I apologize for the long stretch between posts. All is well with me and the amazing young M., but we’ve had a bit of a rough patch: Broken sewer line, overflowing toilet, toys floating around M.’s bedroom… you get the picture.  Happy to report that no beloved toys were lost to the Great Toilet Flood of 2014, but it has been a challenging month!

In other news:  M. is now wearing PANTS.  Pants!  I can hardly believe it myself. If you read this post, you know what a big deal this is. You know that M. has refused to wear pants for nearly three years.  The “No Pants” policy started soon after she announced that she was a girl and begged me to buy her some dresses.  When she finally got her way and acquired said longed-for dresses, pants became off-limits:  The kid wouldn’t go near them for love or candy – not even when dresses and skirts were a highly impractical choice – like when we went sledding. All her little girlfriends wore pants nearly every day (and so does her mom!), but pointing this out to her had no impact on her no-pants stance. Although she never actually said so, I’ve always believed that her insistence on wearing dresses was a defensive (and not unreasonable) tactic: We had once told her she was a boy, dressed her in pants and denied her the girly dresses she secretly pined for.  What if she caved on pants and we took the dresses (and her girl status) away again?  Too risky.  The girl’s no fool.

And then, a few weeks ago, all of a sudden, pants were back on the menu.  We were getting ready to go out to meet some friends at an all-ages rock concert benefitting a nonprofit our friend founded.  M. was pretty thrilled by the idea:  “I need to dress up.  I need teenager rock ‘n’ roll clothes,” she said.

“Rock ‘n’ roll clothes?”

“Yes, you know – flashy shirt, and jeans.”

“JEANS?”  Had I heard her right?

OK, Mom, stay cool. Don’t make a big deal about this.  “Sounds like a great idea!”

We found some jeans and a neon-yellow T-shirt. She admired herself in the mirror and nodded.  “Now let’s give me a fancy teen-style hairdo.”

And thus, with very little fuss, the Great Pants Ban was lifted.

M. didn’t tell me why pants were suddenly acceptable.  I didn’t ask.  But I am pleased that she feels secure enough in her girlhood to wear whatever she likes – and to not have to be uber-girlie in order to prove that she’s one of us.

She’s also ditched most of her princess toys in favor of her new obsession:  Pokémon.  Her new BFF at school is a boy who shares her passion.

Pants?  Pokémon? A boy BFF?   Whither my girlie little girl?

I have to admit to some moments of doubt lately (“Is she really transgender?  Could it all have been a phase?”). My quiet doubts prove the supreme wisdom of the No Pants Stance.  The kid was right all along:  Give an inch on the trappings of girlhood, and even your own mother might start to doubt you.

I never expressed these thoughts to M., nor would I ever do so.  She has never said she isn’t a girl anymore.  For cryin’ out loud, Mom, she’s just wearing pants!

And what was I doing at her age? My sister and I were building forts, sword-fighting with sticks, and playing games that involved pretending to be spies and fighting monsters.  I rode my bike a lot.  I coveted my brother’s skateboard.  My hair was seventies-bowl-cut short and in my brown corduroys and androgynous T-shirts, I was often mistaken for a boy.

M.’s new interests don’t mean she’s a boy; they mean she’s just like her mom.

11 thoughts on “Pants!

  1. I love reading your stuff, its really eye opening. I’m studying to become a primary school teacher at the moment and shared your blog with my entire Health and Movement class when we did our weeks on sexual health. I think its important for us teachers to be aware of these sorts of things so if it ever does come up we can better support the child and parent.

  2. I think as long as you are supportive, she will figure it all out on her own. One day she may identify as a male, or she may stay female, switch back and forth, or even neither. I know at least one person in each category. Our society can make it difficult to truly know who you are at such a young age.

    My son is still too young to really understand the different between male and female (he’s not-quite-three), but he does know there is a difference, and he gets very excited to say “I’m a big boy!”, but at the same time, we’ve never told him that some things are “girly” and others are “boyish,” so he’s pretty much all-around androgynous, simply wearing/doing/playing with/etc whatever he is drawn to at the time.

    I think you’re doing a great job — secret doubts are a part of every aspect of life, and simply mean we want to know more.

  3. I’m so glad she has enough confidence in herself as a girl to go back to wearing pants knowing they won’t detract from her sexuality. I’m so glad to know she’s happy being just like her loving Mom.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  4. I’ve said/thought it time and time again, you are an amazing and loving mother. You’re daughter is blessed to have you. Much love to you both.

    Btw, if you ever get curious, I post quite a few poems I write on topics as gender and sexuality. My last one (Trans Tribulations) might help those who don’t get what it’s like to be trans*. Although, I’ll be honest enough to say that those who transition pre-puberty probably won’t relate very well to it :S

  5. So nice to hear from you again. I’ve admired the wonderful way you are bringing up your child. He/She will figure it out with time, I’m sure you were pleased with the “pants acceptance day” but I wouldn’t make too much about it. That’s the wonderful thing about kids, they surprise us every day. You are a fabulous, warm and loving mom and your child will be the same way, whatever sex they relate to. Brava. More people should be like you.

  6. Wonderful to know the day has come for pants. Now she’ll have more wardrobe options. She’ll still be M and still be a girl, but more than anything it means her self confidence has grown. How mysterious, remarkable and wonderful life is in all its variety! I’ve said it before, but how blessed M is to have you as a mom. She probably knows it already, but undoubtedly you know the privilege of having M as your daughter. May it only bring you joy and happiness!

  7. M is evolving and getting more secure with herself. She is so lucky to have such a wonderful Mom! I am jealous she is getting to have a girlhood that I was denied! But I am making up for it now. I really like these posts allowing me a glimpse you and M’s life!! I wish you both all the best and say prayers for your happiness!! ❤ Pamela

  8. I’ve been waiting for a new post, hurray! I’ve been neglecting my blog as well, but checked up today to see if you had posted yet (: M seems like she’s happy evolving and trying new things, I’m happy for you both! Regardless of who your child is or what they do, you will always question yourself or if what you’re doing is right. But, your sweet little girl is clearly a happy child. Whatever you are doing, you’re doing it well. She is obviously becoming more confident in herself and I have no doubt that it’s because of what a wonderful mother you are to her. No wonder she wants to be just like her sweet momma♡

    Can’t wait to hear more soon! But don’t keep us waiting so long! (;


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