April, 2012
Archive

  • The Secret to Getting What You Want… 100% of the Time!

    It is nice to think that the meaning of life is something poetic and metaphysical… like the meaning of life is to question the meaning of life… or the pursuit of understanding a universe that will always slightly be out of reach of understanding… or the mastering of compassion.  But what if the purpose of life is as simple as getting what you want?

    There are two ways of looking at parenting.  One is that your child is a not yet developed being that is operating on a primal level, and nothing they do or say should be taken too seriously because it is like anthropomorphizing an animal’s emotions.  Another way of seeing young children is as a pure manifestation of “human nature;” the impulses that we all share, but ultimately learn to manipulate, mask, and control in order to function in society…  otherwise known as getting what you want out of life.

    My tendency is to believe that the sociopathic tendencies children exhibit aren’t just glitches in the matrix, but real conditions that we all battle throughout our lives.  It just becomes more private as we age.

    What The Munch cares about more than anything else right now is getting what she wants.  There was one instance where her and her cousin Calvin were playing, and Munch wanted to hoard every single ball in the room.  She couldn’t even hold all the balls and was trying to use me as an accomplice just so Calvin could have none.  When she had all the balls, Calvin cried, when I gave Calvin 1 ball, Munch cried.  It was a viscous cycle.  But Calvin ended up crying less long, and was less irritating about the whole scene, so eventually we all just succumbed to Munch because she was by far the most dramatic and annoying about getting what she wanted.

    You would think she had no idea what she was doing right? That she is barely two and wasn’t cognizant of the pain caused to others.  So I asked her that night…

    “Munch, did you have fun with Calvin today?”

    “Yeah…”

    “Did Calvin have fun with you?”

    “Calvin crying.”

    “Calvin was crying Munch.  Why was Calvin crying?”

    “Ball.”

    Do you see what I mean????? She knew Calvin was sad about not having any balls to play with,  but she cared more about getting what she wanted then his feelings.  And she wanted  ALL the balls!

    So I learned a lot from this scenario.  One thing is that people care about getting what they want a lot more then they let on.  And two, the key to getting what you want is acting out the most so people get so aggravated they just give you what you desire so you will stop being so annoying.  Unleash your inner toddler.  I suggest crying and stomping feet, throwing objects close to you, endlessly repeating what it is you want until the words have no meaning, banging head on floor, crying and yelling some more, allow snot to drip down face and spit to collect in corners of mouth, throw some more stuff, and  keep up the momentum of the crying.

     

    April 30, 2012 • 1 year old, Baby Brain, Behavior, Disciplining, Musings, Parenting • Views: 49

  • Self-Portrait

    What if what I see as the color red, is what you see as my color green, but we both call it red?  How can we ever know what color actually looks like to another person?  You can’t describe colors, just like you can’t draw a map to your G-spot.  It is all too allusive and perhaps imaginary.

    If something as basic as color is potentially individualized rather than universal, what about the complexity of how we see our selves vs. how other people see us?  Not just in a metaphorical way, but in an actual way.  When you look at my face does it look the same as when I look at it?  There is so much subjectivity to our visual selves, which is why people can be beautiful to some and not to others, why art is moving to some and not others, and why some people think pleated pants are okay.

    This makes me wonder how The Munch sees herself.  Does she understand beauty and think she possess it?  Or does she look at her face and just see the body parts we name, like eyes, cheeks, chin, nose, and tongue randomly placed like a Van Gogh? Does she have an opinion on the aesthetic of the positioning?

    So I decided I would give her my phone, which has a reverse camera function, and see if she took a picture of herself and what it would look like.  This felt like a very artistic innovative creative effort on my part, and I could see the future of my gallery opening.

    So… yeah…. This is how The Munch seems to view herself.   Either this is really profound or she was dropping the phone and accidently took a picture.

     

     

    April 27, 2012 • 1 year old, Musings • Views: 64

  • The Answer to Your Problems

    It makes me insane when someone is acting perceptibly perturbed, but when you ask them “what’s wrong” they answer “nothing” in a obviously sulky way.  You know that something is upsetting them, because they are behaving like they do when they are bothered, but you have to pry it out of them like a perverted dentist.  It usually begins with “Its just that…blah blah blah something you did, and meow meow meow some more stuff you did.”

    I am a firm believer that if you have a problem you have to approach people to deal with it rather then expecting them to come to you.  I also am a firm believer in firm tofu because the other stuff is too mushy when you try and cut it.  Not every grievance you have needs to necessarily be articulated either.  Having an independent ability to deal with annoyances is pivotal to a functioning relationship.  If you let someone know every little thing they do that can be irritating, how can they ever be themselves around you?  I have issues with people, but most of the time I attempt to be empathetic and infer where they are coming from rather than asking them why the way the floss their teeth makes me want to punch them in the eardrum.  Everyone is going to act duplicitous or shady at times, and it is important to differentiate between petty instances and when things need to be actively addressed.  It is dangerous to expect other people to solve all your problems.

    I may be the first person to notice this about toddlers, but they happen to cry a lot; and not always for a good reason.  I know.  I am very observant.  So I have been trying this strategy with Munch where if she starts crying I will ask her what’s wrong, but I won’t immediately go to her.  She will then have to think about why she is crying and figure out how to explain it to me.  I know her language is limited and she can’t explain how she feels insecure about not knowing the difference between red and green and the subsequent anxiety this causes about the meaning of mortality… but it is a work in progress.  Then I ask if she wants a hug.  If she wants one she will come sit on my lap to feel comforted, but sometimes just talking about it is enough to calm her down and move on by herself.  I am hoping this will help Munch to learn that sometimes she can figure out problems on her own, and sometimes the love of another person can help her work through them.

    I am also too lazy to get up a lot of the times and her coming to me is just easier… but that has nothing to do with anything so forget I just said that.

    “Munch…. you are so far away… I can’t reach…”

    April 26, 2012 • 1 year old, Behavior, Mommy Mind, Musings, Parenting • Views: 49

  • Damned If You Do, Damned if You Don’t

    In most of my relationships I try to establish really low expectations of me.  Not to be a jerk, but when someone has an expectation of you, they get really let down when you don’t come through.  So as a way of keeping peace in my life, I make an effort to make sure you don’t think I make too many efforts.

    With The Munch however, I have created a really high standard of what she has come to expect from me.  I am usually never away from her for more than 3 hours, and although I feel grateful to be able to spend so much time with her, when I am gone for longer it disturbs the fabric of her soul.

    Today I went to Vermont for 8 hours to rehearse a dance I am working on,  and then take two amazing dance classes.  Extreme? Yes.  But it is a far drive, there is no where near me that offers classes, child care worked out that way, and most importantly I lost 3 pounds of water retention from sweating- so I am going to take some Facebook pics.

    But when trying to put Munch to bed after a day of indulging my needs, what is usually a very easy process turned into the most dramatic crying fest.  She was like a drunk college girl who just broke up with her boyfriend, found out her parents are cutting her off, and realized she has class everyday at 9:00am next semester.  I tried for an hour to leave her peacefully, but finally gave up and had to leave her sobbing.  There is no worse noise in the cosmos then hearing The Munch crying for me.  Wait… just kidding…. the sound of laughter.

    It is so hard because if I don’t do the things I am passionate about to stay with her all the time I will lose my mind, but if I prioritize myself and have day doing only what I want to do I lose my heart.

    April 25, 2012 • 1 year old, Adventures, Baby Brain, Behavior, Parenting, Sleeping • Views: 58

  • Talking Behind Your Back

     

    I talk behind people’s backs.  Not my best quality.  My boobs probably are.  But it happens.  I don’t, however,  see myself as flagrant or obnoxiously gossipy because I find petty details less interesting then in-depth analysis.  I do have some ethics in my strategy.  I only say things I have actually said to you, (or am preparing to) and I won’t talk about you to someone who is better friends with you then they are with me… otherwise they would potentially tell you want I said making me look like an ass.

    I think talking about people is totally natural.  It is a way of processing relationships, and finding peace in the things that bother you most.  It is also a way of connecting with other people.  There is this conversation topic… you… and discussing you can feel intimate.  Sorry.

    However some things are sacred and should be treated as such.  Interestingly, there are many secrets I keep of people that I am not very close with, but to betray their trust would make me feel ashamed.  It is one thing to broadcast my own opinions, but when you start divulging intimate personal information that could affect someone’s life, it is time to consider the consequences.  There is a code of decency that supersedes friendships and should be honored.

    But we have all gotten caught talking about someone, just as we have all caught someone talking about us.  The people I talk about the least are the ones who are most open to openly dissecting our relationship.  It makes me feel immature talking about someone who I could just as easily bring up my issues with them directly.

    So I guess here is my moment…. I am finally going to talk to Munch about using my toothbrush when she can’t find hers.  What?? You should see the things she puts in her mouth.

     

    April 24, 2012 • 1 year old, Musings, Relationships • Views: 101

  • The Spirituality Gene

    Considering the history of religion in humanity, one could assume that spirituality is engrained in our psyches.  That it is a part of our genes.  I personally am critical of most organized religions, however, mostly because there are elements of power, control, and sexism.  I cannot fathom a hierarchy of worth in a religious pursuit, nor the idea that some men (and men alone) have more access to godliness. I believe in a universal truth and that every being who seeks G*D with purity and commitment will eventually find what they are looking for.  I can’t even assume it is the same for everyone, but that isn’t really relevant.

    That is why I don’t understand all the imposed segregation and factions.  We as humans may have different paths to understanding the divine, but why can’t we travel down parallel lines in peace?

    Raising a child makes you wonder if their young souls sense the deeper meaning of religion?  Beyond what tears us apart, but what brings us together.

    This weekend The Munch and I went to sit with some Tibetan Monks who were working on a sand mandala for peace.  They had two instruments of metal they scraped together to create an extremely intricate design, grain by grain.  The effort seemed not only arduous but also painstakingly tedious, yet the Monks seemed to be content with the process.  Creating a work of art so detailed and beautiful, that would eventually blow away: an ethereal beauty just like life.

    When we entered the room The Munch was remarkably respectful.  She seemed to intuitively understand something profound.  She sat on my lap for an hour watching the Monks create, as I envied their quite minds. Can I just say nothing will make you question the insanity of your inner voice more than a peaceful looking monk placing a grain of sand 1mm to the left…

    April 23, 2012 • 1 year old, Adventures, Musings • Views: 58

  • The Perils of Porn

    I did not grow up with the internet, so my discovery of porn was a lot more innocent then it is for today’s youth.  Before the limitless access we now have, you weren’t exposed to porn unless you actively sought it out. You couldn’t just sit back and type a few letters on your computer, but instead had to transform into Nancy Drew and wait for an empty house. My dad either wasn’t that pervy or part of the CIA, so I never found anything.  It wasn’t  until my best friend stole a tape from her friend’s dad when we were 13 that I saw my first porn.  It was from the 70’s and called Flesh and Laces Part 2.  I never did get to see Part 1 and I have always felt a deep emptiness about that.

    Now I wouldn’t say the movie was tame, but it wasn’t demented.  There was some girl on girl, some blowies, some num nums, and a little oopsie doopsies… but it wasn’t like I felt that I saw anything that out of the ordinary.

    Fast forward 16 years to post-internet porn and the delightful time I had viewing the progression of the industry.  It was a weird scene… we can start there.  A group of people hanging out smoking pot, drinking, and some hard core porn projected on the wall.  Now I will tell you what is not a good idea.  Being high, free brownies, and double anal penetration.  I guess the guy who lived their had a pretty decent collection and as I plowed through the titles with such charms as Fist Fucking Mania, and 3 Dicks One Pussy I started to travel down a rabbit hole of horror.

    The human body is not meant for modern porn.

    So here is my problem with what is going on with porn.  Not only is it creating an impossible standard for any woman to and forcing a lot of “No honey, I am not going use a 2-foot dildo that goes through my body and out my mouth” arguments….  But there is no way these women are enjoying what they are doing.  In fact, I am willing to bet the men involved are aware of this.  Porn these days isn’t just pushing boundaries, it looks extremely painful and often times disgusting.  Not in a raunchy fun lets get kinky way, but in a “I got poo particles stuck between my teeth” kind of way.

    The turn-on is the degradation; the fact that a woman would stoop so low just to please you.

    What ever happened to being turned-on because she is nice enough to let you look at her naked body?

     

    April 20, 2012 • 1 year old, Current Events, Musings • Views: 174

  • Don’t Tell Me I Suck When I am Telling You How You Suck

    I may be the fist person to notice this, but no one seems to like it when you tell them what you think is wrong with them.  The conversation will mostly likely get quite tense the deeper you go into why you don’t like their behavior.  In fact, I am willing to bet that most people will then start criticizing you while you are attacking them, and thus not really listen to your analysis of why they suck.

    We all have defensive mechanisms when being berated, because that is so much easier then actually dealing with the situation at hand.  Of course it is not like every time someone chooses to explain how lame you are they are correct in their assertation, but it is hard to decipher the validity of their point when you are too busy thinking of comebacks to pronounce their faults instead.  Sometimes people are groundless in their complaints, but sometimes they have a relevant observation that you can learn from.  You may never know unless you spend time honestly discussing what it is they have come to bring to your attention.

    I tried this the other day with The Munch, and was met with quite a lot of resistance.  It went a little like this.

    “Munch, Mama doesn’t like it when you kick her when she is trying to change your diaper.”

    “Mama poops”

    “Yes Munch, that is true, but not really applicable to what I am trying to tell you.  Mama wants you to be calm, and not kick, when she is trying to help you out by changing your diaper.”

    “Mama poops and pees in the potty.”

    “Look Munch, you are getting a little personal here and I don’t appreciate these aggressive comments.  Can you please just work on not kicking me?”

    “Kick Mama.”

    Do you see what I mean?

    April 19, 2012 • 1 year old, Baby Body, Baby Brain, Musings, Pee & Poop, Relationships • Views: 79

  • I Can Tell If You Don’t Like Me

    I think it is pretty obvious when someone doesn’t like me.  I know what you are thinking… “Who couldn’t like you Toni??” Oh… wait… what? Sorry… I was thinking about maple syrup flavored forks to eat pancakes with too.

    When someone is not vibing with me I usually take two approaches.  Strategy A is to over-try to make them like me and end up seeming quasi desperate.  Strategy B is to tap into what it is I think annoys them, and play-up that part of me so they get even more aggravated by my presence.  If you are not going to like me, then you are going to really not like me.

    I know not everyone is going to like me on planet earth, because I sure don’t like everyone I meet… but still.  Where do you get off not liking me?  Maybe the best approach is to ignore the person so they think you are more desirable.  You know how people always want what they can’t have?  Like how right now I want your computer.

    The other day I went to the park to socialize The Munch and let her go down the slide a few times.  On this day there were two main types of mom’s and neither of them were fans of mine.  Type 1 were the young hip moms wearing long dresses, sun glasses, and head scarves.  Type 2 were the moms wearing khaki shorts, Patagonia t-shirts, and crocks.  The cool mom’s didn’t seem to get how cool I am despite my cargo pants, and the preppy moms seemed to be offended by my over all attitude of letting Munch play on the big kid playground and not following proper protocol.

    In short, I was not making any friends.

    In the midst of all this I was trying to be a responsible parent and watch my child who was going down the big kid slide.  I had to catch her at the bottom so she didn’t shoot off the end and I had done this about 89 times at this point.  But after a while I wasn’t really paying attention anymore because I was consumed by the confusion of how these moms didn’t get how awesome I am.  Then The Munch slide down I went to catch her by her crotch and arm pit… my goal being to use the momentum of speed she had just acquired to soar her into the air and spin her around before I put her down… but instead I lost my grip and ended up throwing her.

    Yeah.  That is right.  I threw my kid about 3 feet into the mulch were she landed on her face and cried.

    But it made me laugh and laugh and laugh.  The more horrified people were, the more I inappropriately laughed.  But you know what?  We hugged it out and she did the slide 89 more times.

    “Yeah this may be safer Mama… but let’s do the slide again!”

     

     

    April 18, 2012 • 1 year old, Adventures, Mommy Mind, Playing • Views: 63