Monday, 3 May 2010

Tiny feet

    About a month ago, the day after I came out to my friend C, we were both sitting in his kitchen with big cups of coffee talking about random stuff as we have for the last twenty years. In the middle of discussing building projects, cars and digital TV compression algorithms he stopped and asked me "Is the transgender thing why you're so anxious to have kids?".
    One of those show-stopper moments. I had to answer yes. Probably. Defying all logic and surprising me with its intensity, the yearning to be a parent has been with me for years and if C has noticed it then it must be obvious to everyone else too. It hasn't been satisfied for economic reasons, in our part of the world the chances of our affording somewhere to live that has more than one room are roughly equal to our chances of defying gravity by thought alone, a situation I don't see changing any time soon. C by comparison doesn't seem to have caught the same intensity of desire for a family, he's content to take his nephew to see the motor racing and leave it at that.
    In another era or another place, I would be watching my kids become adults by now. In my late thirties I should be sitting outside a nice little house having a Bank Holiday barbecue and arguing with my teenaged daughter about unsuitable boyfriends or something. Just like my motorcycling friend L is no doubt doing right now. But L's brain came from the parts bin marked "Bloke" (unless there's something he's not told me), so I have to ask whether by dodging parenthood my wife and I haven't done ourselves and our yet-to-be-born children a huge favour by not adding the extra worry of youngsters into the mix.
    One could argue that knowing about the transgender from the start should make starting a family a bit easier. For reasons I've already gone in to I'm sticking with the male impersonator role, so why should it be a problem? The fact is, having escaped the closet I can't see myself going back into it easily. I wouldn't blame my wife for not wanting anything too girly of mine to be within sight of the kids and I don't think they'd benefit in the school playground from anyone knowing about me because other kids can be nasty little things, so I can't see a way forward into parenting that doesn't afford me a whole lot less girl time. And that isn't going to do me any favours in the GD department. Since keeping sane is a prerequisite to maintaining the bloke act, I'd thus risk endangering the whole edifice with the added complication of a youngster. You can't win, can you.
    I suppose I should make a joke out of it. Write a paragraph about how fortunate we are to have avoided our next couple of decades conforming to the school year,  the nappies we miss out on dealing with, the tantrums we never see, the cheap holidays we get to take. And most of all, the petty tyranny of the toddler group one-upmanship. All that's true, but it doesn't address the feeling of futility engendered by having one of those things you'd always seen as an important milestone hanging there in your future start to evaporate, completely beyond your control. My mother doesn't help, either. The question hovers in the air around her, the "G" word. Thanks mother, pile on the guilt, why don't you.
    Back in C's kitchen, we made another coffee. The conversation moved on to Filipino restaurants.

5 comments:

  1. Let's see, where do I start....

    Compression algorithms for digital television: Strong feelings here. HD or SD? Anything else in the mix (data, metadata, secondary channels, etc.)? What is the bandwidth? Over the air or cable (makes a difference with OTA requiring some seriously robust modulation)?

    What else did you comment on?

    Oh yeah!

    Filipino Restaurants: A number of them here (highest Asian population in the States, you know). Lumpia....ummm good. Haven't been to one in a while. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Let's see, didn't you mention something else in this post?

    Oh yes, the "G" word. Yes, my mother also thought I was gay for a period of time.

    Wasn't there something else to comment on?

    Work with me here...I'm thinking...

    Oh yes!!

    Kids!!

    Best thing I (and Mrs C) ever did was to make some kids. Without those kids, I do think I would have gone crazy.

    How's that, you say? You see, the kids occupied every little bit of my time, because I was (and still am) a very good and devoted father and husband. My weekends were spent with the kids doing kid stuff. It was fun and it kept my mind diverted from other things.

    I am absolutely as crazy about my kids as I am about my marriage. Never mind the TS thing. Yep, I wear that label too but, as you know, diversions have helped me to keep my sanity.

    Plus, having kids means you get more presents at those gift-giving occasions.

    Can you afford them? I maintain that you can. We had to give up some of those things we spent money on prior to childbirth but, really, not a big deal.

    If you and Mrs. J are solid in your marriage and, if you both love kids (and, really, what TG doesn't?) then go for it. If, however, there are cracks in the armor, then forget about the diapers (or whatever you Brits call them), etc., and spend your money on shoes, dresses, skirts, or whatever, perhaps a makeover for you and Mrs J. From what you write, Jenny, you two sound like two peas in a pod and ripe for nappies which, in themselves, can be ripe...very ripe.

    Now, back to compression algorithms..

    Calie xxx

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  2. Bit by bit...

    HD over DVB-T, that's MPEG-4. The conversation was about a nifty transform in the imaginary domain that allowed them to squeeze a helluva lot more into the multiplex. Years ago I knew some of the maths behind all this, now all I could do was listen to C's explanation and follow. If you watch digital telly, certainly in the UK and probably elsewhere in the world too, you'll probably have used C's software somewhere along the way without knowing it.

    Still reading, non-telly-geeks?

    The "G" word? :) Grandchildren dear, grandchildren.

    Restaurant? This one's an unlikely find in an English village and definitely worth the drive from C's house: http://www.filipinianarestaurant.co.uk/. Owes its presence to a nearby USAF base.

    Kids: true I'd not considered that the energy expended in the kids themselves would be a diversion in itself. At the moment the housing issue is more of a block than the TG and Mrs. J's a few years younger than me so there's a bit of time left before it's too late.

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  3. You know I wouldnt change having kids for anything.
    I know they are having to deal with my transition but we have fun and I think with supportive parents they will overcome the challenges.
    There are many things to consider when having children, but I firmly believe ther will never be a time when everything is right. You will find ways to manage when you have them.
    x

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  4. That would be DVB-T2 then? (Assuming we are talking about Freeview HD)

    @Calie - I never knew there was such a difference with transmission OTA or via cable - guess that's why you have DVB-T and DVB-C standards then...

    It's nice knowing that lots of people have used your code without them even knowing it isn't it? Whether directly or indirectly.

    Kids... I have to say yes I love kids - but they have to be someone elses. I love spending time with my neice and nephew and we spoil them rotten :) But I also like to be able to give them back when they get too much...

    Stace

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  5. Lisa in Raleigh5 May 2010 at 12:30

    I had my kids in my twenties and it was the best decision we ever made. Yes, we went without things (and still do to some extent), but the fulfillment achieved is more than worth it. Actually you will most likely not have less girl time but it will be more internal than externally focused(nurturing feelings). In fact, I think having kids clarified my TG issues for me and allowed me to become far better a father to my children than my dad was. Don’t get me wrong, it is not easy, but at least for me I gained a far greater insight into what being female really means. After all its what between the ears that matters.

    As to ramifications to children of having a TG parent, that is entirilly up to you as to how it effects them. Either by not sharing it with them, to having them deal with a transition.

    So in the end being TG is not the deal breater, just another factor to enter into the equation as to if children are right for you and if so, when.

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