at the spray park the other evening ella asked me, "how come girls wear a bathing suit that covers their nipples even though they don't even have breasts, but boys don't?"
well kid. that is a good question. i told her well, you know, grown up men don't wear shirts usually when they're swimming so boys usually dress the same. and because grown up women wear tops to cover their breasts, i guess little girls like to wear a top just to dress like their moms or something.
and while i think that that might be true in some cases, i feel i was totally bullshitting my child. because the real reason is that for some reason that i can't fathom, it seems to make people uncomfortable. i read something recently about a woman who was told her 7-year-old was not allowed at the swimming pool without a top on. they said it made the other patrons uncomfortable. and according to that mom, it clearly made some "grown up men" very uncomfortable.
what is the source of this discomfort? is it because young girls are sexualized at such a young age now in north american society? so much so that they can't deal with looking at a girl child's body without feeling inappropriate feelings in themselves? maybe. or maybe it's a gender issue. gender is so strictly enforced by our society. girls wear pink. boys like trucks. never the twain shall meet. so when a girl child doesn't wear a top, even though they don't have breasts yet, people freak out. because she's cross-dressing? she's not conforming to the gender stereotype that is expected of her. and i will not force her to.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I am a lesbian. I was married to a woman. We conceived a child through donor insemination. We are now divorced and share custody of our daughter, Ella. Too much information?
The other day an acquaintance forced a little epiphany for me. She casually asked in an elevator about my family life. I indicated that I have arranged my life in a way that allows me to spend more time with my kid, which I am so lucky to do and so grateful for. She praised my choice, as many traditional folks do. As we walked out of the building, she went on to pry further. There came the point where she asked about Ella’s dad. I said lightly, “She doesn’t have a dad, she has two moms.” The woman paused, looked confused, and stopped in her tracks to ask, “What do you MEAN she has two moms?” I sighed internally, and then took a breath and I explained. I am a lesbian. My ex-wife and I conceived Ella. She has two moms. This wasn’t an earth-shattering conversion, I realize. But it happens all the time. The conversation naturally reached the point where I was forced into choosing whether to be vague, or to be up front about the unusual nature of my family (i.e. to come out).
See, here’s the thing. I’m good at being vague. Gender neutral pronouns. Evasive wording. I’m a smart, educated woman. I can wiggle around it. I’m not ashamed of who I am. I am proud. But I get tired! I phrase things to avoid the conversation when I don’t feel like having it, like with a casual acquaintance such as the one above. I say “my ex …” or “I’m divorced and her other house does things this way…” and so on. It’s really easy to evade the fact that I’m a lesbian and my kid has two moms when I just don’t feel like explaining and justifying my life to relative strangers.
But it dawned on me recently that Ella can hear me. She may not know what I’m up to when I do that, yet. But it’s not fair. She does not have the vocabulary or linguistic skills to twist and evade and be vague. Nor does she have any idea that her family is something people might judge. She knows it’s different; she’s not blind. So it’s not fair that she has to have “the conversation” whenever she’s questioned, because she doesn’t know how to avoid it or even that she might want to avoid it. So I had damn well better have that conversation every time it comes up too. I had better set an example for how easy and simple the conversation can be, and how to respond to positive and negative feedback when it does happen.
So no more evasive actions! When asked “Where’s Ella today?” The answer is “She is with her other mom” not “She’s with my ex.” I don’t give the speech I gave at the start of this post to everyone I meet. But I will come out.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
we went to sask for the long weekend in may and ella bonded with her cousin chloé like crazy. they played and played. it was wonderful.
we went again a week ago. and she got to bond with her auntie and uncle and cousin and nona. and she got to swim at the lake - The Lake - our lake, my lake, the lake i grew up at. these are all things that make me happy.
and the milestones!
she finished preschool. i couldn't go to the end of preschool party with her because of work and i was very angry and upset about it. but her other mom went for a little while and then her auntie went. but. she finished preschool. she was proud, and is so proud and nervous and excited about starting kindergarten in the fall. it's just so great.
AND! she lost a tooth. her first grown up tooth appeared, behind her baby tooth, before that baby tooth even grew loose. but it pushed and pushed and finally the baby tooth fell out the other night. and really lost it. we couldn't find it anywhere. i'm pretty sure she swallowed it with her bedtime milk. we ransacked the house. i even looked in the garbage at the park because she had gum at the park. sigh. it's gone. poor baby cried until i promised we would simply write a note and the tooth fairy would still come.
and she did! pink glitter trail from the fairy door to ella's pillow. her little glittery pouch with the note in it now contains two loonies and two glittery barrettes.
wah. my baby is growing up.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
and right now? after a full year of intermittent announcements that she was going to sleep in her own bed tonight and then chickening out every night, telling me "i was jus' jokin' you, mom"? she is right now, asleep in her bed. tonight when i asked if she wanted to sleep in her bed, she lept! as though i was asking whether she wanted to go to big rock candy mountain with toys on top. and she did. she went to sleep. when i turned a light on in the bathroom, thinking the indirect light would comfort her, she hollered "mom! it's too bright! turn off that light!"
she's growing up. my darling child.