Pigtails Are for Girls -- Part 2

Pigtails Are For Girls — Part 02
Chapters 4-6
 
By Katherine Day
 
Jarod finds joy and comfort in being a girl and his mother cherishes her new daughter.
Concerns linger among mother and neighbor as Jarod becomes 11 years old.

(Copyright 2008)

Chapter Four: A Growing Talent

So far this had been the happiest summer of Jarod’s young life. He had so much fun playing with Amy’s two young daughters, showing them how to properly dress their dolls, and giving them ideas about how set up their dollhouse. What also made the summer so special was that Jarod was becoming more skillful at the sewing machine, and when he was working on the machine, the hours seemed to flow easily and happily.

It was a summer, too, that sheltered him from having to brave the neighborhood boys and their taunts. He no longer felt the desire to join the play outside, the running and punching and roughhousing in which he felt so afraid and inadequate. He no longer had to face the humiliation of being the most pathetic player in the make-up ballgames.

On the afternoon following the events at the play lot where he had been mistaken for a girl, Jarod returned to the house convinced that he would truly like to be a girl; indeed, the idea of being Emily’s and Angela’s “aunty” had excited him. At ten years old, he realized he could easily be an “aunty” of girls aged two and four; many aunts were often just a few years older than their nieces or nephews, he knew.

What would a ten-year-old aunt wear, he wondered?

Jarod knew his mother had some old pattern catalogs in a cabinet near the sewing machine, and Jarod rummaged through the cabinet, finally finding several. They were from about 15 years earlier, but he quickly went to the children’s dress section, and later to the sub-teens section.

He was looking at a sundress pattern, imagining how he’d look in the dress, when his concentration was interrupted by a knock on the door. It was Amy, the girl’s mother, and he was still carrying the pattern book when he opened the door.

“Jarod, I’m just checking on you to see if you’re OK,” she said.

“Oh, I’m fine, Mrs. Tankersley,” he said. As had been his mother’s agreement with the neighborhood, she would check on the 10-year-old Jarod from time-to-time as long as he would assist with the young girls.

“What are you doing, Jarod?” she asked, as was her typical question.

“Oh nothing,” he said, realizing he was holding the pattern book.

“Is that a pattern book?” she asked.

“Ah . . . er . . . yes.”

“Let me see that. It looks familiar.”

Jarod handed it over, the booklet still folded open to the page he had been viewing.

“Oh Jarod,” she said, taking it and giving it a quick look. “I used that same book when I was a girl and learned to sew. I even made a few dresses from it.”

Jarod was feeling embarrassed now, not sure how to respond. But, Amy Tankersley looked at him without any seeming judgment, and with what appeared to be a sincere interest in the dress pattern book. She now looked more closely at the page to which the booklet was folded open.

“That’s a pretty dress,” she said, pointing to the pattern for a sundress, which was designed obviously for girls from about age 10 to about 14.

“I know you do some sewing, Jarod, Right?” she asked.

“Um . . . um . . . mom showed me how.”

“Do you like it?”

“I guess,” he said, with some hesitation.

“I loved doing it when I was a girl, too,” she said, suddenly realizing her statements seemed to infer that Jarod was a girl.

Jarod was quick now to respond. “Mom says boys can sew too.”

“Oh Jarod, of course,” she said.

Jarod took the book back, and was hoping Mrs. Tankersley was going to return home after checking in on him. His mother was due home shortly from her summer school teaching assignment.

“Jarod, I really became quite good at sewing. I’d be glad to help you sometime if you want me to.”

“Thank you,” he said, closing the door, as the woman returned to her next-door unit.

Jarod began to cry when the door closed, running to his room and jumping on his bed, curling up as the tears flowed down his face. He caressed his left arm with his right hand, feeling the slender, soft smooth skin, realizing how much he wished he could be a girl. Life would be so simple then, never having to try to be muscular or strong; he would be free to enjoy the beauty of colors and the sweetness of gentle behaviors.

Finally, the tears stopped, and Jarod found an irresistible urge to dress in the skirt he had sewn for himself, along with an old blouse of his mother’s and her sandals.

He was in his mother’s bedroom, completing his dress-up, brushing his hair and putting on a pretty pink hair clip when he heard the backdoor open. It was his mother, he realized, coming home earlier than she had said she would. Where could he go, knowing she’d head straight for the bedroom, to get into more casual clothes?

“Jarod, honey, I’m home,” she announced loudly from the kitchen.

Within seconds, she was in the bedroom, as Jarod was awkwardly and unsuccessfully trying to figure out how to undress in a hurry.

“My, what have we here?” she said, as she stood in the doorway. “What a sweet little girl!”

“Oh mommy, mommy, I’m sorry . . . I won’t ever . . .”

“Isn’t she cute?” his mother said.

Jarod began to cry, and tried to bolt from the room, but his mother caught him at the door, holding him hard, actually hurting his arm as she led him back into the room.

“Now sit nicely in the chair,” she said firmly, pointing to a reading chair she had in the room.

“But, mommy . . .” he continued to plead, but his mother just held up her hand, as if to silence him, and he said nothing. She sat down on the vanity chair in the room, removing her shoes, and letting out a moan of satisfaction at freeing her aching feet. He watched as she stepped out of her skirt, and removed her top, revealing his mother’s trim figure, neatly fitted into full white satin panties and a white matching bra, with lace. She made no attempt to hide her near nakedness from him, and he watched with great interest.

She then put on a pair of light blue shorts and a tee shirt with a university logo. She removed the pins from her hair, and it flowed freely, making his mother look so free and lively.

“Now, young lady,” she said to Jarod. “That’s no way for a girl to sit. Put your legs together so boys can’t see up your skirt.”

Jarod blushed, having been addressed as “young lady.” He obeyed, very primly putting his legs together, and sitting with his hands in his lap.

“Now, that’s my girl,” his mother said approvingly.

“But, mommy, I’m not a girl,” he said.

“Oh, you’re not? I thought I saw a girl in my bedroom now.”

“Mommy, I was just playing. I was bored.”

“No, honey, I think you like the idea of being a girl.”

Jarod, lowering his head, looked at his small hands, neatly folded in his lap. He nodded “yes” in a very tentative motion. He realized that during these first weeks of summer vacation he dearly loved playing with the two Tankersley girls and sewing his skirt. He often pictured himself in lovely dresses or shorts and tank tops, looking very slender and pretty.

“Well, then we’ll have to make you look like a real girl,” she said. “I don’t want you stealing any of my clothes, or makeup or using my hair brush again.”

“I’m sorry mommy.”

“So, we’ll have to get you your own dresses and skirts and tops and shoes,” she said.

“But mommy, I’m a boy.”

“So you are, but a very pretty boy.”

She smiled, telling him to get up and come sit next to her on the vanity. She hugged him as he sat down and directed his attention to the mirror, asking him tell her what he saw in the mirror.

“A mommy . . .” he said, stopping.

“And her daughter,” his mother finished the sentence.

Jarod smiled, and his mother took him in her arms, hugging him tenderly, brushing his flowing hair as she did so.

“What she we call you, my daughter dear? You can’t be Jarod in a dress.”

“I don’t know, mommy.”

“Mrs. Tankersley told me the girls call you ‘Aunty Jane.’ Why not call you Jane or Janey?”

“Oh that’s just in play, mommy.”

“Don’t you like Jane?”

“Oh yes, mommy. I like it.”

“Well then you’re my Jane.” She kissed him and Jarod felt safe and content in the arms of his mother, finding peace in her embrace and joy at being her “daughter,” at least some of the time.

Chapter Five: Mother Knows Best

His mother didn’t tell Jarod about the conversation she had with Amy Tankersley a few days earlier. She had returned from her teaching session in the mid-afternoon, and saw Jarod playing with the two little girls on the swing sets behind the Tankersley unit. Jarod was playing hide-and-seek with the girls, chasing them, his arms moving energetically as he ran. He was wearing what appeared to be girl’s shorts and a pink tee shirt. His long hair was tied into two pigtails with pink ribbons, matching the pigtails on Emily and Angela.

High-pitched giggles and squeals were emanating from all three as they frolicked, and Nancy Pinkerton could not help but see again how feminine her young son was becoming.

As she walked to the house, she yelled “Hi Jarod,” and Emily the oldest called back: “He’s Aunty Jane.”

Jarod merely responded with a half-hearted wave, continuing to chase the youngest girl, Angela, faking that he couldn’t catch her, until the tiny girl collapsed in giggles on the ground, leaving Jarod no choice but to tag her.

His mother could see how much joy her son was experiencing in the play, even though it seemed it was all based on his being girlish.

“Oh Nancy,” she turned and saw the girl’s mother coming out of her backdoor. “Let me talk with you if you got time now.”

“Sure, Amy,” she responded, adding that she needed to take her briefcase insite and change into more comfortable clothes.

“When you’re ready come over,” Amy said. “I have some iced tea made, and we can talk and watch the girls . . . ah . . . I mean my girls and Jarod . . . from the kitchen window.”

Nancy Pinkerton smiled, understanding her neighbor’s misstatement, but realizing, too, that the description was not necessarily too far off the mark.

For a young mother, Amy was unusually fastidious. Her kitchen was immaculate, with no unwashed dishes in the sink. The house even smelled clean, no mean feat, Nancy felt, for a mother with two young daughters.

“I’m concerned, Nancy, about whether it’s good for Jarod to be playing over her so much with the girls,” she began after the two were seated, and had exchanged pleasantries.

“Oh, Amy, I hope Jarod hasn’t done anything wrong with them,” she said quickly, worried that her son may have done something nasty, or even sexual.

“Oh no, Nancy. No. No. Jarod’s been a perfect joy, and the girls love him to come over.”

“But what then?”

Amy hesitated: “Well, I hate to say this, but being with the girls so much may be bad influence on him. Bad for Jarod.”

“In what way?” Nancy asked, knowing full well what the answer would be, but her unique skill as a teacher had been the ability to permit people to open up with their thoughts, even if she knew what they were preparing to say.

“To be blunt, he’s acting so much like a girl. And I think he likes it. And, the girls like him when he acts like a girl. They wanted him to be in girl’s stuff, and I found an old pair of shorts and a tee shirt that I wore before I got so fat and that’s what he’s wearing now. And they wanted his hair in pigtails, too.”

“Oh, that’s why he’s dressed that way?”

“Yes, and he didn’t protest at all.”

“And you think that’s bad for him, that he should be out playing ball and romping roughhouse with boys?”

Amy paused, finally answering, “Oh I don’t know. He’s such a sweet boy.”

“I think so, too,” Nancy answered. “Maybe it’s because there’s no man in the household, but he’s always been interested in what I do. He’s even taken up sewing.”

“I know, when I went to check on him the other day, I saw him looking at an old pattern book of dresses.”

Nancy smiled, remembering the book had been left out next to the sewing machine, help open to a page of sub-teen girl dresses.

“Amy, I’m not sure what to do,” she admitted, sipping the tea. “He’s always been teased and bullied by other boys, and you can see he’s not very strong.”

“And he seems so happy here,” Amy said. “He loves to play with the girl’s dolls, and I know he has a couple of his own.”

Nancy smiled. “Do you want me to forbid him to play with the girls, Amy?”

“Oh no, not at all. I’m just concerned for him, but as he gets older, it’ll be so tough for him to act so much like a girl.”

Nancy had been worried, too, about the coming years in her son’s life, when he’d begin middle school and then high school. She wanted him to get a good education and go on to college; he was very bright, it was obvious, and it would be a shame to have that stifled by his own insecurity.

“He seems so happy and comfortable doing girl things,” Nancy said.

“Well, I’m happy to have Jarod here was often as he wants, then. But I just wanted to share with you my thoughts.”

“You’re sweet, Amy. And Jarod adores you and the girls.”

Amy said that the girls would be gone for the first two weeks of July for their annual visitation with their father and his new wife in Colorado, but that she would be home alone then. “I’ll still keep an eye on Jarod for you.”

“Oh that would be so nice of you. I’ll pay you for that, too.”

“Oh I couldn’t accept anything,” Amy said. “Instead, I was going to make a dress in my spare time, and I was hoping Jarod might like to work with me. I used to be good seamstress and I could help him with his sewing.”

“I’m sure he’d like that. I was going to sign him up for day camp for those two weeks, but he hated it last year. He’d come home crying almost every night. I guess he was picked on.”

They finished their tea, and Nancy yelled to her son: “Jane, it’s time to come home now.”

Jarod, giggled along with the girls, and ran to his mother, hugging her hard. She had never seen her son so happy.

*****
Nancy Pinkerton tried to arrange her schedule for the summer so that she could be home with her son as much as possible. She soon realized how difficult that would be, since she assumed a summer school teaching schedule, largely because she needed the money. It meant that two days a week, she’d leave about 7:30 a.m., and Jarod, like most children at that age, was hardly ready to get up. On those days, she would awaken him, get him dressed and sent over to Amy’s before she left.

Two other days, Nancy’s first class wasn’t until 10 a.m., so Jarod would be up and dressed well before she left; she could leave him alone, alerting Amy she was leaving home, with a request to keep an eye on him.

Jarod was eager every day to go over to Amy’s, but he always wanted to wear the shorts and girl’s tee shirt that Amy had found for him.

“Mommy, put ribbons in my hair, too. I want pigtails,” he asked her one early morning as she was darting about the house trying to get herself ready, while feeding him and dressing him for Amy’s.

“No, honey, mommy’s got to go soon.”

“Please, mommy. Please.”

He stood before her, ribbons in his hands, looking so cute that she melted.

“OK, I don’t have time to argue with you. But don’t go outside so the neighborhood can see you like that.”

She tied the two ribbons in to make pigtails; his hair had now grown long enough to make that possible.

“Mommy, I love you. Emily and Angela like me in pigtails.”

Jarod looked so innocent standing before her, his soft complexion and slenderness making him so vulnerable.

“Ok, Jane,” she said, using his newly adopted girl’s name.

That night, when she returned home, she found Jarod playing in the backyard with the two little girls; they were again playing some form of tag, and giggling, and falling down and running about, arms flailing about. Jarod now was in a light blue sundress, with a pair of worn pink Keds she had never seen before.

“What’s this?” she asked Amy, the girl’s mother.

“Nancy, I hope you didn’t mind, but I needed to wash those shorts and tee-shirt Jarod had been wearing,” Amy explained. “I wanted to send him home to put on his own clothes, but the girls wanted him to be dressed like Jane.”

“And I guess Jarod didn’t object.”

“Oh no. He was sad he had no girl’s stuff at home, so I dug deeper in my closets for my old clothes, and found that dress.”

Nancy realized that Amy and Jarod were about the same height, with Amy maybe about an inch taller. She knew that Amy had gained weight in her motherhood, and that she must have been slender when younger.

“Oh he’ll ruin it,” Nancy said.

“No he won’t. He’s not rough on the clothes,” Amy said. “Besides I have some other old clothes I’ll give you for him if you wish.”

As she watched Jarod and the girls play, she saw that he pranced about very lightly, and seemed very careful not to dirty the dress. She almost began to cry, watching her son cavorting about, looking so totally like a young girl.

“Jarod,” she yelled. “Come here. Mommy’s home.”

“She’s Jane,” squealed the high-pitched voice of Emily, as the two skipped over to the two women, holding hands.

“Mommy,” Jarod said, breathing heavily from his running about. “Do you like Jane’s dress?” He twirled about, picking up the hems of the bottom of the dress in a girlish fashion.

“Oh yes, but Jane, it’s time to go home.” She used his girl’s name.

“We love Jane so much,” Emily said, hugging the boy, and laughing.

“OK, but Jane has to go home.”

Amy asked them to wait a minute, while she went into the house to get a black plastic bag. “Here are some of my old clothes, from high school, Nancy. If you want them, I’m sure they’ll fit Jarod.”

“Oh Amy, I can’t pay you much for them,” Nancy said.

“No take them, I’ll never fit in those again. Otherwise, they’re going to charity.”

“Mommy, take them, please,” Jarod said.

“Yes, Nancy,” the girls’ mother said. “If Jarod wants to, he can be dressed pretty all summer long.”

Jarod skipped home, with his mother smiling, realizing she now had a daughter on her hands for the summer, at least.

*****
“Mommy, look at this,” Jarod said when they opened up the bag of clothes. He pulled out a baby doll nightie in sheer pink material, holding it up to himself.

“Oh honey,” Nancy said, growing concerned how fast this young boy was growing girlish and feminine.

“I don’t know about that. We’ll just give some of this back to her.”

“Not this,” he pleaded, holding on to the nightie. “ I want to wear this tonight.”

Nancy was tired from her long week of work, and merely told him to wash up for supper; she told him to sit down and read a book, giving him a book from the Nancy Drew series. She didn’t permit any television until after supper, and then restricted their viewing to a single show.

The boy took the book from her, and moved to the easy chair she had in her room, curling up, legs tucked. Nancy often let Jarod watch as she changed clothes, and he usually read in her chair.

“My daughter Jane,” she mused silently.

*****

It was a muggy day in early July, during the period when Amy Tankersley’s children were away, visiting their father. True to her fashion, she arose early, still thinking she had to get her children up, fed and ready for the day. She awoke almost automatically at 6:30 a.m., as was her custom. Amy was always organized, efficient and prepared; yet, as soon as she sat on the side of her bed, her light blue nightie sagging to the bulge of her heavy breasts and wide hips, she realized she had no children for the day; this was the third day of their two week visit to her ex-husband.

She missed the joys of Emily and Angela, but she also welcomed her few days of respite from the whines and fights and naggings that come with mothering two little girls.

Then she recalled that it was a Tuesday, and her neighbor, Nancy Pinkerton, would be leaving early for her teaching job, and she’d have to look in on her neighbor’s 10-year-old son, Jarod. She had come to enjoy the days when she had to keep on eye on Jarod who, she mused, was the “daughter” any mother would love to have.

Amy had talked long a few days earlier with Nancy about the future for this dainty, pretty boy, who seemed so pleased to be feminine and to dress like a girl. Nancy had given in to her son’s desires, and said he could continue to dress when at home, or when playing with Amy’s two girls.

At 7:30, Nancy rapped on Amy’s door, to announce she was leaving for work.

“Amy,” she said. “Jarod’s had his breakfast, and he’s already on the sewing machine when you’re ready to look in on him.”

“Oh I know he wanted to finish that sundress,” Amy replied.

“But, he’s having trouble with the ruffles.”

“I knew he would. I’ll be over shortly and help him.”

The two women hugged, and Nancy was off to work. Amy felt warmth for Nancy, a feeling the two shared for each other that was probably enhanced by Jarod and his feminine behaviors.

Chapter Six: Mommy’s Concern
Nancy’s unit had air conditioning only in one bedroom, and during the hot summer months, she and Jarod slept in the same room, he on a day bed that had been moved into the room, and Nancy on her bed. More often than not, however, Jarod would climb into bed with his mother, cuddling tightly against her, feeling comfort in the heat and stale smell of her sleeping body. Instinctively, Nancy would embrace the slender boy, caressing him as they cuddled together.

She knew it was not proper for her to encourage this, but, truth be known, she welcomed his presence next to her. When she’d wake to find him tightly against her, she’d tenderly kiss his forehead, or find his lips to brush them with hers. She enjoyed running her hands through his long, light textured brown hair and caressing his slender soft arms.

“My daughter, Jane,” she said to herself so often these days, wondering what to make of this son of hers whose only future seemed to be in becoming a girl.

“At age ten?” she asked Dr. Marjorie Grant, a child psychiatrist she consulted.

Dr. Grant often lectured at the community college where Nancy taught, and one night in the break room, Nancy drew the psychiatrist aside and told her the concerns she had about Jarod’s growing tendency to being girlish.

“Marjorie, are you telling me that it may be time to consider raising Jarod as a girl, to even start some hormone therapy? At age ten?”

“In some cases, that seems to be OK,” Marjorie said. She was a tall, slender, angular woman who favored wearing male dress shirts and slacks. She cut a rather unique figure in the hallways of the college; yet, her reputation as a psychiatrist was solid.

“Does he even know his own mind at that age, Marjorie?”

“Oh, yes. I think children sense these things, but I wouldn’t recommend any such hormone therapy without a thorough psychological examination.”

“I don’t know if that would be covered by our insurance,” Nancy said.

“Oh I think the examination would be, and I’d be willing to give Jarod some of my time without you incurring any extra charges. That’s if you want me to. You need to choose the professional you feel comfortable with, and not necessarily someone like me, whom you know personally.”

Nancy said she’d think about it, but that she might be willing to bring Jarod in someday to see Dr. Grant.

“I’ve never seen him happier this summer, now that I’ve let him dress as a girl and do things like sew and play with the girls next door.”

“Hmmmmmmmmm, Nancy. That’s a sign that something’s happening. Does he have an boys to play with?”

“Not really. There are some boys in the neighborhood, but they’re all so rough and tease him all the time. He’s really not very strong.”

“It sounds like he needs some consultation, Nancy.”

“Maybe I do too, since I seem to enjoy treating him like a girl. It’s kind of nice to have a daughter. And, with no other males around, I guess he has no other influence to counter that.”

Nancy blushed now as she said this, realizing that perhaps she had been handling this situation wrong.

“Nancy,” the psychiatrist said, as they both got up to return to the classroom. “Don’t beat up on yourself. I find most mothers react with instinct, and usually such reactions are the best.”

“Thank you, Doctor,” she said, and the two had a brief, sisterly hug.

*****
“Let me help you with the dress,” Amy said as Jarod unlocked the door and admitted her to the stuffy apartment unit.

She stopped over to check on the boy about 30 minutes after Nancy had left for work. He was dressed only in a pair of pink girl shorts and a blue sleeveless blouse emblazoned with figures of little girls dancing. His long hair flowed down to his shoulders now, and he looked so tender and lovely standing before her.

“Amy, I can’t get the ruffles right,” he said, almost with tears in his eyes. He had been told it was all right to address Mrs. Tankersley as “Amy.”

The sewing machine was in the bedroom, which was cooled with a window air conditioner, and Amy, who always seemed to be too hot, welcomed the coolness.

The boy brushed the hair from his eyes, using a light flick of the wrist. He did it daintily, appearing so girlish in the motion. He picked up the dress, basically and bright yellow with light green and purplish floral designs, and held it up before himself.

“It looks like it should fit you perfectly,” Amy said. “Put it on for me and let me see. Then we can work on the ruffles.”

Amy turned her head, to give the boy a modicum of privacy, and he took off his shorts and tank top, slipping the dress on over his head. “How does this look?” he asked.

“The dress is very pretty, honey, and you look absolutely so cute in it.”

Amy moved over to smooth out some of the folds, recognizing the problems with the ruffles. She told him to take it off, and she would show him how to fix the ruffles.

“Maybe we can surprise your mother tonight when she gets home,” Amy said, as they worked on it. “If we work hard, you can wear it for her tonight.”

Jarod smiled, and leaped up, skipping about the room. “Oh Amy, thank you, thank you.”

“You’ll be the prettiest Jane in town then tonight,” Amy said, using the girl’s name they had begun calling him.

Amy and Jarod enjoyed the day together, and she made him lunch. For Amy it was a perfectly delightful day; she so enjoyed working with Jarod, and found herself wishing that when Emily and Angela reached Jarod’s age, they’d be as much fun as daughters as he was in his girl mode.

“Can you fix my hair this way?” Jarod asked after lunch. “I wanna look like this girl.”

He showed her a cartoon drawing of a little girl in a sundress with two pigtails.

“You want pigtails?”

“Yes, Amy.”

“I think I could fix your hair that way. But pigtails are for girls.” She said this is a teasing way.

“But Jane is a girl,” he said, using his girl’s name.

Amy agreed that before his mother got home, she would dress Jarod in the sundress, put some light makeup on his face, paint the nails of his toes and fingers and fix his hair in pigtails. Just for a minute, Amy questioned whether she should be abetting the child’s desire to be girlish; soon, however, she was in the spirit of making this lovely child into a pretty little girl.

*****
“Mommy’s home, mommy’s home,” Jarod squealed in his high pitched voice. “I wanna surprise her.”

“OK, go in the bathroom, and wait there until I tell you to come out,” Amy said.

Jarod rushed into the bathroom, examining himself in the full-length mirror, feeling tickled to see how cute and girlish he looked. He looked so demure and sweet in the dress that featured a square bodice and a belted midriff, leading to the pleated skirt, with ruffles lining the hemline and bodice. Matching yellow ribbons tied his hair into two pigtails, that stood out at 90 degree angles from his head. He was giddy with excitement.

“OK, Jarod, you can come out now,” Amy yelled.

Jarod bolted from the bathroom, darting across the living room to present himself to his mother, who stood there amazed at what she saw. Jarod stood before, twirled about and curtseyed before her.

His mother looked at him quizzically: “Amy, where’s Jarod? And who is this girl?”

“Mommy, mommy, mommy, it’s me,” Jarod squealed, jumping up and down.

“And who are you?”

“I’m Jane, mommy, Jane.”

She took him into her arms and held him tightly to her breasts, patting his head lightly.

“And so you are, Jane,” she said. “Amy, if this isn’t the prettiest little girl in town, I’d like to know.”

“Isn’t she lovely?” Amy said. “And she did the dress all by herself, except for the ruffles.”

“Amy, you’ve been just wonderful to her and to me,” Nancy said. “Let’s all go out for dinner tonight. My treat. I want to show everyone my new daughter.”

“You sure you ready for that, Nancy?” Amy asked.

“Well, I didn’t think we’d dine in town, but go out to Five Corners. There’s a nice family place there and no one will know us.”

“Isn’t tomorrow Jane’s birthday?” Amy asked.

“Yes, tomorrow, my little girl here turns age 11,” Nancy said. “My how she’s changed.”

Jarod, now Jane, was so excited to be finally going out of the house dressed so prettily. “I’m a girl,” he said aloud with a matter of fact voice that found both Amy and his mother breaking into smiles.

*****
The two women left Jarod to preen about the living room in his dress as they went to change into dresses for the dinner trip. He had never before in his life felt so pleased with the image of himself he saw reflected back; he had always been embarrassed at the sight of himself in boy clothes, feeling he looked pathetic. In a dress, he felt he looked so real, his skinny neck, narrow shoulders and slender arms complemented his soft face, full lips and sparkling blue eyes to make a very pretty young girl.

“I like being Jane,” he announced to his mother as she entered the room.

“I know you do, honey,” she said, walking over to him, sharing the mirror view with him.

“Mommy, I like that dress,” he said, looking at the light blue print dress she had put on. The short sleeves and plugging neckline helped fill out his mother’s modest breasts, and she had let her brown hair flow loosely about her shoulders.

“And I like your dress, too, Jane.”

Amy had squeezed her more ample body into a dark blue satiny dress, with a belt. The dress had a square bodice and spaghetti straps, showing the white smooth softness of her upper body.

“Look at how pretty Amy is,” Jarod exclaimed.

“Oh I really need to lose weight,” Amy responded. “I have to get out more.”

“You look fine, and I think you’ll turn the heads of some men tonight,” Nancy said.

“And all the boys will be looking at Jane here. Isn’t she the prettiest?” Amy said.

“I’m bringing my camera along,” Amy said. “Maybe the waitress will take our picture.”

*****
“You ladies want a table for three?” the hostess said as they entered the Five Corners Eatery.

She led them to a table near the front of the restaurant, which appeared to be one that draw the most attention of other diners.

“Is this OK, ladies?” she asked.

Nancy and Amy nodded, but Jarod who was still not totally comfortable to be dressed as a girl in public just stood unmoving.

“Is this a special occasion for your young princess here?” she asked, placing a light hand on Jarod’s shoulder.

“Not really,” Nancy answered quickly.

“Well in a way it is,” Amy answered. “Janey here made this dress herself. Isn’t it pretty?”

“Did you really, dear?” the hostess asked. “That’s really something. For a young girl to do that is . . . ah . . . well, wow.”

Jarod blushed. “Well, I had help with the ruffles. I didn’t do it all.”

“You mean you did it all yourself otherwise?” the hostess continued.

Jarod nodded, now feeling both pleased, but still embarrassed to be the center of such attention.

They were seated, and as they looked about the room, they were aware that the three of them were the best-dressed in the restaurant. Amy commented that people rarely dressed up much these days, especially in summer.

“Hello, my name is Marcie. I’ll be your server tonight, ladies.” The server was a young lady, perhaps 20 at the most. She was moderately tall, with a tanned, fit body fitted into the waitress outfit, which was a sleeveless white blouse and a light purplish skirt (knee-length) and beige pantyhose, with white sneakers.

Jarod smiled, realizing that during their entire visit to the restaurant, he had been seen as “one of the ladies.” He continued to act out the part, using feminine mannerisms that he was acquiring so easily.

“And this must be the young lady who made her own dress,” Marcie said as she stood awaiting the orders. “The hostess said you made this, honey.”

“I didn’t do the ruffles. Amy did those.” Jarod nodded toward Amy.

“Well, honey, I’ve never known a girl your age to tackle something like that,” Marcie said.

“Mommy taught me,” Jarod said quickly. “I drew up the design.”

“She designed the dress herself?” Marcie asked in amazement.

“Mommy helped me make the pattern,” Jarod quickly interjected.

“Don’t be shy, princess. You should be proud. I am taking dressmaking at the Art College here, and I am not sure I could do that.”

“See Janey,” Amy said. “You’ve got a real talent.”

Soon whispers went around the room among the waitresses, some of who shared their comments with customers. Several other waitresses and customers came by to offer their words of praise, and several times, requested that Jarod stand up to model the dress.

“Isn’t she just the prettiest child?” Jarod overheard one of the customers say.

The excitement was too much for Jarod. He found it difficult to finish his hamburger and fries, and turned down strawberry cheesecake, his favorite. In his mind, he felt he now was Jane in a pretty dress and the thought excited him.

“How does it feel to be Jane?” his mother asked as they walked to the car.

“Mommy, mommy” was all Jarod could say.

“You’ve had a long day, honey, and you’ll sleep good tonight,” she said as they got into the car. Jarod hopped into the backseat, curling up and falling asleep before they left the parking lot.

“She’s really a very pretty girl, Nancy,” Amy said.

“I know, but I am so worried about her. Life won’t be easy.”

The two said little on the way home, and Nancy had to carry her son, now such a pretty girl, into the house and place him onto his bed. She and Amy gently removed his dress, shoes and bra, and put a lacy, pink nightie on him.

“What’s going to happen to him, Amy?” Jarod’s mother asked. “What have we done?”

Amy hesitated: “Nancy, maybe we went too far, but really he seems to want it. He seems so happy as Jane.”

“I know, Amy, and he never seemed happy as Jarod.”

They turned out the light, looking first at the pretty child, curled up on her bed, her pigtails now hanging awkwardly, but appealingly from her head.

(To be continued)



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