Category Archives: Uncategorized

IIX (does that mean 8?)

When our 3rd was born, that baby was as beautiful as the two that came before.

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I think Jamie holds the record for most hair but this one came awfully close to beating him.

Sometimes I think about the first several years, when we called that baby Alice and how I insisted on dresses and not cutting that long and beautiful hair and finding hair bows that matched and insisting on posed pictures and dress up. And when I think of that, I remember how sweet that Alice was. How quiet and shy, but how nice and sweet and happy she was. How she just did what we asked, didn’t fuss too much (certainly not enough for me to consider it a battle not worth fighting), and went along with life.

And then I remember the quiet times, around four or five years old, when that Alice told us she really wanted to be a boy. And when that child, at six years old, put their foot down on dresses and skirts and talked me into a shorter haircut.

And most recently at seven, the courage it took to to tell us “I don’t want to be a boy, I am one,” and everything that has happened since. Now that child is Lucian Maureen and that sweet voice is still there. I never thought I’d be celebrating my third child’s 8th birthday with “he” and “him” and “his” but my heart is bursting with how happy I am that we are.

Lucian is 8 and what an incredible 8-year-old he is.

  • happy
  • funny
  • shy
  • silly
  • brave

Lucian wants to grow up and get married and have babies some day and it’s obvious that he’ll be the best daddy because he’s so great with Franci and when he spots a baby, he just melts. He skates up a storm and he’s not so bad on the snow, either. He has lots of friends and is the best friend in the world. Sometimes he gets upset pretty easily and has a hard time, but he always is able to calm down and talk about it, and that’s not easy. He loves cake and he loves lavender soda and his favorite thing is one-on-one time with mom and dad.

Without Lucian, I’m not sure who we would be. But I’m guessing our family wouldn’t be quite as great.

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Happy 8th birthday to our beautiful boy!

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VI

Today I have a six year old. Charlotte Clayton is six.

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Charlotte is each and every one of the following at any given time of day:

  • fierce
  • quiet
  • patient
  • kind
  • sassy
  • loud
  • snuggly
  • chill
  • creative
  • cheerful
  • wiggly

Charlotte is so many things at so many different times of the day or week and sometimes lots of things at once. She is smart and she is SO. FREAKING. HILARIOUS. If you look too deep in her eyes, she’ll keep you there, so be careful. She’s striking, the epitome of fashion and her androgynous style and the way she pulls it off is pretty rad.

She’s our number four, our loudest girl, the most daring and the most confident. She is a really good friend and she’s such a sweet soul – she’s empathetic towards others’ situations and sometimes she catches me by surprise with the way she understands some really hard things.

She’s named after one of our favorite people and his spirit shows through her all the time. She’s fun and she’s full of stories and she wants to be friends with everyone.

Without Charlotte, our lives would be quieter and more boring. We’d laugh a little less and we’d probably use 1/2 as many Bandaids.

Happiest, happiest of days to our sweet, fun, and sassy Charlotte Clayton.

A good listen for teachers, parents, and people.

This is a podcast from NPR that consists of a panel of people (a transgender student, a law college professor, a school principal, and a senior counsel for a conservative legal organization) who discuss the ‘bathroom issue’ as it pertains to and affects people (transgender or not). If you think this is a ridiculous thing to talk about, a stupid thing to discuss, you should listen to this podcast.

 

http://the1a.org/shows/2017-02-27/beyond-bathrooms-the-battle-over-transgender-rights

Easter 2017

For the past couple years, we’ve avoided the ping pong-ing of going from house to house to egg hunt to egg hunt because it’s just too much. Instead, we host Easter brunch at our house after we’ve done our own family thing.

Our own family thing consists of Easter baskets and an inside egg hunt where some eggs are more easily found than others.

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We don’t go crazy on baskets. They’re even more simplified than Christmas stockings. Lots of candy, a couple toys, a book, that kind of thing. Each of the little girls got a doll. I think we nailed it as far as the quality vs. quantity.

After some time with the baskets, they hunt. And then they celebrate. (James chose not to participate this year)

 

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(I wanna know what goes on in that smart little brain of his)

And then, after all that fun just by ourselves, we invite more awesome people to come over to eat like crazy and have even more fun!

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Maria serenaded us with some violin, too.

We had a little quiet time and then decided to go to the skatepark.

Okay, so why is it that parents think it’s okay to just drop their little kids off at the skatepark with their new scooters and rip sticks and leave them there, where they don’t take turns, they cut people off, and make it a mess for scooter-ers and skaters who actually wanna ride and know what they’re doing. It drives me nuts. And when they do get in the way and cause a collision, and the parent is there, the parent does nothing. Like…literally nothing. So we had to deal with it. Which meant doing nothing, because when you try to tell 9-year-olds that they should take turns so they don’t get hurt, they look at you like you’re a complete idiot. So Luke kept getting SUPER frustrated and Jamie kept pretending to throw up (it’s a tactic he’s been using to get us to leave somewhere in a hurry…he wasn’t actually throwing up, more like very dramatically coughing and spitting) and Franci wouldn’t quit screaming (she was coloring in the car, literally feet from the park with all doors open, we could hear her and talk to her, but she wasn’t happy with it) so we bagged it and headed home for some quiet time and a bike ride.

I’m beyond tired and I don’t think I’m ready for the work week. But it’s weird how it comes whether you are ready or not, huh?

Happy Easter!

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Spring break and getting out of town

The kids are on Spring Break so the first part of it was spent out of town. Naturally.

Yep, we headed to Seattle and spent the long weekend with my brother and Lily and doing fun tourist-y things like MoPOP and the aquarium and Pike’s Place.

Oh, and hotel swims. We had lots of hotel swims.

No Prasil trip is complete without a sick child or two, right? So we had that, too. But our kids are troopers extreme and they powered through.

We went to a transgender support group for children ages 3-9 and it was pretty incredible. Working with Willow Center, I know how important it is for children to not feel like they are going through something difficult alone. That they aren’t the only “weird” one, that there are all types of people. And when you’re with a bunch of people who are navigating something similar to what you are, you don’t feel so alone, so judged, and so lonely. We left the support group and Luke was smiling so much he was almost laughing. I said, “So did you meet people like you? Who people thought was a girl when they were born but is actually a boy?” He looked up at me and laughed and said, “I don’t even know! I couldn’t tell!” And I might have teared up.

But the ice in my heart quickly froze all emotion and things were normal. Phew.

We had lots of delicious meals, both with kids and without. We went to Pie Bar which was so delicious and I want 10 more chicken pot pies and 5 more berry pies stat. We went to Top Pot donuts and El Borracha and we watched the Zags lose and played at parks and walked all over and it was really, really fun.

But we were exhausted by the end of it. So now we’re just home, hanging out, enjoying no-school days. Working from home and watching so much Netflix. The weather is beautiful and the kids have been outside so much. We have a busy month with Green Apple Project fundraisers and events and work and doctor’s appointments and school and………but you are all familiar with busy lives!

Happy Spring.

Name change parties and a happy boy.

Kids are funny, yeah? Unless you teach them something isn’t quite right, they roll with it. Unless you teach them that one is better than another, they think everyone is equal. Unless you teach them that a little girl who never felt like a girl at all, but more like a boy who is now living his true self is sick and wrong, they’ll think it’s the most logical thing to do. Be who you are, don’t worry about what others think.

I asked Luke what he would say to someone who didn’t support him, who thought it wasn’t right for someone with girl parts to really be a boy and live like a boy. He said, “I would tell them that it’s okay to be who you are and you should just accept people for who they are.”

Kids get it.

So when I went to Luke’s school and spoke to the principal, the school psychologist, and his classroom teacher, we all pretty much agreed that this would be a smooth transition, that children would be accepting. Because that’s how things should be. Treat others how you would like to be treated. Call me crazy, but I think maybe that even includes transgender children and adults. So imagine my surprise when one of the teachers refused to be supportive (not Luke’s classroom teacher and not the school psychologist or principal…they were and are so amazing. My kids are so lucky to be at that school). She refused to take this as an opportunity to teach her students that Alice isn’t transforming into another person completely, she’s just changing her name to Luke and would like to live as a boy…that same friend is still there, just with shorter hair and a different spelling of the name. Imagine my surprise when she not only put his name change party invites into a sealed white envelope for her class, but also posted about it on Facebook, telling parents that the kids have no idea what’s in the envelope and she wanted them to see it before making a decision. The invite literally just said, “name change party.” I didn’t use words like transgender or queer or go into detail about our situation.  There wasn’t even a rainbow on the invite for God’s sake. It was a simple invitation to all of Luke’s friends to come and celebrate this huge change.

I shouldn’t have been too surprised. Some adults will make a big deal out of things no matter what. Even when it makes it harder for children, harder for families, adults still feel like they  need to insert themselves into every situation and try and take charge. This isn’t something that anyone can really take charge of. It’s not something that can change. This is just the way it is, and if you know Luke, you know it’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

This weekend was Luke’s name change party and how lucky are we that so many people came?

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All these people were here for Luke. Parents I had never met, close friends, kids from the other class, siblings…all of these friends were here to tell Luke that he’s great. That this change is one that will be met with love and support more often than judgment and hate. These are the people who will be his allies, his helpers, the people he can go to when things get hard.

Oh, these friends of ours (and so many that weren’t able to come and aren’t pictured, too!)

I think I took more Polaroid photos than I did normal ones, but this is a pretty good representation. Luke’s face never quit smiling.

We had food and goodies and such a great time.

Gifts. People brought Luke gifts.

What’s one way that someone can show you they love you? By traveling hours and hours for an event that they know is almost as important as a birth to you. (It was. That might sound crazy but this was so important.)

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These guys know life isn’t easy and they know it’s going to be even harder for Luke. They know that the one teacher who isn’t supportive is just a tiny taste of what we’ll be met with for years and years. They know that one thing that a child can never get enough of is love. My kids have no doubt about who they can turn to when they need it.

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These are my people. And all the ones on the other side of the camera. And all the ones to the side and behind us. All the people who see Luke for who he is, what his heart shows, how he treats others, how he loves and how we love him. These are our people, whether they were at the party or not, those who show us love and respect and compassion – those are our people.

 

There’s a song in Hamilton (I know, I know) and the lyrics make me tear up every time.

 

“…you will come of age with our young nation.

We’ll bleed and fight for you.

We’ll make it right for you.

If we lay a strong enough foundation,

We’ll pass it on to you,

We’ll give the world to you

And you’ll blow us all away

Someday, someday.”

Every time I sing this song, I think of what I’m doing for my kids. How hard I’m working, how hard my family is working, how hard my friends are working. It’s not always easy to speak out when you know something is wrong. It’s not always easy to be who you truly are, especially when so many people so loudly disagree. It’s heartbreaking to see someone hate your child when they don’t even know them.

But if we lay a strong enough foundation, we’ll give the world to our children. And they’ll blow us all away. That, I know, and that’s why I’m willing to fight and make it right.

12.

Today Maria is 12. I could say that 12 years ago was the scariest moment of my life, when at 19 and unmarried, Danny and I had our first baby. But that’d be a big fat lie because I’ve always known that Maria was meant for us.

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I use a lot of hypotheticals in my writing as it pertains to my children. My children WILL BE the ones who help others, they WILL BE the ones who change the world, on and on. But with Maria, in her short 12 years here, nothing has been a hypothetical. She’s done it. She’s been the one who invites the ‘weird’ kid to sit with her at lunch and then proves to everyone that he’s not weird, he’s different, and different is awesome. She has stood up to bullies both to defend herself and to defend her friends and her siblings. She’s given her own money and her own time for people in need. She is willing to have uncool beliefs in the eyes of her peers if she believes them to be true and right and just.

I have truly, honestly, never met a soul quite like Maria’s – adult or child. She’s a rare one. She has a way about her that, even though she’s a much better person than you, she’ll make you feel like you’re the one doing good. She helps subtly, not for show. She’s empathetic and will cry for you, cheer for you, and just be with you. She’s wittier than most adults I know and has a quick comeback for everything.

She knows the world. She knows that there are lots of different people with lots of different opinions, lots of ways of expressing themselves, lots of religions and beliefs and ways of life. She knows about struggles, about drug addiction, alcoholism, mental illness, tragedy and loss. She knows that all of these people in our world are important.

She knows Trump is an dipshit and knows our world needs change.  But if she knew I said that in my blog about her, she’d agree but be very disappointed in my choice of words.

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And there’s a million things she hasn’t done.

Just you wait.

Just you wait.

 

Happy Birthday, Maria ❤