Peyton is now five years old. In a couple of weeks we will reach the 1 year mark of Peyton becoming himself. As he gets older, we slowly face more of the issues that he will have to live with for the rest of his life.
As his mom, my main concern is to prepare him for what the future has in store for him. Currently, I do not feel equipped to prepare him for his future. Some days I want to teach him that the world is full of ice cream and rainbows so that he grows to be optimistic about the world around him. Other days I want to shield him from what we see in the news from day to day. And other times I want to raise him to be weary of all those out there whom he might not be able to trust. I don’t yet know what is the correct path for us to take. Swimming leads me towards the shielding.
He is barely 5 and he is a boy in the body of a girl. Due to his developmental delays, he doesn’t quite understand that all those around him don’t understand why he has the body of a girl. I guess as any 5 year old he doesn’t understand why he should hide who he is. Looking at him I know that he just sees himself for who he is. Most days the fact that he has a vagina and not a penis does not bother him at all. However, I know for a fact that this is not the world that we live in. So we go swimming and he wears swim trunks and a swim shirt. Not that he has breasts to cover but, I want him to be used to wearing a shirt with his bathing suit to make his life a little simpler later on. Our brains seem to adjust better if we have a lifetime of training rather then when we have to make a sudden change, so we go with the shirt. After swimming, kids typically strip down and change into regular street clothing. In my eyes this is not an option for Peyton. At 5 years old, there are other kids who already tease, other kids who look and shame, and parents who are shocked that a little boy has a vagina. While all of this is ridiculous to me, it is the reality. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed of explaining to other parents that my child is a boy trapped in the body of a girl. But I think Peyton deserves the right to decide who knows about him and who doesn’t. While it doesn’t matter now, a few years down the line, when all of these kids are his peers in the classroom, it will matter. He will be the one to deal with bullies and with teasing because inevitably that will happen. So for now, I’m the overprotective mother who hides his physical body while allowing him to live the life that he feels best fits him. It’s kind of contradictory and I hope that, for now at least, Peyton doesn’t realize this. At no point in his life do I want him to be embarrassed of who he is.