Loved boy


Oh, words, not even pictures can begin to capture how much we love this little person.

Still I try.

Here, we were en route back home after a day’s visit to Sacramento’s California State Railroad Museum. We travelled there on the day we had as a family to celebrate my forty*cough-cough*th birthday.  Why the train museum? Is Baba a train enthusiast, and has been cloaking this biographical detail from her dutiful readers lo these many years? Er, well, not so much. Not so much until like around six-to-nine months ago, when the wee peanut began to exhibit his deep affinity for (a) things mobile, and (b) trainular such things.

Have we been feeding him a narrow spectrum of gendered options? No, we have not. I submit that his favorite day would have entailed not just a trip to the train museum, but the soundtrack to Tinkerbell blasted over the passenger car’s loudspeakers as we clattered our way eastward to and westward from the city of my birth. (Really, just “Fly To Your Heart” on endless loop.) On this dream day, he would be sporting his sister’s finest chartreuse fairy tutu. I type these words with as straight a face as I have access to. Because it’s the goddess’ honest truth.

I further submit that every boy has this range in him, and I will drop to my knees and weep (mark my words) the day I realize that either end of this spectrum has been clipped off my boy by the powers that be in the culture we’re stuck in.

A deeper analysis of whence and wherefore he has come by these interesting affinities (nature? nurture? both? either? none of the above? the age-old enigma) will have to wait until we have less need for Baba to earn a buck in her rare, childcare-free moments. Which are rarer still these days, while Mama has been in tech weeks (trans: HELL WEEKS; THEATER WIDOWER WEEKS) for her fall show. It opens on Friday (a- 5-6-7-8!), and that day could not come a moment sooner than it will.

Meanwhile, in the quiet of the big sister’s school day, we while away the hours watching Lionel O-gauge train videos on YouTube, coloring in train-themed coloring books, and constructing workable track from the brother-in-law’s old wooden set.  All to the Tinkerbell soundtrack.  All aboard!

8 thoughts on “Loved boy”

  1. He is such a wonderful spirit. I too hope he can hold on to all aspects of himself. Your descriptions really make it clear that what we’ve been trained to see as contradictions are not intrinsically so.

    (Another wonderful train picture by the way. By the time he moves on to other interests you’ll have a whole gallery full, I’m sure!)

  2. Thank you, lizk. Both/and, both/and, 99% of the time the right answer to the either/or question.

    And wow, the photogeneticallity (not a word!) of the train and the train trip. Glad I had a full battery’s worth of juice, space on the memory card, and the ongoing use of a great loaner camera.


  3. I didn’t think it was possible that he could be any more adorable, but that engineer’s cap with his short hair – jeepers, he’s cuter than ever!

    Lovely photos and post.

  4. We’ve had a little clipping of the spectrum at our house and it’s hard to watch. We tell our son that he has the power to choose what he shows to the world but challenge him to remain true to himself always. We’ll see how it works out.

  5. And happy birthday, by the way. You spring chicken, you. You really did do the change o’ life early, didn’t you? Here I was considering you a revered slightly-elder, when you’re really just a whippersnapper!

    And your son is blessed; a boy who is being given options. I think Nelson Mandela said something about apartheid being a prison for everybody concerned, and I think it’s so true of patriarchy as well. I often feel sorry for boys, who are so seldom allowed to fly to their hearts.

    I’m with you on the train-magic, though. Why ARE they so magical to little ones? Our little girl is always transfixed by the sight of one moving through the countryside, too.

    • Annz, I am so glad you continue to push the envelope on besotted-ness. Right there with you. And thank you for the extended camera body & lens loan, with which to take these photos.

      Oh, Vikki, I dread to hear those words. How old is Miguel? How long do we have to brace ourselves?

      Shereen, thank you! You know, I’m by nature a slow person (I’m ready to start a new mov’t, to add to the slow food, slow this-that-&-the-other stuff). But Life Events have tossed me ahead of schedule on things. Death of mum brought me my mid-life crisis at 30 (glad I got that over with!); death of young nephew brought me (I’m convinced) an ahead-of-schedule menopause at 40(-*cough*). Something had to give, & the body said, “Hey! I have an idea!”

      So wise, the re-thinking of Mandela’s statement through patriarchy. Very much true.

  6. So how was the train ride to the train museum, logistically? I ask because we were *just* thinking of trying the same thing with our equally train-fascinated almost 3 year old boy… but I worry a little about post-museum meltdown on the ride home. Any advice would be welcome. Or is your boy past naps now?

    • Oh, he is very much mid-naps. And you touch on the only challenge of the trip: he was unable to fall asleep and therefore bonkers-loopy on the way back, and then (of course, due to lost nap) awoke every 20-40 minutes all night long. So Mama and Baba were bonkers-loopy the day after.

      There are two do-able trains leaving the Bay Area on the weekend — one departed Berkeley at around 7:30am, the other around 9. Trip took between an hour & a half & two hours (if you account for the late train! har!). The trip there was plenty fun; we brought all the requisite coloring books, story books, light snacks, what have you. Basically everyone on the train with a child under 10 was there for the train museum circuit, so we saw several toddlers being walked up & down the aisle.

      If you can, snag one of those seats that faces a big table. Makes all yer kid mgmt tasks about 200% easier.

      The walk to the train museum from the Sacramento terminus is E-Z. Main thing is, I’d bring more comprehensive picnic fare for lunch: the food available immediately adjacent the museum is el crap-ola. Such as, the “real fruit smoothies” were basically convenience store slushies. Just saying. No need to be snobby, but if you’re fussy about eating 1 or 2 of the 5 major food groups, and you don’t consider sugar a food group, you may want to bring sandwiches.

      What was nice was that even taking the 9am train (which got us there around 11), we had plenty of time in the museum and time to eat “lunch” before heading back home on the 2:15 train. Got back into town in time to fix dinner. And reflect on all the fun. Only thing I’d do different is rent a good train-themed movie for the grown-ups to watch after the kiddles are asleep. Strangers on a Train? Murder on the Orient Express? North by Northwest? Silver Streak? The Station Agent? The list is endless.

      Last note: the museum bears multiple visits. We could only notice the many really interesting signs explaining stuff, and the tour was better geared for bigger kids w/ longer attention spans. As the years roll by (clickety-clack), we’ll return and actually learn stuff.

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