Bionic Mamas

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

I Can’t Give You Anything But Items


L’shana tova, y’all.  This post is brought to you by Rosh Hashanah and a city university system that believes its high number of Jewish students should get the same amount of instruction as the non-Jews, which is to say, this goyishe professor gets a couple of days to catch her breath this week and next.

This post is also brought to you by my attempt to take a time-out and not ask a FB friend if, in a discussion about who should be allowed at which local establishments, she really just said that my kid is equivalent to her dog.  Nothing against her dog, who is quite sweet, but I do in fact think it is reasonable to make some distinctions along species lines.  Oh, who am I kidding: her dog should be allowed, too.
ANYWAY, in honor of the holiday and the first weeks of school, I give you this lovely little video of young Count Von Count recalling his first day of school as a young lad.  (A more diverse student body than I might have expected in the Carpathian Mountains, but what do I know about the Carpathian Mountains, anyway?)  This settles a tribal question that had been scratching at the corners of my mind at late: the Count is wearing a yarmulke.

Speaking of celebrity members of surprising tribes, today I read that Mei Xiang, the panda at the National Zoo in DC who just had a cub, is not only Parenting After Infertility, but also had her most recent insemination live-tweeted.   ONE OF US! ONE OF US!

Meanwhile, speaking of us, I am hideously behind on everyone’s blogs.  I miss you and think of you (individually, even!) often, and I’m working on it.  Congratulations!, I’m so sorry, Hoping with you, and Bastards!, all around.  More individual notes coming, bit by bit.

As for the nuclear Us here at good ol’ Chez Bionique, we are holding up.  We had a basically good time with our parents, and despite my sleepless nights of anxiety prior to the trip, the Bean was basically wonderful for the whole, insanely long train trip.  The longest part I was alone for (NYC-Chicago-Little Rock) contained only about about an hour of desperately wishing for another set of hands and a very strong drink, and let’s face it, that can happen without even leaving town.  Especially if you can swing a sleeper compartment of some kind, I highly recommend trains as a method of travel with young children.  There’s space, freedom to move around in it, no baggage limits I’ve ever seen enforced, and lots to see out the window.

On Board the Lakeshore Limited

Also! While we were visiting Sugar’s parents, we went to this zoo (Caution: annoying autoplay video),and…WE GOT TO PET GIRAFFES!  It was the coolest thing!  Pro tip: the hair on their very long snouts grows towards their crowns, so pet UP.

Giraffe Tongue

Almost as cool and much funnier, while visiting my parents, we drove out into the country to see a tropical bird who has been making itself comfortable at a local lake, possibly blown there by a storm.  Best part: the bird in question was a brown booby.  My post-collegiate life has been sadly bereft of brown boobies.

Brown Booby

(Hey, look: it’s Wednesday night Friday.  Sigh. By the time I get photos, it will be Yom Kippur, and I’ll have one more thing to apologize for.)

The Bean. He is walking and talking and eating chicken nuggets. Lordy, I love having a toddler.  Not that he wasn’t a sweet baby, but this just RULES. So much less crying, so many more jokes.  He made his first pun — at least the first one I caught — on Labor Day weekend, while we were riding the subway off to catch another train.  (What’s a weekend without interstate travel?)  The poster above us included a picture of a car, one of his great interests of late, along with the animal kingdom and wheeled vehicles generally.


Car, as rendered in his 18-month-old dialect, is something like “cah,” which at that point could be distinguished from cat (“cah!”) and cow (“caah”) primarily by context.  When the Bean noticed the Mini Cooper overhead, he became quite excited. “Cah! Cah!” he cried, pointing vehemently.  We looked and admired the car.  A beat later, he grinned and said, “Moo! Moo!” before collapsing into giggles.

It’s a good life.



Speaking of babies, I have accepted spring teaching work that will force me back into the world of long, late night commutes, because it will also place me back in the loving arms of the excellent insurance that brought you the Bean.  Yes.  That means what you think it does.  I am excited.  And terrified.

Clearly, this excited terror rates more navel-gazing than a paragraph, but for now: Is this crazy?  This is crazy, isn’t it?  Can we fit another human, even a small one, in this apartment we can’t seem to afford to improve?  Will my fragile psyche survive another round of little-baby-ness?  What if I don’t have it in me to love another child the way I love this one? Will we ruin the sweet thing we have going here, the way the Bean looks at us each in turn to say, “Ma!” and then, to the other one, “Ma!!” and hugs us?  How the heck do I imagine I can take care of a toddler while falling down with hunger and exhaustion the way I did while pregnant with him, let alone if if any part of pregnancy is harder than last time?

I don’t suppose answers exist to those things.  And we do want the Bean to have a sibling, because, on balance, we regret not having our own.  So.  Fears will be waved off.  Leaps of faith taken.  Loins figuratively girded and literally bared, that sort of thing.  Or at least, that’s the plan.

Meanwhile, the jobs this semester are okay, though it’s very stressful starting two new places — with all the confusion, paperwork, and so on — at once.  I hope the Manhattan one hires me again and that I don’t need to take work at the Staten Island one in the future.  It’s a nice enough place, and I love the ferry ride, but getting there in time to teach at eight is brutal.  Might I add how deeply, painfully unfair it feels, at 5:30 in the morning, that I can’t even have coffee until an hour into my commute?  The machine wakes the Bean (when he doesn’t wake up anyway), and the shops are closed.  It’s a good thing I love boats so much.

Ferry View

In the interests of posting this in September, basta for now.  For no particular reason except that it makes me giggle, I leave you with the second best environmental aspect of the Staten Island job (after the ferry, which really is a joy): if I plan things right, I get to walk past this guy between classes:


Collar and cuffs are cloth, by the way.  I’m a little freaked out by the face-ring.

14 thoughts on “I Can’t Give You Anything But Items

  1. Oh I am so excited for Bean, redux! And for puns one day coming to a baby near me! And for train travel, which is the best way to go, hands down! And, most of all, for a real, long post which just made my day so much better. 🙂

  2. Aren’t toddler jokes just the best? The Lion has this thing he does where he pretends to gnaw on my fingers. That shit is hilarious, yo! (At least to him, he laughs his pretty little head off while doing it. My wife and I don’t quite get the joke, but we are fairly convinced that to him, it is the berries.) Good luck in the job ventures and ttc 2.0. You are not crazy to start in the spring. The Bean will be 2 (TWO!) and I always thought that 3ish years between siblings was the ideal spacing. (And then look, I went and spaced my kids 1 minute apart. Best laid plans…)

  3. SO good to hear from you.

    Amen on the toddler versus baby. I am so happy with E. right now I find it hard to pass him over to Q. so I can work on my dissertation. It is a magical age. I can’t tell how much of it is related to his own developments and how much of it results from my new-found confidence as a parent (and hence general willingness to just stop worrying about things) but whatever the reason, I’ll take it. Life is seriously good.

    Wonderful news about hopes for a sibling for the Bean.

  4. Welcome back! Ive really missed your humor, wit and the adventures of the Bean! Yikes (and yeah!) for the Spring TTC (hell) to begin, and cheers to insurance…I will be excited to be cycling with you again, if nothing else.

    I totally hear you on the toddler front — we LOVE it!

  5. i am so sad we missed the bean. he sounds like i want to eat him up. love a yummy toddler who cracks himself up!

  6. Woohoo insurance!!! May you have an easy road to Take Home Baby 2.0. 🙂

  7. Wow, so many exciting things going on. I’m a bit blinded by the glow of the insurance, frankly. That is awesome! Best of luck. I don’t think you’re regret it (most of the time).

  8. Awwwwww the adorable toddler and his adorable mamas. MOOOO! As for crushing fatigue and all, well, I hope your leap of faith succeeds and as you say, I’m sure you’ll muddle through.

    If I ever move to NY, I will remember that I could make a killing selling Very Early Coffee.

  9. Lovely update! So much good stuff, and boy, is that Bean ever perfect. As a baby hoarder, I can tell you that answers do exist to SOME of your questions. It is not crazy. That’s one. And yes, you do have it in you. And no, you won’t ruin the sweet thing, though you will certainly change it, and there will be lots of guilt. Unless things are very different for you guys than for us. Anyhow, it will still be a good life! I look forward to you being less crazy busy!

    • Bunny! That Congratulations! up there was special for you. You can tell, because I haven’t managed to say so on your damn blog. Email to come, someday.

      Your BH experience is reassuring. I am especially interested to know whether you end up FD again, because boy, would I like to have less of that this time.

  10. Long time reader/ never commenter…. I feel for you on the coffee and suggest the following silent coffee maker for one person. I love it. Aero press:

  11. Ya! Bloggage! 😀 And yay! Siblings!

    I totally agree on the whole toddler v. baby thing btw – Bub was an adoable infant, but nothing beats having soap suds whacked onto your head, accompanied by the word ‘hat’ and peals of laughter.

  12. (I thought I commented but apparently, that was only in my head.)

    He is a beauuutiful child.

    I too am a train-lover. Rattle, rattle, thrilling and calming all at once. We made the epic train trip on the California Zephyr from Chicago to SF some years ago. Utterly MARVELLOUS. And as you say, it works very well for very young people, who can charge around delightedly without fear or favour. Highly recommended.

    I agree: the size of your living quarters cannot be a good answer to any important question. For these we need some stirring Goethe quotation. Now what was it, though? Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid. There. Good times indeed, Bionic, and I am very excited for you.

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