March, 2011
Archive

  • Meditation (for when life does, and doesn’t suck)

    I have kind of a manic personality. It is hard for me to sit still, and I often will talk to the point of the other person spacing out wishing they had said “yes” to watching that movie. My parents often referred to me as “bipolar” as a child, indicating something about what kind of kid I was, and how my parents were pretty insensitive. Regardless, a lot of people would suggest that I meditate to harness some of my excessive energy, as I would fantasize about punching them in the face. I didn’t like the idea of sitting and doing nothing, especially if I could stand and hear myself talk.

    As life would have it, I one day decided to do a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Considering I had never meditated before, that might have been a bit extreme… but If I am going to do something, I am going to go hard… even if it is being peaceful and one with the universe.

    The meditation strategy at this particular retreat was called the Hua-Tou method. An oversimplified explanation of this experience is that we spent from 4am-10pm in a meditative state, repeating the same mantra over and over and over again. This mantra was to help us connect to the mysteries of the universe, and all that is unexplainable through the confines language. Questions like “Where do I go when I die?” or “Where is my mind? Is it entrapped in my brain, or do we all share a collective consciousness that is ethereal and without matter?” The type of things you think about as a teenager smoking a joint and eating Fruity Pebbles, but the sensation is much more profound. The answers are not something to be explained, but an awareness to be felt by the higher plane of our true selves. I came to realize that because I am apart of the cosmos, I inherently know everything, because we are all one… but my ego… the “I” of my existence is what takes me out of understanding the eternal nature of this connection. Blah…blah…blah

    That experience not only transformed my life, but also re-wired the way my brain worked. It made me appreciate the present in an actual visceral way, because I knew it was all I ever had anyway. Meditating doesn’t mean that my life is any less chaotic, but it has helped me in how I deal with the intricacies. Life is going to suck at times, but how you react to what happens is where you have absolute freedom.

    As such, I committed to a life of meditation, and meditate every morning and every night. The Munch does it with me… and though she hasn’t grasped the whole silence and sitting still part, I still feel like she gets it and knows she is an eternal being of limitless love.

    March 31, 2011 • 5-8 months, Mommy Mind, Musings • Views: 25

  • Is your baby better than mine?

    The other day my friend came over with her baby who is two months younger than The Munch. I got to hold the baby, and you can tell he thought he had better places to be.

    “He is just really hard to hold right now… all her ever wants to do is crawl”

    “Crawl! He is crawling! The Munch doesn’t crawl yet!?”

    I put baby Moses down, and sure enough, not only was he crawling, this baby was straight up break-dancing. All this while my baby was too lazy to even get up and see this display… she was too busy taking a nap. In the middle of the day mind you!

    “He can’t sit up yet like the Munch though…” My friend was trying to be gracious. Yes, The Munch could sit up, but she wasn’t walking on her hands like this kid who was two- months younger!

    I guess every parent has to realize at some point that some other kid is better than theirs, but that didn’t stop me from attempting to drill the diapers off of her.

    “Okay Munch… you can do this!” And she would just look at me and pet the rug.

    “Munch… don’t you have any ambitions?” Pat, pat, pat… “I like the texture of this rug” her eyes revealed to me.

    The funny thing is, before Moses came over, I didn’t give a care that The Munch wasn’t crawling. What is it about comparing yourself, or your child, to another being that fosters competition? What about my knowing that a younger baby was crawling made me want my baby to crawl? If I didn’t know about Moses, I would have been fine lounging on the rug with The Munch counting stitches.

    It doesn’t matter if someone is better than you, has a more glamorous life, a sexier lover… none of that changes what is going on in your life. I had a friend who whenever she ate a cookie, would hold me down and force-feed me to do the same. It was like she thought the cookie wouldn’t make her fat if I ate one too.

    The more concerned we are with other people, the more distracted we become. We have to have expectations of ourselves beyond anyone else. Your greatest competitor should be you. Then life will forever be a journey to improve rather than a quest to compare. If we rely on others to be our motivation, what happens when you beat that person? Would you fill fulfilled, or full of dread not knowing where do direct your energy towards next? As long as you know that you can always to better than you, you will continue to push yourself with each accomplishment a reminder of your limitless potential.

    Right now The Munch may not be the most driven baby you ever met, but at least she knows a good quality rug…

    (Moses about to do a head spin)

    “YOU CAN DO THIS!!”

    March 30, 2011 • 5-8 months, Baby Body, Musings • Views: 29

  • How long is too long to breastfeed?

    Imagine you had a pet leech. A leech you had to bring with you everywhere you went, because you loved that leech, and you wanted to protect it. Say that you could either feed that leech by sticking it on your skin, and letting it feast on your blood, or you had to grind up fresh organic steamed veggies that were of course locally grown, and picked by virgins. You then had to let that leech feed itself, so it could “experiment” with food and texture… and then that leech slimed around and got food everywhere. Wouldn’t you just let that leech drink your blood?

    So you get my metaphor right?

    I have this thing with babies and food. They are not neat eaters. They get food all over themselves, and then the food spit paste gets on their hands, and they want to touch everything. Something about it really makes my OCD excel into overdrive.

    And then there is the preparing you have to do. The dishes, the cleaning, the remembering to bring the food with you. All this when I can just use my boobs. They are always there, like trusted friends. They keep making food for The Munch… in fact, I don’t even have to think about it. There is no conscious effort on my part like having to churn butter. It just happens.

    And not to be vain or anything, but breastfeeding is the best diet I have ever been on. I can eat whatever I want, and rather than it going to my hips, it turns into food. It is like I don’t even have to digest… each burger just plops into a boob.

    Now I know things can get really awkward as babies become kids. Maybe not for the parties involved, but for everyone else pretending there are not staring. I have a vivid memory of a boy running over to his mom, lifting up her shirt, getting a top-off, then returning to soccer practice. An image like that never quite leaves you. In fact, if you want to have nightmares for the next 4-8 months check out this video.

    As such, I gave The Munch her first food. An avocado. At first, she was a apprehensive, and there was some gagging and dry heaving involved… but then she got into it. Although I will still breastfeed her for a while, I am paving the path so things don’t get uncomfortable at her prom.

    “Ummmm… are you sure about this whole eating thing mom?”

    “Wait… lemme try that again”

    “Okay… I am into it”

    March 29, 2011 • 5-8 months, Breast Feeding, Mommy Body • Views: 34

  • Growing Up So Fast

    Remember when you were a kid, and you would see your parent’s friends who you never really remembered, but act like you did? They would look you over and say the classic like of “my how you have grown!” And you would smile awkwardly and wonder if anyone would notice if you licked all the frosting off the side of the cake. Then an adult conversation would ensue of how kids “grow up so fast” and “time flying” and you would think they were nuts because it seemed like the 6 days until the next round of Saturday morning cartoons was a lifetime away.

    Now I get it.

    I cannot tell you how many times someone will say to me “Yeah, well, enjoy it. They grow up so fast.” And you know what? I cannot hear this enough. Every time it reminds me to enjoy this stage. This fleeting moment of her life. Even though it may be annoying that between the two of us, making sure there is no poo residue on her bum is exclusively my responsibility, I am sure there will be a time, when she is 16 and has to say “Mom… you really don’t have to inquire about my abilities to wipe myself properly. I got this.”

    So what I realized, is The Munch doesn’t only inspire me to appreciate her formative years, but also appreciate my time witnessing it. She is this constant reminder to be grateful for my own life as well. She makes me feel like the age-old philosophical quandary of the meaning of life is as simple as enjoying the one you are given. And I have to say, that is easy to do when just smiling at someone is a guaranteed way to get a smile back.

    March 28, 2011 • 5-8 months, Mommy Mind, Musings • Views: 29

  • Am I Really That Hilarious?

    My baby thinks I happen to be the most thrilling thing since the invention of the upside-down roller coaster. If I were to use some of my more simple material… say giving her a big open mouth smile… she is overcome with delight. Or lets say if I were to step it up a bit and transform my fingers into the tickle monster, she will squeal with glee as her eyes smile with giggles.

    I never knew I could make someone that happy.

    The problem with this, is that I am getting an ego thinking everyone should laugh hysterically if I pop up from behind a door. I get confused when fluttering my lips doesn’t make someone totally enamored by me. It is like the older people get, the harder you have to work for them to enjoy you.

    Is that because what seems amusing as a baby gets old through repetition? Or that our sense of humor becomes more refined? I find that hard to believe considering the success of the Jackass trilogy… When I think about how much the average adult laughs compared to a baby, I wonder why we have gotten so serious? Maybe everyone should just lighten up and realize that my chewing on a squeekie toy is seriously comical.

    March 27, 2011 • 5-8 months, Baby Brain, Musings • Views: 39

  • Presidential Race 2060

    I used to spend a fair amount of time watching conspiracy theory documentaries. If you watch enough of those at 3 in the morning, the idea that a ruling class of reptilian descendents dominates the world’s power dynamic seems quite plausible. In fact, you don’t even have to be a devote of the 9/11 Truth movement or think the electronic voting machines are rigged to have genuine distrust for politics. You could just as easily turn on your local news and feel the fear of not only your local reservoir being contaminated by the toxic sludge of a corporate interests, but also if the darn kitty will ever make it out of that tree.

    I found the more exposure to information I have, the more desperate I feel. The state of the world is already so precarious with environmental catastrophes, why is it that the people that have the most power, that we vote into office, are not necessarily the most trustworthy. I feel like I have a greater chance of getting a straight answers from a drunk gambler in Vegas than I do from most politicians. We rely on our political system to protect us, but it is that same system that is funded by an industry that prioritizes profit over people or the health of the planet.

    When I think too hard about this I want to bang my head against a pillow (a wall would hurt)… because what can I do about it? I don’t want to be a politician. I don’t like the way I look in skirt suits.

    So, I have decided to get The Munch into politics at an early age. So far she is interested in the philandering part, being a big fan of boobs, but not so sure about all that paper work.

    March 25, 2011 • 5-8 months, Mommy Mind, Political Banter • Views: 27

  • Mother Nature VS Father Nature

    You know when you hear statistics like ½ the animals will be extinct in 50 years, or the world’s population will double in the next 30, and you do the math and see how old you will be when these things happen? You might say to yourself, “Man, I might be kinda crusty by then, but I might be around!” Then the panic sets in, and you have to lie down, or watch a Judd Apatow movie to get your mind off all this “thinking” you have been doing.

    I had one of those moments in my pre-baby days, and I called home in a state of panic and paranoia. In between bites of ice-cream I told my dad, who was lucky enough to answer the phone, about my apocalyptic vision and how over population was going to give rise to a plague that would make the Bubonic one seem like the sniffles.

    “So? I will be dead by then.”

    Touché.

    Now that I have a baby, even when I think of catastrophes that might happen after I am gone, The Munch will be alive, and that means I still give a care!

    So I ask you, is my Dad just totally insensitive, or is there an inherent difference between mothers and fathers?

    I think it is fair to say, that men have been ruling the world as long as written history is concerned. You guys did some great things… but… I don’t think we can deny the fact that there hasn’t been enough concern for the long-term impact. Oh… and there has been a lot of violence, raping, pillaging, enslaving, but those are just details. Point is, men are making decisions that serve them best in the interim, but what about the world we are handing down to our children?

    Now, I know there are women in politics, and they make similar decisions as men do, so this is not a man/woman argument, but a masculine/feminine one.

    Maybe it is the feminine impulse, the mother instinct, the maternal side in all of us that needs to become the more valued force? The mother considers her children, and cares about their survival… unless she is a reptile and eats them, but you get what I am saying. We need to as a global society focus on the nurturing of the mother, and less on the dominance of the father. Or, maybe I just have daddy issues.

    (A classic shot of my dad and The Munch)

    (My mom and The Munch…. you be the judge)

    March 24, 2011 • 5-8 months, Mommy Mind, Musings • Views: 45

  • I Want it Because YOU Want it!

    Has this ever happened to you? You are hungry, you go into the kitchen to make a sammich, and someone is in there. You say to them “I am going to make a sammich do you want one?” And they respond to you “No thanks. I am not hungry.” Now, you were perfectly willing to make them their own, sammich, but you are hungry, and when your sammich is done you are looking forward to eating the entire thing. After one delicious chomp you hear “Can I have a bite?”

    I don’t know about you, but I hate when people do this to me, and yet I do it to people all the time.

    What is it about other people’s things that makes me what them?

    I see this tendency in The Munch already, and sometimes I even use it to my advantage. If she is bored with her toy, but I want her to still be entertained, I will take whatever it is, and put it my mouth and act like I am having the best time. I will remark on the texture of said object, look at it intently, and maybe even give it a kiss. This makes The Munch what that toy more than ever! She reaches out her arms, opens her mouth in eagerness, and grunts “Give me that thing!!! You are having so much fun with it!”

    Even babies think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. There is something about someone else’s desire that makes it all the more attractive. How many times do people get interested in their best friend’s girl, or like a guy more because your friend said he was cute? Or you are about to give away a shirt, and the fact that someone actually wants it makes you want to keep it? Maybe that other person’s longing validates your own. Or maybe we just want to possess everything that someone else has because then we feel better than them?

    Munch: “Hey, I got this orange foot here… I am thinking of getting rid of it.”
    Calvin: “Don’t do that, I will take that foot.”

    Munch: “Naw… actually, I am gonna just keep it.”

    Calvin: “No… gimme that thing! You said you didn’t want it.”
    Munch: “Well I want it now!”

    Munch “Look at this cool orange foot I got. I really love it.”

    March 23, 2011 • 5-8 months, Baby Brain, Musings • Views: 22

  • Manicuring a Manic Monkey

    If you had long nails, you wouldn’t necessarily scratch your face right? You might use them to itch different parts, but you wouldn’t go around making yourself bleed. I keep trying to explain this to The Munch, but she doesn’t seem to be reading the memo. If I am not careful she is going to look like Edward Scissorhands.

    By the way, she is not the only person she scratches. The Munch scratches me too. I look like I just got to second base with a rose bush. The neighbors are starting to talk.

    I know what you are thinking. Why don’t you cut her nails Toni?

    Yeah. I have thought of that too. But you try clipping the nails of wild beast. They don’t sit still. And you know what happens when they move, you clip their finger!! Ohhhhh the horror that the first time I learned for sure that blood ran through her veins rather than the organic Turkey Hotdogs I ate every night during the pregnancy, it was because I made her bleed! I feel the guilt of a Catholic girl on prom night just thinking about it.

    So I tried biting her nails instead, and on accident I bit her finger. Needless to say she was not a big fan of this, and now I sleep with one eye open.

    So if anyone asks, little scratches are the new black this season.

    (This scratch is so in right now)

    (This is her first band-aid after I clipped her finger :( )

    March 22, 2011 • 5-8 months, Baby Body • Views: 42