Share and Share Alike?

When Rich and I bought our first house eighteen years ago, I was pregnant with Harrison.  We narrowed down our choices of neighborhood, taking into consideration the schools (weren’t we thoughtful DINCs), the proximity to the places we frequented and what we could (not really) afford.  We settled on a perfectly fine house with four bedrooms (the “fourth” being just big enough for a crib, a changing table, a small armoire and one person), a kitchen that, upon first blush only, was nice enough and a front to back master bedroom.  Both sets of our parents pointed  out to us that there was no family room (no biggie – we didn’t have a family yet) and no master bath (again, we said, no biggie…this was going to be our starter house and by the time this as yet unborn baby was old enough to share it, we would be long gone.)  Needless to say, we never moved.  We did add-on a kick-ass family room, but we cheaped out on the master bath and have been mourning it ever since.

I often lament having to share my bathroom with three guys.  I have been known to comment on there being at least one penis too many in my house.  Events that we are attending as a family (and each need to be clean for) are always a challenge, requiring someone (usually me) to get into the shower hours before we need to leave in an effort to ensure that I get a shower at all.  It started to become problematic when Harrison outgrew the” questionable hygiene” stage of middle school and began embracing long hot showers and, worse still, started shaving.  And then came Jessie.

Now I have to share my bathroom with three anatomical guys and a girl.  Seriously, that ain’t right.  My delicious coconut fragranced shampoo and conditioner are now being depleted at a ridiculous pace.  I searched high and low for my favorite face-washing headband for weeks only to discover that Jessie had absconded with it and taken it as her own.  And what happened to the pale pink eye shadow in the third slot of the Maybelline trio?  Jessie has even gone so far as to “play” with my good make-up and has requested her own mascara!  “You are ten!” I keep telling her.  Okay, yelling at her.

Truth be told, she is more skilled at applying makeup than I was at ten and certainly when I was in high school.  (I was a victim of the 80’s.  Thick black eyeliner, all around the eye which would smudge down to my cheekbone by 9 a.m. was not uncommon.  At the time, I thought I had it going on, but…).  When she has “done” her eyes, she happens to look beautiful, but it is so totally disconcerting and inappropriate that it forces me to become a lunatic and start threatening to hide anything that could be used to enhance one’s appearance.  The problem with that, however, is that I have nowhere to hide anything and, if I do manage to secure a good spot I then promptly forget where it is.

I can handle the new morning dressing routine.  I can even handle her using my (ridiculously expensive) flat-iron, but I straight up don’t want to share my make-up with anyone.  Ever.  Perhaps if I had been afforded ten years of preparation I would feel differently and even embrace this stage, but I wasn’t and I don’t.  Further, there are a few crappy earrings and necklaces that I might be willing to share, but certainly not the diamond studs that Rich gave me when Harrison was born.  And not the gigantic hoops that are bigger than her head.  I know, too, that it won’t be long before her feet are the same size as mine and she is my height.  Oh, my.  Sharing my bathroom has been bad enough…I don’t want to share anymore.

This is among the many things that mess with my head surrounding Jessie’s transition.  I was the lone female in my house for so long that certain things never necessitated stated rules.  I didn’t have to lay down the law about my stuff since no one was interested in it.  (George (n.c.i.) was far more interested in dresses, wigs and mermaid tails – none of which were available in my closet).  So now, not only do I have to continue to share my bathroom, but suddenly everything is up for grabs.  I think we might need to move.

32 thoughts on “Share and Share Alike?

  1. Welcome to a life with tween girls! And I’m not sure you would have been more prepared for this had you been doing ‘girl things’ all along. I know I wasn’t! I don’t like sharing either, but I was looking forward to maybe sharing shoes…til she surpassed me by one and a half sizes! Basketball players…pfft! Bottom line – you’re not alone, sister.

  2. I agree that it is time to invest in that master bathroom with a lock on the door AND the medicine cabinet (or wherever you keep your makeup and hair accessories). I looked forward to becoming an “adult” so that I could graduate from drugstore to departrment store makeup. This transition should still apply. With the additional financial burdens of raising a girl (clothes, shoes, hair, nails, wedding), you should be able to delay at least that much. Fair is fair.
    Good luck!!!!

  3. Julie, I feel your pain. Welcome to mothering a tween. FYI I have a master bathroom (albeit small, but good enough for me since I am a single mom) and my daughter has invaded that too. Good luck!

  4. Julie,

    1.) I am a Realtor and would love to find you a new home with a kick ass master bath 🙂
    2.) You don’t have to share any make-up other than maybe the Maybelline. Why?? Because for that price, you should. Or better yet, bring her to Job Lot and let her go crazy.
    And 3.) If you need to hide anything from a penis, it must be small enough to fit into a tampon box.

    p.s. I love reading your updates!!!

  5. Julie,

    I, like many other (if not most) transgender girls, have done a lot of “borrowing” of makeup, clothing, shoes, and accessories for most of my life. I learned to be pretty sneaky about it, as getting caught was not an option. It started with my mother’s things, and later, after my period of denial, my wife’s things. I hope that you can find some solace in the fact that allowing Jessie to express herself now is quite possibly saving some poor woman from unknowingly marrying a transgender woman and discovering it later. You can’t know how much respect I have for you for your support of Jessie. Having said that, I think Jessie needs to stay out of your things without your permission. It would be just as if, as George, Rich’s toolbox were to be seen as fair game. Of course, with a toolbox one might be able to construct another bathroom. 😉


    • I actually gave her an unopened masacara (there are always several such tubes in my house) to call her own…at home!

  6. Go to Staples and buy a little lock box with a combination (not a key, you will lose that), and put all those valuable you want to keep for yourself in that box. Trust me, it works, at least until she figures out the combination.

  7. I haven’t had the experience of Lydia and Grace trying to borrow my makeup (as you know, I have a deficit in that area), but once they got to be about my physical size, they do borrow — that is take — my clothes. There’s something sweet about it, in addition to the occasional inconvenience of it, in that it’s a way for us to be close without saying or doing anything. And once in a while I borrow something of theirs and get the same feeling.

    So you’ll have to report back when you and Jessie are finally the same size, and tell us how you feel about sharing sweaters and tshirts! It may be more tolerable a share situation than the bathroom and makeup.

    • I am feeling okay (for now, anyway) over the prospect of sharing clothes in part because the window of opportunity to do so with my own mother was so brief (I was four inches taller than her by the time I was 12). Make-up, however, is simply not meant to be shared.

      I do recall your dismay, dear Jane, when one of your girlies helped herself to some particularly delicious shampoo you had swung for…

  8. Julie

    Well I guess I know how my mom felt with me in my teens. It was a time where I could not fully transition but pushed the envelope and after it was all over and my SRS was complete I asked her how she put up with me. Mom said it was easy because she loved me but I know in retrospect it is never easy dealing with a transsexual child. I was one and you are raising one.

    I have her letters between herself and Dr. Harry Benjamin in NYC and it was never easy for her but she knew it was a lot worse for me. I am not sure people truly understand how much courage it takes to do what your daughter has done. My mom said “you were so brave to me” and the truth is I was scared to death but the alternative meant not being the girl I knew I was. I would have preferred death.

    It is so important for your little girl that you raise her as a little girl. Mom’s helping their daughter with makeup, cloths and those dreadful boys is what little girls need. Over the last 40 years I have been involved in helping kids like yours and their families. Kids her age know they are girls as I knew and all you have to do is look at Kim Petras as an example of what early intervention does. I had that early intervention and it saved me.

    Your little girl is very lucky to have you.


    • Clearly your bravery trumped your fears. It is not easy for the child, the mom, the dad or the siblings, but when I hear from people like you, it truly warms my heart and helps to buoy my spirit. Thank you, Liz.

  9. Julie,

    When my daughter Lydia was 11 we went through a similar phase. I decided to make an appointment for her at the Clinique counter, where the technician did her make-up for her in fairly neutral colors, showing her how to apply it, take care of her skin, and how to clean her make-up brushes. I went ahead and purchased the whole shebang, letting Lydia know that it was HER make-up and she was responsible for the proper storage, etc and I let her see how much it cost (between $100 and $200 with brushes and skin care products). That began the difference between hers and mine and she has respected it pretty well over the years. A bit pricey for make-up, but much cheaper than a new master bath.

    • Great minds think alike – albeit on a slightly different scale. I got her all the necessary items which are displayed proudly on her bureau top. Unfortunately, it seems she has a taste for the finer things in life as evidenced by her preference for my stuff. Apparently she is offended by CoverGirl, Maybelline and Almay…

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