The Pronoun Game

Once upon a time, not so long ago and a lifetime ago, Denise had a job where she had to play the pronoun game at work. Those of you who are straight probably wonder what that means. It means that each sentence that referred to me or our family was carefully constructed without “she/her/girlfriend.” It was soul sucking and yet what she had to do in order for comfort. Everyone at her job knew me and us. It was just the forward facing part that was a problem.

I’ve thought a bunch about that since March 27. You see, I have been playing the pronoun game about one of my children. My first born. For those keeping track: Denise gave birth to three–the three oldest. I gave birth to three–the three youngest. The oldest has been referred to here as College Boy, boychild, the prince, and lately as first born.

Why? Because on March 27 that child texted me. “In other news–surprise, I am trans.” Yes. Instantly. After 20+ years of being the mother of a son, I had another daughter. The sudden change from son to daughter may not seem like that big of a deal. It is still the baby I gave birth to, the one I fell in love with, the one I love still. But, I am no longer a biological mother of a son.

Stop! Right now. Don’t tell me that she is lucky to have such an accepting family. Don’t tell me it is wonderful. Don’t for a second think this is any easier, just because she has queer parents.

No, we didn’t disown her or yell. Ok. That’s who you are, how are you going to handle this?  I changed son to daughter on Facebook (but non one noticed). The child gave me permission to blog that same week, but I didn’t.

The whole mommy thing is hard. (Yes. I know. Far harder to be TG. Got it. That’s her story. Mine is being the mother.)  The name change is hard. The being a different mother is hard. The pronouns–hard to remember. Yes, I’ve had nearly 4 months. Ava (the child’s new name) is not here a lot. College, summer job, adult with friends in town. I will get it.

In the meantime, for various reasons, the little girls didn’t wait to get their ears pierced until their first period and their stepmother took them. I missed out on a big rite of passage with them. When Ava told me she was trans, I grabbed the chance. “If you decide to get your ears pierced, promise I get to take you.” I never really thought it would happen. Ava hates needles. Turns green. Faints. Vomits. Always has.

But, tonight we went. She got her earlobes pierced. I got my cartilage pierced with a matching earring.

I took a selfie. One of the few I’ve taken in the past few months. Just in time for BlogHer. No more pronoun game. a mother and child selfie. Me. My daughter Ava, I am so glad to welcome her to this spinning world.

My Daughter and Me

Get Ready for #BlogHer 14!

I'm Going to BlogHer '14!BlogHer14 is around the corner! This will be a magical time–a tenth anniversary celebration of all good things female and Social Media! Learning new things, meeting new friends, seeing old ones. Many of us are sitting and wondering (or pacing and wondering) what is on the to-do list before BlogHer.

Here are my suggestions of things you may forget:


  1. Clean your laptop and phone screen. Even if you aren’t taking your computer all day long with you–nothing shows screen grime like airport or hotel lighting.
  2. Post on your blog. Something decent that you won’t mind sponsors and new friends pulling up while you stand there.
    If you haven’t posted for months–make the effort.
    If you’ve posted and the most recent post is going to be something minimalist, just your latest workout or a picture of your lunch and that isn’t representative of what you want to be known for posting–then draft and/or publish a post that is the core of your blog.Don’t fall into the trap of just posting a giddy “I’m going to BlogHer! I hope to see you!” Yes, you can do that, but post something solid.
  3. Make sure there is plenty of space for new pictures and video on your phone. If your camera icon is hard to find: move it to the front page.
  4. Keep an eye out for the app announcement. There will be paper agendas but if you are anything like me–you won’t have them when you need them.
  5. Put an alert on your phone calendar for any do not miss items.
  6. Check out the sponsors. Follow them on Twitter/Facebook if they interest you. Explore their websites a bit.
  7. Wear the shoes you plan on taking. Seriously.I tend to end up getting a pair for wearing with a dress and then…the first time I actually wear them I am blistered in an hour. Better to know that before I go.
  8. Check out the conference group on Facebook. Follow @blogherevents on Twitter. Join the Skype buddy system if you need a buddy or just want to share in the excitement.
  9. Pack a heating pad, medications for headaches/migraines and your usual meds. Oops need a refill? Get it.
    After years of packing for BlogHer and doing the “Is it worth the extra space to take this med? I mean I haven’t had an asthma attack, stomach flu, stuffed up head for years” I recommend taking them.
    Granted there are drugstores in San Jose. There are even sponsors with such things. But, the time you don’t bring them–no dice.
    Likewise take your “feminine” care items. I don’t care if you haven’t had a period for 8 months or have just finished your period–surprise bleeding is common at BlogHer. If you have a uterus–take supplies.
  10. Open your heart and your mind to new ideas, new people. Be ready to poke yourself into a group of other people if they interest you.
    Practice not taking slights, bad wording, bad manners, bad attitudes to heart.
    That woman who pushed past you without a second look? She probably had other things on her mind, bad news from home, something that seemed important to get to on time.
    Be open and receptive. At the same time, don’t take things personally.
    Many of us aren’t professional conference go-ers. Some of us don’t ever get out. The whole range of insecurities, unpolished manners, and stress can lead to someone saying or doing something that takes you aback. Don’t let it ruin your conference.
    At the same time, make an effort to try to be aware of others, speak to them, smile, shine up your own manners. Tuck insecurity away.
    You are special. You are worthy.  You are a BlogHer. Prepare to sparkle!

My Brain is Weird

Last night I got Junie B Jones mixed up with June Jordan. Let me tell you how it happened.

My first born and I were talking about celery last night. First born stated: “I don’t like celery but I don’t know why.” We discussed the many cons to celery. I ended with “But celery stewed is more quietly chewed.” There was a response muttered under breath. I didn’t catch it. What? What did you say? Laughing child said “I am not going to say it. I am not.”

Then I realized what was said “Celery, Raw. Strengthens the Jaw.” (Ogden Nash by the way)

You see, this story then goes back to just after a homeschooling fair we attended probably in 2003. While there I picked up a copy of “Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization” despite the fact that we were there for materials for Michelle who was about 14. The little kids were still “Little” though First Born was probably about 10. My kids were going to learn to love poetry! I loved poetry. This was a cd and book set to help! The next step after the various children’s poetry anthologies I read them as tots! Besides, memorizing things is a lost art.

Thus commenced the practice of listening to the cd in the car. We got through Ooey Gooey. Then came Celery. The little girls picked it up fast. The First Born refused to repeat the poem. Refused. Day after day. We couldn’t move on. First Born threw down the gauntlet. I faced off. The little girls did hear the next poem a few times in hopes of tempting First Born. No. So no more poetry cd in the car. I was a bit sad, (POETRY!) (Money WASTED!) but we weren’t moving on if I couldn’t get participation. And there we left it though the adults and little girls were apt to say either the first or second part of the poem whenever celery came up in conversation.

Last night, I turned off the lights and my brain kicked in high gear. Please tell me this happens to you too.
Bits of nonsense floated around like pesky flies. Midges.

I thought “I didn’t mention on Facebook that First Born DID memorize the Celery poem” Then I thought maybe I would blog about it. Blog about the cd and that book by oh darn it I know her name. JUNIE B JONES. Yes JUNIE B JONES. And the picture of a Scholastic book flashed in my head. Hmm that isn’t right. Then pictures of both a Junie B Jones book and the book I was thinking of flashed in my head. Also a random picture (which proved to be right, of where the book to the poetry book to the poetry book and cd set was and what it looked like) And then I realized I had been thinking of June Jordan. My brain malfunctioned and drew the wrong June out of the card catalog. Then I tried to picture June Jordan and Junie B Jones and laughed to myself. I thought “I really should blog this oddness.” So, I have.

An aside: I strongly recommend June Jordan’s Poetry for the People: A Revolutionary Blueprint for parents of Tweens and Teens and/or the teens themselves. Ok, I recommend it for everyone.

The Phantom Sling

Today while scrolling through my news feed on Facebook, I saw a beautiful ring sling. Suddenly, I felt the “phantom sling” and baby.

My baby turns 16 in August. She spent a good part of her first two years of life in the sling. She continued off and on in the sling for a few years more. To this day, I am sure if she came across it, she would wrap it around herself.
But, in reality, there has been no baby in the sling regularly for 14 + years. You’d think the “phantom sling” feelings would fade. Yes, I magic slinged Pippin a few times. (Magic. Loved.) That isn’t the baby I feel there. It is still my youngest. I played around with various other child carrying solutions with first born and second born. They weren’t the same. Too complicated. Too many straps. Uncomfortable. The babies didn’t like them.

Then there was youngest. I fell for the sling hard. Good thing because she was a baby that needed a lot of holding, carrying, nursing, movement. Part of that was that she WAS the youngest, so there was no stopping mid-day for nap–school pick up, preschool pick up, soccer, lessons, playdates. There generally was some place to go. Or I was working (online) and she needed mommy at the same time. She also wasn’t the independent entertainment that her older siblings had down at an early age.

Fear not! She’s my most independent child now. She’ll take off on her bike anywhere. She is working harder than any of the other children at getting her driving license as soon as she can possibly get it.

Still, she lives in my phantom sling. Close to my heart, close to me. The sensation of her there has not faded and perhaps never will. I wondered if that was an odd thing briefly this morning. But, then I thought, no, that is just where I want to keep her…close to my heart, safe, looking into my face, and with me, even as she wanders with my heart into the big world around her.