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When Jodie Patterson's 2-year-old daughter Penelope told her that she didn't like bath time or wearing her clothes, Jodie was at a loss.
"There was an intense reaction to his body from himself," Patterson says, referring to Penelope.
Finally, she asked her daughter, one of five children in the family, what was going on.
"I said, 'What's really wrong, baby? Why are you so upset?" Patterson, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., says in the short documentary "Mom, I'm Not a Girl" from Cosmopolitan.com. "And Penelope said, 'Because everyone thinks I'm a girl.'"
"Oh, baby, it's fine. However you feel on the inside is great," Patterson told her daughter.
"No, I don't feel like a boy, Mama," Penelope replied. "I am a boy."
Since then, Jodie has been treating her now 8-year-old daughter as a son, calling Penelope "he" and often shortening his name to "Penel." Her transgender child also chooses outfits from the boys' section at stores and wears his hair short, with a modified mohawk.
And while Patterson says that it's been an adjustment for the family, Penel's brothers, sister and friends have been very protective of him.
What gives her pause, however, is puberty and what happens then.
"All the rites of passages of a woman with trans kids, those are the worst things to have," Patterson says. "A trans boy who gets his period, sometimes it can be super depressing."
And as a self-described organic, clean-eating family, Patterson also considers the thought of giving Penel hormones and chemicals "frightening."
That said, Patterson reveals a couple of lessons she's learned from having a transgender child.
"Winners or losers they got back up. That's the biggest thing. You just have to keep getting back up," she says. "And I think the other one is, accept happiness in any form. Who am I to say how happiness looks or how happiness feels?"