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Raising My Rainbow
  Raising My Rainbow

It’s One Thing After Another, I Swear

photo 1With Chase starting fifth grade and C.J. starting first grade this year, I have reached the momentous mommy milestone of having all of my children in full-day school.

I got them both to where they needed to be on the morning of September 10 and rushed back home to park myself on the couch under a blanket to catch up on reality TV, while obsessively and repetitively checking email and Facebook on my laptop and Instagram and Pinterest on my phone. Because that, my friends, is how I relax.

As I got myself situated on the sofa the silence of the house caught my attention. It was quiet. Really quiet. I got halfway through one episode of Teen Mom 3 and I had a bad feeling. What if, at that very moment, someone was trying to dull C.J.’s sparkle? What if he was being teased for his rainbow-leopard-print backpack? What if he was being teased for his pink, heart-covered lunchbox? What if he was being teased for his hair that is growing out? What if? What if? What if? I couldn’t concentrate on mindless TV.

Ugh!

I thought of that morning. I followed behind Chase as he walked onto campus. He was high-fiving people through the hallways and reinforcing why we call him “The Mayor.” He knows everybody and is full of a confidence that is more kind and innocent than cocky. He’s just a great, happy, friendly person.

photo 2Thirty minutes later we were at C.J.’s school and he was holding onto my hand for dear life. The transition from kindergarten to first grade is a big deal. Gone are the half-day of instruction, private playground, protective atmosphere and kids and parents who know C.J. is, well, C.J. This year he has to stand in line on the playground with 1,150 other first through sixth graders waiting for the bell to ring. He was overwhelmed. Understandably so.

When I picked C.J. up from school, his teacher had the class in a single file line and was dismissing one student at a time. I could see C.J. at the back of the line. He looked up at me and then immediately looked down. He was fighting back tears. I started to do the same.

When he got to me, I asked him how his day was.

“Fine,” he said as we walked.  He was lying.  We got into the car and the tears spilled down his cheeks.

“What’s wrong, baby?” I asked.

“I spent all day afraid that the big kids were going to tease me cause they don’t know that I’m gender nonconforming yet. And, it was the longest day ever. I’m tired. First grade is way too long,” he explained.

“Who did you sit with at lunch?”

“I sat at the boys’ table and it was so boring.” There are not boys’ tables and girls’ tables at lunch, that’s just how the kids divide.

“How come you didn’t sit with your girl friends?” I asked. C.J. only has girl friends.

“Because I didn’t want the bigger boys to tease me.”

“Did the boys say anything about your lunchbox?” I asked. He’d been not so patiently waiting to use it for weeks.

“I didn’t carry it to the lunch tables. I took all of my food out and carried it in my hands to the tables so that nobody would see my lunchbox.”

My heart broke as I envisioned him trying to carry a sandwich, juice box, chips, granola bar and sliced fruit to the lunch tables on the other side of campus.

We role-played that night during bath time.

“What if someone said, ‘Why do you have a girls lunchbox?’” I asked.

photo 5“I’d say because that’s my style and everyone can have their own style,” he replied not missing a beat and sounding like he really believed his own words.

“See! You’re great! That’s what you would say!” I encouraged him.

“It’s harder when it’s really happening,” he said looking down. I couldn’t argue with that.

I offered to go get him a new lunchbox. He didn’t want to. He likes his pink lunchbox. But, the next day he took his lunch in a brown paper bag. And, he has everyday since.

On Wednesday, Chase came home and said that he needed to talk to me privately.

“A kid in my class made a racist remark at the lunch tables and I told him that it wasn’t very nice, especially since there was a person of color at the table. Then the same kid used the word ‘gay’ in the bad way and I told him not to do that because it’s rude and because my uncle is gay and my brother is gender nonconforming. He said that being gay is sick and bad and wrong. He said that I’m not a good Christian if I like gay people. It’s all really been bothering me,” Chase said.

He stared at me. I stared back at him, trying to keep my immediate reactions from flying out of my mouth.

“Wow. Okay. So that all happened,” I said as he continued to stare at me. I swear, I cannot get away from gender and sexuality issues. Even when I’m just trying to hide in my house and stare at three screens simultaneously, my kids are out in the world experiencing things that aren’t okay.

“Well, baby, above all else, God said to love others and not judge, so you should tell that kid to focus on that. Besides, he made a big assumption that everybody is the same religion. Then, maybe you two should agree to disagree. Not all kids your age have the same opinions and worldviews as you do. A lot of them don’t know about the struggle for LGBTQ equality yet. I bet that kid has never even met a gay person.  You’re a little more worldly in that regard.”

I was making it all up as I went along.

photo 4On Thursday, pretty much the exact same conversation took place at lunchtime with two other kids joining in to tell Chase that being gay is sick, bad, wrong and gross and against God, Jesus and the Bible.   They said that we are a bad family.

I emailed the teacher and principal.

Then, on Friday, C.J. got was upset that a girl from his class told him that his backpack is for girls.

“I told her that it wasn’t, that backpacks are for everybody and that is just my style.”

He was proud of himself. He was smiling.

“What did she say?”

“She said I was a liar and that it’s only for girls and I can’t carry it.”

“Backpacks are for anyone who has a back and needs a pack,” I said, shaking my head in pure exhaustion.

The first four days of school. My youngest is afraid of getting teased at lunch, while my oldest is actually getting teased at lunch. I’ve already had to be in contact with two principals, two teachers and one vice principal. We’ve already been called a bad family.

And, I’m still not caught up on my reality television shows.

By:           Raising My Rainbow
On:           Nov 30, 2013
Tagged:

  • 32 Comments
    • Harley
      Harley

      WOW. Are you living in the Deep South somewhere? Sounds like typical elementary school talk in Redneckland, Texas.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 7:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • avesraggiana
      avesraggiana

      How about leaving your children alone to fight their own battles? Stop running to the Principal and let these boys toughen up on their own. The bullying will stop once they fight back and throw a punch on their own. It worked for me.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 8:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Large Marge
      Large Marge

      @avesraggiana: Might have worked for you… might not for others… that’s why people shoot up schools.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 10:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dakotahgeo
      Dakotahgeo

      I’m amazed at the self-righteous arrogance displayed on this blog. Not only is this woman’s family up there among the best of families, but next time she has to see the Administration, she should bring a lawyer with her. That, in most cases, solves the problem. School authorities are changing their tactics amazingly fast these days and DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, want to cost their school district any desperately needed financial resources. Not all school districts’ insurance carriers will pay the entire amount. Some people just have to learn the hard way. Many courts today are siding with the plaintiffs, thank goodness!
      (From one who is a retired school teacher!

      @Dixie Rect: And what bases do you have to even make a egregious remark like that? I hope you don’t have any children or pets!

      Nov 30, 2013 at 11:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ncman
      ncman

      Didn’t this mother just post an article 2 days ago where CJ was the “Star of the Week” in his 1st grade class? Wouldn’t it make more sense to publish these “Raising My Rainbow” posts in chronological order?

      Nov 30, 2013 at 11:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dakotahgeo
      Dakotahgeo

      @ncman: I ‘spect, since it IS her blog, she can comment/post however she wants! “Nuff said!

      Nov 30, 2013 at 11:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ncman
      ncman

      @Dakotahgeo: Sure, if she just wants to confuse her readers about what is going on.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 11:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dixie Rect
      Dixie Rect

      @ncman: I don’t think it matters, its all fiction anyway. This woman is out for a buck, trying to get people to buy her book. She also is dying to get a reality show. She sold out her kid for a buck. Yeah, she’s a great mother all right.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 11:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dakotahgeo
      Dakotahgeo

      @ncman: Same advice. Heed it. If it ain’t yours, don’t criticize! Not hard to figure out.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 12:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dakotahgeo
      Dakotahgeo

      @Dixie Rect: Says the “man of authority”! Heh heh heh.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 12:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CaptainFabulous
      CaptainFabulous

      I don’t even know where to begin. First off, what kids of these ages use language like this? What 6 or 7 year old understands and uses the term “gender non-conformist”???

      And while it’s great to encourage kids to be themselves and be proud of who they are, starting them out so early to be outcasts probably isn’t the best way ensure their continued mental or physical health.

      No one is saying they have to hide in the closet, but at some point you simply have to acknowledge that there is a time and a place to be out and proud and a time and a place to dial it back and blend in. Should we have to? In a perfect world, no. But we’re not in a perfect world. We’re in a world where being gay or transgendered or gender nonconformist can get you beaten or shot to death. You gather more flies with honey than vinegar.

      These kids need to be taught war zone survival skills, not how to be targets.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dakotahgeo
      Dakotahgeo

      @CaptainFabulous: BING-O!!!

      Nov 30, 2013 at 12:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • QJ201
      QJ201

      This entry is a couple of months old. Not sure why the wunderkind of Queerty are re-posting it now.

      As for the negative comments on here…clearly you don’t read her blog and are just shooting your mouths off with your initial uninformed reaction to this post, think before you speak or comment. Most don’t.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dakotahgeo
      Dakotahgeo

      @QJ201: Ahhh! And you are an authority on this? Physician, heal thyself!

      Nov 30, 2013 at 1:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the other Greg
      the other Greg

      It’s true, lots of kids are beaten up for being/acting gay. And other kids are beaten up just for being smart and using terms like “gender-nonconformist.”

      I’m concerned that poor C.J. (if he is real) is going to find out both ways in middle school. As someone who was beaten up a lot in those years, I’m not entirely sure it matters what the bully’s “motivation” is.

      This mom seems to have plenty of time on her hands, however. Home schooling: it’s not just for right-wing wackos anymore? Just a suggestion!

      Nov 30, 2013 at 1:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DerekR
      DerekR

      @Dakotahgeo: You took the words right out of my mouth. Christ QJ201 practice what you preach!

      Nov 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 2eo
      2eo

      @Dakotahgeo: I didn’t expect Dixie, a person who by all rights still has to use blunt scissors would be able to explain his idiocy.

      He lived up to those expectations.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dakotahgeo
      Dakotahgeo

      @2eo: LOLOL… you never fail to hit the nail on the head! Thanks!

      Nov 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cyn
      Cyn

      Wow, trolls here? Really?

      First, my kid was spoken to and included in conversations in such a way that she had a HUGE vocabulary and decent argument skills on a variety of topics by kindergarten. I just don’t believe in dumbing down to meet other people’s way low standards.

      Second, her posting on her blog, and then Queerty fitting the blog into their editorial schedule are not always going to meet up perfectly, especially since Queerty does not post all of her entries. Which is fine.

      Third, don’t feed the trolls. They get all hyper when they cannot support their arguments, resort to name calling and spewing party line, and get a real hard on about making us mad.

      Dakotahgeo: Please get a blow job today. It will make you feel better.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 2:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • EdgarCarpenter
      EdgarCarpenter

      @CaptainFabulous – you say “No one is saying they have to hide in the closet” and then you advise them to hide in the closet.

      Bullying is bullying is bullying – experienced teachers know how to stop it in it’s tracks, especially in early elementary school when teachers have more leverage. That’s always been part of a good teacher’s job – it’s an important lesson to learn, after all. The kids are only being themselves, and they’

      Nov 30, 2013 at 3:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • EdgarCarpenter
      EdgarCarpenter

      (continued) they are not attacking the other kids, they’re being attacked. Christian bullies are no more protected than secular bullies, and the school should definitely be involved in stopping them.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 3:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CaptainFabulous
      CaptainFabulous

      @EdgarCarpenter: There is a huge difference between “hiding in the closet” and “keeping a low profile”. I would never suggest anyone deny who they are or hide it. But this doesn’t mean you should flaunt it either, especially in unsure surroundings and situations. Being true to yourself doesn’t mean you have to announce it to everyone you meet. Discretion is the better part of valor, and in cases like this can mean the difference between 12 years of unrelenting harassment or a relatively trouble-free existence.

      And while it would be nice if teachers and administrators protected kids from bullies, most of the time they refuse to get involved until it escalates to extreme proportions, which by that time it’s way too late. As a parent the first line of responsibility is upon you to teach your kids how to navigate the complexities of being different in an arena where being different can easily result in being attacked and persecuted. It’s a warground, not a playground. Unfortunate, and it shouldn’t have to be that way, but it is.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 3:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dakotahgeo
      Dakotahgeo

      @Cyn: LOLOL… EXcellent idea… and when would you be available since you were so eager to suggest? LOLOL… cry me a river, build a bridge, and get over it! (Wink, wink) ;-)

      And speaking of TROLLS, maybe your child could educate you on that… she sounds more intelligent than you do!

      Nov 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • KDub
      KDub

      When will these silly bohemian moms learn to stop trying to make statements with their kids’ lives? This is horrible parenting, and mom was probably crying because she knew she was partly responsible for what happened to her kid.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cyn
      Cyn

      @Dakotahgeo: I’ll have to decline, I don’t do the dick willingly. Ew. But I really don’t see your problem here. What’s up with the judgey attitude and all the snide and not so well written remarks?

      Nov 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dakotahgeo
      Dakotahgeo

      @Cyn: First , you need to understand that I don’t owe you the time of day here. Secondly, this is an open blog. If you don’t like that, move on. I do not even recognize you as human! much less animal! Get over yourself!

      Nov 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the other Greg
      the other Greg

      @Dakotahgeo: Wow, that’s a bit extreme, REVEREND Dak!

      If anyone here ever doubts that you are an ordained Christian minister, you’ll prove it with remarks like that.

      And on a comment thread about bullying, yet. Nice touch!

      Nov 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dakotahgeo
      Dakotahgeo

      @the other Greg: Thank you! I’ll take that under advisement. All things considered, re-read it, and apply it. Thank you!

      Nov 30, 2013 at 7:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AuntieChrist
      AuntieChrist

      I don’t think it matters if it is or is not fiction…The writing style is simplistic…I have looked at her blog and it is very professional…The whole thing looks like an excellent fabrication…It is either too good to be true or it is exactly what it is supposed to be…My gut is in favor of fabrication…Unless you are an ace hacker there is no way to authenticate…There is a certain glibness to the prose it all just seems too perfect…But I am rather cynical…I don’t believe everything I read.

      Nov 30, 2013 at 11:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Saralikesyarr
      Saralikesyarr

      Aww, this sucks.

      Brave, smart, kindhearted kids you have though.

      Good for them for showing strength.

      Though, this is the NUMBER ONE reason why I would never send kids to public school.

      Why put them through that?

      Didn’t all of us get enough hate when we were kids?

      Why put our own kids through it too? Of course that’s just my own opinion, and I totally think your kids rock for standing up to people.

      Public school is hard.

      Dec 1, 2013 at 3:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jwrappaport
      jwrappaport

      @Saralikesyarr: Exactly my thoughts. I’d want to send my kids to private schools, although my elementary school experience was blissful. And then middle school happened.

      Some public schools are great, but it’s such a crapshoot.

      Dec 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dixie Rect
      Dixie Rect

      Queerty: Please stop putting this awful woman’s blog up. Isn’t the world filled with enough lies?

      Dec 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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