An astute commenter noted that Halloween is a pretty significant event for a 12-year-old boy, which my Kid mentally is (it would also be pretty significant for the 10-year-old girl he appears to be) and I noted that, as with every aspect of Dylan/Olivia's life, it was likely to bring about a clash between myself and Kitty. Our philosophies on parenting - which we are both new to - are pretty different. I trust the kid to know what he wants and how to behave, and Kitty insists on asserting our influence over him and guiding him. (It doesn't help that a lot of this guidance leans toward "act more feminine to fit in at school.")
As we shopped around for candy, decorations and costumes, Dylan talked a bit about some of his family's Halloween traditions. Apparently they do a lot of decorating, throw a costume party... it was a big deal. I can tell Dylan is getting fairly homesick so I was determined to let him do whatever he wanted.
Kitty and I discussed it for a while, and I made sure to note that whatever Dylan wanted to dress as would be okay. It didn't have to be a "girl's" costume or a "boy's" one. Kitty didn't want it to be anything violent, but we negotiated until it was just "no toy weapons." Kitty did say that he felt "Olivia" would be a very pretty princess or fairy but knew that wasn't the only way to go. Dylan doesn't exactly value being "pretty" but would surprise you how concerned he is with his appearance. We took the Kid around the store looking at everything, until it was narrowed down to a few choices: Ghostbuster or Rey from Star Wars (Rey lost out when Kitty decided the "no weapons" rule applied to lightsabers but not Ghostbuster equipment, thus the costume lost its appeal.)
Kitty didn't let it show to Dylan, but she didn't like that costume either - it reminded her of a garbage man or exterminator. I asked what would have been wrong with those, either.
"I just don't get it," Kitty sighed when we got home and I was telling about how Dylan was feeling homesick, "She opens up to you so easily. I ask how her day is going and she just shrugs her little shoulders..."
"What can I say? We have a bond. You always act so parental around him..."
"Why do I always feel like the bad guy? Like you two are a team and I'm the other side?"
"Maybe he responds more to my way of reaching out," I sighed, "I don't know. But you and I are a team, I promise."
"Well, as long as you use this bond of yours to get her to brush her teeth, do her homework and go to bed on time, I suppose it doesn't hurt..." She reclined on the bed and removed his shoes, airing out Adrian's smelly feet. "Jeezes Murphy I'm sick of this body."
I propped my own feet up on his lap. "Yeah? Trade ya. I've been wearing Judith's shoes so much it doesn't even feel right to put on a sneaker."
Almost instinctively, he started to rub my feet. I almost asked him to stop, but it really did relax me.
A week later, it was Halloween, and Dylan wore his costume to school, but when he came home he was dressed differently. He was wearing a blonde wig and a Supergirl outfit, complete with skirt.
He strolled into the kitchen like it was nothing.
I was pretty startled. "Um, excuse me, what's going on here?"
"Oh, uh," he said, looking a little embarrassed, "One of the other girls said she liked my costume a lot and asked if we could trade."
"I see... and you agreed?"
"Yeah. It was pretty hot sitting in class like that and it was fun to switch. You're not mad are you?"
"No, no of course not... I'm just surprised."
"Because I'm wearing a skirt?"
"Well, you told me it was nothing to be embarrassed about, right? I could dress how I wanted."
"And it's just a costume. Not like I'm gonna start dressing like a total girl all the time."
"Hey, you know there's no problem if you did," I said. "You're allowed, they're your clothes. Heh, Kitty would be thrilled."
"Well... can I tell you a secret?"
He got real close to me and spoke softly in my ear. "Sometimes, when I get home from school and nobody's around, I change into Olivia's girly clothes and I wear them around the house. Just to see what they're like."
I had to suppress a laugh. "Dyl... there's nothing wrong with that. Can I tell you a not-so-secret? I'm wearing Judith's girly clothes right now." I was wearing a checked skirt, blouse and pantyhose. "So if you ever want to wear those clothes outside of the house, nobody is going to laugh or call you names. As long as you're comfortable."
Dylan blushed. "I guess not."
Kitty took him out trick-or-treating and I stayed home to give out candy dressed in an old "Vampire Queen" costume Judith had buried in her closet. It might have been sexy on a younger body but I cinched it up a bit and made sure to cover. And we've spent the rest of the time since pigging out on leftover candy.
Well, I didn't see that coming. Sounds like Dylan is adjusting to being a girl. I know this will sound odd, but you are a really good mom, Tyler.
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