babies

I guess I’m *that* parent

Parenting is a huge messy enterprise. I think we all kinda know that, yeah? And it’s made messier by all the messaging around it: either parenting is the best thing ever and you absolutely cannot miss this unique experience, or it’s the hardest thing ever oh my god, I question ten times every day what have I done to my life? There’s very little middle ground here, except for the fact that both ends of the spectrum are true for most parents at some point?

I don’t know. Somehow I hadn’t thought too much about what I thought it would feel like to be a parent. I was sure I wanted to do it, and that was all there was to it.

But yeah, I’m team “best thing ever”, for the record. It’s ridiculous how completely I feel that way. When the baby known here as Goblin was born, one of the first things that my partner and I had to say about that wrinkled screaming mess was “their voice is soooo cute!”

And I like to joke that obviously I bonded instantly – my labour was induced by an oxytocin drip, which means I’d been pumped full of the love/bonding chemical for a good 12 hours before they were born, and another 12 hours after that. I probably could have bonded with a wet mop at that point!

But we’re way beyond that now. Goblin is almost a year and half now, and I am still just completely googly-eyed over them and everything they do. They’re very obviously the best creature ever to grace the earth (they’re also very obviously just pretty much a normal toddler, for the record; kinda advanced on some milestones, kinda behind on others. None of that is relevant.)

Seriously though, I’m the kind of parent who genuinely enjoyed all those middle-of-the-night feedings (ok, not *all*, but north of 90% of them I swear). What’s that? I get to get up and spend 20-40 minutes cuddling with my baby, who I haven’t seen in an excruciating 4 whole hours? AMAZING! THAT’S MY FAVOURITE THING TO DO!!

So, going to work has been harrrrrrrd for me. I have at least as much separation anxiety as Goblin does about it all, for sure. But we’ve got a decent routine, and I’m pretty good at cherishing the time we do have together, so while it’s not ideal, it works!

Do I even have a point here? I don’t think so! Just an update to say that I’m happy, I’m guess :)

Babies, children, and age?

[The wording of this got real awkward, so I’ve decided to establish a pseudonym for my baby, for your reading ease! They shall henceforth be referred to as Goblin.]

I’m having a problem I didn’t anticipate: Goblin is very tall for their age. Like, off-the-charts tall at the 12-month check-in.

Admittedly, we were expecting tall! I’m 5’11”, my partner is well over 6′ – we were pretty much inevitably going to make a tall baby! But somehow I hadn’t anticipated the consequences of this tallness.

The thing is, because of their height, Goblin is regularly mistaken for much older then their actual age. By one year, people were guessing they were 2 already! More recently, toddlers and other young children have been trying to talk to/play with Goblin, and are surprised by the lack of interactivity (14-months-olds don’t really play with other people, after all, and Goblin isn’t really talking at all yet). There’s always this belated realization of “Oh! That’s a *baby*!”

Granted, the fact that people sometimes momentarily mistake Goblin for more of a pre-schooler than a baby (given that they’ve been toddling around for several months, I guess they are technically a toddler, but I digress) is mostly just interesting, and not at all detrimental at this point. (Plus, the average person is just straight-up *terrible* at guessing children’s ages anyway – it’s not easy!)

However, as Gablin ages, I fully expect that they will be regularly perceived as (and therefore treated as) older than they actually are at any given time. This… is probably not awesome. It will easily translate into expectations/pressure to be more mature (in various ways) than is reasonable or fair.

It’s obviously hard to predict what the extent of the implications of this will be (I was also a tall kid, but I didn’t actually sprout up until I was 9 or 10, so the overall experience will definitely have been different), but it’s something I’m going to be keeping in the back of my mind…

Babies and (parental) gender

I knew going into this whole parenting thing that I was going to get called “mommy” a lot, by default. And I do.

I don’t have the energy to proactively tell people I only have minor or passing relationships with about my gender and how I do and don’t identify. This is true in all areas of my life – though I’m out at work among my co-workers, (and I recently added my pronouns to my professional email signature!) I don’t correct random library patrons who misgender me, not even if they’re people I see somewhat regularly. They just don’t need that information about me, to be honest? And I apply this attitude everywhere.

So, in the hospital when my baby was born, I was called “mommy”. At baby groups, I get called “mommy”. In my baby’s swimming lessons, I’m one of the “mommies” (while silently wishing that the class I was in was more visibly mixed-gender, like the on immediately before ours, so that that “mommy” stuff wouldn’t be thrown around quite so freely).

What I really wasn’t expecting, though, was how often people who do know me, and know that I am genderqueer, and are actually very good with my pronouns (and sometimes even explicitly knew that I didn’t plan to go by mommy!)… still reflexively called me “mommy”, when talking to my baby.

There is something deeply ingrained in our psyches about babies, that they must be in want of a mommy, I guess? It was actually equal parts fascinating and perturbing for me, how naturally people’s brains went there. Brains are weird that way!

But yeah, me and my baby, we’re on a first name basis. I’ve always planned to let them figure out a title for me if and when they want to, but more recently I’ve also been speculating that the baby-talk version of “Kasey” could very easily be “Seesee”, which might just be a perfect fit on its own. I think I may even try to encourage it :)

Babies and gender: where I’m at now

Before my baby existed in any way at all, I had decided how I was going to handle the whole birth-assigned-sex/gender thing. You can read the whole post about it, but my basic approach was that I would go ahead and use whatever pronouns most commonly align with the baby’s birth-assigned sex, while also avoiding gendering the baby in other ways.

This is, in fact, the way I’ve been approaching my baby’s gender (though I will be using ‘they’ pronouns for the baby on this blog, at least for now. I can’t quite articulate my reasons for this right now). It’s definitely a path-of-least-resistance approach, but it seems fine for us. Honestly, though, now that I have a nearly-one-year-old (OMG!), I am mostly just amazed at how ridiculously, transparently deluded most people’s perceptions of baby gender are.

Seriously, though. Other than the fact that they’re statistically likely to identify with the gender commonly associated with their birth-assigned sex, I really don’t think my baby has a gender yet, nor could I really guess at what their gender will be. Heck, at this age babies apparently don’t recognize themselves in a mirror, their sense of self is just that nearly-non-existent.

People really, really love to insist that baby’s genders are just so apparent from birth though! Oh, sure, little Susie was just born knowing how to shop, you say*? And Bobby, wouldn’t you know it, he’s been just *obsessed* with breasts since the day he was born (LOLOLOLOL!!!)? Obviously our culture’s current particular understanding of the gender binary is completely natural and not at all learned.

Meanwhile, depending on what my baby is wearing, they’ve been declared everything from “what a perfect boy” to “such a pretty little girl”. I promise you they were exactly the same baby each time.

I really just don’t perceive my baby as a gendered being at this point (which was sort of my goal – I don’t want the way I treat them to be coloured by their probable gender, and the best way to avoid sub-consciously doing that is prevent my sub-conscious from seeing them in a gendered way in the first place.) Though I also realize that saying I don’t perceive them that way doesn’t make it true.

But, I’m pretty sure I’ve actually pulled it off! The reason: after my parents’ most recent visit, my father sent me a message saying that he loves my baby, except he called the baby my “daughter”. And I was momentarily confused and didn’t know what he was talking about? Because I don’t have one of those? I just have a baby. (Who will soon be a toddler, and a child…) Like, I think that I had literally never thought that word in connection to my baby.

So that’s something!

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*There’s a lot to unpack here, but in all seriousness, in one of the baby groups I sometimes go to, one of the facilitators(!) waxed poetic about how she’s sure girls are born with the shopping gene or something. Like, properly went on about it. It was something.

Notes on a Non-Binary Pregnancy: Pregnancy is a *trip*, y’all

Ok, honestly, most of what I have to say here is reasonably obvious, and none of it is ground-breaking or new, but holy wow, pregnancy is such a weird thing.

I *grew* a whole entire other *human being* *inside* my *body*. And that’s just a totally? normal?? thing??? Somehow????

I swear I really do realize every single person who as ever lived did a bunch of their first growing inside of another human. But at the same time… ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? What kind of absurd science fiction are you talking about? That can’t possibly be a really real thing, it just can’t.

Let me put it this this way: for a good chunk of last year, my body contained TWO ENTIRE SKELETONS. Granted, one was very small, but COME ON. There’s no way that’s just a regular, common thing.

My point is, I guess, that the way we all came to be is definitely some completely made up nonsense. I don’t believe in any of it XD

Babies, and “finding out their gender”

So, pretty much everyone knows I’m pregnant by now. I’m not great at telling everyone at work, but the word is definitely spreading on its own – people I work with occasionally from other locations often know before I tell them, and the library CEO recently thanked me for the surprisingly convenient timing of my pregnancy in terms of the library system’s bigger projects XD .

Inevitably, people want to know whether I’m going to “find out the gender” ahead of time. Whenever people ask me this, I am tempted to give them one of these:

Because, like, come on! You are literally talking to a trans person *right now*. Do you even hear yourself? Usually I will just correct them to remind them that only thing I can find out at the point is the (probable) sex – really, all you can learn from an ultrasound is whether or not the fetus appears to have a penis, which isn’t really as conclusive of anything as we like to pretend it is.

Personally, I don’t really care whether I find out the baby’s apparent sex from an ultrasound or when they’re born. It’s kind of all the same to me. My partner made a very good point, however, which has made us decide to wait to find out.

The thing is, if we learn the sex early, other people will want us to tell them what it is. And they’ll use the info to start gendering the baby immediately. And we’d like to put that off as long as reasonably possible. So, we won’t be learning the fetus’ apparent sex from my ultrasound on the 22nd (tomorrow!)

My general approach/attitude to my upcoming baby’s gender is the same as what I had planned before I got pregnant. In short: I know that I won’t know the baby’s gender until they are able to tell me what it is; however, for practical purposes I plan to use the pronouns the are traditionally applied to the baby’s apparent sex at birth (if they’re intersex, then I’ll go with they/them), while generally avoiding other forms of gendered language for them.

The “Shit Cis People Say” Alphabet: B is for ‘Born a man’/’Born a woman’

Welcome to another episode of the “Shit Cis People Say” Alphabet. Today:

B is for ‘Born a Man’/’Born a woman’

Sometimes, when cisgender people are talking about a trans person, they will try to explain their trans-ness in simple terms, by explaining that a trans woman is a woman who was ‘born a man’, (or that a trans man is a man who was ‘born a woman’). I would like this wording to die in a fire, to be perfectly honest.

I cannot stress this enough: no one in the history of the entire world – cis, trans, or otherwise – was ‘born’ either man or a woman. We are all born as babies, and in most cases adults then make a guess at what our gender is and generally call us either a girl or a boy.

For some people, it may very well be true to say they were ‘born a girl’ or ‘born a boy’ (other people – trans, cis, and otherwise – don’t really see their gender as something they were born with, but rather as something that developed after they were born). The thing about that, though, is that trans men are just as likely to have been born boys as cis men are – trans men who are born boys are just much more likely to have the adults in their mistakenly think that they were born girls, is all.

Certainly there are trans men out there who feel that it is accurate to describe them as having been born girls, and trans women who see themselves as having been born boys, people who feel their gender has shifted over the course of their life, starting in one place and winding up elsewhere. But that is far and away not the only, or even the most common trans experience.

So, cis people, just stop it already with talking about people of any kind being born as men or women. We aren’t, any of us. And, more importantly, stop saying trans people were born in a gender other than the one they tell you they are – most of us weren’t.


Check out the rest of “Shit Cis People Say” alphabet!