I’ve been watching Stranger Things–I know, me and everyone else, right? But I’m going so, so slowly.
Here is Eleven:
Here is my Joey:
So: A story about a child who can’t make herself understood and is in terrible danger from the world around her, and that child happens to look too much like my own. I can’t watch more than fifteen minutes at a time, which is obviously not how it’s meant to be viewed, but my God. If I could persuade Joey to smile for the camera, the resemblance would be even more clear.
We’re training a puppy to be a service dog for Joey; it’s going well, and the two of them are bonding. Kit and I were talking about kindergarten yesterday, and we were talking about the things that will change–uniforms! longer days!–and he said “And I won’t be able to talk anymore, like Joey.”
It’s only last year, for first grade, that I really accepted Joey’s fashion sense; as you can see above, he likes color, leggings, and Disney princesses. His teachers are accepting and love him, and he’s had much less trouble than you might expect, knowing that we live in the Ozarks. Now I’m figuring out summer clothes, and being sad once again that there’s very little that Joey can pass down to Kit–Kit also likes leggings, but I’ve carefully screened him from outside opinions on that choice, and he only wears leggings at home. His classmates would be unkind–and Kit, unlike Joey, cares a great deal about that. Yes, I worry that I’m failing at progressivism on this issue. If Joey ever decides that he understands that haters gonna hate and still wants to wear sparkly leggings out on the town, he will have my blessing. But man, am I not good at these gray spaces. I’m doing the most unexpected mental math; Joey might be trans* or genderqueer. That would be in keeping with essentially his whole life to date. Kit, I’m pretty sure, is not; I’m open to being corrected (by Kit), but for now, he loves robots and guns and dinosaurs and I couldn’t PAY him to nurture until we got a dog–he just also appreciates comfortable pants. He is so stereotypically boyish that I keep checking to make sure that I’m giving him options (he has purple shirts! the boys have dolls!).
I hear that they’re making more Blue’s Clues, and I’m thrilled. Joey is obsessed with Blue’s Clues, and I’m hoping that he’ll accept the new series as canon, maybe let it teach him some more. Give him a notebook, and odds are that he will write “make a poem” over and over again–this being what Blue wants to do in an episode on words. He draws clues; he dresses up like Steve.