Lessons I Tried Not to Learn from Gilmore Girls

Polyamory has always appealed to me because I agree love shouldn’t be a commodity. It shouldn’t be a scarce resource that is protected and hoarded. However, life is complicated with kids.

We all have U-Haul tendencies when we meet someone who gets those butterflies fluttering. That someone who makes you laugh. And brings you take-out when you are too burnt out to make dinner, again.

Add in the idea of shortage of childcare. A live-in lover sounds swell in principle. But them I’m not desperate…or am I?

I’m being careful. Lorelai Gilmore sacrificed her love life until Rory grew up. She tried to keep things separate. You know you are possibly lonely (and desperate) when you are drinking a glass of wine on a Friday night and sobbing along to Gilmore Girls. “It’s so hard to be a single parent– this show gets it – wahhhh!”

The tough job is creating a balance. As I tell my child, “Mummy is better at being a mummy when I can go out once in awhile with other grownups. When you are grown up, you will need time too. “

So right now, I’m dating some lovely people. Trying to enjoy some quality grown-up time without falling in love or calling 1-800-Uhaul in the middle of the night. Ironically, I have to limit these dates based on how much I can afford to pay the babysitter or how many friends I can willingly entice for Allie time.

Love is not in short supply when I have a 4 year-old buddy curled up in my bed every night. But love is not so easily defined.

Yes, they come first. Be warned. You may not want to date me if you aren’t super busy yourself because I’m pretty busy being the best hero to my sidekick I can be.

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Creating Space for a Cacophony of Gender Adventures

Today at school my son Allie wore a dress to school.

Now being a queer-identified gender-fluid person myself I didn’t expect to be upset by this. I’ve raised this boy child in a world where they know some girls have penises and some boys have vaginas. Girls can be any kind of girl and boys can be any kind of boy. Their best boyfriend wears nail polish and pink jeans.

Early on there were lots of discussions about hair length. It seems weird to me this is how young children seem to grapple with the gender rules. Girls have long hair and boys have short hair. They seem surprised when we point out the error in this with direct examples of friends and family members who identify differently and have the “wrong” corresponding hair length.

I wear big boots and rarely wear make-up. I’ve always broken the gender rules. I decided a long time ago that gender is arbitrary and I would be whatever damn person I wanted to be. I didn’t need a fixed gender identity. I’ve had short hair. I’ve had long hair. I never wear dresses.

And here I am buying a pink and purple dress for my child, as requested (possibly for “dress-up”). But then they decide it is the most beautiful dress and they will wear it to school. And dropping Allie off that day terrified me.

“Great, no problem I said”. Dropping them off at school, I whisper to the teacher. “Please don’t let them be bullied”.

Earlier in the week, the teachers had told me that Allie had said, “I’m a girl.”

Picking out skis, the clerk turns to me and says “Is Allie a she or he?” They loudly state, “I’m a she, SHE!” So there we have it. And the teachers shockingly were great. They said they just told Allie it was fine to be a girl.

But then I worried about their classmates. Allie asks me “ do I look like a girl now?, with my dress?”.

Again I say (although at this point I’m mostly just agreeing that yes you are a girl),“Some boys wear dresses and some girls wear dresses. I don’t really know what a girl or boy looks like. You look like Allie to me, with a beautiful pink and purple dress.”

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At lunchtime, I arrive to help out in the classroom. There is Allie sitting in the middle of the classroom. They are super cute in their pink dress and so happy to see me. Allie is eating lunch with a friend Nora, “Nora knows I’m a girl. “ Nora smiles and nods, “Allie is a girl”.

Tonight they tell me they want to be a boy named Isabella. “I can change my name right, if I want a girl name and my mummy says it’s okay”. I said, “of course it’s okay”.
Wherever we go on this journey with my sidekick. gender will be a bumpy part of the road. As I told Allie tonight, “Boy or girl, I will love you no matter who you are. Makes no difference to me. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

Survival Tip: Taking a Breath and Slowing Down

Rushing Allie out the door this morning to get to school wasn’t going to happen. I tried a million different tactics and nothing was working. This is the moment where I hate being a single parent. Can’t pass the buck. Can’t give up in defeat and pass them off to someone else less frustrated.

Allie is crying. They won’t get dressed. They don’t want to go to school. I’ve lost it. I can’t do this. I just can’t. So I yelled at them. Allie tells me, “ yelling isn’t nice and it’s your fault I’m going slow. The yelling is making me go slow.” I feel like a bad parent. I dislike myself and I can’t do this

I’m convinced 4 year olds can’t be scheduled. They don’t understand time. Their wonderful moments of sheer exhilaration at the world can’t be pinned down by clocks, and appointments, and life’s cruddines. Thank goodness for this. It’s one of their best and worst qualities.

So I take a breath. I decide we’re not getting to school on time. It’s not happening. I’m stressed out. Allie is stressed out.

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I take another breath. Allie is drawing a picture and cutting out circles. It’s very important to them. Very, very, very important.

I breathe again. I sit down with them and I draw circles and I cut out circles. It’s 8:30. We should have left 20 minutes ago.

“Hey buddy, I’m sorry I yelled at you. Grown-ups make mistakes too and you are right, yelling is not nice.”

Allie looks at me completely calmly. Tears drying on their face the only evidence that 2 minutes ago all hell was breaking loose.

“ What’s going on? What’s the plan? We need to get to school. “

Allie says, “ Okay let’s go to school.”

Just like that. They put the circles in a very neat pile. Places the scissors on top. Puts their clothes on. I drink my coffee (made an hour ago and until now not sampled). And we’re out the door.

We’re late. I hate being late. But today, I don’t care.