales going on it’s ridiculous.
We passed one of those aisle tables with the assorted panty sets on display. I said to her “you’re probably sick of the generic panty set I bought you, do you want to get your own pairs? Why don’t you pick out a few pairs for yourself.” She did not hesitate, and kind of jumped in, and picked out some real cute stuff. I was proud of her, she wasn’t shy really.
One thing I did say to her is “Do you want to buy a bra for yourself; we could buy some inserts to put in them for you to wear out?”
This is where she volunteered that she just wants to wear like baggy clothes for now. “I want to get one when I will start needing one?” she said. Which I respected, like with her there is a sense of authenticity about the exercise. I will have to remember that the next time we are in counseling to discuss. I said “Ok honey, when you’re ready.” I know I am going to need to buy Aly one real soon, so maybe they can experience that together. Although I think Aly’s development will be further on then Jamie’s. Not sure how that will feel for either of them. Will cross that bridge when we come to it.
When we were almost done, she said to me “what we you thinking about me wearing to dinner tomorrow night?”
I said “listen you don’t have too, it was just an idea I had.”
She said, “I want too.”
We kind of perused over to some of the dress sections, both on the junior and misses section. She really didn’t like much over there, or did not want to try one on. I said “we could go to another store if you want too.”
She kind of went over to the skirt section, and found a form-fitting black pencil skirt that was fitted to the waist. Not a zipper or anything. She loved it, I told her to get it. We can find a top for you.
She went the route of a red and black patterned sweater, and end up buying her own white turtle neck layer to put underneath. Again kind of siding with the baggy bigger theme.
We bought her a pair of black sheer opaque tights to complement the outfit.
The other thing I wanted to buy her was her own bathrobe. Obviously she will not be able to kind of come out of the shower (she rarely does) with a bottom towel anymore. So she bought herself a big long pink bathrobe with matching slippers.
I know my bill was adding up.
We headed out to the mall in search of some shoes for herself. We ended buying a pair of cute, white with pink trim Vans sneakers, as well as some black flats of her own, and a nice pair of flat heeled dress shoes to wear with her skirt outfit.
So all in all it was a huge start, a lot more then what I expected to pay, but again she was so into it, and wanted to be supportive to her. I know how long she waited for it.
On the way home I asked her “how do you feel?”
“I feel awesome mom.” she started crying. “Thank you so much. I’m so happy” She put her head down on my shoulder while I was driving. I started crying as well. So touching, she was so sincere.
The other thing she talked to me about on the way home was changing and re-arranging her room. Her room I would say now is kind of like gender neutral. She wants to re-do the whole room. I said I don’t have any issues with it, but we will just have to wait a few months. She said she was fine with it. I think reality is settling in with her, and she is loving it. It makes me happy.
We ended going to blockbuster on the way home, and picked up a movie.
She went upstairs, started putting her clothes away, washed her face, got into her flannel nightgown and came downstairs and just gave me a HUUUGGGE hug. I knew right there things are going to be ok.
I fell asleep watching the movie, she kind of shook me and I went upstairs as she did.
One by one, first Aly came home Saturday morning around 9 AM. I was still in my PJ’s, and then Drew (thankfully) around 9:30. Jamie was still upstairs.
I told both of them (one at a time) about we may be going out dinner that night and that I want the family to get dressed up as a welcome to Jamie. Drew was like “Really, it has to be this weekend already.” I told him, “Drew you gave your word, you promised.” He said “I know mom.”
“Do I have your support?” (me)
“Yes mom” (Drew)
Aly of course was real excited. “Is Jamie upstairs? Can I go tell her? What’s she going to wear?” She is such a cool kid.
Jamie came downstairs wearing her hairpiece, and in her nightgown and came to the kitchen where Drew was. It was like Rocky and the other guy as they entered the ring 🙂 I’m kidding.
It was the first time Drew saw Jamie like that. I have to give him credit, he was real cool to her. “Hi Jamie (he does not refer to her as Jamie)”
“Hi Drew” she kind of said cheerfully and kind of girly (I’m like don’t over do it honey).
She followed “Did you sleep over Sully’s house?” (Drew’s friend)
He said like “Yeah, so and so was over too and we played basketball on the playstation all night. I think we went to sleep around 3am or something” (didn’t like to hear that, but happy there were talking.)
They kept on talking while I was making them a late breakfast. I wanted to be there the whole time, but not really be there, if you know what I mean. Aly jumped in, and after awhile when I was setting up the food on the kitchen table, it was like awkwardly “normal”. Can’t explain it. Jamie was not holding back her femininity, hands, gestures, legs crossing. Drew maybe because of the way she was dressed, just kind of seemed cool with her. I don’t know. I give him SOOOOOOO much credit for doing that. He took the high road. He was the first to leave the table, and head up to his room, and just started playing games.
I went into his room “are you ok?”
He said “yeah I think so, but that was weird.”
I told him I was proud of him.
The afternoon passed, and I was starting to get the kids ready for dinner. I told Drew to wear a sweater and a pair of his nice dockers. He did not want to wear dress pants, a tie or anything, I said that was fine.
Aly wore a nice dress she has. She was real excited.
We were all kind of dress up. There was like an event feel for the night.
Jamie came down in her outfit, and looked SPECTACTULAR. Aly was like “Jamie you look awesome, you’re even wearing tights like me.”
You could see some trepidation in Jamie’s face, but you could see a lot of pride in there as well. She felt as good as she looked. If there ever was a womanly trait, that is certainly one. I was so proud of her.
Drew, I am not sure what was going thru his mind. Like his brother finished transitioning into a girl right in front of his eyes. Kind of like how I felt, where did all this come from? He didn’t compliment her or anything, but more importantly did not put her down.
We hopped in the car, with Drew in the front seat and Aly and Jamie in the back. I could see Jamie in my rearview mirror, she was smiling from ear to ear. Drew was real quiet in the car.
We got out of the car, and walked towards the restaurant. Drew was in the front with Jamie behind him with Aly with me trailing in the back. I was looking at Jamie behind Drew, and again was blown away over what has occurred the last few years. She so looked liked a girl with her purse hanging off her coat, the skirt, and they way she carried herself. In front Drew is growing into such a young man. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? The last several years just passed me by in that moment.
I am so optimistic about the future, but to use the word surreal is understating how I felt.
We sat down to dinner, and on cue the waitress after introducing herself – turns to Drew and says “boy aren’t you lucky to be out with three beautiful ladies? What’s the occasion?” He was kind of stumped, and I kind of answered that we were celebrating good report cards. Drew kind of rolled his eyes, not sure if it was because of the report card response, or because of the beautiful ladies comment. But he rolled with it.
The dinner was pretty uneventful, again you will be sick of me saying it, but the way Jamie carries herself is unbelievable to me. How did that happen? I think Drew was kind of blown away too. The way she orders, the way she presents herself, the way she eats, it’s crazy.
The only thing that made me apprehensive for pursuing this was how quiet Drew was. Not sure if he was taking it all in or not, but was not himself. He was not disrespectful; he was talking to Jamie and to Aly, but was overall reserved. I guess that’s to be expected. I don’t know.
When we got home, we just turned on the TV, and hung out for a awhile. Aly and Jamie kicked off her shoes, and sat on the couch. The way they were sitting both cross legged sitting almost on top of each other, again was surreal to me. Their sisters, no doubt about it!
It took Jamie awhile to go upstairs and get changed, because I think she was waiting for this moment for a longtime. Drew went upstairs to his room, and just started playing on the playstation again by himself. I went into his room, “You ok?”
He said “yeah mom”.
“You can talk to me?” I said.
“I’m cool mom.”
I’m not so sure, I wish he would open up to me.
The good news is we woke up on Sunday; Jamie wore another new pair of pj’s. Aly asked “where are you getting all of this stuff?” Jamie said “Mom bought it for me Friday night.”
“That’s not fair!!” Aly replied.
I told her “I will get you some new stuff, Jamie needed some of her own stuff.”
“No duh mom.” Aly said, which was funny.
Jamie wore another new outfit on Sunday and was in and out of the football games that were going on. Drew occupied the room with the big tv, and really gets into it. He was texting and calling his dad all throughout the game. I never heard him once talk about the events of the weekend. Which I think is good.
Jamie sat on the same couch with him when she watched the game, and he did not run off or anything. I think that was a good sign. But you can almost tell the next stage of their relationship is going to start. Hopefully for Drew – he will talk about it in therapy. I am going to call my ex and tell him everything that went on, just so he is up to speed.
What a weekend!!
This morning, got the kids up for school to start the routine. Jamie looked miserable. Long sour face. That’s my biggest fear, that after these weekends or weeknights the days she has to present as a male are getting to get harder and harder. I feel for her. Going to have to watch that closely.
As I write this tonight, the routine she has set in the house, is she is not afraid to dress out. She had her hairpiece on and a new outfit, she even put on a little make-up when she got home from school. I hope that is healthy for her. Drew was not a lot different from the weekend, but the cat is out of the bag.
We are on our way, as I keep saying the next couple of months will be tough. But I think this weekend was the start of a different life for all of us, especially Jamie.
Thanks for all of your ears, any feedback or thoughts on how I handled the weekend it is much appreciated. Did I go overboard? I am not sure how I feel tonight.
Been calling around to some close friends and family about some of the updates going on this week.
Called my mom on Wednesday. Obviously she has known stuff going on with Jamie up till now. She is 72, my dad is 75, and they are very old school. My dad is a former union guy, does not say or offer much. My mom is the one with the big heart, and is the hub of our family. She has been on the fence with all of this stuff since the beginning, she has been supportive of me and of Jamie, but again was one of the factors early on to take the approach of allowing the male identity in Jamie to develop before we pursue more aggressive approaches of treatment.
She understood why we chose to start the estrogen treatment, but is very concerned about Jamie’s future as an adult. “What does that mean for surgery in the future?” “Will she ever find love in her life?” “what kind of life will she lead?” “She will never be able to have children” “Will she ever be able to have “relations” (people still use that term?) with a man?” “Will a man ever accept her past?” “Will she like women instead?”
It’s funny how people automatically go down the “sex” path rather than gender. As I told my mom this is about aligning her gender, she will have to cross those bridges when she comes to them. But this about her happiness to set her up for a successful adulthood. She was not trending there as an adolescent if she had stayed or tried to stay in a male gender. It just would have not worked. My mom got that.
I told her the option that we had previously discussed of home schooling, and also told her that suggestion our therapist had made, that she goes to my mother’s house rather than come to my house. She was concerned about my commute back and forth, and she said she agreed with the recommendation to get Jamie out of the house to build and support a life rhythm, and offered to pick Jamie up everyday. I told her THAT WOULD BE A GODSEND!! to me. If there are times she cannot do it, I could make the trip, but her openness to that is unbelievable. She said she could also kind of set up a classroom environment in their basement (which is finished), it generally only gets used during the holidays or when the family all gets together. She says that Dad never even uses that room anymore, because of his bad knees he has troubles making stairs. She said let’s put our heads together and do it right. OMG, she is so awesome!
My mom said, if Jamie is going to go this route, she better present herself as a lady and a student. “I don’t want her coming here in sweatpants or pajamas, and expecting her not to do her studies.” My mom knows that Jamie is a straight A student, and that would be out of character for her. But it is something we need to be conscious on, that she stays disciplined. I know she will.
My dad, I could write another whole several page blog on. To shortly put it, he is an ex military, union guy, worked in the same place for almost 40 years. He is a man of few words, but surprises you sometimes. He was a wonderful dad while growing up, I was a daddy’s little girl being the only daughter in my family. I think he was real tough on but very respected of my brothers. When my mom told him he said, “well it’ll be nice to have one of our grandchildren here everyday. I can set up a real nice table downstairs, we will probably have to get a computer hook-up down there.” Although that is not a lot or very deep in a response, that is my dad’s way of saying he is supporting, and he’ll be there for us. One of my dad’s favorite sayings is “It is what it is.” I think he realizes that explains Jamie’s situation perfectly.
So many details will need to be worked out, I have already called our school’s district this week, and have some information coming to me on how to actually execute all of this stuff. If we pursue the GED route, I am concerned on how that will set her up for college. The administrator I talked too said it was really important in home schooling situations to perform well on the SAT’s and ACT’s when the time comes. I may call around to a few colleges and ask some questions. Priority wise Jamie wants and needs to focus on the gender change, and it will be a small price to pay in her eyes. But I do not want her to miss out on any educational opportunities she will have in the future. She is a very bright and talented kid.
I am really trying to build a positive support network surrounding Jamie, and want family that comes in contact with her often to have a heads up on some things that they will either see or perceive. One area to build more comfortability and confidence for Jamie is showing her female persona outside the home, would be with family and close friends.
I called my sister in-laws. They are great, and very supportive, which will be good for Jamie because she has cousins her age. One female cousin and her have not been all that close in recent years, but my sister in-law said we should get them together more. She’s a sweet kid, and could potentially be a positive female friend of someone her own age.
My oldest brother who is kind of dead pan, tells it like it is, doesn’t hold back kind of guy said verbatim “I kind of figured all along Jimmy would play for the away team anyway, not that there is anything wrong with that” (his way of saying he figured Jamie would be gay, and using the Seinfeld reference if anyone saw that episode.) He was really concerned for me and how I was handling it, and showed a lot of concern for Drew. He said kiddingly “If Drew ever needs a break from a house of chicks you know he is always welcomed here.” He has two sons older then Drew. You have to know my brother to understand that joke. But he’s awesome in his support as well, as he always is.
I have not talked to my other older brother, he is away on business this week. His wife is the one who said we should get our “daughters” together. I don’t anticipate any issues there, but he will be like my dad and will not offer much in terms of a discussion.
So I feel like I am off to a good start with my family.
I have been talking to my ex everyday the last couple of days, (things are still tough, but one he is checking in to see how Jamie is doing, and two – he is talking.) Those are good signs.
I said he probably does not have to do anything now, but at some point he is going to need to talk his family. Especially his dad. (His mom died of breast cancer 6 year ago.) He said we’ll see (I think he is still holding out for an alternative direction). I said listen Jamie especially as we start heading to the summer is going to start showing changes, and we do not want to blind side anyone. My ex’s family has a house in the Poconos that he takes the kids to in the summer. Jamie has always loved it there, but this summer will be different for everyone. He says “I know, we’ll see.” I’ll have to keep on him with that. No idea how his brothers will take any of this. To say Jamie was close to them anyway, is a stretch.
I told my best friend Patty, who was the maid of honor in my wedding, and I have been friends with since grade school. I tell her everything. She has been super supportive since day one. Of course she asked all the questions everyone is shy or afraid to ask, and I do not even have all the answers too yet. If anyone has a good link on the gender reassignment surgery that I could send someone that would be great. The easiest explanation I give everyone is they turn the existing equipment inside and make a vagina. Which everyone consistently says “really.” Consistently women are fascinated, the guys are like “ouch – too much information”. Not to make a parallel comparison but I can attest first hand with having two vaginal births (Aly was a c-section) with long labor that the skin downstairs can withstand a lot abuse. I respect anyone who has that surgery, it must be extremely painful.
She said wants to be like a godmother to Jamie, and wants to help in anyway she can. “We got to get that girl some clothes.” I said I know, Jamie has already asked. She said “let’s get going with it.” She also said, “let’s face it Dana, Jamie was not going to make much of a man, she’ll make a beautiful woman. This is a good thing. He has always had a female spirit.”
So I have got the ball rolling, I am always impressed by people’s reactions. There may not have been a lot of understanding of the issue but all in all people been supportive of me, Jamie and our family. Thanks for the prayers, they are working
I took a sick day today, trying to catch up on some things at home. Just want to send thanks, and clarify my last post. A few people have offered to pay for clothes for Jamie. One, just want to say thanks I am extremely honored for the offer. As I have said before, I am just ranting to the computer as I write these. I have not either gone back to read the previous entries yet, and do not check my grammer, spelling or content unless it self corrects as I go along. My point to that is, I don’t want to mis-represent that my family is destitute or anything. I am just guilty of over-spending on Christmas, and am catching up this month. We do very fine, my ex does very well and his child support helps the kids, I am kind of on my own with my stuff. I have a large wardrobe, but luckily do not have wealthy tastes, that Jamie can leverage now. So Jamie will be fine, I just was kind of saying if she needed EVERYTHING that is a lot to take on right now financially.
I want her to have her own clothes, but we will just have to build her wardrobe as we go along. Most of the stuff we would buy now, wouldn’t fit her later probably, especially pants, that’s why she has told me likes leggin pants because they fit her. I get that.
So I was just speaking aloud, (to the computer), not sure really as I stated in my last entry how to handle the clothes situation for her right now. But she is anxious to build her stuff. Need a strategy there. So thanks for the sincere thoughts.
Thank you for suggestions that have come over as well. Still kind of undecided as a sit here today. Will hear from her therapist this afternoon.
Hope everyone has a great weekend. THANKS TO EVERYONE who has commented, your insights are WONDERFUL!!. Love, Dana
9 comments January 22, 2010
Another night at the keyboard, it’s a nice way to finish the day.
I told Jamie about my conversation with Drew last night, and she was kind of like “YOU DID?” “What did he say?” She was a little nervous. I told her he asked a lot of questions, but was overall actually pretty cool with everything, not to say it won’t be awkward or unusual initially. I told her really the ball is in her court now to start getting some confidence around Drew.
Drew was late getting home tonight from practice, but we all had dinner together, and it was uneventful which I think was good in a way. Drew and Jamie were kind of keeping their awkward avoidance and not really making eye contact. But I think that’s ok for now. Their both wondering probably what’s going through each others mind.
I asked Jamie when she came into my room tonight to take her pill, on how she was feeling. She kiddingly said, “What do you want hourly updates?” 🙂 She said she was feeling really good. I love that she is checking in with me every night, I want to establish some mother daughter time, one on one, just to be there and answer any questions for her. It’s a good time to do it.
I knew the questions were inevitable, and she is definitely chompin at the bit for her own stuff, she asked me if we can go shopping for her this weekend.
I would love too, but if it was one thing, it would be fine. But she needs EVERYTHING. As I said in the last couple of posts, disposable income is not all that flowing right now, and as now Jamie’s dad probably would not kick in for this yet I am sure. I could run up a credit card, and just pay it back when the tax refund comes in. I don’t know.
I am going to call our therapist tomorrow, and get her opinion if it’s too soon or not, and would love to get any feedback out there as well.
I know she wants to dress as Jamie as much as humanly possible, but what is the right pace we should go at, considering she is still going to school as a boy until June?
Is it too much back and forth and too soon?
Should I allow her dress every night and all weekend? Is that too much?
How about the weekends she spends with her father? Should she ease herself into it or just go for it?
So many questions….I would ask Jamie what she feels, I know what she is going to say though. I don’t want to lose sight she is still presenting as a boy during the day at least until June, and don’t want to create a bad situation for her mentally. Not sure what the therapist will say, but she has encouraged me to allow Jamie to dress as she feels comfortable in the right situations. The right situations will probably evolve into semi-permanent. Jamie said she still do whatever she has to do with school, knowing it is only for a few more months.
The next coming months towards the summer should be real interesting.
The other thing Jamie asked tonight was if she could start growing her hair out. I told her I was totally fine with that, as long as we manage it along the way. I guess I am really concerned about her safety at school, but so far there has not really been any indicators of any problems so far.
The other thing I would love to get some feedback on – is this weekend. I have all 3 kids this weekend, all weekend.
Since it’s winter, and pretty limited, normally we would just hang inside all weekend. I know Drew wants to watch football. I think both games are on Sunday this week.
Do I allow Jamie to come out this weekend subtly, with the hairpiece and all to kind “on board” Drew? Maybe go to the movies or dinner or something. Is that too much? Too soon?
Do I say let’s chill this weekend, and don’t do anything?
Or the other idea I had was to go to an extreme. At work the execs call this the “big bang” change management approach.
Again I know Jamie is chompin at the bit, I was thinking about recognizing Jamie in a special way and maybe allowing her to buy a dress and get the family all dressed up and take them to a fancy restaurant. Let’s face it for all that she has been thru, and the fact she is almost 16, she has never had that special “girl” moment in her life. In Jamie’s eyes it is a time to celebrate. Let’s treat it that way? It might be too much for Drew to handle, but maybe we do it on Sunday with just me, Jamie and Aly during the games.
I don’t know, but I am open to suggestions.
In comparison, I know this is a short post compared to my last couple, but I’m tired and need to shut my eyes. I do have an update I will give with my talk with my mom. All is good on the home schooling option, but the conversation was interesting.
Have a great Thursday! Love, Dana
18 comments January 20, 2010
As I stated when I wrote my entry the other day, Drew has kind of been oblivious to some of the events that have been going on with Jamie. He has a lot going on with school, sports, friends ect…Sometimes unfortunatley I feel he just sleeps here, and lives everywhere else. I hope from his standpoint it is not by design. Like he needs to get out of here.
Going back some time for Drew’s sake, my ex and I had discussed a living arrangement at my ex’s house. But it would never work, because my ex works as a consultant and travels almost all the time. He has thought about making career changes before, to get off the road, but obviously with the economy it has been unlikely. He has actually been as busy as ever with work. Drew and my ex are extremely close.
Honestly for me, it would kill me inside to lose Drew in my house, but I would do it in his best interest. I am not even sure if you asked Drew if he had a choice, he would automatically pick my ex. He has come out to me before that he loves his dad on weekends, but he knows how tough he can be to live with. Plus not sure what my ex’s romantic situation is with his girlfriend, but I doubt Drew would want to be in that living situation. In some ways I doubt my ex does as well.
Many of my girlfriends with teenage sons have similar relationships with their sons as I do with Drew. I think teenage sons “tolerate” (not sure if that is the right word) their moms, but can be at times ambilevant. Not in a hurtful way, but they appreciate we’re there, but you almost have to demand their attention. So if he left here, it could disastrous to our relationship, and possibly to his siblings.
The whole thing with Jamie has been tough on Drew as well. When they were younger, (Jimmy and Drew because they are so close in age – 15 months apart) they were known to our friends and family as “the boys”. They shared a room together before we moved into the house we live in today. They were also very different, but very close.
As I said in my entry the other day Drew kind of separated himself with his older sibling physically, and Jamie mentally to Drew. Drew has never won any special “smart” ribbons. He trys hard, but is not gifted in that way like Jamie is.
When the kids were younger, my ex coached them both in little league, and Drew was always one of the best or the best player not only on the team he was on, but also in the league. I am not sure Jamie was ever jealous, I don’t think she ever wanted to be there, and was never any good if not the worst player on the team. It used to frustrate my ex, but I kept saying to him – sports isn’t his thing. So in some ways Jamie felt inferior to Drew in my ex’s eyes in terms of sports, but felt the inverse – Drew felt inferior to Jamie when it came to school. My ex used to and still does get on Drew pretty good about his grades.
I am not sure if Drew was every aware of Jamie’s gender issues growing up, but I know Drew knew that Jamie was different. But they were still close, but you can tell not as much as they had been. As I also stated before, Aly and Drew have a great relationship. Aly is an awesome kid, and can get along with ANYONE. She is my social butterfly.
Fast forward to some years later, we were spending a lot of time in therapy after Jamie had come out and was diagnosed with her GID. When we started on the lurpon therapy, Jamie and Drew were roughly the same size, and Drew had not started his puberty yet.
From that point on, the last couple of years were startling in comparison for both Drew and Jamie. This is where I think the bond or link between the two was broken.
Once puberty got a hold of Drew he just shot up and out. Even though he will only be 15 later this year, he is already built like a man, he’s growing so fast. First he was 2 inches taller than Jamie, then 4, then 6, then 8 and so on. Drew is 6ft tall now and probably outweighs Jamie by almost 65 lbs. He’s a big boy.
I am sure from Jamie’s perspective seeing her younger brother’s voice change, get bigger, get leg hair was a relief that it wasn’t happening to her, but at the same time she was losing any leverage she had during any of their sibling hassles. I think eventually she just got uncomfortable (I hate to use the word intimated) around Drew.
During this time Drew came home unexpectedly and caught Jamie all dressed up, who thought no one would be home at the time. This incident occurred after my husband had left, we had not divorced yet, and at a time Drew was unaware of Jamie’s “condition”.
Jamie was mortified, and humiliated. Of course Drew gave her the business. It was at this time I first talked to Drew about Jamie. He did not understand.
Drew has been thru counseling, kind of gets the issue, but in his mind “Jamie should just learn to be a boy” as he likes to say “it’s gross”. Which again is humiliating to Jamie.
So the conditions in the house, have not been favorable to Jamie in her comfortability around Drew. She almost tiptoes around him, which is not entirely Drew’s fault, I think it’s uncomfortability around Drew.
It’s almost painful to watch sometimes Jamie over-compensate in “boy” mode around Drew. She does this low voice thing with him like “How did you do at your game dude?” or “I heard in school Nicole blah blah blah likes you, she’s hot!” Drew kind of rolls his eyes, like you know what hot is.
I think from Jamie’s presentation to Drew she lacks authenticity with him and almost tries too hard, and Drew reads into that.
Well it needs to change.
When Drew came home from practice today, I actually took him out to eat. (not chinese this time, but a back table again. I’m like Mafia mom). I told him we need to talk and about Jamie.
I kind of started off the conversation putting him in the drivers seat.
“Drew I need you” I said.
“What mom?” (Drew)
“I need you” (Me)
“need me for what?” (drew)
“I need your help” (me)
“what’s going on?” (drew)
I explained to him all about yesterday, why everyone was so knocked out when he came home last night. I told him about the importance of the appointment, how his dad reacted, Jamie starting medication, and possibly being home schooled next year. He was kind of taken back. He’s like “really? Dad kept telling me he is just going thru a phase.”
“you have no idea how important you are to Jamie?” (me)
I explained to him how his acceptance is crucial in Jamie’s development. I also explored his relationship with Aly. How good he is with her, and how she respects and loves him so much.
I explained to him how important my relationships were with my brothers, how there were so important to me, and how important it was to me in my growth as a woman.
I emphasized the word “lens”. I said “Drew you need to change your lens when looking and behaving around Jamie?”
“what does that mean?” he said.
I said “when you look at Jamie you see your older brother, and you get disappointed or disrespect him when he does not play that role. Drew that older brother will not appear in your lens anymore. The lens you need to look thru is that Jamie is your sister. I have been using that same lens, and even as early as yesterday it does not take a lot for me to see the girl in Jamie. It’s right there. Jamie needs your support, and right now.”
I explained to Drew about how I am encouraging Jamie to dress more openly at home, and eventually he is going to start seeing physical changes in Jamie. While that may be difficult to see or comprehend, if you look thru the right lens it should be normal.
I think I broke thru.
“So Jamie is going to develop like a normal girl with boobs and everything?”
I said “yup”.
He asked a detail question about the bottom zone, and I said that can be corrected with surgery. He kind of did a shiver motion.
He’s like “Mom I just don’t get it. But I understand what your saying as far as me supporting Jamie. What do I tell my friends that come over? They already think Jamie is weird.”
I followed, “We will talk about it, but once your honest with them, if their true friends, they will stick by you.”
“So do I have your support?” (me)
He asked if he could be home-schooled, and I was cracking up laughing. I said then you won;t be able to play any sports, he said then never mind. It was a funny moment.
I should have left it right there, but I regret going down the next path now, I said “your dad is going to try to influence your support of Jamie.”
He said “I know”. That kind of pissed me off, I wonder how much he tries to influence Drew’s behaviour with Jamie.
I said, “You know???”
“He’s not really supportive of any of this.” he said.
I went on to say do what’s best for Jamie. Use that lens I talked to you about, try to be a positive influence on your dad, he needs it. We talked some more about it, but I should have left it alone.
So all in all, I think with Drew it was a good first step, I think he appreciated I talked to him alone about it. I also told him that I expect for him to talk and participate in therapy in the upcoming year.
As far as Jamie goes, I asked her this morning how the night went. I was concerned she might get an upset stomach or something with the medication. I remember my days first taking birth control pills, and they used to make stomach queasy at first.
She said she feels great, she was smiling ear to ear going off to school this morning. That never happens.
When she took her pill tonight, I asked her how her days was. She said, “Mom I was daydreaming all day, I could not focus on anything. I am sooo excited. I used to look at girls in my class, and be soo jealous of them. Not today knowing I am going to develop like them.”
I said kiddingly, “honey you never get over being jealous of other women. haha.”
I am doing better tonight, then I was last night. THANK YOU everyone for all of your well wishes and comments, it is very much appreciated. YOU ROCK!! Love, Dana
12 comments January 19, 2010
Today was a whirlwind. Not sure if there is a limit to the amount of words I can have on this blog, but this is probably going to be a long one. Have no idea where to start, so I’ll just jump right in. So many thoughts racing through my head, and I’m tired. I may go into some things in large detail, others may not.
For starters, I told our therapist today about taking her recommendation that I start a blog. She was smiling, “has it helped?” I said “yes very much so, have received a lot of great advice and perspectives from some wonderful people.” It’s one of the only New Year resolutions I have ever kept. Thanks to everyone who has taken an interest in our family and our situation, I really appreciate it. Your feedback has helped a lot.
I had recommended to my ex that he should probably come to the house this morning, and we could all go to the appointment/assessment together to show support to Jamie. He said he couldn’t due to some work concerns “you know Monday’s are so busy for me”. I was dissapointed, I wanted Jamie to have an opportunity to speak to him in the car prior to the appointment.
Jamie and I got in the car this morning, (so cold here in lovely PA!), and rode over to the appointment together. She knew the importance of this appointment, seemed a little nervous, but excited. “Dad is going to be there right?” she said.
I responded “Yes I talked to him last night, when he dropped off Drew, he is going to meet us there. ”
She went on, “Cool, this is when I find out about when I can start living as Jamie?” I said “we’ll see sweetheart.” I honestly did not know how things were going to play out today , I definitely need my ex’s support to pursue anything for Jamie.
On the ride to the office she was real quiet, I said to her, “did you have any problems taking the nail polish off?” She said, “no not at all, but I left it on my toenails, I only had to do fingers.”
I asked her “what going thru your mind?” She said, “I just want to move on and live my life mom. I just want to be me.”
“I know sweetheart. Make sure you are 100% honest with how you feel today.”
“I know Mom” she said. “I always am.”
The agenda today, the doctor was going to see Jamie first, and then we had a choice, either my ex and I go in together, or one and one. I was going to leave it up to him when he got here. We did not have to wait long when we got there, Jamie went in, seemed ok. I said “good luck honey.”
I was sitting in the lobby for about 40 minutes, when my ex arrived. He looked extremely excited to be there….not! We kind of did our small talk, I asked him how the weekend went with Drew..etc. I said “Jamie is going to be awhile, do you want to get some coffee downstairs?” He said, sure. There was a Starbucks in the office lobby.
I told him I wanted to make him aware of some things that are being discussed today, that he is unaware of. I told him about the events this weekend with Jamie, and he got ANGRY!
He accused me of using this weekend to put Jamie in a place to “feel” a certain way before today’s appointment. He said something like “you were suppossed to support and encourage him being a male, allow the therapy to work and now you allow him to prance around all weekend long in mommy’s clothes, how do you think that is going to support him?” He kept on emphasizing the word him. “You were suppossed to support me on this! and you went behind my back” he said. “How could you actually let him go outside dressed like that??”
I said, “you have a very determined child, and all she wants to do is live her life, in the mind and body she feels is appropriate. Right now, she is broken inside. She needs help! She is your child, and you need to be there for her as a parent.”
I went on, “I have supported your wishes more then I have supported hers, it kills me inside to send her off to school everyday as a boy, or send her off to you on a weekend where I know she will be miserable. Not because she is seeing her dad, it’s because her dad sees her as a boy, and she’s not!”
“Even yourself told me in December that all she did was act like a girl. You NOTICE it too! Why didn’t you invite her to your football weekend? Were you going to be embarrassed with your friends or family? You always invite her. What stopped you this time?”
We were going at it pretty good. Not yelling or anything, but have quiet heated confrontation in the lobby. We raised a few eyebrows of a few of the seniors down there.
He came back at me with, “hey even you at the start were angry at Jimmy for taking your stuff, even you said A BOY SHOULD LEARN TO BE A BOY, what makes you so sure?”
That’s how my ex is, always using my words against me.
I said, “That’s a perfect example for you, I did not know, and I wasn’t educated about this. Now I am, and you should be too. She is not going to change her position, and she needs your support. So does Drew. Our family needs it and needs you.”
We went back and forth for some time.
Then I dropped, “The other thing you need to know as well, because we may talk about it today, is Jamie is interested in boys. She has told me straight out, and talks about it all the time with Aly.”
He like “really?? he’s told you he’s gay?”
I said, “No she’s a girl! That’s what teenage girls do, they talk about boys.”
Here it comes. “Why would a boy ever want to be a girl? I just can’t understand it? What will his life be like? I knew this day was coming, and honestly I have tried to understand, but I can’t. He will never be able to have children, he will never be a father. Now you tell me he like boys. I just can’t take this!!”
We had it out some more, which was good, because he avoids these conversations like the plague.
I actually felt bad for him, because I think he feels he failed as a father. I can relate, because from my point of view I have felt that way as a mother too before. But the more and more I learn, I realize it just who she is.
You can tell he was frustrated.
We headed upstairs and waited in the waiting room some more. He was frustrating me with his stupid blackberry, taking calls and checking e-mails. It was kind of tense.
When Jamie came out of the office, you can tell she had been crying, she said hello to her dad, and gave him a hug.
The Dr called both of us in.
The doctor started out by saying “you have a very determined child there.”
I felt like sticking my tongue out at my ex, because I just used that same word downstairs.
She had all the of the endocrinologist information and tests in front of her, on her desk.
She said look, “we could look at this psychologically or medically, the bottom line is we are looking at someone in Jamie who as a strong female identity and disposition. There is no doubt that we can further treat this now, or eventually she will have to treat this later in life.”
She essentially re-capped the last few years all the way up to the events of this past weekend, the opinion of two other therapists, and so on. My ex interjected a few times, but was realizing he did not have much a leg to stand on.
She went on “Here’s the dilemma for you two to think about:”
“Jamie’s at a crossroads in her physical and mental development. She is at risk to have bone density or bone peak mass issues because of the prolonged usage of the Lupron therapy without a sex hormone, and she is getting older now and I’m concerned about her mental state the longer she spends in the pre-adolescent physical state she’s in. Jamie will need to start either a cross sex hormone, or will need to have to be taken off the Lupron therapy.
“My recommendation is to keep her on the Lupron to continue to suppress any testosterone and to start her on a low dosage of estrogen.”
“This way her body is introduced slowly to the female hormone and induce puberty. This will also have a growth inhibiting effect on her that she will remain in the female range in terms of height and puberty advances.”
My ex asked, “what if he is taken off the lupron altogether?” (I am thinking about screaming at him – EXCUSE ME ARE YOU LISTENING!!!)
“If we do that then Jamie will resume a male puberty, and all that comes along with it, but I highly recommend against that option. Like I said before you can treat this now, or wait until later and this could have severe consequnces to Jamie physically and mentally.”
She used a nice metaphor.
“Have you ever had an abscessed tooth before?” My ex said “yes”.
“It hurt right?” —-“yes”.
“A lot of people can ignore an abscess tooth and it goes away for a while, but when it comes back it hurts even more. You may ignore one more time, and boy does it really hurt now. The pain gets excruciating, that many people have to deal with it in an emergency situation or go to extraordinary measures to fix the problem.”
“At this point the dentist never recommends to you to brush the teeth harder, and floss more often, because those are preventive measures. At this point you need advanced help, and the abscess tooth needs to be treated now. Once the abscess is removed and the root canal is performed; the person feels so much better. Problem solved.”
“Jamie’s GID is like a gender abscess. She can continue ignoring the problem, but it really never goes away unless treated properly. She’s at the point she needs treatment, not more understanding of the problem.”
My ex’s head was nodding, but you can tell he was frustrated.
“So what does this mean?” I asked. “When should we start the estrogen and what should we expect?”
“You can start it soon, I can give you a prescription today. We will only start with a small dosage of estradiol, just enough to introduce puberty tanner stage 2. (increased areola, breast swelling, breast bud growth, pubic hair growth)”
“With it being almost February, she can start it now, and will not see much noticeable physical development that can’t be disguised on this dosage and we can look to increase after the school year. She can continue going to school as is without disruption.”
We talked about home-schooling in the fall, and the possibility of my mother helping out.
(I know many of the people who have sent me comments on this blog have talked about approaching the school’s administration, we are not for that at all. To be honest, Jamie really isn’t that type of person to attract that attention. She just doesn’t want it.)
Our doctor had a good suggestion, that if my mother (the doctor supports the home schooling) agrees to take on that challenge, that we conduct the schooling at my mother’s house. This way Jamie is forced to get dressed everyday and have a schedule and routine outside of the house. (I’ll have to figure the transportation out, my mom lives 20 minutes away in the other direction I work in. I’ll actually pass my exit on the way back going in to work, it would add 40 minutes to my commute.) I thought it was a great idea though. She also encouraged if we go that route, to pursue some after school activities. Keep her involved.
She shared with us that Jamie is well aware of this next step, and would be devastated if not pursued.
She also said that we should continue pursuing to present herself more often at home, with a full-time target date of the summer if we agreed with the approach. She told us that Jamie volunteered all of her feelings, and how great a weekend it was this past weekend. She told us we should do more of that, and include Drew slowly. Drew should also be in therapy soon also to talk about it.
She said that it is very important that my ex and Jamie have some one on one time, seeing Jamie’s persona. “You need to be more involved Dad” the doctor told my ex. “Jamie is aware of your disapproval, that just makes her ignore that abscess, but it still hurts. Your support is important to her.”
He wouldn’t volunteer anything.
We talked some more of the detailed stuff, more about Drew and how to handle that, and how Aly is a non-issue but still needs to be included in therapy.
My ex did ask some good questions, but you can tell was still struggling.
When I asked him for his consent, he responded, “You gotta do what you gotta do.” He started tearing up. I hugged him.
“I don’t want to lose my son.” he stated. I said, “I know.” It wasn’t right for me to challenge him there, Jamie has not been much of a son at all in a very long time or ever for that matter.
The moment reminded me of the time when the kids were very young, right after Aly was born and you can see kids starting to build their identity. Drew was all boy, all sports, all rough and tumble. Jamie wasn’t, but from that early age you can tell she was smart well beyond her means. We used to say we had it great, we had the athlete and the egghead affectionately, if they could only put that together, they would have one hell of a scholarship. Little did we know or expect what was hiding in Jamie.
We now have another daughter.
Lots to think about.
We ended the conversation that she wanted to see us and Jamie at the end of next month, that we should also follow-up with Jamie’s endocrinologist next month as well. She also said the next time she sees Jamie, she wants her to come to the appointment dressed as a female.
She also assured my ex that we will re-evaluate and respect every upcoming milestone, that would include stopping the therapy if red flags occur. She recommended that we talk to Jamie about expectations, and a timeline, up to and including possible future surgical considerations.
I sat with the receptionist to schedule the next appointment, the doctor handed me a prescription of oral estrogen, and in that scribbled paper was Jamie’s future.
In the hallway I asked my ex if he wanted to go out to eat with me and Jamie, and he said he needed to go back to check in with work.
As we approached Jamie, my ex hugged her and said “you’ll be ok kiddo”. She smiled up at him, and said “I know Dad.”
I started crying and hugged my ex and just said “thanks.”
I know he wanted distance, and to be alone. So I just stayed back and hugged Jamie, and she started crying because I was crying.
We did not say much on the walk back to the car, but I had my arm around her.
When we got in the car, I said “Do you want to go get something to eat?” she said “yes, where?”
“Your choice”, she chose this chinese restaurant near our house she loves. It’s a nice sitdown restaurant.
When we got there I asked if we could get a table alone in the back, this way I can talk to Jamie in private.
I sat there and looked (more stared) at Jamie, and felt happiness for her but also some sadness or remorse. It’s hard to explain. In some way I can’t believe this is happening. Like its hitting me now.
“So how did it go?” I asked her. She told me the doctor asked her like a million questions, “every question I answered there were like 4 or 5 follow-up questions. But I told her everything, even abut boys and stuff, I even started crying. But I was ok. It’s always good to let it out.”
“How was dad, he was real quiet leaving?” she asked.
I said, “He’s ok, he is having a tough time with it. But I think and hope he will come to peace with everything, I have faith he will, as I keep saying in time.”
Watching her, much like I have commented, she is so feminine in her movements.
“Jamie, I want to talk to you about next steps for you, I know the doctor talked to you about it, I just want to get and understanding of yours feelings and concerns.”
I showed her the estrogen prescription.
When she realized what is was, she made a squealing noise. “Mom, REALLY, OH MY GOD!! THANK YOU!!” Does dad know?”
I said, “dad had to give his approval”
“Is he ok with it?”
I said, “he’s dealing with it.”
She looked down at the prescription…”Mom you have no idea…..” she started crying. I came around the booth and just started hugging her and said “I know honey.” The waitress didn’t know what was going on, but knew something was going on since we have asked for a back table for a reason.
Here come the tough questions.
“These pills will start making changes in me, right?” she said.
I said, “Yes but they are a small dosage meant to start introducing estrogen to you. You will see subtle changes, things like your areola’s might get a little bigger, breast buds will form, you may see some swelling of your breasts, the doctor said you may start getting a little more emotional. How does that make you feel?” (Me)
“Mom I am so excited, I want to grow up like you, I want to be a girl and be a woman. When will my breasts grow and hips get bigger?” (Jamie)
“The intention is for you to finish your school year this year, so we do not want to go real fast anyway. Then in the summer increase your dosage, from there as we have talked exploring a homeschooling option with grandma in the fall. How do you feel about that?” (Me)
“Yeah I would definitely want to finish school this year, I would be ok going as a boy for a few more months. So does that mean like in June I can start taking more estrogen?” (Jamie)
The million dollar question is next.
“When do you think I will have to start wearing a bra?” (Jamie)
I lost it when she asked that, and started crying.
“I’m sorry mom, I was just asking” (Jamie) Now she came around to hug me, we must have looked ridiculous to anyone in the restaurant.
“I don’t know honey, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.” (Me)
Too much going on right now 😦
“When can I start?” (Jamie)
” I can fill the subscription tonight” (Me)
Eventually our food came. I told her I expect (slowly) more from her in terms of Drew and her dad. She has to stop hiding. I told her to think about it in terms of a field, she is on one side, and they are on another. I said in order for this to work and get better, you both have to come to the middle of the field. They own a big part of the acceptance, but you have to show them who you are with confidence. The more and more you do it, the better it will get. You will have to take some dings and arrows along the way, but keep your head high. It’s who you are, be proud.
I kind of had an epiphany, I said the way to acceptance to your father, may be thru Drew. We may have looked at it the other way around. Once Drew feels like it is no big deal, your father may follow suit.
I told her I would talk to Drew in detail on everything that is going on this week, and want him to continue therapy as well.
We kind of went on, we actually got into a real interesting conversation on building a wardrobe, again told her we would take it slow. But in talking to her about what she likes, we have similar tastes. How many mothers and daughters can say that??? Not many of my girlfriends with their daughters 🙂
On the way home we stopped at CVS, filled the prescription.
Came home. Mentally exhausted. Ordered pizza for everyone. Jamie must have been spent as well; was asleep in the TV room.
Drew came home and gave the goofy wake-up call we all needed “What the hell is a matter with everyone? What’s going on?”
“Nothing honey, how was your day?” as I have him a big hug.
Life is certainly going to be different.
Jamie came to me around 7:30 and asked about her pill. We went into the bathroom, the instruction was to put it underneath the tongue and let it dissolve (not sure why).
She took the pill, (smiling ear to ear) and joined the estrogen ranks of the Stevens household, leaving Drew as the lone testosterone ranger.
I’m off to bed. Life goes on tomorrow. Love, Dana