Papa, Eden & Me

It’s been such a long time since I’ve written anything in this space. There has been a lot going on – life is hardly recognisable from what it was a year ago. I have a three year old, I have a new job and I also have a new husband…

No, Amy and I didn’t break up. Amy became Aiden and has been so for the last six months at least. It’s something he had spoken about for a long time, but it finally came to a point where he decided who he was on the outside needed to match the inside. It’s been a whirlwind. I can’t speak for him, but it’s definitely been a whirlwind for me. You can be as cool as you like with trans issues, but it still takes some getting used to when your wife becomes your husband.

At first, getting pronouns right was hard. I dropped the old name every so often, which caused arguments of course. Nowadays it is easier as I think of him as male. Even in my head, he’s male. But it took a long time to get there and sometimes I do still have to correct myself. Thankfully, Aiden coming out timed perfectly with my new job, so I essentially left my old job as someone with a wife and started my new job as somebody with a husband. It saved a lot of awkwardness with having to correct those around me as well as myself.

I’ve definitely had a lot to figure out. As much as I have always identified as bisexual on some level, it was weird to me to be looked on as part of a “straight” couple. It almost felt a little like erasure of my identity. I’d grown so comfortable with my identity as a woman married to a woman, that suddenly being married to a man was difficult to swallow at first. The first few times I said “husband” I had a little laugh in my head, because it makes me sound like an old married lady. I’ve been astounded by how many people feel that they can blurt their homophobic or transphobic opinions to me just because they think I’m straight. It’s a bit of a baptism by fire on that one. I didn’t realise how little people said to me because they assumed I was a lesbian.

It’s also been quite difficult in that there doesn’t really seem to be any support groups as such. There are a few on Facebook for partners of trans people. I’m in a specific one for those who are in a relationship with someone who is a trans man. But it’s difficult because a lot of the people in them met their partner in their true form. Aiden and I were together for eleven years before he came out, and although it wasn’t altogether unexpected, it has taken some getting used to. It’s very hard to find people who say “yep! I’ve been there!” because the situation is so specific. Even the media only sensationalises stories like mine – usually in the form of “My Tom Became Brenda and Ruined My Life!” when really it’s nothing like that in the majority of cases.

Even when we were first off the starting blocks, Aiden was faced with an unsupportive GP who was just not interested. Thankfully that has been rectified by seeing a different GP, but the wait list for NHS first consultation is something like two years at the moment. For consultation! We’ve had the good fortune to be able to go private for hormones, but it’s thoroughly depressing to think of how many don’t have that avenue. I had to go to the (original unsupportive) doctor with Aiden on his second visit as he felt unable to do it alone. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for those who don’t have someone in their corner who is willing to stand up for their right to be appropriately referred.

And Eden? Eden has had her ups and downs with it all. She often still calls Aiden Mama, although we are encouraging “Papa” instead. She will often tell people that Mama is a boy. At first, when we explained to her that Mama was Papa now, she was upset. I think she thought it meant Aiden was leaving, but once we reassured her that he was the same person, just a different name, she understood a little better and wasn’t as upset. It really helped that around the same time she met a little girl at childcare who changes her name almost daily! It helped give her a little context about calling people the name that they wish to be called by. We’ve had people suggest that it must all be terribly confusing for her, but I’m not convinced that’s the case. I don’t doubt that there is some level of confusion for her – there certainly was at first – but what she understands of the situation is that she has two parents who love her very much. I have no doubt that there will come a time when she doesn’t remember anything before papa.

So, with that I welcome you to our new chapter. Welcome to Papa, Eden & Me.

Posted in 2019 | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

REVIEW – Come From Away at the Pheonix Theatre

We were recently invited to see new musical “Come From Away” at London’s Pheonix Theatre. We received complimentary tickets courtesy of Encore Tickets, but our opinions remain our own.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a HUGE musical theatre fan. There was a time, before Eden came along, where our lives mostly revolved around musical theatre in its many forms. I’d heard fantastic things about Come From Away on Broadway, so I was excited to see what a British Cast did with such an intrinsically Multinational story.

Here’s what the synopsis tells us:

Gander is a small Canadian town, but when 38 international aircrafts are diverted to Gander airport after 9/11, the townspeople welcome in 7,000 passengers to the town by giving them shelter, food and clothes. Initiated as honorary Newfoundlanders, the “come from aways” deal with their new-found surroundings before being able to fly out of Gander and return to the United States. In a place where romance blossoms, prejudice can also grow and the show discusses how individuals are treated after the atrocity. Reuniting years after the attack, the show commemorates the compassionate behaviour of those who live in Gander and the neighbouring area.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this show. I guess I thought it would be hard to write a musical about events around 9/11 without it being depressing. The Trade Center Attacks are a bit of a specialist subject for me, but I had read very little of the “Come From Aways”, so I went into the theatre not knowing what to expect, but with a bag of tissues all the same.

Somehow, this show manages to be entertaining and true to life at the same time. I laughed a LOT more than I thought I would, considering the subject matter. The show runs for 100 minutes with no interval, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through. Something I thought was interesting is that despite having only twelve actors in the show, they play nearly forty characters between them. Most of these characters are based on real life people, who gave their stories as part of the development of the musical.

Highlights for me were Rachel Tucker’s rendition of “Me and the Sky”, inspired by American Airlines’ first female captain, Beverley Bass. Imagine my surprise when I hit Google on the way home and discovered that basically every word of that song was true. The cast as a whole were excellent and the show provoked so many thoughts and emotions. There were so many stories tied into the show – a gay couple who worried about whether they could say they were together, a black man who was constantly worried about being shot or mugged, families who spoke no English, a mother worried about her New York Fire Fighter son and a Muslim who was continually treated with suspicion by those around him. You wouldn’t think that all this and more could be packed into a 100 minute show, but it is with much more too.

So, would I recommend it? Absolutely. Even for those without a specialist interest, this is a great show. 9/11 is part of world history now and I think this story really cannot be told enough. If you want to go along, tickets are available through reputable ticket agencies including Encore Tickets.

Disclaimer: We were gifted tickets for the purpose of a review. All opinions are our own.

Posted in 2019, Review | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cold Town, Winter in the City #myAquaphorchallenge

It’s cold. I mean, not North Pole cold, but we’ve had some low temperatures in the capital as of late.

This time of year, keeping healthy in the cold becomes important. I need vitamins to help keep the nasties out and a good moisturiser, because nothing is more annoying than chapped skin on a cold day. Also, nothing irritates my skin like going from the cold of outside to the stifling heat of the tube. It really messes with me, and my skin often shows the effects first.

We were recently sent Aquaphor to review.

• Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm gives dry to very dry, cracked and irritated skin the SOS care it needs

• Formulated with only seven ingredients, Aquaphor is gentle enough to be used on highly irritated skin as well as on sensitive baby skin and also in the nappy area

• Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm protects the skin by creating a breathable protective barrier, allowing oxygen and water vapor to circulate to and from the skin, allowing skin to ‘breathe’ and strengthen its natural barrier function

• The Eucerin Aquaphor formula was first introduced in the US market in 1925 and has been a household staple ever since – long trusted for its effectiveness in repairing a wide range of skin SOS cases.

There’s no greater challenge than winter, so I used the balm over the course of a couple of weeks. The verdict? It helps keep skin healthy and soothes irritated or sore skin. It is fragrance free, clear in colour and a little bit goes a long way, so I expect the 45ml tube will last a little while in our house. I also love that it’s suitable for all of the family. It’s become a handbag staple amongst the London pollution.

This post is an entry for the BritMums #MyAquaphor Challenge, sponsored by Eucerin. Discover the benefits of Eucerin

Posted in 2016 | Leave a comment

Getting Outside, Eden and Me.

This time of year is one of my least favourite times. The days are short, the nights are long and it is COLD! Also, I feel like we end up outside a lot less than we do in the spring, summer or even in the autumn. This time of year is when I massively fail on getting my ten thousand steps daily!

Getting out and about is something very important to me. It does wonders for my mental health and it usually gets a good nap out of Eden if she’s had the wind in her hair for a bit and the opportunity to really play. It means she meets other kids, she gets to learn about the world around her and she gives herself a good workout in the process. Kids learn so much from play – I know Eden learns a lot from watching other kids and even tackled the dreaded big slide after encouragement from an older child at our local playground. 

Childhood obesity figures in the UK are on the rise and latest statistics shows that 1 in 3 children between the ages of 2 and 10 are overweight. 1000 of these are children referred to hospital for treatment. Isn’t that terrifying? As much as there are always outliers, just getting out and about can make a massive amount of difference to most kids. Not only in respect of their physical health, but their mental health too. 

We’re lucky enough to have several playgrounds, parks and even 7,000 hectares of 800 year old woodland within an hour’s walk from our front door. South East London is wonderful in that respect. We have a real mix of older play areas and newer, well maintained play areas with lovely wooden play equipment. We don’t really have an excuse not to go, to be honest!

So, here’s a reminder from me to you, readers. Even though it’s quite frankly depressing outside, get those little ones out! Get them running, splashing through muddy puddles and spotting squirrels in the woods. Get them climbing up and conquering the big slide and get them showing other kids that they can do it too! It does wonders for their mental and physical health, and their self confidence, too. And who knows, you might even get to drink a hot coffee when you get home and they sleep off their adventures. 

This is a collaborative post with ESP Play

Posted in 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Mum, Eden and Me

Eden has a grandmother that she will never meet. My mum passed away when I was nineteen – nine years before Eden was born. At the time of her passing, her never meeting my child wasn’t something I really concerned myself with. At that age, I didn’t want kids anyway, but it’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to since Eden came into our lives. I know her grandmother would dote on her as all of her grandparents do, and there has always been a part of me that is sad that they never met.  Continue reading

Posted in 2018 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eden, Doctor Visits and Me

A few days ago was mine and Amy’s eighth wedding anniversary. Eight years since our civil partnership, which is crazy. What is funny is that neither of us actually remembered until Facebook told us on the day! As it turns out, Amy was scheduled to work and I had booked my (well overdue) smear test. This left me with a moral dilemma – Do I take her with me? Do I try to arrange childcare? In the end, I decided to suck it up and take her with me. There was no point asking someone to have her for the literally fifteen minutes that it took for me to have the exam. Continue reading

Posted in 2018 | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Making Potty Training Fun with Family Seat

We’ve been potty training with Eden for what seems like forever. We’ve been following her lead and trying to let her do it in her own time, but isn’t it frustrating? One of the things that have annoyed me most is the kerfuffle with having to put her little seat on the loo every time she needs to go, and having to do it before she pees on the floor. You know how toddlers go from “I’m fine” to “I need to pee RIGHT NOW” in seconds? There’s no time for faffing, so when Family Seat offered to send us over their “Talia” model, I said yes pretty quickly!

Continue reading

Posted in 2018, Review | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fear As A Parent.

When I became a parent, I expected stress. I expected absolutely all consuming love. I expected a challenge like no other. What I didn’t expect, though, was fear. Well, I expected a little bit. I didn’t expect it to be crippling, and I didn’t expect it to turn me into the kind of person who cries in the pub over something that was absolutely nothing, but could have been something.  Continue reading

Posted in 2018 | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

That “V” Word and Me…

I grew up calling it a tuppence. I’ve heard Lady Garden, bits, privates, snatch, front bum, money box (?!) and many other cutesy names for that part that all of us that are biologically female have: a vulva.

We’d said from day one that we would teach Eden the anatomical names for her genitals, but there’s something about the word “vulva” that just sounds… unpleasant. It probably comes as part of that big old thing called The Patriarchy, but even knowing that we should encourage anatomical names, we still shied away. We had taught Eden, but more often than not it was just “bits” or sometimes “foof”.

That was until last week. Continue reading

Posted in 2018 | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reverse Mentoring & Me

A few weeks ago, I signed up at work to “reverse mentor” a member of the executive team. The advert from the Chief Executive read

Could you be my mentor? We are looking for enthusiastic, passionate and committed mentors (working in any role at any level) who would like the opportunity to build a relationship with a senior leader, to share their diversity story and help create a more inclusive workforce.”

and I thought ‘I could do that.’ I signed up and was successful. A week or so ago, I went along to my training session with eighteen or so other trainee mentors. Continue reading

Posted in 2018, work | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment