Just like the last two times, the conversation that would change everything began in the car when Fabulous was alone with his mom. As she was driving, he said, “Mommy, I want to be like you.”
My wife, eyes on the road, asked him “What do you mean?”
He responded, “I want to grow my hair long like yours, wear girl clothes, be like a girl.”
She kept it together for the ride home, but her world had been rocked to the core, because this time his tone had been different, his manner in telling her had been different. When she got home we talked, and I went into Mr. Fixit mode. I’m a man, and a dad, so that’s my job. The thing in there was nothing to fix, just plans to be made, and things to be done to help Fabulous be who he wanted to be, with the understanding that he would move at his own pace.
Later that night, I talked to my son. I told him that Mommy had told me what he said in the car, and I could tell he immediately got nervous. I also told him that it was ok, and that he could grow out his hair if he wanted to (no big deal, plenty of boys have longer hair these days). As to the rest, I told him that Mommy and I would talk, and there might be some things we could do. I also asked him the following question. “Buddy, do you want want to just dress and look like a girl, or do you feel like a girl on the inside?”
His words didn’t hit me as hard as his little watering eyes when he looked up at me to answer with three words, “On the inside.”
I thought a lot that night, read a lot, watched YouTube a lot. It seemed that my youngest was hurting on the inside. He hid it well, but there was a nervousness, a fear…and I knew that it had to do with his mom and I. The nervousness of telling us, and the fear of how we would react to his words. Not now or ever, do I want my kids, either of them, to fear me for being themselves.
The next day we talked again, and told him that we would get him some girl clothes if that was what he wanted, to wear around the house. It seemed to make him happy. I also asked him if he thought he should have boy parts or girl parts, and without hesitation he responded with, “girl ones.”
My wife brought him home some sparkly flats, and a nightgown. It is all he sleeps in now, and most days upon getting home from school, he puts on his new sparkly Hello Kitty flats. The clothes and shoes seemed to have a soothing effect on him, and he seemed happier to have them.
His brother, not understanding all the fuss, even decided to try on one of the nightgowns one night, only to look at my wife in horror as soon as he looked in the mirror, and started yelling at he to get it off of him. Curiosity satiated, my oldest is back to maintaining his almost eight year old position that girls and girl things are not to be liked.
That brings us to this week, and the definite change in Fabulous’ outlook on things. He wanted to wear a pair of black patent leather pumps with bows to gymnastics, and I managed to talk him out of it on the grounds that they would hurt his feet after practice, but my wife brought them with to pick him up, and as soon as he walked out the door, he put them on the ground and slipped them on, happy to have them on out in the open, rather than only in the car.
The next night my wife took our eldest to soccer practice, and Fabulous and myself went out to eat, and to the mall (see first post about dress). He picked out a summer dress, leggings, socks, and sparkly silver sneakers. Thinking he might wear them this weekend little did we know he was about to jump in with both feet.