Twin Three Year Olds, Two Moms, and One Dentist

My wife had to work. So it was up to me to manhandle the boys at their cleanings by myself. It started out okay. Declan was very compliant laying on top of me and while nervous at times with all the poking and prodding he basically did a good job. Jackson sat calmly, occasionally saying “I not get my teeth cleaned Mama!” clearly disgruntled about having to go next.

He clung to a stuffed dinosaur and oversized toothbrush and would clean the dinosaur at times.

Then we switched. Declan cannot handle the freedom of an open room with shiny appliances and Jackson cannot handle anxiety.

I turned on my phone and played Netflix for him. Declan cried that I hadn’t played it for him and in his attempt to watch stood on the chair behind me. I did not see this otherwise I would have told him to get down.

Well he got down on his own. Loudly crashing to the floor and our dental hygienist was not amused. Neither was I. Nor Declan. He’s sobbing. I still have Jackson on top of me calmly waiting for the cleaning to finish. Finally calm while Declan’s screaming.

Declan was then instructed to sit and not move from the chair. He didn’t technically. But his feet were swinging as he tried to get the wires. I mean just picture the worst mess you possibly can imagine in a dental hygienists space. That’s what was happening in that moment. I was trapped under Jackson and our perky dental hygienist was trying her best to stay perky.

When the dentist came to check them she mentioned something about Declan’s teeth. When she walked away I wanted to clarify, and the hygienist asked me, not terribly nicely, “Um who are you?”

Excuse me? “I’m their Mom…” I said puzzled. I mean what other human being on the planet would subject themselves to a dentist visit with twin toddlers? I’d have to be related to them.

“Well they keep talking about telling Mommy, so I’m just confused,” she said.

“There are two Moms,” I replied. At this point I was perhaps glaring at her, because I was annoyed at this entire line of questioning. And our two normal hygienists know me and know my wife and know the boys. So I know that it wasn’t her fault that she didn’t know we were a two mom family.

But once I said that, “There are two Moms,” there was an awkward silence and she didn’t apologize. She did the lip pursing thing that I am familiar with. It’s the “Oh shit it’s one of them,” looks.

I suddenly wanted to be out of that chair. Fast.

Some people reading this will immediately think I’m overreacting. You’ll think, well maybe she just didn’t know how to react.

I’m not. And she didn’t know how to react true. But she didn’t react the way accepting non-homophobic people react. There would normally be an awkward laugh, and then, “Oh okay I’m so sorry, they just kept talking about their other Mommy, so I was confused,” or something similar. It’s happened before. Several times.

It’s also happened this way. Where some one makes it known. With an upturn of their eyes and a downturn of their mouth and no smiling or awkwardness. Just understanding of what I am and not liking it.

It seems fitting that during Pride month the dentist office I’ve gone to for the last nine years and never felt a smidge of homophobia should suddenly become a place that may not be okay for us.

This is one of those things that lesbian moms deal with. Do we just not go back at all? The boys really liked her, do I swallow it down and bring them back to her because they really liked her and she had a nice way with them? Do I call and say something? Do I let it slide because it’s once every six months we go there? It wasn’t overt so what would I even say if I called…”She made a face and didn’t smile about me having a wife”?

That last paragraph is the crux of what makes being a lesbian mom different. It’s why I feel best in my facebook group Lesbian Moms. It’s why I feel safest in a room full of gay.

It’s the decisions we have to make and the questions we have to answer that heterosexual people don’t have any clue about. It’s why we get a month. Not just a day. Because what terrifies me the most is the thought of the boys older, wiser, and aware of the lip pursing look. The look that says I’m not down with what you are.

When will the first time they notice it be? Who will it be? What do I want them to see me do? I am setting the example for them and I don’t want to let things slide but I don’t want to make a situation worse for them. No one told me about these decisions before I had kids. I’m undecided currently. I’ll keep you posted.

 

“Why Do the Boys have Two Moms?”

The question was asked innocently by one of their three year old friends. Actually the specific friend whom they shared an office with while I was pregnant and her mom was pregnant. We worked together and delivered three weeks apart.

She asked once before. About a year ago, “Where’s the boy’s daddy?” and her mom fielded that one, said, “Some people have two mommy’s and some people have two daddy’s and some people have a mommy and a daddy,” she looked at all of us, and said, “Okay,” then kept playing with the boys.

It caught me off guard being asked again. I thought we covered this a year ago. And this time it was a different question, “Why do Declan and Jackson have two moms?”. It was directed to me this time, not her mom, so I repeated the question loudly for her mom to hear while I also gave myself time to compose an answer. “Um, yeah, they are just… special?” I sorta shrugged and looked at her mom like ‘please God help me,’ and so she said what she said a year ago, “Because some people have two mommy’s.” Then she named a kid at daycare with two daddy’s and then their little friend nodded and walked away.

I had no answer ready for that question. Why do they have two mommy’s? Declan’s answer would be “Why not Mama?” or something equally philosophical.

Jackson would probably laugh and shrug and run away. Avoiding all confrontation.

I mean our answer is because we fell in love. Cliche yes but true. Do kids of single mom’s get asked why they don’t have a dad? I’m sure they do. But perhaps being abandoned by a parent is more acceptable in certain circles than having two loving parents of the same gender.

I was highly aware of the fact that this was not my kid asking. So I didn’t feel right saying “because we fell in love,” or something else that established my wife and I as in a relationship. Because who am I to teach some one else’s kid about sexual orientation?

It gave me a lot to think about as I’m sure she won’t be the last kid to ask us this question. And in that moment what the hell do I say? I think her mom’s answer was good. “Some people have two mommy’s and some people have two daddy’s and some people have a mommy and a daddy.” I think that works. I just now have to remember it and not get all flustered in the moment.

I also think it’s fantastic that my straight friend had the best answer and was the most calm about the question and came up with the best most coherent answer. She’s woke. Obviously.

I apparently am not. Because I literally could not come up with a legitimate explanation why my son’s have two moms. Let me tell you, when I blabbered out “because they are…special?!” all I could think of was that scene in Elf when they say, “You’re not a cottonheadedninnymungins, you’re just…special.” Will Ferrell’s face falls because he knows it’s not good to be “special”.

So that’s a no-go in the future.

But let me tell you. This is the shit straight people don’t think about. They don’t wonder about being asked by other kids, “But why does little Jimmy have a Mommy and a Daddy?” They don’t worry about being the ones to expose other children to other sexual orientations other than heterosexual. And this is an example of internalized homophobia.

Internalized homophobia is carrying the hatred and discrimination of society within the individual. I clearly carry some internalized homophobia because I’m worried about “exposing” other people’s children to my family. That’s messed up. That shouldn’t be. I should not feel shame or fear of offending others just by existing with my wife and kids. But I do. Because we live in a society where hate is real and homophobia is literally down the street from us.

I have internalized homophobia from existing in a society that looks down on homosexuals. From hearing in the media and being told to my face that my family is less than other families because my son’s have two moms.

There will be so many more moments that come up raising kids and explaining our family. I do not know how I will handle them. But I know that surrounding myself with friends who accept my family make-up and defend it…that is a strength. Surrounding my children with accepting and loving people is a first step in combating the hate we have yet to face.

 

Picture- from 2016 at age one. It was freezing and they were day one post vaccines. Cranky and cold…good times!

 

Conversations With A Three Year Old. About Fathers. When He Has Two Moms.

I’ve been watching “Tidying Up” on Netflix. I like her style. I took her method to my son’s closet and dresser. I took all the clothes out. Packed up two massive garbage bags for goodwill and one plastic container for Summer stuff that will still fit them. Then refolded all their shirts, Tidy style, and I was feeling very proud of myself putting all the shirts neatly folded into their dresser. Declan was in the room with me, chatting with me and playing intermittently.

He took a toy and pretended it was a phone, he was whispering, “Hi, is Mama there?” he wasn’t looking at me. I was chuckling to myself still putting clothes away, “Okay, bye,”. The one sided dialogue was cute, and I turned to look at him when it was over, “Who were you calling baby?” I asked. Thinking I already knew the answer. Me. Mama.

His answer floored me.

“My Father,” (But it sounded like My Fawder because he’s three and talks funny).

Me (trying to act very casual and not freak out): “Who?”

Declan: “My Fawder,” he smiled.

Me: “Oh, uh, who’s your Father baby?”

Declan (takes a moment to ponder this question): “Uhhh, Mommy!”

Mommy is my wife. Who was not home at the moment. Declan was all smiles, glad he figured out who his Father is and resumed playing.

I sorta sat there for a minute with my perfectly folded shirts and wondered how or if I should pursue this line of thinking. Then I thought. Fuck it. At least he knows I’m not his Father. I mean sheesh. I’m Mama. My wife has short hair and no boobs hence I’m sure the confusion. Three year old’s don’t get gender and he probably just thinks she’s the male-ish figure.

I know other lesbian couples where the kids call one partner (generally a more butch-y partner) Daddy and they just let it ride. So that’s what I do.

I told my wife when she got home. She thought it was hilarious. She asked Dec who his Father was, and he smiled shyly and said, “Mommy,” and she smiled and gave him a hug.

Declan is wicked smart. I’m not just saying that because I’m his Mom. I’m brutally honest. Trust me I would say if my kid wasn’t smart. His brother, Jackson, also wicked smart, but lazy. He can do as much and say as much as Declan he just chooses not to unless or until it benefits him. Potty training. Didn’t do it for M&M’s or chocolate chips. Wasn’t the right motivator.

He did it when we started not allowing him to watch any movies until he went on the potty.

Jackson is a cuddle bug. That boy will cuddle with me at any time of day or night that I sit down. He’s attached to me. Declan will snuggle occasionally. And it’s not because he doesn’t like to snuggle. It’s because he’s so damn busy. He’s always taking toys apart and putting them back together. The other day I went into the other room and he had half of a jumbo 24 piece puzzle together. It was hard. It was the jungle. It all looks the same. The kid did it by himself. I’ve never even shown him how to do a puzzle and he wasn’t looking at the picture on the box to guide him.

But I digress.

My point is that he figured out kids have Moms and Dads. Mothers and Fathers. Then he tried to fit his family into that social construct. Mama is a girl obviously. I have long hair and I breastfed him for a year. I wear necklaces and he’s always touching my hair telling me he loves it.

But Mommy, that’s debatable in his eyes. Short hair. Dresses like she works at a paint store (because she does) and wears work boots and no jewelry.

So there you go. She fit the Father mold a little better than Mama (which is fine but for real I’m the one that uses the power tools). Then he assimilated that into a fact in his head and bingo bango a Father is born.

My wife doesn’t care. In fact we’ve talked about utilizing Father’s Day as her day and Mother’s Day as my day so we have separate days to celebrate one another. My kids sure don’t care. But there’s something niggling at me (yes that’s a word).

Why are society’s constructs so rigid that a three year old gets them better than he does his own family composition?

Sometimes people get mad when I reference heterosexual privilege. But I’m going to do it. Because hetero’s have privilege. EVERY movie in existence that is mainstream and three year old appropriate has hetero families and love interests. The boys love Disney movies. Guess what. All male/female. Everywhere. And when, God forbid Disney had Lafou dance with a man, there was moral outrage from every homophobic twat in existence. It was a dance. Not even a long dance. I wouldn’t even have recognized it as a gay moment if I hadn’t been looking for it.

Our society makes a two mom family seem less than, unequal by not giving my sons the same opportunities to see two mom families as hetero families in everything from the media to books to magazines to movies to filling out forms for freaking vaccinations. It’s always Mother/Father. What about Parent/Parent?

My three year old shouldn’t think he’s supposed to have a Father. But he does.

He’s just also smart enough to realize he has two parents who love him, and one of them obviously would fill the Father role better than the other one. Touche Dec-man.

(The picture is Dec reading to all of his doggies. I heard chairs scraping and came into the foyer to find the dogs lined up and him reading. He is defying gender stereotypes by reading from the Disney Princess Encyclopedia)

The 24/7 Shadow of A Homophobic/Transphobic/Racist/Sexist Administration on One Lesbian Mom.

I feel like every day there is so much happening that is appalling and terrifying. Today #45 lied about the “caravan of migrants” headed toward the US boarder and announced that his administration is pursuing discussion around getting rid of transgender definitions. Which is mind-boggling to me. It’s like saying we are going to get rid of the label female or male. You can’t just get rid of an entire population of individuals.

There is not a moment in my day that the shadow of a homophobic, transphobic, sexist, and racist administration running my country is not hanging over me. The worst part, and why those shadows never fully leave me, is because I don’t know who supports them.

Sometimes I do. I mean the big ass #45 sign’s give it away some times. But then there are surprises. The farmer across the street who is in the heart of Republican country put a lawn sign out for a Democrat. I was always scared of engaging too much with him because I thought he would not be accepting of our family. Though he has been nothing but kind to my family. Then I feel bad. Because I’ve missed an opportunity to engage with my neighbor due to my fear that he was another conservative farmer in my town.

Then I drive by a person’s house I know and see a Republican sign out front. And I’m thinking, wow. What. The. Fuck.

In the past I have always tried to be open and understanding of people’s views even when different from my own. But there is something different in the air for me now.

The further polarized the Left and the Right become the more I cannot ever agree with the Right. There are a few issues I consider non-negotiable: LGBTQ rights. This isn’t just about the right to be who we are, this is now about protecting my family. There are faces to this LGBTQ rights- they are my two sons, my wife, my niece, my sister-in-law, and my sister. These are real people. People I love and us all having full rights equal to heterosexual’s is 100% necessary and non-negotiable. For any one who thinks otherwise say it to my face. Please. Because to date, no one has. Say it to my two almost three year old son’s faces. Look into their eyes and say they don’t deserve rights and protection.

To hide behind religious rhetoric honestly just pisses me off. “Well they shouldn’t pay for the sins of their parents.” “I don’t hate you I just cannot accept your lifestyle.” “If you were just roommates it would be fine.”

These are things people have said to us. So basically because we have lesbian sex in the privacy of our home we should be discriminated against? I mean clearly they’ve never had lesbian sex otherwise they would definitely think otherwise;).

The other stuff I’m non-negotiable on is abortion and the right to choice, birth control being accessible to women (you know in order to avoid abortions. Freaking morons), immigration, increasing access to healthcare, decreasing the control pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies have over healthcare, and the tiny matter of gun control.

I stated “immigration” as if every one would just know what I mean. It’s a hard topic. I see refugees brought here through programs that only offer support for 4-6 months then plop. Deal with life in the USA. Then these individuals have to have jobs and pay rent and navigate society when they can barely speak English, look like they are from the Middle East, and face instant discrimination. Do I think this is the right way? No. I’ve seen it totally backfire and cost our states and federal government thousands of dollars. Is there a perfect answer? I don’t think so. I think the United States of America is this huge melting pot of imperfect shitheads who are all descended from immigrants and/or native Americans. So to block out more shitheads when we have built our country on their backs? That doesn’t make sense to me.

I am descended of Irish and Swedish immigrants. My Great-Grandmother came from Sweden in her teens and my great-great grandparents on my Dad’s side came from Ireland. Both sides of my family worked to integrate into America and here I am. An Irish-Swedish-American-Lesbian-Wife-Mom-Nurse. Take that #45.

Abortion. I couldn’t have one personally. But I firmly believe in a WOMAN’S choice.

Birth Control. For real. I can’t even believe this is a topic for debate.

Guns are bad. Keeping it simple because we have stupid people running our country. Our ancestors who made the constitution were not thinking of machine guns when they said a right to arms. They were thinking of the freaking Revolutionary War they were fighting and England’s intent to take away their defenses. They were thinking of single load rifles. Not M16’s. They were thinking of war. Not classrooms full of our babies. They would be ashamed of the way guns have evolved and that we are one of the few countries to not protect our citizens from them.

Healthcare. That’s too much to tackle today. Maybe tomorrow. Suffice it to say our system is broken and is run by millionaires on the backs of people living paycheck to paycheck.

These are my non-negotiable’s. These make it very difficult to meet in the middle with any one who identifies as a Republican. Because they do not come to the middle either. The argument could be made for us to both meet in the middle. But as I said. These are non-negotiable for me and I don’t see that changing. And I would never give up the rights of transgender individuals in order to keep the LGB rights. We are all on the same side, same team, and I will stand for everyone who identifies anywhere within the LGBTQ spectrum.

So this is where we stand. A divided nation. Right and Left. Nurse. Farmer. Millionaires.

These thoughts and shadows feel hopeless. But then I have moments. Watching my son’s learn to ride their bikes this weekend. Laughing with my sister as we put the bikes together. Watching my niece with my son’s. Seeing that they don’t know that their families are “not normal” and having hope that our children can do better.

That’s one of my son’s in the picture. Kissing his bunny. Because all he knows is love. Thankfully at this age he has yet to encounter hate. Love is innate. Hate is learned. One day he will know it. I’m sure. But for now I relish in his kisses, his snuggles, and their endless, positive, and hopeful love.