This weekend, we told the kids about Ezekiel’s new name and that he’s actually figured out that he’s a man on the inside. Previously, Ezekiel had talked to our daughter, Leigh, when then subject of gender came up in a random and surprising fashion. At that time, Ezekiel told Leigh that when he knew anything for sure, he would tell her. We also felt like enough other people knew the name that she should really know.
So we took her out to breakfast and took the plunge. When Ezekiel talked with her previously, she made it very very clear that she wanted him to stay a woman. This time was no different. She objected to the name, first suggesting a number of girly names as alternatives, then suggesting some gender neutral ones. She begged him, again, to remain a woman. So, it wasn’t an easy conversation. We talked to her about all of the people that she could talk to that knew and would understand what was going on and be able to listen to her. She said she probably would just talk with us. Then we played at a playground and eventually Leigh and I headed off to do some grocery shopping.
Later in the day, she was playing with a friend from the neighborhood and suddenly really wanted to tell her the new name. We were a bit surprised, and not ready for that step, but Ezekiel was able to divert her into calling another friend, Y. We had given Y’s parents clearance to tell Y about Ezekiel’s trans status and the new name. Y also has a trans dad, but one that he has always known as a dad. Y was very sweet and Leigh was talking with him about some of her issues, and was even sometimes working on switching pronouns. She was also able to talk with Y’s mom about what Y’s dad’s transition was like for her.
It felt like she came a long way in one day.
As of last night, Leigh was still trying to correct my pronoun usage to “she/her” but was OK when I told her I was going to stick with “he/his” as often as I could remember to do so. I’m personally having a problem with pronouns because I so often call Ezekiel “mama” when around the kids, as in, “Go ask Mama to help you with that.” It is very hard to get out a sentence like, “You have to show this to Mama when he gets home” — “Mama” and “he” just don’t go together all that well, although I’m trying.
So the state of the house is that the kids are used to using “Mama/she/her,” and Ezekiel doesn’t often use pronouns to refer to himself. That means it’s up to me to make this pronoun change really fly. I’m working on it, but it’s still hard. I did float to the kids the idea of using “Aba” (Hebrew for “dad” — they call me “Ima”) as their name for Ezekiel, and the both seemed view the idea positively, so we’ll see if that takes at all.
Ezekiel also told Ira, who is newly 3, about the new name and about Ezekiel being a boy on the inside. When I talked to him about it later, Ira said, “Mama not a boy, Mama a man” and he also sweetly said “I thought it [the new name] was going to be a new name for me to call Mama but it wasn’t,” so I have some hopes that he’ll take to calling Ezekiel “Aba”
Since then, there’s been a lot of fallout from Ezekiel. He feels guilty and like the whole path is much to hard. I wish I could do something about that, but I can’t. It’s hard to watch him being pulled in two directions. The more I really “see” him as a man, the more I see how he’s buried an important part of who he is for all of these years and how hard it must have been to always feel wrong. Now he’s got a path forward, but to take that path he has to deal with all of the crap he’s pushed underground for all of these years.