Posts tagged ‘transition ‘




A few good weeks…

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?

We’ll see…

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

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21 comments March 7, 2010

Groundhog day

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

21 comments February 10, 2010

Awe

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.

Love, Dana

18 comments February 1, 2010

Hot?

You know I’ve been racking my brain this week over my last post and this past weekend. Not sure if I took on too much, and maybe pushed the envelope too far with Jamie on one side, and Drew on the other. Jamie when she is home is smiling ear to ear; she loves the ability to express herself around the house. As others have been warning, don’t be shocked when the feminine personality she has been establishing bleeds over to school and her “male” presentation. I know it’s been aching to come out for a long time, and she has had her “alone” time to express but I used the term Pandora ’s Box a few weeks ago, and it’s opened for sure. It is definitely been bleeding into her home life. She is in full girl mode.
Reality TV is big in our house. I know I know I know – my ex used to call it mindless dribble. I get that, but I actually like it for that reason. It’s an escape. So American Idol, Dancing with Stars, So you think you can dance, Biggest Loser, Amazing Race, the Batchelor, yup you guessed it – it’s on in my house. I’m guilty, I have my tissue boxes and get enlightened. As well as Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, plus I TiVO Days of our lives everyday, and have been following the town of Salem for like the last 30 years.
So typically Jamie and Aly are camped out every night watching our shows. Now what’s been different this week is Jamie is getting comfy with her new PJ’s and the three of us are all huddled together on the couch. Drew (like his Dad) thinks all of those shows are also mindless dribble, and we have now almost eliminated him from the main TV room and couch. Weekends are generally his with sports or movies. But I hate it for him, especially under the circumstances relegated or isolated to his room. But that’s how it’s been. He really wants no part of us or the TV, but he has been witnessing and interacting with Jamie now in her girly pj’s now. He seems ok, but doesn’t hang with us. I am trying to stop on top of it, and concerned for his well being. He’s been more quieter then normal.
As I stated in one of my early blogs, Aly and Jamie have been commenting on the teen idol “boys” and using the word “cute” this or “cute” that, harmless stuff. Now Jamie is 15, soon to be 16, so I know her interest would be and really should be more “interesting” I guess to say then Aly’s. But Jamie as of recent has been real vocal and upfront about her interest in the male species, which you know; I’m like good for her. I kind of figured that, and I am not sure if that will make things easier or harder for her as she gets older. Who knows? But what’s interesting to me, again gets back to that nature and nurture – up until a couple of weeks ago, she really has had no introduction to a sex hormone to spur interest, right? So where does it come from? I kind of figured she kind of went with the program, as Aly has been saying stuff. But no, she is into “guys.” It’s real.
Getting back to the shows and particularly the bachelor. Well, I got my first introduction this week to the word “hot” from Jamie. “Oh my god that Jake (the bachelor this season) is sooo “HOT!” Kind of took me off guard a little. “Hot” to me is a little different word then “cute.” It prompted me to follow-up with the next question? “What makes him hot to you?”
“Oh his smile, face, his arms, his whole body, I love his muscles” she replied.
I am like, oh really. Aly didn’t even add her perspective, THANK GOD!
Jamie really gets into the show. When one of the ladies gets to make out with him or interacts with him she responds “I’m so jealous”. So the engine is starting, but the gas is not really in the engine yet. Wait until that kicks in. I can’t compare a guy’s experiences to a woman’s, or the difference between testosterone and estrogen. Obviously the experiences are different, for a million reasons.
But I am not sure if Jamie is ready for the “emotional” experience of estrogen, especially around the topic of love. I’m sure guys experience “love”, women “FEEEEEEL” love. It can be overwhelming; I remember my days of a teenager. She thinks she has crushes now? My concern is the time prior to her eventual surgery, (I know it is way early to start thinking about that), but that will be pretty confusing times, especially with the anatomy confusion.
Speaking of the anatomy confusion. This may be a delicate topic, I’m not sure. But again I’m speaking to my sounding board J Please I apologize upfront if I use or get the terminology incorrect. But I have been observing that when Jamie has been presenting herself, especially in the pajama bottoms or the skirt she wore this weekend, she has a “flush” appearance. I asked Jamie in one of our nightly talks how she achieves that, and she responded she just “tucks” (it) back. My first reaction is (OUCH!), I was like “OH? Does that hurt or is it painful?” She’s like “No mom, not at all.” She wasn’t like embarrassed or anything; she has told me how much she hates her privates, but I don’t want her to hurt herself in any way, or cause any damage. I never really thought about that, I am sure it is common “problem”, but did not know if anyone had any thoughts on that or anything? I can ask her doctor, but I do not want her to have any future physical problems. I know that may be TMI. Her general rule she said simply “if I am wearing girl underpants I tuck, if I am not, I don’t.”
I know the school thing for her has been painful this week, but she said she simply “I look at it in time. I have 8 hours I have to go thru before I come home. But Mom I hate it, but I’m dealing.” She did say that she is almost passed the point where she has to take phys ed, she has a health class instead for the rest of the year. So the uncomfortably of having to enter the boy’s locker room, which has to be traumatic for her, is almost over. Which will be especially good if any physical changes start to occur.
Time is a good way of looking at it.
I talked to my ex this week, and told him about the weekend. He responded “I figured that was coming. Drew texted me all about it.” I was like “Really? What did he say?” he responded “mostly with details, but nothing really more.” (YOU DIDN”T ASK HIM HOW HE FELT ABOUT IT????) He said, “He seems to be ok with it, I guess.” So I said it would be great if you asked how he felt explore a little more, because he is not opening up to me. He said he would.
I asked him when he though he is ready to see “Jamie”. He honestly said “Not sure, but not yet.” I respect that. He is scheduled to have all three kids super bowl weekend. He wants Jamie to come as a “boy” because his dad and brothers may come to his place, or they may all go to theirs to watch the game. I have not talked to Jamie about that, she will not be happy. He did volunteer he did talk about all of this for the first time with his girlfriend, which she told my ex “Come on you had to know something was going on with Jimmy?” So she kind of knew something was going on, and was not taken back by it. Which is cool! He said she kind of opened his eyes to some things. She may actually be a support for Jamie. That may be a good sign. I said I would be totally open to include her in the family therapy if she is open to it. He said he would think about it. He is pretty serious about this woman (god bless her), so I am open to it. I have met her a few times at Drew’s games and she seems real nice, even though she is only 31J She isn’t the woman we broke up over. Anything to get my ex through this for Jamie’s sake, I will take the high road.
The next kind of family hurdle we have to get over is the kids are off for a week of school in mid-Feb. Jamie is really excited about it, and has already mentioned it, because she gets to spend the whole week of school as Jamie. We do not have anything planned; we usually like to go away to somewhere warm. This year I can’t swing it. So we’ll see how that week plays out.
I have the kids all weekend this weekend; don’t have anything planned there either. But after last weekend, just looking for a laid back lazy one.
Hope all is well. Love, Dana

18 comments January 28, 2010

Dinner for 4

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.

Love, Dana

19 comments January 25, 2010

Whirlwind

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.”

“I know”

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)

“Yes” (Me)

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)

“Awesome” (Jamie)

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

31 comments January 18, 2010

New Year’s Day

This was the first years night in a very long time, where I did not go anywhere on New Years night, and just stayed home. Many years we would be with either family or friends, or hit downtown for a night partying. I love New Years night, the lights, the sounds, the drinks, the dancing..all of that. 

A couple of weeks ago my son Drew got invited to his best friends family party for New Years and was asked to sleep over. I was disappointed my family unit would not be together, and that’s ok. We got a lot of invites from a couple of my girlfriends, but most parties were not kid friendly, and they were all getting babysitters. 

So I just decided on a quiet night with Jamie and Aly. We bought some take–out, and chips and just set up camp in front of the tv in the living room. Jamie knowing her brother was gone for the night, decided to wear a pair of pj’s her sister gave her for christmas. Jamie was excited because they were of the pink leggins and matching big niteshirt variety, and she could hang out with her sister without her brother around making fun of her or making feel uncomfortable.

Many a year I watched ABC’s Dick Clark’s rockin new year show, or whatever it’s called as a background. This year was the first year I was actually watched it. In my last post I mentioned that Jamie has been coming out about her feelings for boys, and I got another experience with that last night, when one Justin Bieber came out and sing. My two daughters were going crazy over him, much like I did in my Rick Springfield days 🙂 And when Selena Gomez came out to sing with Justin, both girls simultaneously said, “ohh I’m so jealous, and I hate you” kiddingly in typical girl fashion. They also really dug Robin Thicke, which was funny, because I did not realize that was Alan Thicke’s son. 

They spent the whole night dancing and goofing around, we had a lot of fun. Jamie and Aly hung out like two sisters the entire night, and we all fell asleep on the couch. It’s a reminder to me that things are going to be ok, we just have to ease Jamie comfortably into the house over the next several months with her brother, and then externally with her father and the rest of the world. There is no doubt in my mind that it is the right thing for her, when she is able to present her true personality, she is so alive and confident. Our therapist is encouraging some outings to present herself early this year, and start building her female personna.

We have hesitated to allowing her to grow her hair long, because she is so feminine looking as it is, it could attract more negative attention at school. But this being the last few months of presenting as a boy, we may just start that as we build toward the summer. She could easily pass as a female already, just not one her age.

It was a nice start to the year, my son even remembered to call me at midnight, to tell me happy new year and the nicest comment I like to hear, I love you mom. Can’t get better then that. 

Hope everyone had a nice New Year, and will have a great 010. Can’t believe that is actually the year. Surreal. Love – Dana

30 comments January 1, 2010

New Year

Many decisions and anticipated changes coming up this year, that in some ways I do not want this year to end. As I stated in my first blog, my daughter Jamie is still presenting as a boy at home and at school, but this will most likely be the last year she will be doing so. The plan is to have her finish her sophmore year in June, then start her hormone therapy and living her “RLT”, real life test this summer. We do not know yet how to handle school in the fall, but we are exploring a home schooling option as she transitions. SCARY STUFF!! I am not sure if I will have the family support needed, or the financial resources to do it. I know I want to do the best for Jamie. Her father has been no help. 

I can almost sense an emerging confidence in Jamie, knowing she is going to start on her journey soon. She is such a shy kid, very sweet and loving, outgoing with her family but a lot of times real quiet socially. She is obviously not comfortable with who she is now, but I sense that is all going to change as she changes. One of the new developments I have been noticing, is how Jamie and my youngest daughter Aly have been using the word “cute”. Everything is “cute”, cute sweater, cute room, cute shoes mom…etc. Normal girl stuff. But what else is being said cute, are boys. That Jamie would have an interest in boys, would be no shock to me, but to actually hear it in conversation, was admittedly a little uncomfortable for me. I am not really sure how to handle the conversation or “talk” with her about it. She is becoming much more open to me about her feelings, which is sooo huge for me. Aly has no problem talking to her about it, and they seem to have common interest in boys. They both have loved High School Musical the last couple of years, but to hear them both talk gushingly about how cute Zac Effron is, threw me off. I’m happy she is discovering her interests though.

Jamie never talks like that is front of her brother Drew or her father, she just goes into a cocoon around them. It’s almost panful to witness. I pray that they will come around. I try to be real compliant in making sure Jamie sees her father on their scheduled visits, but I do not think anyone is getting what they need out of the relationship. My ex will continue to make sure Jamie does “boys” activities, like he is going to change her. My ex has football season tickets with his job, and several times a year will take Jamie and Drew to the games. Jamie dreads going, and gets very stressed out. When I asked Jamie why does she get so stressed, she told me that she “hates having to use the men’s restroom.” The thought never crossed my mind. She has said to me before that she is only comfortable “sitting down” and will not use a urinal, and hates the men’s stalls because they are “disgusting.” I have no reference. So she either tries to hold it, or be miserable. I feel horrible for her. When she came back from the game this past Sunday, I asked her how the game went, her first response was “I couldn’t believe what they made the cheerleaders wear, their outfits were cute but they must have been sooo cold.” We live near Philadelphia. 

When my ex dropped the kids off and I asked him how it went, he said “I can’t stand back and watch us lose “Jimmy” (he can’t use the name Jamie) like this. All that kid did was sit in his seat and cross his legs the whole game, or clap like a girl.” I kept telling him, he needs to come to terms with it soon, or he may lose a child. But that was another sign of Jamie’s confidence building, she has been acting more and more feminine around her father. I feel good for her. My ex thought time would heal, and this would pass over. It is just a phase, he kept telling me. He can’t come to terms with it.

This year should be extremely interesting, please pray for our family. Love, Dana

7 comments December 30, 2009

First blog! My story

Since this such a difficult situation to talk about outside of therapy, with friends and family, my therapist suggested I start a blog. So here I am actually doing my New Year’s resolution. I hope this blog helps other families who are in this similar “special” situation, but I would love to hear feedback and support from other people as well. I know I can use it! and will definitely appreciate it. 
 
A little about my story – Long story short 🙂 
 
I am a 41 year old divorced mom of three, who my oldest is a transgendered daughter named James/Jamie (she is 15), I also have a 14 year old son, and an 11 year old daughter. All who live with me and see their father every two weekends. 
 
My daughter was diagnosed with GID almost 4 years ago. My ex husband and I were aware of her cross dressing for some time, she had been stealing and sneaking my clothes, and we found a stash of them in her closet. She had always been an effiminate boy, real sweet, caring, and lacked the interest in sports and the typical “boy” play of his brother and dad. My two sons were polar opposites, although they are only 15 months apart. We confronted our son about the clothing he had been stealing, and hiding, but he got real upset, denied everything and just kind of went into a shell. One thing I loved about all of the posts from other women I have been reading on their blogs, is how honest and upfront some of the children are about their feelings. It takes a lot of courage. I was not so lucky. All he did was deny, deny, deny and avoid, avoid, avoid the topic….But also became scarily introverted, and went into a shell. 
 
We took our son to a counselor, then to a specialist for about a year. During that time he opened up and essentially “came out” about how he wanted to be a girl. My ex husband and I were devestated. I always knew there was something going on, but you never expect this as a parent. It has been a battle between my ex and I for years. He is very non-supportive and has taken it very hard. My heart went out to my little boy, who I know wants to be a girl. During many hours of therapy I went into total mom mode and found out all I needed to do to deal with the issue. 
 
My son started on hormone blockers to delay puberty at age 12, and he has been on them for the las 3 years. The intention is to stay on them until he reaches age 16, which will be in a few months, then we will start the cross sex hormone therapy. I keep referring to my daughter as “he” because he still presents as a boy. I applaud all of the women for allowing their daughters to present as a girl so early. In order to start the hormone blockers and to get my ex’s approval, he only gave his consent if he continued to present as a boy. That has been a disaster for her, but we are almost thru it. She has been so relieved to not develop as a male. 
 
Doctors always tell you about the start of the hormone blockers and the beginning of the hormone therapy, but little is discussed about the time your child is on the hormone blockers. We have been thru so much therapy going thru it, (our therapist is amazing!), but overall the time in “limbo” has been hell for our family and for my child. Again I applaud the ability of the children who have been able to present female at a younger age, as tough as that may be, it has to be extremely comforting for your child. My daughter has had to present as a boy, and it is very frustrating for her. 
 
The blessing of the hormone blockers (she receives lupron depot injections) is they have worked as prescribed. In contrast I have been able to see Jamie compared to her brother who was relatively the same size and build when Jamie started her injections 3 years ago. Both were in the 5 ft range, Jamie is now about 5’3 and a little over 105 lbs, while her brother has shot up to almost 6 ft tall and probably 165 lbs, relatively big kid for a 14 year old. He is a real close build to my ex husband’s size who is 6’2 and in the 230 lb range and plays football, baseball and wrestling in school. 
 
It’s amazing to see Jamie physically compared to her brother. If Jamie had continued down the path of male puberty and reached the size of my son, I don’t how she would have ever be able to transition to a female, it would have been so difficult. The problem that we deal with everyday socially and as a family, is Jamie still resembles an 12 year old boy; while trying to present as a 15 year old boy. It just doesn’t work, he has very soft features, and his voice has not changed at all. The two boys who were once very close growing up, are not close at all anymore, and Jamie has very little relationship with her father either. This has been the toughest year for her, and she is very anxious to start the hormone therapy in the next year. Which we have all of the therapy support to pursue. 
 
Some of the other challenges. Jamie overall is a very bright young child, does very well in school academically. But in my opinion I would say one of the definite side effects of the puberty suppression is the social maturity of the child somewhat relates to the physical maturity of the person. Jamie does not have many friends at school, and the ones that are female. But very rarely do friends come to our house with her. The one person who Jamie has really bonded with has been with her younger sister who is 11. Which is great from a family perspective, but honestly awkward for me as a parent to see. My youngest is a beautiful young girl in her own right, an accomplished dancer and girly girl who is very supportive of Jamie. But seeing Jamie being the oldest of my three kids, and her younger sister connect who is 4 years her junior, play games (they play wii non-stop), hanging out in each others rooms, watch the same tv shows, talk music and clothes, and primarily hang out with my youngest daughter’s friends is sometimes upsetting for me. Like she is still relating on a 12 year old level. This may be an exception due to situation, but something all mothers should look out for when hormone blockers are administered. I think Jamie is relating to the femininity of my youngest daughter. 
 
The other stressful thing for Jamie is seeing her little sister start puberty and developing. In short time, Jamie will start her hormone therapy, and I guess it is comforting to know that both of them will be going thru it together, and will have each other. 
 
My 14 year old son is kind of mixed up in all of this, and is in therapy as well with us. But he believes Jamie “should just learn how to be a boy, and not grow up as a girl.” He can be very hurtful with his communications with Jamie, but is generally a very good kid, who lacks the understanding of the problem. But I try to constantly educate, but I think he receives a lot of negative feedback from my ex. My ex and I have explored options that he moves in with my ex husband, but my ex husband works as a consultant and travels a lot, so it would never work out. It would be devastating to me for one of my children to move away, but I would do it if it was in his best interest. I do realize and am consciously aware that he gets lost sometimes in all that is going on with Jamie, but do try to compensate by being very involved in his life, especially with sports. We do not miss any of his games. He really likes to assert himself with the “man of the house” posture, which I encourage. In time I hope he will be able to fully support Jamie, as she both needs it and seeks it. He has a healthy relationship with his younger sister. 
 
So there it is my first blog in a nutshell. I am just trying to hang in there and do what’s best for all of my kids and trying to keep my sanity in the process. To be very honest, it has been and is very difficult. I hope the next year is the end of maybe the most difficult phase of Jamie’s transition, and begins her life dream of being the person she always wanted to be. I am excited and nervous for her, as she heads down that journey, as I have been for the last couple of years. But she is already a beautiful person, and she will have all of the opportunities to be the beautiful young woman she deserves. Love you all, Dana

32 comments December 26, 2009

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