Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son

Quickly Saturday


Hey, y’all.  I’m loving all your thoughts about food — and the other posts I’m seeing on this topic around the quarters of the b’osphere (too much? blo’sphere?) I frequent.  Between this and the enormous amount of fun I had researching vitamins for a talk last month, I’m thinking it’s time to return to my old food-writing ways more seriously….  You know, in my copious free time.

The Bean is taking a nap, from which I imagine he will awake shortly.  A few blogs I read* have recently featured quick posts, written in the five quiet minutes the author has at hand, without apology for brevity or roughness.  I like that idea, and while I will always be more of the slow, contemplative sort when it comes to any kind of writing, I thought I’d give that method a try a times.  Like now, if the Bean will indulge me.

[I fail at “brief.”  Oops.]

So here’s what’s happening around here, for those of you playing the home game:

  • The Bean climbs stairs now.  Two weeks ago, we set him in front of a set at the playground, and up he went.  He wasn’t too fast, but there were no false moves: he clearly already knew how.  Primates, my father says.  They climb.  It was so fun to watch him just DO that, no trial and error, no real surprise at his ability.  Just up, up, up.

First Stairs: Considering the Climb
First Stairs: Taking in the View
First Stairs: Approaching the Summit

  • He celebrated with some sliding.


  • The stair experience has me thinking about this idea of “teaching” babies to do things.  Like, say, sleep.  I do hear a fair amount of banter about how important it is to “teach” a baby to do something that seems like part of the standard human package (things like chewing, sleeping, standing, crawling — not customizable add-ons like card-shuffling or tap dancing or sign language or manners), and I wonder how possible, let alone necessary, that is.  I don’t mean sleep training, which is more a matter of retraining the body than teaching a skill; I mean those people who carry on about how if you don’t “teach” a baby to sleep, your 35 year-old won’t sleep well.  Me thinks the causality goes the other way in that case: babies who sleep well become adults who sleep well because that was in the cards all along.  Just like climbing stairs was in the Bean’s cards.  We’re just here to watch him go.  And, you know, make sure he doesn’t plummet off the side.
  • Manners, though.  Yes.  I do want the Bean to have manners, and I mean capital-M Manners, like good North Carolina boys (as he is by extraction) have.  I’m not sure how best to accomplish this, but it’s high on my list of parenting goals.
  • The Bean and I were coming home from the city on the subway the other day, boarding at a station and time of day when I often don’t get a seat — not the end of the world, but not the greatest, either, as it’s much easier to bribe the Bean with cheerios if I’m sitting down at stroller level.  [Yes, I know it would be nice to always use carriers on public transport, but…no.  He’s too heavy to carry in front for long now, and he freaks out on my back in the subway, necessitating getting him out and having a stranger hold him while I turn the carrier around.  Not awesome.]  So here it is, rush hour, and sure enough, there are no seats when the train arrives, though at least there’s some room in the car.  But no sooner have my front wheels touched the platform edge than a 10-ish year-old boy leaps up from his seat, smiling and happy, and gestures for us to take it.  It was such a thoughtful (and appreciated) gesture, but it was also clear how happy it made him to be able to do it, like he finally had an opportunity to do this great thing he’d been taught to do.  He was just beaming at me and the Bean, and his mother was beaming at him.  I want the Bean to be like that, and I want that happy sense of importance for the Bean.
  • Part of our city trip (motivated by my computer’s need for a visit to the vet) was a little fancy food shopping at Chelsea Market, because sometimes I need to remember why we live in such a difficult, expensive place.  The funniest food in the known world, the Bean would like you to know, is pea shoots.  Peals of helpless, hysterical laughter.
  • Sugar and I both have “Fuzzy and Blue” stuck in our heads nearly constantly these days.  But it makes the boy laugh.
  • “Dance Myself to Sleep” is another favorite.  If you’ve ever wondered what our relationship is like, just watch the video.  I am Ernie.
  • Sugar and I have a DATE tonight.  With a paid babysitter and everything.  First time.  Starhillgirl has vouched for the sitter, which is appropriate, since she is my official parenting coach.  We’re not sure what we’re doing yet.  Probably we will find a nice restaurant and go to sleep on the table.
  • I also don’t know what I’m going to wear, because nothing fits.  Still.  This is extremely depressing.  Maternity clothes were kind of fun, but this part just plain blows.
  • I mentioned, I think, how much the Bean loves eggplant.  He devours pasta norma; he crunches up the raw chunks that fall off the cutting board; he sits on the floor doing the baby bird routine, neck stretching up, mouth open, waiting for me to regurgitate set another chunk in his mouth.  I don’t actually like eggplant very much, except as babaganouj.  Pasta norma is okay, but that’s very much an exception.  It has a revolting texture and a questionable taste, at best.  There’s only been one time in my life that I’ve felt differently — and you know where this is going, right?  Pregnancy.  In pregnancy, I suddenly wanted eggplant.  Or maybe it wasn’t me wanting it at all.  Even as a fetus, apparently the Bean had a more sophisticated palate than I do.
  • You know what gift is really forever?  Clothing moths.  Dammit, this is like year four.  Sugar is presently mending more sweaters.  Maybe we should start marketing them as break-up gifts.  Like vengeful sea monkeys.
  • Speaking of household fauna, the cats are gradually becoming more tolerant of the Bean.  I guess it’s hard even for a cat to hold out forever in the face of undaunted adoration.  Maybe especially for a cat.  He knows their weak spot.
  • They — or at least Orson, the black cat, who is more frightened of babies (Michaela is less fond of toddlers but mysterious loves babies.  In a kind of aloof way.)  — found his Halloween costume genuinely terrifying.  As in, full body puff, arched back, retreating into corners.  The Bean, of course, merrily crawled after him, oblivious.  (We separated them quickly, as poor Orson was so frightened we thought he might lash out if cornered.)
  • We meant to make a costume, but…yeah.  Life.  I picked up a bat cape at a consignment shop as a back-up plan, which soon became the only plan.  Really, as long as the baby has ears on, I’m happy.  Sugar made him a bat shirt to go with it, and that was that.

Nothing like a cape for… DRAMA!

  • I just really, really like this kid.  I love him, too, of course, but it’s such a pleasure to also like him.  He is so happy.  (Thanks, donor genes.)  He finds the world so funny (that might be from me; we’ll have to see how cynical he turns out to know for sure), and he loves people so much.  What a lucky Mama I am.

*(and I do read a number of them — probably yours, too, if you’ve delurked around here — but commenting has really gone to hell now that so much of my reading is done while nursing; sorry about that, but know I am still here!)

30 thoughts on “Quickly Saturday

  1. Dood! That boy is just so damn cute. I want the Bean and the Turtles to meet up and revel in the collective cuteness.

    If you wanna mix it up a bit, try “Monster in the Mirror” instead of “Fuzzy and Blue”. You will be wubba-ing all day long. But our turtles LOVE that one. (Okay. Okay. Maybe the moms love that one, but the boys definitely like it well enough.)

    Have fun on your DATE!!!!

  2. I too prefer to write posts that I’ve been constructing in my head for a few days and that have narrative arcs and structure (because I’m a life-long student?), but most days now I have to settle for bullet points. I like to think it is more important to get it all down on the page/screen.

    Your Bean is so gorgeous and sounds like such a character. Love all his pics. Our E. has just recently become obsessed with the cats, but since he is not yet crawling, they find him easy to avoid.

    I’m really serious about manners as well. We always wrote handwritten thank you notes, etc. I want our E. to be a gentleman, even in this age where no one seems to know what it means to be a man any longer. And his Daddy is a superb model.

    Another gift that is forever? Carpet beetles. Damn them and their cyclical lives.

  3. the bean really is too damn cute. i think i may have said this before… love him!

    as for date night, hope it’s a blast! 🙂

  4. To echo every other post – that kid is so cute! I love his dramatic cape pose.

    Squee! Just squee.

  5. LOL at the Dance Myself to Sleep analogy. I think I see a bit of M and I in there, too. Yikes.

    Your little bat is adorable! I love the star pants, too. 🙂

  6. OK, now I’m going to have Fuzzy and Blue stuck in my head for about a month! That one brings me back to when I was 7ish years old and watching Sesame Street with my baby brother. My mom and I also made up our own version: Sluggy and Gray (it rained a lot… so there were a lot of slugs). Great story, huh? Ha…

    The Bean is so adorable and I love the bat costume!

    • heh. i like to make up new versions, too. my inner dj has already appropriated sluggy and gray (it’s just that kind of a day…. let’s slimy, slippery play…. love being sluggy and gray. hoo-ray!)

  7. He’s so sweet.

    I reckon you kind of catch good manners from your parents. The expectation is set, there may be occasional prods, and it follows naturally. If it comes from a basic impulse of consideration, not wanting to look good, or be all put-upon. (Which some people use it as, isn’t that weird? It’s like they are just waiting for someone to do the wrong thing, so they can leap on their high horse. Truly missing the point.)

    Bean will be a lovely boy.

  8. I loveeeeeeee the cape!

  9. BAT!!!

    (Also, granola moths – those things one finds in dry goods – are a gift that keeps on giving. Good heavens, one of the things I *don’t* miss about the South. Along with palmetto bugs, which are basically giant flying cockroaches. And wolf spiders. And… anything with more than four legs, really.)

    Bug is VERY polite, partly because we always say please and thank you to him, at least the first time, and partly from 6,000 repetitions, while kneeling at toddler level, of “Say please/ thank you/ sorry/ you’re welcome.” He even says please on his own now. And he calls adults “Miss Sara” or whatever, since that’s what I taught him, darn it. 🙂 So, see, it CAN be taught!!

    (I would also like a free hour and the ability to concentrate, oooh, ha ha ha, that’s a good one.)

    • re: meal worms’ endemic nature in the south, check. in fact, i didn’t worry for ages about our clothing moths, because i assumed they were the other kind, and hell, what can you do? don’t those just come with the kitchen? (apparently not outside of the south. oops.) i am so used to the idea of a certain number of mostly-harmless bugs being the normal state for a house not liberally doused in poison, that i forget it’s different up here, especially in a big apartment building.

      oh, bug. bestill my heart with the “miss”-ing.

  10. Oh what a beauty he is. I’ve been having okay luck with both pantry moths and clothes moths with those sticky pheromone traps. They won’t prevent the moths from seeking out your very best cashmere hand knits, but at least you can have your revenge. I’ve been having some related thoughts regarding the whole “teaching” line of thought. For similar reasons, because oh my god my table manners have gone away entirely now that I’m hungry all the time and rushing to eat before something explodes (though OH HOW I LOVE the BLW approach for making mealtimes nicer in that regard) plus a bunch of thoughts about toys that I finally got around to writing about…I’m with you. Let the little primates unfold on their own where possible, but somehow manners have to get in there. SIGH. This probably means revamping my own behavior.

    I hope you guys had a brilliant date. And watch the Bean for signs of that white nose fungus thing that’s been decimating his kind.

  11. I am a sucker for a link shout-out.
    And yes, pheromone traps. Just remember to change them often enough.

    • really? i thought those things were just to show you had a problem, not to actually fix it. (i blame wood floors with too many crevices + way too much cat hair for the longevity of the problem here. lord knows we have washed and bagged everything. sigh.)

  12. He is too adorable. Especially as a bat. I vant. To nom. His cheeks!

    Hope you two had a great date night!

  13. I am so glad your boy-on-subway story was about an older child being delightful and not one about how they are all so hideous and your baby will never ever be that way. Thank you.

    And on the manners front, please and thank you we’ve got. I think they do get that by example and I happen to know you have excellent manners ;). We have not yet figured some of the possibly more important stuff, like, say actually speaking (a word or two would be nice) and making eye contact when meeting new people…

  14. love the cape! love your boy. you always make me think. or let me think. or something. i am with you on the idea of “teaching” babies to do things. they seem to figure it out all on their own as far as i can tell!

  15. That cape is too much. I love bats anyway, but he has taken small furry winged gorgeousness to a whole new level.

    Sorry about the moths. Ugh. We had a lice scare last week (spent the weekend with friends with kids that turned out to be totally infested, which we discovered AFTER Egg had a sleepover and costume party complete with frequently exchanged hats), and so far so good, but it definitely put the scare of eternal vermin into me.

    Regarding climbing and sleeping. Yes. Monkey mothers don’t bother with sleep training, yet I’ve never seen an insomniac baboon. Go figure.

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