Thursday, 27 June 2019

Siblings In June 2019

This post is a bit of an emotional one for me, and it's been a long time coming.

I started joining in with The Siblings Photo Project on my blog the month that my middle child Noah was born.

I'd seen other bloggers do them and had always looked forward to the day I'd be able to join in, once my first born son had a sibling of his own. And in March 2015 when Noah arrived, I was so excited to snap those first photos of my boys together.

Those first pictures are still some of my absolute favourites and I look them back on them often with such a fondness.

Shortly after, less than a year later in fact, my duo became a trio and I continued the process of taking monthly photographs - I created so many photo books full of gorgeous images of my 3 little boys together, knowing they'd bring so much happiness to look back on through the years. And they have. And they still do.

But I started to do these posts less and less frequently, until eventually - I stopped doing them altogether.

The last siblings photos I took were from 10 months ago - back in August last year.

And although I love looking at them...infact they're some of my favourite ones we ever took...I can't help but feel a bit of a sting.

Because the reason that we've avoided these monthly photographs for almost a year, is because things started to change - and, as you can see from the photo above, we're no longer a family with 3 little boys.

Because over the course of the last year, our middle child Noah - who had always expressed a preference for feminine things, has started to vocalise feelings of not being comfortable in their skin.

And gradually, over the course of the last 10 months - things have progressed, and we're now at a point where Noah identifies as female.

I've written about this already and I won't go in to the details of it again, because we've addressed it and there's really nothing more to say - Noah is just Noah, this may or may not be a phase and we're dealing with that as a family by supporting and loving our child.

But over the last 10 months, it has made things that used to feel normal suddenly feel very complicated.

It's made us overthink so many aspects of life.

It's made us question everything we do, everything we say, everything we think to the point of near madness if I'm totally honest.

And - as a result of all of this - we decided it was best to stop taking these siblings photos.

Because we just weren't sure how to approach them. We weren't sure if we or Noah would want to have photographs of this stage to look back on in the future.

We worried that perhaps there would be some embarrassment if Noah did grow out of this one day, and we were conscious of not wanting to label Noah too soon or go public with the way things were incase it suddenly changed again.

And of course - we were just plain old scared too.

Scared of what people think, what people would say, how people would judge us and our precious innocent child.

But 10 months have passed now...and what started out feeling like protection and doing "the right thing" has ended up just feeling like shame, and stigma, and denial.

And none of us wants that.

We have already lost 10 months worth of memories by being reluctant to photograph Noah at this stage. How do we know that Noah won't resent this lack of photographs in years to come when looking back and realising that the photographs suddenly stopped right around the time the transition happened?

How do we know that Noah won't resent us for deciding to censor this part of our lives, instead of advocating for the rights of all children to be who they are and normalising gender questioning in children.

The answer is....we don't know.

We don't know with 100% certainly what the right thing is, or what Noah will think is the right way to handle we can only do what feels right to us.

And frankly...I'm tired of questioning everything. I'm tired of being afraid...because no matter what way you cut it, even fears over Noah's potential future embarrassment at these photos come from a place of shame and transphobia - because if there's nothing to be ashamed of then why should there ever be any embarrassment?!  Do we feel shame that we used to dress up as Doctors in our childhood but didn't grow up to become one?! If we're not stigmatising transgender people, then why should there be any more embarrassment over gender questioning in children than anything else?

Well...I don't think there should be.

And I'm sad and embarrassed that it's taken me this long to carry right on taking photos of my children growing up together and sharing for them all to see - because neither Noah or I have anything to be ashamed of.

So...on with the post and update on this trio of mine, and how they've been doing lately!

Sailor....the baby of the bunch, is growing up far too quickly for my liking.

He picks up so many phrases from his siblings that are FAR too mature for him and he seems to think himself much more grown up than he actually is!

He's one of those children who has a permanently sticky little face no matter how many times you clean it, and he is just full to the brim with mischief!

He is besotted with Captain Jack Sparrow and tends to want to go everywhere dressed in a pirate costume, including Jack Sparrow hat with dreadlocks! He's eccentric and hilarious...and completely wild too!

He's still closest to Noah, although they do squabble over toys and costumes far more frequently these days...but thankfully he's started to get on really well with Tyne too, they have very similar taste in games and toys and so will often play together while Noah sticks on her own playing dollies.

Noah is still as sassy and cheeky as ever before! I'm constantly surprised by how much growing up she has done lately, and although she's only 4 she often comes out with things that make her sound much older - just today she was telling her brother off for being "sexist" which made me giggle!

Noah loves making her own fashion creations out of pretty much anything she can get her hands on (my nighties, are a current favourite!), putting on fashion shows and performances, playing "gymnastics" (although she refuses to join a class!) and anything related to Frozen or Disney princesses in general.

She is by far the most affectionate of all the children, and really craves cuddle time - she really likes to mother her little brother, and she gets on really well with her older brother most of the time too - although when they do have fall outs, they're pretty big ones!

As for my biggest boy, Tyne has really matured over the last 10 months and although he does still throw the most epic of wobblers from time to time - he can also be the sweetest thing, and he has so much affection for Sailor in particular....though he's also started to enjoy playing with Noah much more too, as they're more on the same wavelength when it comes to playing games lately.

Speaking of games - Tyne is video gamer in the making, and is forever watching Dan TDM or chattering away about various different video games. He's also taken up skate boarding and scootering recently and really enjoys it. He's a real history buff and his current obsession is the titanic.

So that's how my trio have been getting on has definitely become much easier over the last few months as they've all started to desire that bit more independence, and most of the time they keep each other entertained pretty well.

I'm looking forward to having lots of adventures over summer and hopefully getting some lovely photos to make up for the lack of them over the past 10 months!

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