Ezekiel and I had an interesting conversation with our 6-year-old daughter Leigh tonight. It all came about because our 3-year-old, Ira, wanted to know if Ezekiel used to be a woman. That’s kind of a difficult question to answer. We told Ira that Ezekiel was born with girl parts, to which Ira said, “So he used to be a girl.” Face plant. It’s hard to explain things to a 3-year-old that adults don’t even get. Leigh, who had been in the bathroom clamored to explain the whole thing to Ira and did so wonderfully (however, Ira had stopped paying attention and left to play with trains half-way through her explanation). Then she whispered to me that “But really Aba (Dad) is still a woman because he hasn’t taken that medicine to change his body.”
I told her that Ezekiel and I both believe that what matters is what is in Ezekiel’s heart, not what body parts he has or whether he takes medicine. Leigh seemed nonplussed, so Ezekiel asked her, “What do you think Ima just said?” She thought for a little while and said, “So I get it, its like there’s two kinds of medicine. Medicine that you take and “heart medicine,” where what’s in your heart can change you.” By the end of the conversation, she’d added a third kind of medicine, “clothes medicine,” the way your outward appearance can change you. It was very sweet.
In the end Ezekiel and I went on (and on) trying to convince Leigh that Ezekiel is the one that gets to say what his gender is (really). She finally got to the place where she decided that everyone has a certain number of drops of being a girl. If you have just one or two, they are so small that no one can even see them. If you have like a million maybe you will be half girl and half boy. She decided Aba had just one drop, so almost all the way boy, but she wasn’t willing to part with that last drop!
And then we told her that Aba is starting “the medicine” tomorrow, so she decided he gets to be 100% boy now. Sigh. She’s awesome, but she’s still six after all!