Bionic Mamas

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

Gee, but it’s great to be back home


There’s no place like it, for real. Let’s never leave again, except to visit Starrhillgirl.

Hi, internets. Thank you thank you thank you ten thousand times for your comments on that desperate post so long ago. They were one of the few, precious lifelines that I clung to that week in Little Rock, which was almost entirely miserable. In brief:

Item: I at no point told my father to fuck off, though he without question deserved it on several occasions. I did leave the room abruptly a few times to avoid fighting with him in front of his grandchildren. Peak risk of saying things that can’t be taken back came late on our second to last night there, when he took me faux-jovially off to his room to announce the imminent wedding, in March, since that’s when Ms. Alaska’s sister has spring break. Frankly, March is a great deal sooner than I would wish to face dragging my children across the country, even for an event I wanted to attend, even if I had a break from work, which I don’t, and even if Sugar had vacation days available, which she doesn’t, on account of this delightful trip. When I said March was very soon for us to travel (this after a long, upsetting conversation during which I neither cried nor yelled, but I did break the cardinal rule of disagreements with him by showing even a trace of emotion), he told me that was my fault for, get this, not asking after his girlfriend during our phone conversations.

Item: I spent much of the trip trying not to be a total bitch to Ms. Alaska, on the grounds that she is in my view exhibiting ruinously poor judgement but is not a terrible person. I did at one point try to tell her something along the lines of, “my anger is at my father for being an ass to me for the past year,” but she interpreted that as (only), “I am just so terribly sad,” and proceeded to do this saccharine “Ah’ve knohwn yew yore whole layfe,*” thing which made me want to see if my right hook is still functional. So.

*note that Ms. Alaska originally hails from west Texas.

Item: I was immensely proud of the Bean for showing discretion well beyond his years in the face of a truly underwhelming offering of Christmas presents. Can I just tell you how easy it is to please a kid his age who loves vehicles? Here’s the whole thing: buy. A. Vehicle. It doesn’t even matter if it’s one he already has! But a rolling elephant with a tag announcing it is for 6+ MONTHS is frankly a crappy present from a grandparent with the means to do otherwise if he could think about someone besides himself for two minutes. Anyway, the Bean was a complete champ about it, and he did get a present he loved, which was very cheap and from Walgreens but given with some thought to what he likes, because…

Item: Two of my mother’s sisters came. And, internets, their presence is a terrifyingly large part of the reason I’m still rolling along. The trip was so much worse than I’d thought it would be, and they were so amazing. They were like angels, in every sense. They were kind and loving and cared for my children in every way, to the point where I’m tempted to ask them if they’d like to be the grandparents. They were also my very favorite kind of angels, the Old Testament kind. The ones with swords. I don’t get the impression my dad or Alaska were all that moved by their many firm exhortations to not be such jerks/nitwits, but they protested vigorously, and it was so immense to feel so defended.

Moreover, they were sad. Really sad. It’s not that I’d wish this on anyone, but I can’t overstate the sheer relief of being with people who loved my mom and are sad that she died. I sure did not expect that to be in short supply, but the ongoing jolly from my father…. Well, it makes a person feel insane. Listen, I know the man well enough to have a pretty good idea what the basis of this behavior is and to know that it’s late in the day for him to change, because looking at any of his pathological denial reactions would necessitate facing some hard facts about how crappy his own parents were to him. I get that, and in an abstract way I can have some sympathy. But I can do without being asked to play along in this particular case.

Item: my father just now interrupted this rare moment of peace (I am sick and so Sugar has taken the kids to a birthday party without me) with a “save the date” phone call for early June. Whee. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those times when I wish I smoked. One can just look so detached with a burning cigarette in hand. I do have a flask I’ve never used.

Item: I don’t have to get them a gift, do I? Jesus.

Item: I have other things to say, maybe not on the Internet.

Whew! Now that you’re sort of caught up on all that, I remember that this blog was supposed to at least tangentially concern children. So.

The Bean

Wonderful, amazing, funny, clever, and absolutely maddening. In other words: almost four. Do the elevator button tantrums stop someday? I really hope so, because I think I reached my lifetime maximum at MOMA two weeks ago. And I sure hope his college roommate isn’t bothered by all the night wakings.

But. He’s also so wonderful, you guys. He helped me shovel the whole sidewalk in front of the community garden, with such gladness. He suddenly draws people who have real, thick limbs and bodies, having previously barely drawn anything figurative. He still favors sculpture and abstraction, which he describes as such. He’s a three-year-old who wants to go to MOMA, of all things. Clearly, he’s Sugar’s.


Possibly he’s overdosed on modern art.


She’s nearly one, and I predictably can’t believe it. She loves every food ever except hot peppers, raspberries, and avocado. Why don’t my babies ever love avocado? They were supposed to be my excuse to buy them by the dozen! She adores her brother and biting me. Guess which I find more endearing.

Her latest trick is standing up in the middle of the floor, unassisted and unsupported. She is immensely proud of herself. The first time, she stood there saying, “oh, wow, wow,” and she has lately mastered clapping while standing. Here is a painting the Bean made of her on that first day. It’s an excellent likeness, I must say:


Okay, it’s late, I have to teach tomorrow, and an old friend is mysteriously having a Facebook tantrum at me about how unfair the campaign against manspreading on the subway is. I will not stay away so long this time, for reals.

12 thoughts on “Gee, but it’s great to be back home

  1. Oh good grief, this whole Ms. Alaska thing is just EVER SO MUCH bullshit, and I’m sorry you’re having to deal with it. I know he’s your dad, but I am still inclined to say that he needs to fuck ALL THE WAY OFF what with cramming this down your throat/being an insensitive prat/demanding that you rearrange your lives to suit his (barf) wedding plans. I just. Well. I can’t even. I’m glad you have wonderful aunts, and a lovely wife and family, and friends-inside-the-computer, who can validate your feelings, because it sounds maddening.

  2. thank goodness for the sisters. And who knows, maybe between now and June someone suddenly thinks that small children do not need to attend formal occasions?

  3. I say you suddenly come down with somethin’ catching the first day of March. Sorry! Wouldn’t want to give you the wedding gift of diphtheria!

  4. I think a rolling elephant would make a LOVELY wedding present…

    Welcome home. May the love, compassion, and sanity of your chosen family keep you warm all winter long. Those aunts sound like a godsend and your immediate family is, of course, wonderful. At least when they’re not feeling chompy. Blog land is happy to see you.

  5. Oh bionic. I’m so sorry. First of all, I apologize because I read your previous post with horror and righteous anger but then lost the mental note I made to return and comment properly. But I am so so sorry about all this with your dad. It just sounds absolutely awful. I know he is your only parent now, but do you all really, truly, have to go to this wedding? (Probably the answer is yes, but I just wanted to make triple sure.) Also, I’m sure Ms. Alaska is a perfectly okay person but seriously…who gets on a plane to go to a good friend’s funeral and then marries her friend’s widow a year later? Seriously? Who does that? This is just a whole pile of awful on top of an already shitty and terrible situation and loss. I am so sorry.

  6. I’m totally with Lemon Drop re: the re-gift of a wheely elephant. You could probably even put a bowtie on it. You know, for the occassion.

    But really, I’m so sorry for family shittiness.

  7. A rolling elephant is as appropriate a wedding gift as it is a gift for The Bean, so there’s that 🙂 I ❤ the way your commenters think!

  8. here’s the thing about the alaska woman: she’s a moron. i say this because i have watched people interlope into my family and at least they had the smarts to be honest. fawning and obsequious, yes, but to-the-point, addressing the uncomfortable parts even though they’re uncomfortable, so there’s no elephant in the room (pun intended). as in “yes, it’s very soon. no, we don’t want to upset you, in fact, we will do xyz to make sure you’re comfortable.” because that is what sensitive grown-ups do, especially southern women for christ’s sake.

    you are a far saner woman than i, bionic, because i can’t imagine getting through this “vacation” without at least one screaming match involving very foul language. that this didn’t happen, my friend, is because you’re a sensitive, southern woman.

  9. I’m so glad the sisters came to make it more bearable. Because it sounds awful and too soon and all. I’ve been there, or at least in a similar place, and yet I have no suggestions. Hugs.
    Your kids sound adorable though.

  10. Angel aunts of immensity! I love you from afar!

    Well done for surviving AND not flipping your lid, AND bringing Bean to Moma. Massive respect, you’re a powerful woman.

  11. Wow. M’s dad just did this, too. Or something like this. Announced to her that he’s dating. Four months later.

  12. So today I came by because it had been soooooooooooo long since you’d posted, and I figured I could at least say hi, and now I see that somehow wordpress has decided to deny your existence to me. Fuck the fuck out of you, wordpress. I guess the upside is that I now have several posts to read, which is handy timing, since I’m waiting on the next batch of grading.

    Visit to LR: Jesus. I cannot praise you enough for keeping your cool, just hope it’s not Eating You Alive. Thank you, Aunts, thank you. It makes sense that your child would also have extra capacity in the being gracious when others are not being gracious department.

    As always, your children sound like completely amazing people.

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