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  • I See How I Suck

    When someone does something shitty to you, the deed is done. They can never take away their past actions. The only thing they can do is change the way you feel about their shitty behavior.

    When someone refuses to acknowledge how they’ve been crappy, their crappiness is infinitely more intense in your mind. Yet if they some how recognize that they may have been crapalicious, then it is much easier to get past it.

    So basically, if you see how you suck, then I don’t have to think you suck anymore. But if you refuse to admit your suckage, all I can think about is seriously how hard you suck.

    I probably get into a fight every day with my kid about something. There are instances when these disagreements are because of my behavior, but 99.9999% of the time she’s just being an unreasonable twat. So inevitably The Munch and I will argue, and when she doesn’t get her way, she storms out of the room and slams the door.

    Now there is really no better treatment then the silent treatment. If you are mad at me, and want to ignore me, then that is fine with me. Go right ahead. But usually Munch’s silent treatment is preceded by her yelling in my face, which is just as annoying as it sounds.

    When The Munch returns back from her dramatic exit stage left, we have a moment where we make up. You can’t just act like that shit never happened! You told me you would poop in my shoe if I didn’t let you watch My Little Pony Munch! If I don’t make sure you know how I feel about your suckiness, then I can’t get over this! YOU MUST KNOW! We have to discuss the impetus of the conflict to truly process it, and that impetus is YOU!

    But… where Munch used to be a more passive receiver of my analysis of her shitty behavior, now she is turning the tables onto me!?

    Munch: Here Mom, I brought you this leaf.
    Toni: That is really sweet, thank you. I am sorry we fought, but can you understand that I don’t want you to watch TV in the middle of a beautiful day? It’s not good for your body or mind. You can play outside and use your imagination. I’m not saying “no” to hurt you, I’m just looking out! You really don’t have to yell at me for that.
    Munch: Okay, but you also don’t always have to tell me what to do.


  • The Art of Spoiling

    We all know that Grandparents tend to indulge their grandchildren. It comes with the territory. I guess for them it’s fun giving kids whatever they want, and then sending them back to their parents to deal with repercussions – because who cares!? And actually fuck you for your teenage years… here’s your child who’s high as fuck on sugar and will totally crash in about 20 minutes.

    My mom should lead seminars on spoiling. She has taken it to a fine art. I truly believe the MOMA should commission her for a live performance piece. Grandparents across the nation can learn from her ways.

    When I tell my mom things like “I like to be aware of Munch’s sugar intake so she doesn’t become a monster,” or “I like to limit her screen time so she doesn’t become a FUCKING MONSTER,” my mom usually just rolls her eyes at me. She insists I am being dramatic, and that The Munch is “a lovely child who is easy to be around and a great companion.” Yeah… do you want to know why she is a good kid? BECAUSE I DON’T LET HER EAT SUGAR ALL DAY, LIMIT HER SCREEN TIME, AND TELL HER “NO” ALL THE FUCKING TIME SO SHE ISN’T A PSYCHO BITCH!

    It’s like my mom doesn’t see the correlation between boundaries and decent behavior!

    Yet she is the Grandmother, and she will do as she damn pleases. For example, The Munch comes home from a sleepover the other day and tells me “Manna let me have 3 cookies for breakfast this morning.” I called my mom thinking Munch was exaggerating because surely NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would give a 5 year old 3 CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES FOR BREAKFAST.

    Toni: Hi Mom, how did last night go?
    My Mom: She was an angel. I gave her 3 cookies for breakfast this morning to celebrate the American Iranian nuclear peace treaty.
    Toni: Are you fucking serious?
    My Mom: I want her to remember this momentous day where America and Iran became friends!

    A few days later I picked up The Munch from my mom’s and asked casually what she had eaten. You know, so I had an idea of what food groups, and if there was already a fair amount of treats I should be aware of.

    My Mom: She just ate healthy things – mango and some veggies
    Toni: Okay great!
    Munch: I had 3 cookies and a Nutella sandwich. AND Manna let me watch TV the whole time. I watched hours and hours of My Little Pony. Like so much, my eyes hurt.
    Toni: Did you now?
    Munch: Yeah! Mom, can I go to Manna’s again tomorrow?

    The look of a truly cracked out Munch.



    July 22, 2015 • 5 years old, Behavior, Disciplining, Eating, Family Drama, Mommyhood, Parenting • Views: 473

  • Owning Your Shame

    The thing about doing something you regret is that you are often too ashamed to own up to it. When you are afraid to share your humiliation with other people, it ends up burrowing deep into your psyche. It then festers inside your soul like gangrene as you are left alone to deal with the remorse. Not only are you then shouldering the burden of your guilt, but also the heavy load of keeping it in.

    I feel like the only way to truly forgive yourself for misdeeds is to air them out like socks. Rather than tucking your offence back in like teenage boy with a boner, just let the mast of your transgressions fly erect.

    I had one of these experiences the other day. I was bringing The Munch to her last day of school picnic, and of course, was running late. I was also supposed to pick up her Uncle and Cousin Calvin on the way, so I was consequently making them late too.

    Of course in the grand scheme of life, it is not a big deal that we weren’t going to be on time. We were probably just missing out on some pagan Waldorf ceremony where the group sang to grandmother moon while making mazes out of freshly harvested wheat – but I was feeling anxious non the less.

    Part of my problem was that I was SUPER FUCKING STRESSED out that week. A lot was going on, and I was NOT on my best form. I am not usually one to take out my feelings on others, but much like those rare moments when you think a fart is just a fart – shit happens.

    So Munch and I got in the car, drove down the driveway, and were about to turn onto the highway.

    Munch: Wait Mom! Can we go back and get my Frozen Flip Flops?
    Toni: Dude no. We already have your sneakers and other sandals. Let’s just go… we are already late.
    Toni: NO!

    This wasn’t just any “no.” This was the kind of “no” where I screamed in Munch’s face with such vigor that her hair blew back from the velocity of my breath.

    The Munch turned away from me, looked out the window, and silently cried.

    Okay, there is NOTHING more disturbing than a child crying silently.

    I felt soooo fucking horrible about myself. But I was also still SUPER aggravated! GODDAMN THOSE FROZEN FLIP FLOPS! I HATE THEM!

    Toni: Munch, I’m really sorry. I should not have yelled like that. But sometimes you can be really annoying when you don’t take “no” for an answer. Can you understand that?
    Munch: Yes.

    Munch was still pretty damn sad. So just to totally mix messages, confuse things, and probably fuck her up for life – I turned around and got the shoes.

    Toni: Here are your shoes. I really resent doing that, but I did it out of guilt because I snapped at you, and I don’t like snapping. Just please realize that when people say “no,” you have to respect it.
    Munch: Okay.

    We hugged it out, but she was still pretty quite on the drive to her cousin’s house. So when her Uncle and Cousin got in the car, rather than let the energy chafe the vibe of the car like testes on a hot thigh, I just told them the story of what happened.

    Toni: On our drive here, Munch really wanted her Frozen flip flops, but I really didn’t want to get them, and I yelled at her super loud! Like I was a child! I acted like a big baby rather than the grown up!

    We all laughed.

    Munch: And then I cried! But we made up, and my mom gave me a hug.

    Then everything was fine. Why hide this outburst so we both had to pretend it didn’t happen? By talking about it, we both could let go of it. People flip the fuck out all the time, and the best way to deal with it is to look it in the face and admit it happened.

    This is me gearing up to be an asshole…


  • A Monster is Ruling My life

    The parent child relationship is a dance of power dynamics. Of course as the grown up, you are in control – but there are moments when the ferocious emotional reaction of your child will make you bow to their supremacy over you. Sometimes I hold my ground against The Munch being an unreasonable twatt, but there are also instances where I will bend over upside-down and twisted to avoid her wrath.

    This is a story that tells the tale of the true craziness of my life.

    It all started with getting Munch’s new bedframe delivered.

    I was with my friend Grace, and suddenly realized that in order for Munch’s new bed to be set up by the delivery men, I would have to unmake her current bed and move the mattress. This may not seem like a big deal, but in my world, it was huge.

    The Munch has a thing about her bed, and the set up of her stuffed animals. It’s a very elaborate installation art piece that I am NOT allowed to touch. I haven’t even washed her sheets for 9 months. There are bloodstains from a bloody lip, an unidentifiable green blemish, and I am sure variety of forms of E. Coli.

    Toni: Fuck. If I move her mattress, Munch is going to know I moved her stuffed animals?
    Grace: And?
    Toni: She is going to get really mad.
    Grace: And?
    Toni: You don’t get it.

    Grace and I moved Munch’s mattress, and I washed her sheets since I had the chance. The bedframe was constructed, and I did everything in my power to make the bed exactly as I had found it. Although I did fail to use the 5 blankets she had been using to avoid the crumbs from eating cookies in her bed a few months ago.

    I went to pick Munch up from her friend’s house, and since it was a beautiful day, suggested we go to the playground before going home.
    Munch: Can we stop by the house so you can get my Frozen shoes and my Elsa flip-flops?
    Toni: Sure.

    We stopped by the house and I found her Frozen sandals, but not the stupid flip-flops. I had forgotten to mention this however, because while I was in the house, I was so fixated on her bed being absolutely perfect for her to see.

    We headed to the park, but first stopped at the Organic Store for some $38 sandwiches.

    Toni: Come on Munch. Let’s go in the store and get the sammiches.
    Munch: Can I get a treat?
    Toni: Sure. Just put your shoes on.
    Munch: Did you bring my flip-flops?
    Toni: I couldn’t find them. But I brought the Frozen sandals, so just wear those.

    Now keep in mind we were in the parking lot of a judgmental hippy store, and now my kid was freaking the fuck out over Frozen flip-flops. I was trying to be patient, but I was also debating shoving my head in a juicer. I tried to reason with Munch that she has 2 other shoe options to choose from, but she was having none of it. She was in rare form. I finally got out of the car and said when she was ready to calm down we could go in.

    I wanted to just turn around and go home to avoid this whole scene – but the problem was that I had already ordered the sammiches over the phone. I HAD to go in and pick them up. I couldn’t bring my crying crappy child with me because that was too embarrassing. So I waited. And I waited. And waited some more while Munch continued her total break down in the car.

    Eventually my neighbor pulled into the parking lot to do his grocery shopping.

    Toni: Hey. Can you watch my car for a minute while my kid has a tantrum? I have to go in the store and pick up the sandwiches I pre-ordered.
    My Neighbor: Uhhh okay?

    When I came back out, The Munch had stopped crying and was talking to my neighbor. I thanked him, and got in the car.

    Munch: Can I still get a treat?
    Toni: You have got to be fucking kidding me.
    Munch: But you promised.
    Toni: Dude… do you seriously think I am going to get you a treat after that?
    Munch: But you promised!!!!

    At this point I was weak. I was broken. Munch put on her god forsaken Frozen sandals, and we went inside so she could get a treat. I don’t know why. I was just trying to have a nice day I guess. But once in the store, I guess Munch hadn’t really gotten over her mood, so she couldn’t figure out what treat she wanted. She then started stomping her feet in frustration.

    Now my kid can be an asshole. But this was some next level shit. I had never witnessed this level of cuntyness.

    We left the store and I was livid.

    Munch: Can I have my chocolate now?
    Toni: No way. And we are not going to the park either. You were so rude in there, and it was embarrassing. I got you a treat because I said I would, but that doesn’t mean you can have it after you acted in such a disrespectful manner.
    Toni: Am I? Do you think I like going to the playground?
    Munch: No.
    Toni: Was I taking you to the playground for my health? Or because you like it?
    Munch: Because I like it.
    Toni: Have you been kind to me? Or appreciative at all of my efforts to do things for you today?
    Munch: No.
    Toni: Would you give you a treat if you were me?
    Munch: No.
    Toni: Okay. So no treat, and we are going home.
    Toni: You are acting like a baby.

    The Munch cried the whole way home as I fantasized about driving into on coming traffic. At this point we were both starving because neither of us had eaten lunch. I got to my house, threw her the sammich, and went to the yard to eat alone.

    We kept our distance for a few minutes, and then The Munch came over to me with flowers she had picked. She then handed them to me.

    Munch: I’m sorry.

    Oh she’s good. She is soooooo good.

    We made up, ate together, and everything seemed fine.

    Toni: This is the plan. We are going to Sally’s for dinner, and you have to take a bath before then because it’s been a few days. So lets go do that, and then get ready.
    Munch: Okay.
    Toni: Oh. I almost forgot. Your new bed came. Do you want to see it?
    Munch: YAYYYYY!

    We ran upstairs. Munch was ahead of me. She entered her room, and my heart tightened.

    Toni: I had to in order for your bed to be delivered. But I put everything back.
    Toni: Okay. I don’t want to fight about this. Lets fix them together.
    Toni: Yes, but I washed everything and put them safely in the closet.
    Toni: Dude… we got this. I will take everything down, and we can do it together okay?
    Toni: You weren’t here. Let’s not have a tantrum, or act like a baby. We can talk about things and figure out solutions with our words and actions. So explain to me how you like it, and we can do this together.
    Munch: Okay. First we have to talk off all the stuffed animals and the blanket so we can put the cozy blankets down first on the bottom.

    I started taking her stuffed animals of the bed so we could remake it the way she liked. I moved the tiny bunny, the little bear, the giraffe, and then I put my hand on A FUCKING LIVE MOUSE!!

    A mouse had been cuddling with her stuffed animals, just chilling next to the tiny badger, and I almost picked it up with my BARE FUCKING HANDS!

    Toni: AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

    I pulled Munch off the bed. The mouse was now buried under the other stuffed animals on the floor.

    Munch: What? WHAT IS IT?
    Toni: IT’S A MOUSE!
    Munch: Where?
    Toni: THERE! Under your animals!!
    Munch: Well get it and bring it outside.
    Toni: I’M SCARED.
    Munch: Come on Mom, you can do it. Don’t be such a baby.


  • Hating Your Parents

    You know how you once thought you would never turn into your parents, and then you realize, “oh fuck, I am totally just like my parents?” Yeah… so do I.

    There are many things my mom did to me when I was a kid that I SWORE I would never do. She ate my Halloween candy when I was at school, she also ate my valentine chocolates when I was at school, and then she once bit the head off my Easter bunny when I was at school. OBVIOUSLY I SHOULD HAVE NEVER GONE TO SCHOOL!!!

    Along with her penchant for sweets, my mom’s also a compulsive cleaner. If you are eating in her kitchen, she will tidy around you as you try and finish your meal. She will even go as far as to pick up your plate and wipe the table clean mid bite. She is obsessed with order and everything being in the right place – kind of like Martha Stewart on meth.

    Because my mom likes things to be neat, she was also always moving our stuff and throwing things out. In her mind it was clutter, but to my brother and me, those He-Man toys were important!!

    The way I learned to deal with my mom’s ways was deciding personal possessions are meaningless. One day you could come home, your things would be missing, and you just moved on. Maybe that Godzilla doll did have go, even though now I would never know where its vagina was. These are the questions of my childhood that will remain unanswered.

    But it turns out that I am now also a compulsive cleaner. I’m constantly moving Munch’s stuff around and giving away old shitty toys I can’t look at any more. I try to be discerning, and only abandon the objects she discarded, but sometimes my instincts are wrong. There have been moments where she looks at me with rage in her eyes and asks, “Where is that one Barbie shoe that was in that box?! I NEED IT!”

    Kids have a lot of fucking shit, and their shit takes over your house like an infestation. In every room there are remnants of plastic toys to step on in the middle of the night. It’s hard to escape, and sometimes you just want to purge and say, “fuck all your stuff.”

    In order to deal with the vomit of neon littering the house, I ordered some furniture for Munch’s room so she could better organize her toys. She spent all night putting everything away in just the right place, and we were both happy with the result. But then I went downstairs, looked at the living room, and felt like there was still too much crap. There was a table that was covered with her paraphernalia, and I really wanted it put away.

    Okay so here is the thing about Munch. She’s an installation artist. She creates these set ups, and then refuses to play or touch them because she put so much effort into their arrangement. I’m not trying to stifle her vision, but it’s also super annoying because then there are these shrines of her “work” I’m not supposed to touch.

    So what did I do?

    I cleaned up the fucking table.

    What happened when she saw it the next day?

    She was fucking pissed!

    Toni: I cleaned up in here.
    Toni: Last night when you were sleeping.
    Toni: I’m sorry. But you wouldn’t let me clean it, and it was driving me nuts.
    Toni: Yeah, but then you never played with any of those toys again.
    Toni: I’m sorry, but it looked really messy.
    Munch: I AM SO CROSS WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Toni: Look, you can’t just put your toys everywhere. That’s not fair.
    Toni: It’s right here in these bins.

    I showed Munch the bins, and to be honest, I did get rid of some of the things that were on the table. Like I don’t know… a pile of rocks she brought in from the driveway. But I also kept a lot more than I wanted to. Munch then started tearing through the bins and throwing things across the room looking for all her nick nacks.

    Toni: Dude, that isn’t fair come with me. Lets go on a tour of this house.

    I then proceeded to drag her into every room in the house.

    Toni: Whose stuff is this here?
    Munch: Mine.
    Toni: What about here in this room. Whose stuff is this?
    Munch: Mine.
    Toni: Come upstairs. What about here in the hallway – whose stuff is this?
    Munch: Mine.
    Toni: Do you see how your stuff is all over? You can’t monopolize every room in the house! You’re not the only one who lives here. We have to compromise okay?
    Munch: Fine. I will make my collection again, and if you touch it, I will throw your computer out the window.

    Pretty sure I won’t be touching this table for a while…


  • Dealing With Your Addictions

    I have never been addicted to anything, but I have abused a variety of substances. Even though my relationship to drugs and alcohol was excessive – and would lead to my doing things like being at a bar and falling onto a glass table full of drinks, breaking said table as my entire body became submerged in cranberry juice and vodka, then getting right back up to dance like that never happened – I never got hooked.

    So I can’t say I personally understand the struggle of addiction, but I do understand the urge to fill the existential hole in your soul with cocaine. It happens!

    I think the root of addiction lies in wanting to satiate your emotions with something outside of yourself. It’s a way to deal with the monotony of existence, or mask the pain of life. You turn to a chemical compound that will shake shit up inside your mind, and dull your heart from having to feel.

    I know my kid is only 4, but I want to set up good patterns of behavior even now. I don’t expect that The Munch won’t ever experiment with drugs. I am sure one day she will get super fucked up, hippy flip at a festival, and then have to vomit on her best friend because she mixed nitrous with an ecstasy acid combo. These things happen! I can’t shelter her from wanting to party in her youth, but hopefully I can build the groundwork so she has the mental fortitude to avoid being consumed by chasing the dragon – because that guy is fast!

    I want The Munch to be able to express her inner being, and not feel confined by the confusion of the human condition. I figure the more we confront things head on, the less she will feel the need to escape later in life. Sure, I am not dealing with any hard-core strife right now. I mean, it isn’t that complicated to process your tears after losing a Frozen flip-flop. Yet I have noticed that when The Munch hurts herself, her first request is to watch something on TV to “take her mind off it.” And when she is bored, and doesn’t know what to do, she always asks for a treat.

    I decide that we needed to unpack these instincts so she doesn’t one day move to Tampa, Florida.

    Munch: Mom, my sunburn really hurts. Can I watch some Carebears?
    Toni: Munch, you don’t want to watch something just to run from being in pain. You need to face it head on.
    Munch: But I really wanna watch something so it doesn’t hurt.
    Toni: Yeah, but life is full of pain. And sometimes you have to just sit with it. That’s the only way to realize that you are not your pain, and you can overcome it.
    Munch: Can I overcome my pain tomorrow morning and watch something tonight?
    Toni: I’m not sure it works like that.


    Munch: Mom, can I have a treat?
    Toni: You already had like 5 chocolates today.
    Munch: But I REALLY want another treat.
    Toni: Munch, if you have a treat every day then it’s not special any more. You are just eating sugar all the time and cultivating a sugar addiction. Remember when we talked about how sugar is addictive?
    Munch: Yeah but what does it mean again?
    Toni: Well….
    Munch: Oh right. Addiction is when you can’t control yourself and you just want more and more and more even though it’s not good for your body.
    Toni: Exactly.
    Munch: How about I have one more treat today and none tomorrow. I will work on my addiction, and I won’t have treats every day. Just sometimes. And a lot of them.



  • Splash Me and I’ll Splash you Back

    After squatting out my child 4 ½ years ago, every single day of my life since, I’ve been a mom. The problem is that I don’t always feel like being a mom. Or maybe more accurately, some days I am better at being a parent than others.

    This is a story about one of those days where I just wasn’t at my best. The night before I had a party, I was tired, and also my lady parts were leaking blood. It was not a good scene – like seriously, it was a murder scene in my pants. My preferred day would have involved a room full of pillows, an opium pipe, and someone reading to me the philosophy off a cereal box while tickling my back.

    Yet as the universe would have it, The Munch wanted to go swimming. Now she has recently learned to swim without “swimmies,” and I wanted to honor her interest in cultivating this new skill. So I agreed to take her, even though I would have rather, I don’t know, covered by body in leaches.

    At first everything was going fine. The Munch was doing a great job, and I was encouraging her efforts. But then, I got kind of bored, so started swimming around myself and going under water. I was still right next to her, but while I was underwater, Munch was momentarily stuck and couldn’t get to the side. She didn’t’ sink or anything, but she needed my help. When I came up to get to get a breath, I grabbed her and all was fine.

    Munch: Mom!!! YOU CAN’T GO UNDER WATER!!!!!!!
    Toni: Munch, if I’m underwater, wait for me to come up and then practice your swimming.
    Toni: Dude, we have been in here for an hour, and I’ve been doing nothing but watch you. Sometimes I want to go under water and have fun swimming too. You have to give me a turn to do that.

    Okay, so I can understand she wanted me to be there for her in case she needed me. Which I WAS!! But I also felt like I needed to have turns practicing I was a mermaid.

    Toni: Listen, we have to communicate better and take turns. I will tell you when I go underwater, and then you wait for me to come back up.

    It felt like a good solution. But then Munch didn’t hear me say I was going underwater, and got SUPER mad when I did it again.

    Toni: MUNCH! I told you I was going to. You have to pay attention, and let me have turns to swim too.
    Munch: Well I DIDN’T HEAR YOU!

    At this point we were both livid. Munch was mad because she wanted me to pay attention to her, and I was mad because I thought she was being a tyrant.

    Toni: You know what? I can’t just spend my life doing only things for you. Sometimes I want go underwater, and you have to respect that.
    Munch: Fine! If you go underwater, then I’m going to take Molly (the stuffed animal I sleep with), and you will never get her back. I will put Molly where you will NEVER FIND HER!! Then I’m never going to talk to you again.
    Toni: Okay. That’s enough. We’re going to get out of the pool now, and go home.

    This was the point where Munch splashed me. Now we were both already wet, but their was an intention behind the splash. She looked me in the eye, and splashed water in my face. It was a splash that said, “Hey Mom, fuck you!”

    What I did next I am not proud of. But it’s what happened. I splashed her back.

    Munch stomped away, and so did I. We were both seething. She then came over to me and splashed me 10 times while I tried to ignore her.

    Toni: If you splash me one more time, we are going home, and you are going right to bed even though the sun is still out.
    Munch: But I don’t want to go home and go to bed!
    Toni: Well, do you think you have been acting kind?
    Munch: No!
    Toni: Do you think you should apologize for splashing?
    Munch: I think you should apologize for splashing too!!
    Toni: I only splashed you because you splashed me first!
    Munch. MOM! You’re acting like a child.

    Point Munch.

    So then we had to BOTH apologize for splashing. My pride is officially not only swallowed, but also fully digested and has transmuted into shit that will now have to be evacuated.


  • Desire Vs Logic

    We don’t always want what’s good for us. Desire in its rawest form comes from a deep primal craving to indulge in the moment – regardless of consequences. Some of the best times of my life were when I abandoned all reason, and allowed myself to succumb fully to my yearnings. But, you also can’t spend every day doing only what pleasures you – like watching 12 hours of documentaries on Ancient Aliens while eating nothing but cookie dough ice cream sandwiches, then doing a bunch of blow off a hooker’s tits before going to club to dance the night away and have sex with a stranger on the bathroom floor. You can get cavities that way.

    The reason why the ability to reason is so important is that it keeps us from spending all our time in a dark void of our longings. When we consider the long-term impact of our decisions, we tend to make better ones. That’s why I only do cocaine off the breasts of young college girls now. See how I’m maturing!?

    Part of the parenting process is monitoring your child’s wants, because they’re still learning how to self-regulate. Sometimes they control themselves and choose not to go to the point of excess. Yet other times they struggle with finding a balance between reasonable pleasure seeking and extreme debauchery.

    Recently, the main fight I have been getting into with The Munch is about screen time. She’s allowed to watch things, but I also have to be the one to create limits. If I were to let her, she would seriously watch cartoons all day. I mean, that would be fine if she was in her early 20’s and taking bong hits – but she’s a child, and it’s just not appropriate behavior.

    On Saturday we had our most major blow out to date. I had let Munch watch the iPad the entire hour drive to my dance rehearsal, and the entire hour drive home. We had a plan that when we got back, we would make chocolate strawberry pancakes. But, once we got in the house, she decided she wanted to finish her show.

    Munch: Mom, I really wanna finish my show. Can I please!!!!???
    Toni: Dude, you said you wanted to make chocolate strawberry pancakes?
    Munch: Well, can you make them while I watch something?
    Toni: No way! You’re not my evil stepmother, and I am not Cinderella. If you want the pancakes, you have to be my little helper.
    Munch: Can I watch something first, and then be your little helper?
    Toni: We aren’t going to have enough time.
    Toni: You know what? Do you what you want, but I am asking you not to.
    Munch: I’m just going to watch one thing!

    I decided I would let her be the master of her domain and make her own decisions. Partly to see what would happen, and partly because I was sick of saying “no” and then dealing with her incessant efforts to negotiate. One thing is for sure – The Munch would make one hell of a used car salesman.

    Toni: Okay, Munch. It’s time to go to Grandma’s.
    Toni: Listen. I would have made those with you. But you made a decision to watch something instead – and now we have to go.
    Toni: I told you I would make them WITH you, not FOR you. This is the thing. When you choose to watch TV, you are not making any memories. You are just sitting there avoiding boredom.
    Munch: But I HATE being bored!
    Toni: No one likes being bored. But it is through allowing boredom to come, that your imagination is challenged.
    Toni: Maybe you should have made the choice to make a memory with me, and we could have done that. Every time you choose to be in front of a screen, you aren’t living life.
    Munch: Well I want to bring my iPad to Grandma’s house then.
    Toni: That is not happening.
    Toni: Grandma will play games with you. Human to human games. She doesn’t want to watch you play the iPad. Grandma wants to spend actual time with you, and make memories.
    Toni: Munch, if you were the mom, and your daughter was acting like this – would you let her bring her iPad?
    Munch: No.
    Toni: And do you think you have watched enough things today?
    Munch: Yes.
    Toni: Do you realize that by not letting you watch stuff, I am trying to be a good mom to you?
    Munch: Yes.
    Toni: Do you want me to let you do whatever you want, and be a bad mom?
    Munch: No.
    Toni: Your friend’s don’t watch that much TV, do you think you have watched more than them today?
    Munch: Yes, a lot more.
    Toni: And if your friends are using their imaginations they are going to get smarter right? And if you just watch things, your brain will melt. Do you want your friend’s to get smarter than you?
    Munch: No. I want to be as smart as my friend’s and use my imagination.
    Toni: Okay, so do you understand why I am saying “no, you can’t bring the iPad to grandmas?”

    Check out at her inner conflict…


  • I Think I’ll Go Cry About That

    Isn’t it kind of nuts that ocean water pours out of your face when you feel emotions? Although sometimes it feels really good to release liquid out your eyeballs, crying is also a really intense way to express yourself. Have you ever been an argument with someone, just really verbally eviscerating them, but then they start crying so you feel bad and have to stop. That’s the worst! Stop manipulating me with your tears!

    Maybe it’s because I am from New England and believe in things like walking outside in wet socks during freezing temperatures is a good way to build character – but I try to keep my eye-fluid to myself. Crying makes me feel too vulnerable. My body language folds in, my face contorts, and my nose pours like a mucus waterfall. No thank you. If I am going to feel feelings around other people, I prefer indifference and emotional constipation.

    Kids, however, don’t even give a fuck when it comes to crying. They will cry any time, in front of anyone. Tears are their go-to form of expression because they don’t feel the social pressure to hold them in. I respect this period in life because it is the only time where you truly lack the shame of your outbursts. There is something freeing about exposing the underbelly of your emotional self, and preserving that openness is crucial to growing into a well-adjusted adult. The more capable you are of being in touch with your feelings, they less you will be consumed by them.

    However, crying is not the only way to communicate your feelings. There is a performance aspect to lamentation, which does lend itself to wallowing. When you are in a state of weeping, you are not exactly looking for solutions to your problems. Whoever you are with has to be a witness to the tyranny of your tears. Even though I don’t want to be a dictator of expression for my child, I also don’t want her to get into the habit of crying as a default.

    Oftentimes girls are socialized to articulate their discontent through tears because it is expected – and allowed when they are young. Boys are usually told to stop crying, because that threatens their masculinity. The result is that women tend to cry more to communicate, whereas men get angry. The root feelings are the same, yet one manifestation is passive and the other is aggressive. I don’t want my little girl to rely on tears to get through to people.

    When The Munch was young, I noticed that she would kind of indulge in her sadness. If she hurt herself she would cry, which was fine, but then she would stay crying long after the physical pain had subsided. Maybe it was an age thing, but it also made me nervous. I didn’t want her to get into a custom where every time she stubbed her toe it was an opportunity for self-pity. So I came up with a strategy where after I minute of her feeling the pain, I would then re-enact the trauma with one of her toys or dolls. This brought her out of her head, and she would stop crying and instead help choreograph the replaying of the scene. Now when she falls or hurts herself, she barely cries at all.

    Now that The Munch is almost 5, I figured she didn’t have to sob every time she doesn’t get what she wants, or when things don’t work out exactly as planned. So now I have a tactic for dealing with the emotional tantrum. You may think that I am a hardened beast of a woman wearing an apron and walking around with a wooden spoon to beat people with… but I swear it is working. It goes like this.

    Munch: Where are my “My Little Pony” socks?
    Toni: I don’t know. Where ever you last put them.
    Munch: But I don’t know where they are?
    Toni: Well, maybe you could look for them.
    (Tears start to well up as the outpouring is about to begin).
    Toni: Well, you should probably cry about it.

    The Munch will then look at me with a particular combo of disbelief, rage, and pride. By my suggesting she cry, her ego is like “fuck that.”

    Even though you probably now think I am a MEGA bitch… she doesn’t cry and she goes and finds her damn socks.