Chompin at the bit

January 20, 2010 dstevens11

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. 

Few questions: 

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

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Entry Filed under: transgender

18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Renee  |  January 21, 2010 at 12:16 am

    I think the answers to these questions are too important for us to say one way or another.

    In a general sense, I don’t see any reason why Jamie shouldn’t start building her new identity now. But maybe more importantly, I’m not sure what would be best (read: best, not easier) for the rest of the family. Would they adapt better if they got to experience these new things in dribs and drabs? Or should you wait until summer and give them “total immersion” therapy? It’s a tough call. I think most of us late-transitioners went the route of the former and, at least in my case, it seemed to work out fine. But Jamie’s situation is a while ‘nother ball of wax.

    • 2. dstevens11  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm

      Thanks for your comment Renee. I’m asking the same questions, as I sit here on Friday still have no idea how to handle the weekend. Talking to here therapist within a few hours, so we’ll see. Thanks for your support. Love, Dana

  • 3. Stacey in DC  |  January 21, 2010 at 12:50 am

    Dear Dana:
    Thanks again for allowing us a peek into your families life. I wish I had been as courageous as Jamie, but I knew growing up on a farm in Utah… it just wasn’t in the cards. Lucky for me, my mom could see I was “different” and needed out. She helped me graduate H.S. at 16 and move on to college. And yes, I tell her every time we talk — several times a week — how amazing she is to me.

    All of the questions you raised are indicative of what a phenomenal mother you are to Jamie (and Aly and Drew).

    I’m not sure there are “right” answers for many of your questions. With Drew (and maybe Jamie’s Dad) the big bang approach might work well. If you do little-by-little overtime, they have an opportunity to react negatively and nit pick at Jamie each time. By doing it once, you’ll get all the cards out on the table at once. Also, by making her look really good, it might help them over come some of their concerns… about whether Jamie will “pass” in public or look like a “boy in a dress”. I hate those terms, but that is the often the male mindset.

    For me, I did the big bang approach. I really didn’t start dressing until I was able to be full-time as female at work. I didn’t want to live one way during the day and another way at night. For me, I also felt this wasn’t “about the clothes” (and I’m a girly girl). Yes, they are a great perk. However, clothing is just one way we present our gender to others and display how we want to interact with others. So, dressing up and hanging out at home wasn’t an option for me.

    However, I don’t want to project my experience on you and Jamie. What was right for me, might not be right for Jamie or you. Your therapist is right on point that Jamie should dress as she feels comfortable whenever possible.

    As a side note, and I hope I’m not out of line, you mentioned in a previous post that a consult with an SRS (i.e. GCS) surgeon was recommended by Jamie’s Endo. I’m not sure how much research you’ve done, but I highly recommend Dr. Christine McGinn (she is also MtF) in New Hope, PA. She and her staff have been amazing with me for all of my treatments. I have strange reactions to anesthesia. Because of this I drive up for 8 hour blocks of Electrolysis, and she babies through the process. I’ve scheduled GCS with her in Mid-May.

    Love,
    Stacey

    • 4. dstevens11  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm

      Hi Stacey – Thanks for your comment and perspective. It’s good to hear that your “big bang” approach worked. As I sit here on Friday that’s where I am leaning, but do not know yet. Jamie has been hesitant all week still around Drew. So I am thinking that may work to get everything out. Thanks for your advice and recommendation, keep them coming. I am learning all the time. It is very welcomed, and never out of line. Love, Dana

  • 5. Jerica  |  January 21, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Hi again Dana

    I think it’s great that you are so cautious about this. Trying to make sure not to push Drew too far is good thinking IMHO.

    My own suggestion, take it with a grain of salt, is to possibly allow her to dress at home and have a day/night at home…maybe give Drew a heads up first. I think Drew being around Jaime dressed appropriately at home is one huge step that needs to be taken maybe more than a couple times before he might be ok with being with her out in public. Like I said, just my 2 cents.

    When I first started crossdressing last year, my wife was deathly afraid of me being out of the house and even more so of being with me. Over the past few months she got used to it at home and now she’s even comfortable to be with me outside of the house too. She still cringes when people call us “ladies” though, understandably.

    I think it would be amazing if you bought Jaime a dress and went out to a fancy restaurant…I just don’t know if Drew would be ready for such a huge change.

    On a totally separate note, I tend to give around 10% of my income to the church but I usually save a little bit of the 10% for other needs. This month it was for Haiti relief. If you will accept it, I’d like to donate some to you to buy clothes for Jaime. Don’t think of it as charity, in fact it wouldn’t be very much, but more that I just want to support you and Jaime in ANY possible way I can. I hope you will accept it. Shoot me an email (jerica at trupoetry dot com) with your address or paypal address and I would really be very privileged to be allowed to do that for you.

    • 6. dstevens11  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:09 pm

      Hi Jerica – As I stated in my blog entry, and I have been responding, I still have no idea how to approach this weekend. I am talking to her therapist within the next few hours. Jamie has still been hesitant around Drew this week, so may just let things take its own course. THANK YOU so much for your offer to help with clothes. I also talked about that in my entry today, I may have been talking to my blog a little too openly. We are fine, I was more talking about the time of the year, and the scale of clothes I have to buy her. And is it worth it, right now. Keep spending on the Haiti relief fund, they need it. You are a sweetheart for thinking about us, appreciate that gesture so much. Love, Dana

  • 7. Sherry Ann  |  January 21, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Answers to questions!

    Mostly you have to answer them yourself but basically, here is some advice from a parent (had three teenage daughters for a couple of years) and a trans person:

    1. Too much, too soon? No I don’t think so. You have laid all the groundwork and it is inevitable. Holding back? For what reason? For whom? All of you, Drew, Aly, your ex and yourself are coming out, too. This is about you all becoming comfortable and practice you must. That doesn’t mean you should take unusual risks but going somewhere safe and being under the radar would be healthy for all of you. Chilling this weekend would send the signal that you aren’t ready, or that you have reservations. In general, the timing is so right. Not to acknowledge the huge events earlier this week would be a setback. This is the time to confirm all the work you did Monday and Tuesday. And it is a family bonding opportunity that will set the tone for the future.
    2. Big bang? Umm, never thought of it like that. I think it is a great thought but you would need Drew’s buy in. He is probably adjusting to all of the conflicting things coming at him while dealing with who he is. It’s wonderful idea for Jamie and I love the idea of celebrating. If Drew is in, go for it.
    3. If you go for the Big Bang, I don’t think there are serious risks. You will be together supporting Jamie. As we all know there is no real way to go back. Chomping at the bit? Sure, and it will become harder for her to pretend to be a boy at school as she probably needs to do. So let her be as fem as she wants the rest of the time.
    4. About letting her hair grow out and school. Please discuss with your therapist if you should alert the school about what is going on with Jamie. Trust me, her peers already know something is up and I worry that you have nothing in place to protect Jamie if something happens at school. As these next four months go by the changes will be more obvious, no matter what she wears. Jamie herself will feel the pull to come out to someone at school. The school administrators need the resources and knowledge so they can do the right thing, just in case.

    The only other comment is probably just wishful thinking. A celebration this important should include dad.

    Always,

    Sherry

    • 8. Stacey in DC  |  January 21, 2010 at 10:46 am

      Well put, Sherry. I thought your thoughts are really well thought out and great advice.

    • 9. dstevens11  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks Sherry, again appreciate all of your great insights. I think your thought about checking in with Drew first is something I did not think about. I may just do that, because I am still lost on what to do. Jamie has still been hesitant to dress in front of Drew this week, and this approach may help(or hurt) that. I also (irresponsibly) did not think to include my ex in that dinner. It really is more about this weekend being mine, and I think he will be away this weekend with his girlfriend. But maybe we should wait until we get everyone together. It’s also been a long while since the whole family has been together in a dinner situation like that. That may be real tough or as rewarding. You make me think for sure. Keep it coming. Love, Dana

      • 10. Sherry Ann  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:08 am

        I think you are right. Definately do something this weekend but hold the “celebration” for a little later when you can do more planning, include the ex (or others if Jamie is comfortable) and manage it better. More time and planning would also lessen the possibly of a “flare-up” as one of my sons-in-laws says of family drama.

        I love that you are so cerebral about this.

        Sherry

  • 11. Amanda  |  January 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    I think that letting Drew know that he is going to be seeing Jamie dressed as herself would be a good idea. Also, have Jamie dress as herself at home after school some this week as Jerica sugggested, before the celebration dinner this weekend.

    I also agree with Sherry Ann. The school administrators should be told what is going on, in order to watch out for problems (heavens forbid) with any of the students (or teachers).

    I continue to wish you all the luck in the world with this and keep you and your family in my mind.

    Give Jamie a friendly hug from me for luck.

    • 12. dstevens11  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:18 pm

      Hi Amanda – still undecided about how to approach this weekend, but really appreciate your feedback. I guess I am nervous as hell to do the wrong thing. Not sure how to handle the school administer thing, just worried about bringing unnecessary attention to the family and Jamie. Something like that I would predict being the school district we’re in, would not be kept confidential. Hardly anything is. I will give her that hug, and thank you for your comments. Love, Dana

  • 13. Sophie  |  January 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Dana – I’ve enjoyed following your story immensely. I think it’s a very touching and brave story about both of you. If finances are a problem you may want to try exploring thrift stores some. Buy Jamie something nice from a regular store but start filling out her wardrobe from thrifts. If you haven’t been to them you may be very surprised at what you find.

    • 14. dstevens11  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm

      Hi Sophie, thanks for your comments and support. Never been to a thrift store myself, and probably thru your testimonial it’s not what I think it is. So I may take you up on your advice. Thanks – Love, Dana

  • 15. Abby  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Hi, Dana,

    I have several random comments.

    First, let go of the worry about doing the wrong thing. You will! In fact, you already have at some point in your life. Then, you learned from it and moved on. You can never know the exact right answer to any question. We all just have to do the best we can, observe the consequences of our decisions and move on. Besides, you’re doing great.

    Second, I agree about thrift stores. It can take a while to figure out a system for shopping in them, and finding the ones with the best prices and selection, but it’s well worth. (One tip: if you can, only shop at stores that sort clothes by size, which not all of them do. Otherwise, shopping can quickly become very tedious.) I’ve bought some amazing things in thrift stores for almost nothing compared to their retail price. And you don’t have to buy things that look worn or dirty. Be selective and it will work out.

    Third, I suggest you follow Jamie’s lead on what feels right as far as dressing around Drew. She’s growing up and you need to start respecting, and nurturing, her ability to make choices for herself. Trust her. Give her your advice and opinions, and then let her make her own decisions. Not feeling like I had some control over my life was one of the most painful parts of my own childhood.

    Lastly, regarding telling the school, I urge you to go slowly. There are so many things that can go wrong. Sometimes, it makes sense to let the school know; sometimes, it doesn’t. I’m skeptical that it makes sense now, given that Jamie is not planning to transition there. It will be a delicate balance for Jamie to begin to express who she is at home without having that “bleed” over into her school life, but I think it can be done. I also don’t think the physical changes in just 4 months will be particularly noticeable, especially since Jamie has been on hormone blockers, and so still has a fairly feminine look for a “boy” her age. If you want to explore the option of telling the school, I urge you to contact TYFA (www.imatyfa.org). They have extensive experience with that issue and can provide information and training for school personnel on dealing with a trans student.

    Keep up the good work! You’re doing fine.

    Abby

    • 16. dstevens11  |  January 25, 2010 at 11:08 pm

      Thanks Abby for taking me off the hook. I update my blog tonight, kind of beating myself up a bit. Not sure if I took things a little too far this weekend. Jamie had a real tough time going to school today in “boy” mode, not sure if she can kind of get thru it. I’ll have to watch out. I totally agree with and school. I will look for help if we pursue that option, but I doubt we will. Thanks for the reference. Love, Dana

  • 17. Sarah Jane  |  January 24, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    As far as where and when to buy clothes for Jamie, I would search the resale shops. Jamie’s body will be going through some dramatic changes and clothes that you buy today might not fit next month. By the time my body settled from my transition, I could not wear clothes that I had bought 6 months before.
    Just something to think about.

    Sarah

    • 18. dstevens11  |  January 25, 2010 at 11:10 pm

      Hi Sarah – we bought mostly stuff that she can fit in naturally, and I did not take your advice and actually bought her some new stuff. But I will check out those places. Appreciate the thought. Love, Dana


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