Part 3: My Perspective – The Beginning of the End
Thing 2 worked really hard. We all worked really hard. She wanted to go back. So bad. We were always under the impression that she would be able to go back, no problem.
Mid-April was a total blur. Had a giant Pow Wow through Title VI in our school district, to focus on. I had my emergency surgery where I almost died. And we had a trip to Kent, WA for Thing 2’s huge taekwondo competition.
April just happened one day and then it was May. But, in late April, Thing 2 finally discovered the words, in her own language, to describe how she did not feel like he. But rather she.
This was the point where I reached out to her pediatrician. I found her a counselor. I joined all the support groups I could. I read book after book. I spent hours researching and reading blogs. I spent more hours listening to the voice in my head, debate with the other voice in my head.
I began occasionally acknowledging her as a girl.
And something miraculous happened. Almost like a light switch finally turned on.
Her meltdowns practically melted away. They were there. But less intense, and less frequent. She was happy. Oh she became so happy. The PTSD I started experiencing when it was just her and I, nearly disappeared. And her toileting accidents started decreasing substantially.
We were finally figuring out and piecing together how we can make her life, happier. Easier. Smoother for everyone involved in her care.
April – Thing 1 was finally invited to the elite team. Finally. She started helping the masters teach Tiny tigers. Oh she loved that. She took so much pride in it. Being the only student to help. But she was even more excited to one day, eventually, be on the demo team. She had watched so many of her friends be invited. So she didn’t stop working hard. She never gave up. She wanted to be on demo team.
The Taekwondo tournament weekend in April. I let Thing 2, live as her new self. All weekend. Leading up to the weekend, the masters were running a special and wanted all the TKD families to take photos of themselves in their dobaks.
They begged me to get photos of the kids. So I did. Finally. And it wasnt acceptable. So they said to have Thing 2 bring his uniform up to the tournament and they would get photos there.
So we did. But no photos were taken. And we were not asked again.
End of April/Beginning of May. Master X and I had a sit-down meeting that was pretty long. And in it, we discussed different ways and tactics on how to help Thing 2 successfully integrate.
We discussed about having a little bit of a more active transition btwn school and the dojang; waiting a few more seconds before expecting a response when asking her a question; asking her questions that only included 2 options (neither option being no). We discussed wearing headphones and having someone else flush the toilet (Master X actually said she would be OK with this, so it was not my idea to begin with). We discussed a multitude of simple remedies.
And then towards the end of the conversation, I told her that Thing 2 was starting to find her words to express how things make her feel. And one of those, is that she wants to be a girl.
I remember Master X’s response like it happened 20 minutes ago. I do not remember my response back. But I do remember hers.
She said that we had let Thing 2 get away with so many wrong choices and decisions (the meltdowns, the anger, the “easy” consequences), and that by letting him think he is a girl…is just letting him make another wrong choice.
I am pretty sure I was stunned. In disbelief. I didnt know what to say. But I let it go.
This was a VERY stressful time for us. Between almost dying on the operating table. And my baby boy expressing she was not a boy at all. And my family collapsing bc of that. I just had to let something, that comment specifically, go.
Thing 2 and I left that meeting, completely under the impression that she would be able to return in the next week or 2. Great! It was only 5ish weeks away from summer. I did not need to find additional care for her. Phew.
There is no way I would have been able to handle needing to find her additional care on such late notice.
Fast forward a few days and I receive an email from Master X. They decided that they did not have the staff or support in place to be able to handle Thing 2’s needs and therefore would not be welcomed back.
What? I lost it. First of all, the only extra supports she would need…were insanely simple that you could easily implement them in your daily life. Secondly, what type of person leads on a child, especially one on the spectrum, and makes them work hard towards a goal, and when they obtain said goal – yank it from them?
Third – now I am beyond stressed trying to find summer childcare for my unique child. Thankfully, the sitter that had watched her for 4yrs was available this summer. Phew!
So I replied (I could find the email). But basically I said that they needed to tell Thing 2. That bc of her needs and cognitive delays, she needed to hear it from them. That she wouldn’t understand and it would cause more distress coming from me.
Clearly I got a response that I did not like because (And I really didn’t want to go there) I remember asking if it was because of her being trans. (Side note: I need to find all of these emails bc I am just paraphrasing here).
I do not think I let her reply. I think my gut knew the answer, but I didn’t want to hear or read it at that moment. So maybe she did reply and I didn’t read it. Because I remember quickly replying that we will let it go but Thing 1 was excelling and we couldn’t let this affect her.
And so for the next 3 months, we held it from Thing 2. The assumed real reason as to why her little sister wasnt welcomed back.
I say assumed real reason (even though I REALLY hate making an ass out of you and me) because I have no proof to prove one way or the other. I just have way too many dots connected that point more towards one direction than the other.
After that series of emails, radio silence. I asked for meetings. Maybe if they just get to know and see her as her. Maybe if they just experience the happiness she beams. Maybe they would be able to feel it fill their souls. But all requests went ignored. Or put off.
Not another social media post was commented on or liked. I would walk in to pick up Thing 1, and rarely did I see Master X. And if I did, she could barely make eye contact or say more than a few words.
I kept it as civil as possible. So it was partly my fault the atmosphere changed between us. You, or at least I, could feel the tension in the air get heavier.
On top of that. Thing 1 was starting to literally fall apart at school. It had been building up for a few months (a couple months even before my emergency surgery and the life altering news about Thing 2.) but now chunks were falling out of her scalp as she moved from obsessively combing her hair. To obsessively washing it. To obsessively twirling and eating it.
And then she just started pulling her hair out. We would find clumps. All over the house. We just couldnt figure it out. What. The. Hell. Was happening to our babies?
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