December 20, 2013

The Cat Gets A Paw Out


So Dawn, my precocious six-year-old, comes out of my bedroom today. “Daddy, why do you have a wig in your closet?”

“What were you doing in my closet?”

“I wasn’t. The door was open. I just looked in.”

Oops. She was probably snooping for Christmas presents and saw an opportunity.

“I’ll tell you about it some other time,” I said, trying to be nonchalant. “Right now we have to get to school. And stay out of my closet!”

Dawn has a mind like a steel trap, though, and a few minutes later she brought it up again. “Why do you have a wig?”

“I said I’d tell you some other time,” I repeated.

“But why?”

I decided to try the reverse psychology route. “Well, why do you think I have a wig?”

Her little brow furrowed. “Maybe because you want long hair?”

“Well,” I said, “Haven’t I been growing my hair out?”

“But then why do you need a wig?”

“I told you, I’ll tell you about it later.”

Yeah, I chickened out. I dodged. I put off the inevitable. I was not ready to drop a bomb on my kids five minutes before they went to school for the day. But it’s getting out there — my secret, the one I have been dreading telling them.

Of all the steps I’ve taken this year, telling my kids will be by far the hardest. I love them. They are literally the most important things in my life right now. I don’t want to hurt them anymore. They’ve already had to adjust to a divorce this year. But losing their daddy too? Ugh. I feel like such a selfish shit just thinking about it.

Unfortunately, it feels like my time to delay is just about up. I was feeling the pressure anyway, and this just put the pressure on some more. It’s going to be an interesting holiday …



  • When children ask questions, it is usually for information that they can understand. Dodging their questions will only keep them asking until they get a straight answer. When you tell them the truth, they will be satisfied and will usually drop the subject and move on to something else.

    • The dodging thing is especially true for my six year old, who is very sharp ad very demanding. But at least I bought myself a couple of days …

  • Though every situation is unique, I can share my experience on telling our children when they were five, six, and ten years of age. Basically it was a non-event for them. They were all immediately accepting and thought it was awesome. That said, there are two main things that should be considered before telling your children.

    First, it is unrealistic and perhaps unfair to expect children to keep the seccret. Consider carefully that telling children may be akin to telling school teachers, friends, parents, other family members, and the occasional random stranger. Second, their views may chnage over time, particularly as they enter their teenage years. Be prepared for accceptance to turn to animosity, even if only temporarily.

    Personally I am positive my wife and I made the right choice in telling our children. It brought us closer as a family and taught my children that they should never be ashamed or afraid to run counter to the mainstream. Best of luck!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. That was something my therapist mentioned last month, too — the point that telling a child means telling the world. So scary!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *