‘Do adults still say nasty things about me?’
‘I don’t know. Not to me, but I don’t see them anymore.’
‘Remember when XXX’s Mum said she wasn’t allowed to play with me anymore?’
‘Yes. I do. She was always very supportive. To our faces.’
‘Why don’t you like XXX anymore?’
‘Well, she said some horrible things about trans kids.’
‘What did she say?’
‘I don’t want to tell you. It’ll upset you.’
‘No it won’t. Tell me.’
‘OK. She implied that if you shared a room at a residential you would rape your room-mate.’
‘I’m sorry. It’s not true. Obviously.’
‘You’re also 11 years old!’
‘I can’t say the word I want to say. So I’m just going to mouth it.’
‘Sorry, love. I do try to keep you away from all this sort of stuff.’
The sun came out and
we were allowed to have people over in the garden and
they could be from another local authority area and
I made gluten free vegan brownies and
the kids played with nerf guns and
I hate toy guns and
I didn’t care and
I made tea and
Mr HB made coffee and
we bitched about stuff and
we did the crossword together and
we laughed and
we looked at the tadpoles and
the tadpoles are getting bigger and
they are moving around more too and
kids all played really well together and
later on we went down to the river and
it is really beautiful here and
today it is cloudy again and
I feel tired but it’s the good sort of tired and
I am so lucky to have had such a lovely day.
Given my poetry pamphlet is now sold out (thank you to everyone who bought a copy), I thought I would record the poems for my much-neglected YouTube channel. Here is a transcript of the first one,
Quickened pain, surprising me
out of all birth plans
and breathing techniques
and the crickets of the TENS
machine crawling up my back.
I had woken early
completed the lists:
paired socks, as my pelvis
pentangled like pulled knitting.
And all too soon
the burn, the squeeze, the heft
was beyond unbearable
you released –
a tide of meaning
into the world.
My last born.
Completing this compost
Never forget how you came:
child of mine.
Never be afraid to labour, and
never push down pain to places you cannot feel it.
It won’t be long now – I know, I’ve done nothing but whine about them being home. Now I’m sort of wondering if I’ll look back on home-learning with a tear in my eye. Like this lunchtime, I thought, ‘this is one of the last lunches you’ll have together in term time, isn’t that sad?’ My kids, however, are nothing if not reliable. Within five minutes they were screaming at each other about something screen-related, I assume. Which I won’t miss AT ALL. It’s been awful and exhausting – I never thought my children would cry daily after babyhood was over. At that same time, I’ve loved slowing down with them, focussing on them above everything else, getting right into what they are into (Star Dew Valley rules btw). I’ll wave them off joyfully but I wouldn’t give this time back, either.
There was a day, a few weeks ago, when I went outside and thought ‘It’s really cold out here!’
‘Although, I suppose it is November.’
How exactly is it November already?
When we went into our first UK lockdown, in March, I knew it was March. But I still kind of feel like it’s March? How can 2020 be almost over?
I’m trying to remind myself what this year has been like, for so many of us. Many of us home-schooled one or more children between March and June: I had two kids at home, and although the school were great, there was a certain amount of ‘yes, you do have to do some work.’
Then in July, we moved house. That’s taken up just as much time and headspace as I thought it would.
Here’s to a productive 2021!
windy – wild
Someone suggests an update to some legislation. It’s kind of controversial, from some angles, so they do a consultation. Over 70% of people respond and say ‘yep, sounds good.’
They decide not to update the legislation.
And if it was just this, I would be fine. I mean, it’s paperwork. It’s disappointing, it’s not surprising.
But it’s not only this. It’s the 18 month wait for your kid to be seen by someone who knows less about gender than you do. It’s the four emails a week to school because people are deliberately misgendering your child and then claiming they are entitled to their opinion that there are only two genders. It’s the memories of the times you couldn’t walk down the streets of your own village. It’s watching your child become more and more withdrawn. It’s news like this.
Apparently, it will become a ‘good interview question.’ What did you accomplish in lockdown?
I was surprised to realise I am fit now. I haven’t been fit since before my first child was born. And let me assure you that I have not become thin – no matter how many kilometres you cycle, if you come home and eat crisps and drink beer, then…
I can cycle many kilometres, though. Up hills and everything. It’s a pleasant side-effect of taking the kids outside every day.
However, I didn’t write the great British novel or anything. You must be kidding! I have two kids – and our homeschooling was excellent – but I was required to be there while they went tippity-tappity on their laptops. I didn’t manage to write much beyond this blog. Which helped me feel connected –
for sticking around.
As the parent of a non-binary child, I find myself often – too often – in the position of ‘calling out’ certain behaviour online.
I used to enjoy grammar policing until someone accused me, correctly, of snobbery. I spend a lot of time trying to remember how to respond when Mr HB says, ‘Stella, that’s racist.’ (Top tip: defensiveness is not how we learn. Top tip 2: we are all racist, whether we care to admit to it or not.)
I don’t relish calling out a person for pronoun use, or transphobia, or just a not-thinking of making an online comment that is damaging/othering/offensive to the community that parent the LGBTQ community. Maybe it looks like I enjoy it.
I can assure you: I write the comment.
I worry about it.
I brace myself.
But not saying anything at all? Not an option.
I mean, of course Karen is not a slur. I was interested, however to find this definition of ‘a Karen,’ that 100% is me (apart from the blonde hair part).
But the value of being these things: entitled, obnoxious, middle-aged and white has not been lost on me.
Ever since I started having to tell the world that no, my child wasn’t a girl or a boy, and no, they couldn’t choose between Miss or Master, and no, they weren’t happy when staff at school used the term ‘girls and boys’ (it’s hurtful because it doesn’t apply to them).
And yes, there would need to be a change or an adaption to the system to make sure they fit. And yes, they (and I!) would require support from many different agencies.
And yes, they were entitled to all of these things.