Acts of Solidarity: love languages, reimagined

I first heard about the Five Love Languages at a “Healthy Relationships” workshop at a trans leadership training in Los Angeles—and my mind was blown. It was 2013, Biff and I had been dating for two years, and I didn’t feel like he really cared about me because he never held my hand or kissed me in public. He never really told me he loved me in a way that felt specific or certain. Whenever I brought this up, he would always respond that he kept our house clean, cooked food for us every night, and let me sleep in on the weekends. Wasn’t that proof enough of his love? 

Read More
Stop Trying To "Get It Right": Cultivating humility as you become a trans ally

I train hundreds of people every year, covering many aspects of competency around transgender issues. I teach people how to use gender-neutral pronouns, how to make it right when they’ve made a mistake, how to create bias-free classrooms… and more. But one of the most common and hard to answer questions I get is this: How do I say the right thing all the time?

Read More
Beat back bullies with Respondology!

If you plan to take any public stance on social justice issues, trolls WILL find you. Their racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist diatribes will leak out all over your page. And when you leave them up, you are making the internet a more toxic place for people like me (and people like you!) who have to read it. I implore you— use a service to help clear your channels of these toxic messages.

Read More
#OnOurSleeves: Celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month!

Riley has always had to work hard to focus on what was happening in front of him, and has often struggled to stay in a positive mindset. When he was seven, we had him assessed so we would have a better sense of what he might need from us in terms of supports. I thought I was ready for whatever might come up during those assessments, but when the pediatric psychologist gently told us that Riley met all the criteria for ADHD, I was shocked. How had I missed this? Was he going to need medication? Do we really know the long-term effects of that medication on tiny bodies? Weren’t there other options for treating it?

Read More
Nosy Nellies: How to endure unsolicited pregnancy/parenting advice

When you’re pregnant (and even after you give birth), everyone has opinions for you. And for some reason, most of these advice-givers don’t seem able to simply share what worked for them... instead, they all seem convinced that their way is The Right Way and all other ways will inevitably lead to Doom and Gloom for you, your partner (if you have one), and your baby.

This turns out to be true whether you’re transgender or not, so I thought I’d share my tips for surviving Nagging Nancies during pregnancy and early parenthood.

Read More
"Is that a boy or a girl?" Gender and Parenting, part 2

“Why did you decide to gender your baby at birth?”

Every once in awhile, a stranger (usually online) will ask us this question.

In most cases, it’s intended as a “gotcha.” People who don’t want the best for us will ask it in jest, attempting to poke holes in our argument that perhaps gender is less rigid and fixed than we’ve been led to believe. Other times it’s asked by a trans or non-binary person who imagines that we are upholding the gender binary by assuming what gender our baby is.

It is rarely asked with good intention, but for the sake of this blog post… let’s assume it IS being asked that way (and then I’ll discuss why the first two ways of asking it are harmful).

I guess I have to explain my beliefs on gender to begin with.

Read More
Managing Kids' Digital Lives

We put a lot of time and energy into thinking about ways to moderate our kids’ digital intake. They would do screentime all day every day if we let them, and we would rather they have literally NO screentime. How do we compromise? By finding educational and fun ways to engage them in tablet play. The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet and FreeTime parental controls help us do just that!!!

Read More
Traditions

This year, we’ve been able to accomplish a couple of our holiday traditions with ease using the new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition. Hailey got hers just a couple of weeks ago and it couldn’t have come at a better time for her development. As it turns out, the Parent Dashboard allows me to pick and choose exactly what games, movies, and apps she’s allowed to access, AND I can see what she’s played, watched, and read at any time. I’ve already been able to pull a, “Tell me about that game!” so she could explain the strategy behind one of her new favorite apps, a problem-solving puzzle based on Beauty and the Beast.

Read More
The Small Stuff

When you have a crappy stroller... you know it. It doesn’t open up easily, so you’re always trying to somehow balance your cup of coffee and your baby while pleading with the stroller to JUST UNLATCH ALREADY. There’s this little tiny space underneath where somehow you’re supposed to fit your diaper bag but in reality, only one kid-sized sweatshirt can be stored there. And when you have to put it away, it somehow always manages to collapse in the closet, pushing the hallway door open so guests can see all of last year’s Christmas decorations sitting there. 

Read More
Into the Wild, pt. 2

The first couple of hours were tense. We both held tight to the other’s mistakes of recent weeks. The time he told me he wished Biff was his only dad. The time I told him he couldn’t have screen time because he pushed Hailey (I found out later that she lied about the pushing thing but was so mad about their bickering I said no screen time anyway). We listened to music in silence, Riley occasionally asking tentative questions about the trip. “Where are we going again?” “Did you remember my swimsuit?” “What if I twist my ankle?” I gave him the map and traced our journey over and over again. As the miles passed our mutual anger dissipated and I remembered he was just a kid and he remembered I was just a person and we started to sing along to the music and make plans for counting stars. 

Read More
Into the Wild

I laid everything out the night before (Biff chuckling away in the kitchen watching me) and piled the heavy-ass packs into the car and set my alarm. “Tomorrow is backpacking, buddy! Go to sleep early because I’m gonna be waking you up at 6am!” He fell asleep with a giddy smile on his face, so stoked to be alone in the wilderness with just his dad.

Read More
Into the Deep

In the ocean surrounding Indralaya, microscopic plankton emit a bioluminescent light that reacts to movement in the water. So in the dead of night, when the sun has completely set, you can swim in the pitch black ocean and your body will light up as it moves. Everyone at camp does this midnight swim at some point in the week every year... except me. 

Read More