Monday, October 17, 2016

Tyler/Judith: Awkward conversations that needed to happen

I was getting dinner ready yesterday when Kitty came home. She had mentioned she was going to pick up some groceries and "essentials" on the way which is cool with me... I mean, I try to do all the groceries in one shot when I have a day off, but sometimes stuff escapes my notice.

She trundles into the kitchen with some BulkMart bags with huge quantities of paper towels, toilet paper, et cetera, and I think "Okay, maybe we don't need to stock up for the zombie apocalypse but this is good." She gets to work at putting it all away - where she deems it appropriate to go (I stopped putting up a fight but her system doesn't seem intuitive to me, the person who spends the most time in the kitchen) and then at last, when she's almost done, she hands me the final item and just says "By the way, I picked these up for you."

I turn around and see, sitting on the table, about ten or twelve packs of tampons, panty-liners, and overnight pads.

I was pretty mortified. Sure, I've made peace with the fact that this is part of my day-to-day (or month-to-month) life, once again. But I guess I'm still pretty modest, I like to keep my feminine paper stocked under the bathroom sink, discreetly away from prying eyes. I didn't even know where to keep a box this size.

"Are you shitting me?" I gasped.

"Shh, don't let the kid hear you yelling like a madwoman or she'll think it's okay to copy," Kitty hissed back.

"You think I need a crate of these?"

"It was a great deal, Jude! They had a multi-buy discount, and double the bonus points... It was win-win."

I bristled the way I always do when Kitty calls me "Judith," "Judy" or "Jude" - which is almost exclusively these days.

"This isn't even my brand," I muttered bitterly.

She went on, "I noticed you were out of them. I just didn't want there to be another incident where you forgot it was coming."

"I have the tracker app on my phone."

"Tell that to the khaki capris you ruined..."

I clenched my teeth. You make one mistake and suddenly you get a reputation. Yes, I stained some pants of Judith's - a very bland, boring pair of capris that Judith probably wouldn't have cared about, but after they had to get tossed it was "Oh, these were so lovely, they looked good on you!" Bleh.

So at that most convenient moment, Dylan walked in and noticed the package on the table.

"Woah, that's a lot of tampons," he snickered. "Are you bleeding right now, Tyler? Is it a total red river down there?"

"Don't talk to her like that!" Kitty snapped. I said nothing, but I was also pretty perturbed about that remark and glad to have Kitty reprimand the kid. She added "Besides, they may be for you, too."

All the color drained out of Dylan's face. "But I'm... Olivia's only ten..."

"Some girls get it that young," Kitty said, "And we don't know how long you're going to be like this..."

Almost immediately I saw a stream of tears from his eyes. "But... that's not fair..."

He darted off to his room and I let out a sigh. "Nice going, was that necessary?"

"She's got to learn," Kitty asserted. "This is because you insist on treating her like she's still a boy. We don't even know what she knows about this stuff."

"Enough, obviously..."

"Well, we might as well get it over with," she said, heading for the stairs.

"Hey," I said, hustling after, "Mind if I take the lead on this?"

She pursed her lips. "That's fine, but I'll jump in if you leave anything out."

So we went to check in on our daughter. I remember when I was a kid, how this kind of information gets around to the boys only in fragments, so we asked what he knew, or thought he knew, corrected some of his misconceptions and filled in the gaps. It was... honestly, a pretty refreshing, satisfying talk.

My gist was that it wasn't a big deal, and that it doesn't change who you are or what you can do with your life. And deep down he is going to continue to be the person he feels he is.

"Uh huh..." he said, eyes carefully avoiding mine. "But then I'll get boobs, right?" I couldn't tell if he asked out of fear or anticipation or just matter-of-fact curiosity.

"Well, the two aren't really related, so it could be one, then the other, and there's not really a, um, set timeline. If everything goes according to plan, you probably won't still be here when this stuff happens to Olivia's body. But we need to be prepared in case it happens early."

"Or if we're here longer than expected," Kitty chimed in. I shot her a look for that - it's not a possibility I'm giving much credence to.

Eventually, Dylan seemed satisfied by the information, or was just tired of talking about it, and asked if he could do something else until dinner was ready. In the hallway, Kitty took me aside and said "Hey, I think we did a good job in there."

I smiled a bit despite myself. I guessed that I was so used to being second-guessed by Kitty that getting a nod of approval - even if she felt she had to take a share in it - felt strangely good.

She went in for a hug and I let her, holding onto Adrian's husky frame a while. We haven't had a ton of physical contact since we became this way... there's this unspoken understanding that we have to figure some stuff out, and there's simply been no time or energy for any of it. But it was nice to feel like I had a partner in this, not an opponent.

And now that I've crunched the numbers, I can admit that buying tampons in bulk was a savvy move. It's the idea of going through that entire supply that has me squeamish.



Anonymous said...

Tyler, you're doing a great job with Dylan. Your patience and understanding even in the midst of your own crisis is admirable. Do keep us posted, please.

Tyler/Judith said...

That weirdly means a lot to hear... thanks!