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  • 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: 525

  • I Have Met My Match (and she will destroy me)

    I am a really hard person to argue with. Not that I am mean or nasty. I will not call you vile names or spit in your general direction – unless I am hanging out my Llama friends. Yet I am a master manipulator of logic. I will sieve through your rational, pluck apart your reasoning, and destroy you with a flawless case of why I am right and you are wrong.

    And just to be clear… I am always right.

    I have yet to come away from a disagreement saying, “you are right… I was wrong… sorry.”

    Until now…

    I have met my match you guys, and she is a 4-year old Munch.

    It all started one fateful evening over dinner. The Munch was eating pesto and pasta, and I was sitting across from her enjoying a plate of sand. (I heard its good for your colon). Because my mouth was rather dry, I took a sip of her apple cider. Munch took notice….

    Munch: It’s good apple cider huh Ma?
    Toni: It sure is!
    Munch: I got it with Liliana at the coop after gymnastics. I like it a lot.
    Toni: We should get it again some time. It is quite delicious.

    We both continued our meals, and again I felt the sensations of thirst. I reached across the table, and took another sip. Yet this time, my actions were met with INTENSE FUCKING RAGE!

    Toni: Dude! That is so unfair! I share with you all the time!
    Toni: Ummm that is so not true. I had two sips, and they were small sips!
    Toni: Dude!!! You are being wicked selfish! I share everything with you! How would you like it if I never shared with you again?
    Toni: Munch… that is a terrible thing to say. You share with people you love because you love them. You share with people because it is the right thing to do. Being selfish is a terrible personality trait. Getting this mad about apple cider is absurd. We can easily get more tomorrow, or I can put water in it so you have more.
    Toni: Well what is a good solution? What can we do about this?
    Toni: You know what Munch? There are kids all over the world who have so much less than you – children who have hardly anything to eat or drink. They are starving and thirsty all the time. Yet they still share with their family. They are not selfish. You have everything you could ever want. You have juice all the time. Yet you are going to get this irrationally mad at your Mamma, yell and cry, just because you don’t want me to have a sip of your juice?
    Toni: Okay… that is enough. You have to go to your room.
    Toni: Fine, bring your cider to your room – but you have to think about how you treat people.

    The Munch stormed off crying and yelling to herself about how unfair I was. I stayed in the kitchen fuming. My head was spinning with rage. “What a little shit!!! I didn’t drink all her fucking apple cider! I had two sips!!!! Fine, there wasn’t that much left, but what the dick!!!??? This first world entitled mentality bullshit is goddamn bullshit. I am sure there are kids in the open tundra of Uzbekistan who share their last drops of goat milk with their mom!!!! Am I seriously raising a spoiled post-modern monster who flips the fuck out over sharing a sip of her drink!!??”

    The Munch then came into the kitchen – her tears dried, and disturbingly calm.

    Munch: Mom, I wasn’t mad because of sharing my juice. I was mad because you didn’t ASK to have a sip of my juice. You can’t just take things from people without asking. You have to ask first. But that is what I was trying to say…
    Toni: Oh… you are right… I was wrong. Sorry. I should have asked first.


    (Here is Munch plotting my demise)


  • Just Because You Are Privileged Doesn’t Mean You Have To Be Entitled

    My kid is privileged. Not like Kim Kardashian’s daughter North West or anything… she doesn’t have $100,000 diamond earrings, wear designer Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses, of have birthday parties where a giraffe does cocaine off a hippo’s tits. We don’t have it like that. But The Munch lives in a house where she is fed, warm, and has plenty of toys. She attends a wholesome school where they learn what acorns are made out of, and the biggest stress of her day is not getting to eat as many cookies as she wants. Compared to the vast majority of the world, pretty sure she has it fucking made.

    I know there is only so much you want to expose your 4-year old to regarding the tragedies of the world – but I also don’t want The Munch to be an entitled little shit who doesn’t understand how lucky she is. There is innocence to childhood you don’t want to corrupt, but letting your kid believe the world is exclusively a benevolent place can also be corrupting. There is a delicate balance between being truthful, and just traumatizing. I don’t think I need to explain the horror of child brides in India, but I do think we can talk about sweatshops making crappy plastic toys she doesn’t need. I am not trying to make my kid fear the world, but I do want her to have a realistic perception of it.

    I try to make these conversations authentic, and come up when appropriate. It is not like I put her to bed at night and whisper in her ear, “sleep well sweetheart… and just remember 90% of the indigenous tribes in the Amazonian rainforest have been destroyed, and every 2 minutes someone in the United States gets sexually assaulted. Nighty night.” Yet there are many opportunities to talk about complex issues and give The Munch some perspective.

    I try to provoke exchanges that help Munch understand that the world does not exist to serve her every need. No dude, you cannot keep the water running in the bath just so you can fill cups with the “waterfall.” Water is a precious resource and we have to respect it. There are children who have to walk miles to get access to water. Yeah running water is fun to play with, but once the bath is full, you have to shut it off so you don’t waste it. Fine maybe this comes to bite me in the ass when she insists I wash dishes with only a stream as thick as a pubic hair, but at least she has got the right idea!

    The Munch and I can talk about resources, environmentalism, the economy, whatever – it just has to be in a context that has meaning to her. For example, she loves to eat candy so we can debate how certain candy has a lot of chemicals, and that is why we don’t buy that kind. The chemicals are bad for your body, unfairly compete with farmers who grow organically, and make the ground all yucky. I don’t have to say how Monsanto products cause cancer or factory farmed meat comes from animals who lived in torture chambers and then were mercilessly murdered – but I can say that meat didn’t come from a happy cow, so lets find another kind.

    Kids are way smarter than we think, and they do have a sense of empathy even if they are mostly driven by their egos. They are kind of like men in that way. JUST KIDDING! There was one afternoon when Munch and I talked about homelessness, and she wanted to know if there were any children that didn’t have a house to live in.

    Munch: Who are they mom? Do you we know any of these children?
    Toni: No we don’t know them, but there are millions of them in the world.
    Munch: Can we see them?

    So we went online and looked at pictures of homeless children, and talked about why some people have money, and others don’t. It is not like we discussed major economic theory or the Federal Reserve, but she does understand the concepts of selfishness, and greed.

    Toni: Certain people have so much money that they are able to ensure that they keep making more money. Once you have a bunch of money, it is easier to maintain because you are running the businesses that make all the money. It isn’t that there isn’t enough money to go around; the problem is the way it is distributed. The people who have the most want to keep the money for themselves, and not share it.
    Munch: Why don’t they want to share? Didn’t they go to school and learn about how it is important to share?
    Toni: Well they did. But it isn’t just about the money. Money also means you have power. And people want power.
    Munch: But is the power more important than children? Why can’t the people with money give money to the children so they can have houses?
    Toni: Well, that is a good point. But it isn’t just the people that need to change. It is also the systems.
    Munch: But who makes the systems?
    Toni: The people.
    Munch: So pretty sure the people just need to change – then there will be no more children who don’t have homes.

    (Turn off that fucking bath water!!)


  • How Can I Get Out Of Being Around You?

    Most of adult life is spent getting out of plans with people. We say “yes” to something we feel obliged to do, yet when the time comes to actually follow through… we don’t want to anymore. But rather than say, “hey man, forget it. I am not into it anymore. I decided to stay home and eat a ball of buffalo mozzarella in front of my computer” we come up with some fabricated event that is beyond our control.

    Bailing on a commitment has to be accomplished with a certain amount of finesse. You cannot give the same excuse twice, and you must make sure that whatever you say borders between totally reasonable and completely insane. No one is going to tell you that your grandmother isn’t in the hospital because she choked on a gerbil. It could have happened, right? Somewhere in the world, at one point, that has taken place. The key is to make your explanation not only outlandish, but also tragic enough whereas to doubt the validity of your story would make the other person look like the asshole. The prevailing reaction to your fib must be “who would lie about Nana deep-throating a gerbil?!

    That is the beauty of adult relationships… the freedom to flake at any moment. Even if you are out with someone, you can bail on them if they were annoying the fuck out of you. You could easily pretend to get a text message saying you have to leave because a wolverine bit your Uncle Bam Bam. These things happen! Who would keep you from being at Bam Bam’s side while he bleeds to death?!

    Here is the thing that sucks about being a parent. You don’t always want to be around your kid, but it is not that simple to ditch them. I can’t be at a museum with The Munch and out of nowhere say “ummmm I am going to take off because I just got an email saying my dad gave birth to an acorn squash… so now he is a medical anomaly and I got to go be there for him.” The Munch would be like “yeah cool, well bring me with you because you are the person who keeps me alive and shit.”

    There are days when I don’t feel like catering to her needs, demands, and desires for candy. Yesterday, for example, I was in the middle of working but had to pick up Munch from school. I wanted finish what I was doing, yet if I was even 2 minutes late her teacher would be like “Come get your damn kid before I turn her into stew while singing a song about rabbits who like jumping through clouds.” (P.S preschool teachers sing while they do stuff). So I stopped everything, and got my child like a responsible parent.

    Even though I wasn’t in the mood to hang out with a four year old, I had no choice because she is my child and that’s just what was happening. I decided to take Munch to the park so I could stare off into the loneliness of space while she kept herself busy going down the slide. However, we stopped at the organic store to pick up some self-righteous and morally superior snacks. Rather than coming into the store with me, The Munch decided to freak the fuck out because her hair was in her face.

    Munch: My hair keeps getting in my face!
    Toni: Okay, wear this clippy. I can easily solve that problem.
    Munch: I don’t want to wear a clippy! They are too floppy and just flop around. I want a headband.
    Toni: Well, I don’t have a headband.
    Toni: Dude! Relax… I don’t have a headband. Just wear this clippy and lets move on with our lives!
    Toni: Ummm there is no way that is happening. Home is 20 minutes away. If we go home, we are not coming back. It is a beautiful day. Why don’t we go play and enjoy existence by emotionally avoiding it.

    I didn’t have it in me to fight about a headband, nor did I think Munch would buy it if I said I had to take off because I left the oven on. She knows I never use that thing. I was stuck with her, and her shitty mood about a shitty headband. So we drove to CVS to buy a stupid headband because that is exactly what we need in the house – MORE HEADBANDS. 36 just isn’t enough.

    We then went back to the organic store, grabbed some heightened sense of self-worth, and finally got to the park. Once we are there, The Munch decided she didn’t like the grilled cheese sandwich on the gluten-free substance-free wrap I got her.

    Munch: I don’t like it. It is too cheesy!
    Toni: What do you mean you don’t like it? You said that is what you wanted.
    Munch: Well I don’t want it now. It is too cheesy.
    Toni: Do you want me to take some of the cheese out?
    Munch: But that is all there is? The rest is just air.
    Toni: Whatever fine. Don’t eat it then. Have some kale chips or mango chia pods.

    The Munch went to play for a moment and I did what any normal person would do. I ate her grilled cheese. SHE SAID SHE DIDN’T WANT IT OKAY?

    Munch: Mamma, where is my grilled cheese sammich?
    Toni: I ate it.
    Munch: What?! I WANTED THAT!!! WHY DID YOU DO THAT??!!
    Toni: You said you didn’t want it!? I didn’t want it to go to waste. It was $89?! They harvested the cheese from a golden cow!
    Toni: You shouldn’t have said you didn’t want it!! I am really sorry, but I didn’t want it to go to waste!!

    If The Munch had been an adult, I would have just left. No excuse necessary. I could have just been like “you are insane, and I am out of here.” Yet this was not an option. I HAD TO HANG OUT WITH HER EVEN THOUGH I DIDN’T WANT TO!

    Munch was furious at me. She stomped around and pouted about her sandwich while I tried to look like a good parent by checking my text messages. After about 5 minutes of this display, Munch decided to show me one of her amazing “tricks” – hanging on a monkey bar and then letting go to fall on the ground.

    Munch: Mamma look! Watch me!
    Toni: Great…

    As annoying as kids can be, they are also amazing at transitioning out of their crappy moods. Just like that,The Munch was as happy as a clam, which I assume is happy, even though clams seem really closed off to me. I followed her lead and we ended up having an amazing evening together. I guess that is the lesson I needed to learn. When you cancel on people or don’t show up, you never know the good time you might have missed.

    (Here is Munch about to discover her sammich has been eaten)

  • Does Always Wanting More Make you An Addict?

    The problem with good things is that they leave us wanting more. If I have a bite of delicious cake … I want more. I have some good sex…I want more. I try some amazing pure Columbian cocaine…I want more. The nature of pleasure is to desire more, more, and more of it.

    Part of being an adult is learning to moderate the seduction of indulgence. We are expected to find balance because we have the foresight to understand that too much of a good thing is actually bad. Too much food destroys your heath. Too much sex gives you bumpy rashes. Too much drugs can kill you. Understanding boundaries is part of growing up. The alternative is to end up an addict.

    The thing with kids is they don’t get it. They have no concept of time, so rationalizing the limitation of a certain behavior because of future consequences is futile. I can tell my kid “Look, if you eat all that chocolate you are going to feel sick and shit your brains out later.” Her response will always be “I don’t care.”  It is up to me to moderate her intake, because left to her own devices The Munch just doesn’t give a fuck.

    I’ve tried letting The Munch totally indulge, so she could do a little soul searching on this subject. The prevailing logic was that she would realize for herself the results of excessive behavior, and consider the impact the next time she is faced with temptation. Yeah. No. That really didn’t work. Saying to my four year old “Remember last time when you ate too much ice cream and felt really sick,” only resulted in yet another “I don’t care.”  Whatever memory of the ice cream tummy ache from the past held no power over the delicious taste of ice cream in the present. I guess The Munch is very Buddhist because she only exists in “the now,” but the awareness of past or future effects is a pivotal part of learning restraint.

    The Munch is relentless in her quest for more of everything. She is never satisfied and this is annoying as fuck. She will make a promise like “Mom, let me watch something. I will only watch one episode of My Little Pony I promise. Then you can turn it off and I won’t fuss.” So I let her because I trust her* (*want to get away from her) but when her stupid neon colored show is over, The Munch immediately says, “okay just one more. I PROMISE!”

    While I admire The Munch’s commitment to negotiation, everything becomes a battle because of her inability to be content with what she just had. She will literally be eating a cookie while asking for another. I will be like “Dude, you don’t need to double fist cookies. Just relax and appreciate what you got!” But then she will start crying because I won’t give her another cookie WHILE SHE IS STILL EATING THE FIRST FUCKING COOKIE.

    Here is my dilemma. I can’t tell if The Munch’s excessive wanting “more” of everything is a result of her age or a precursor to a struggle that she will battle with for the rest of her life. I don’t want my kid to grow into an adult with an addictive personality. That is how you end up in back allies doing things you really regret. And is a hard thing to overcome. It is difficult for me to distinguish between normal kid shit, and the makings of a person who is going to beat up old ladies to steal money for blow. It is a fine line, my friends.

    Munch: Mamma, can I bring two lollipops to the beach?

    Toni: No Munch.  One is enough.

    Munch: But what if I want another one? Let’s just bring two just in case.

    Toni: Munch, that is excessive. You don’t want to feed that part of your soul. We all crave more, but it is pivotal to know your limits. Being greedy is a detrimental trait because you will never be satisfied, nor truly appreciate anything. Be grateful for what you have. You are so lucky and have so much abundance in your world.

    Munch: Okay how about I eat one lollipop now, and we bring the other one for later.



  • Doing Stuff For Yourself Sucks

    One of the many annoying things about having a young child is how much you have to do for them. I don’t mean the keeping them alive part, but dealing with all the stuff that they can’t do because they are uncoordinated… or won’t do because they are jerks… and maybe you don’t want them to do because they suck at it. You have to wipe their butts, brush their teeth, get them juice from the fridge, help them get dressed, make sure they wash their hands with soap, assist with every cleaning process. This list goes on and on like that winding road the Beatles sang about semi off key. I am not only driving just Miss Daisy, but also serving her day and night like Alfred does Batman – yet without the glamour of a tuxedo.

    Now that The Munch is four, I feel like we have reached an age where she should do a lot of shit on her own. If children in the Amazonian rainforest can handle a machete, my kid can figure out how to put on underwear so it’s not backwards – a fudgie should be pretty obvious by this point.

    The quest for Munch’s autonomy is not just predicated on ability alone however, but also motivation. I want her to want to do these things, and feel empowered by her growing faculties. I don’t want to have to ask or fight about this crap. She should be inspired to grab life by the balls, and get her own fucking water.

    Lucky for me, recently The Munch gave me the perfect tool for manipulation to get this going.

    Munch: Mom, I really want to get earrings.
    Toni: Why do you want to get earrings?
    Munch: Because your mom told me that you had them when you were a little girl, and now I feel jealous.
    Toni: Well, I am not sure you are ready for earrings.
    Toni: Munch you are so particular about your clothes, I cannot handle negotiating another accessory. If you can’t find the right headband you fly into a fit of rage. I don’t want to deal with taking care of your earrings.
    Munch: But I will take care of them!
    Toni: Okay here is the deal. If you can show me for one month that you can be responsible for your own body. You can get earrings before school starts.
    Munch: Okay!!!!!!!!!
    Toni: But Munch… that means you have to get yourself dressed, put your clothes away, clean up your room, and make your bed. Anything you are physically capable of executing, you have to do. You have to be responsible for your own body, and show me you can take care of it, your space, and your things.
    Munch: DEAL!

    You want to know what ?! For a week this totally worked!! The Munch did everything on her own, and if she tried to complain I would just say “it looks like you are still too young for earrings then,” and she would do it immediately. Life was amazing, and I felt like a Machiavellian genius.

    But on the 8th day I went in her room and her bed wasn’t made.

    Toni: Munch? What is going on you haven’t made your bed?
    Munch: Yeah… maybe I will do it this afternoon.
    Toni: No way. That is not our deal. We aren’t going to fight about these things. If you want earrings you have to do this stuff on your own without Mamma asking you too.
    Munch: But MOM… doing everything myself and being responsible for my body is too much work!!! Maybe I will just get earrings when I am six.

    (Here we are…. chilling on the unmade bed)


  • So That Was A Total Fail…

    It is hard to figure out how to motivate someone to improve. What is the best strategy to encourage behaviors you would like to see more of? Do you tell people all the stuff they are doing wrong, and hope they change out of shame/guilt? Do you give them incentives, or bribes? Or do you try and manipulate by telling stories, and comparing them to others?

    The other day my friend Gita was visiting a friend of hers, who has a little daughter slightly older than Munch. I asked Gita how her time was with this little cherub. I was then informed that this girl had not only NEVER watched ANYTHING EVER on a SCREEN, but also just had her first “sweet treat” in the six years she has been alive on planet earth. It was a piece of organic dark chocolate, and it was rejected for being “too sweet.”

    Yeah, I had those plans when I first became a parent. My child was never going to be exposed to the evils of screen media, only play with wooden spoons, speak Mandarin, and exclusively eat green vegetables bathed under the moonlight of the 7th solstice. But I failed. None of that worked out at all. The Munch LOVES eating treats, and if she had her way she would watch the Little Mermaid for 19 straight hours without moving – except to ask for more ice cream.

    I showed The Munch a picture of said perfect little angel from the planet of purity, and explained that Auntie Gita was on vacation with her.

    Toni: Doesn’t that little girl look nice?
    Munch: Yeah… she does.
    Toni: Maybe you will be friends with her one day?
    Munch: Yeah! That would be fun!
    Toni: Do you want to know what Auntie Gita told me?
    Munch: What?
    Toni: She told me that little girl has never watched anything ever. No movies, no shows, no nothing?
    Munch: Not even Frozen?
    Toni: No. And you know what else Gita told me? That she has never eaten any treats!
    Munch: Mom. That is the saddest thing I have ever heard. We should send her some of our treats. Like we should send them on the plane today.


  • The Classic Grocery Store Meltdown

    One of the most embarrassing things that can happen when you are a parent is your kid having a total fucking breakdown at the grocery store.  I know this because I have been witness to many a meltdowns, and totally judged the shit out of the mom or dad whose child was screaming and pounding the floor.  I was like “those parent’s suck and that kid needs to get a grip” as I perused the cereal aisle.

    Yet eventually, you are that parent.  You are the one everyone is looking at, thinking that your child is a monster.  The more I try to be calm and reasonable, the more my kid loses her mind because she can’t get what she wants.  At home this happens all the time, and I can wait out the tantrum – but in a store I have to accept the fact that my parenting is on display for everyone to criticize.

    The longer it goes on, the longer both you and your kid look like assholes.  So what do you do? Do you give in to save face? Or stick with the “no you can’t have that” rationale because you don’t want to buy your child crap just because they want it.

    Recently I experienced this humiliation for the first time, and it was all over Welch’s grape juice.  What Welch’s was doing at this organic hippy coop is beyond me, but The Munch really wanted to buy some.  Yeah, okay… you are probably thinking, “what the hell is the big deal about grape juice?” – but to me there is so much that pains me to purchase a product like that.  Yet trying to explain my logic to The Munch while she publicly wept was pretty much a lesson in futility.

    Toni: No Munch, we can’t get that kind of juice.  We can get a different kind instead.


    Toni: Dude, we really can’t.  I will buy you this grape juice instead.


    Toni: Listen, that grape juice has GMOs.  It is made with high fructose corn syrup.  I just can’t support that company.


    Toni: There is no way we are supporting that company. Listen, I will get you grape juice.  I have no problem with you drinking grape juice – just not that brand.


    Toni: Munch, it isn’t even juice.  It is like 10% juice – if that. It is grape essence flavored with chemicals and environmental suffering.


    Toni: You can’t ask me to buy this.  We can’t spend our money supporting this company.  It is giant food conglomerates like Welch’s that are annihilating the planet with their monoculture approaches to farming… and don’t even get me started on the pesticides. Don’t you care about the bees? Listen, I know you want this kind of grape juice, but Mamma will never buy it.  I am doing this for you… so our food system is not totally corrupted and there is a slight chance of human survival.  Don’t you want to have a future that isn’t a nuclear waste land ruled by robots?


    Toni: So does this one Munch.  The nice organic one that is 7 times more expensive also tastes super yummy…


  • Maybe You Don’t Have To Be a Selfish Prick?

    There are a lot of personality qualities that suck, but being selfish is one that bothers me the most.  I really don’t want my kid to be a selfish asshole.  If you are kind and generous you may get taken advantage of at times, and perhaps are more vulnerable to pariah like people, but at least you are not an energetic vampire.

    The other day The Munch and I were playing in her room, and I brought up a box of raspberries for us to share.  Now of course raspberries in the winter are a decadent post-modern snack, so it is natural to want to covet them – but the plan was that we would distribute them evenly.  At one point I realized that there were 2 raspberries left, and as The Munch went to the box I asked for one.

    Now I have to admit, this was kind of a test.  I didn’t really care if I had one more raspberry; I just wanted to see if Munch would give it to me.  Earlier that week I had been listening to the podcast “This American Life,” and there was an episode about “good guys.”  At one point one of the producers was telling a story about how his son was eating a piece of cake, and when it got to the last bite, the dad asked for it.  And you know what happened? The son gave it to him! I remembered hearing that and thinking, “I don’t think Munch would EVER give me her last bite of cake.”

    I was kind of jealous of that dad and his stupid altruistic son, so that was why I asked for one of the two remaining raspberries left.  And do you want to know what The Munch did?  She looked me in the eye, stuffed them both in her mouth, and laughed in my face.

    Okay.  So part of me wanted to laugh too.  I personally hate sharing my food, but I still do it all the time! I always have to share with The Munch, and it is not okay that she didn’t share with me.

    Toni: Dude, that is really not cool. I would have shared with you and given you one.

    Munch: But there was only two left! And you have already eaten so many!

    Toni: Still Munch.  We were sharing them, and I would have given it to you if you had asked.

    Munch: No you wouldn’t have!

    Toni: Yes I would have. You know I would have.  It makes me really sad that you didn’t share with me.

    Now I could have let it go after that, but I didn’t want to.  The Munch wasn’t taking me seriously.  She kind of just shrugged it off.

    The reason why it bothered me so much is that The Munch is really well taken care of. She is never hungry.  She has plenty of toys.  She gets to wear all the dumb hello kitty dresses and princess outfits she desires.  She is not lacking anything.  There is no reason for her to hoard things.  All I could think about was how I bet a kid who has wayyyy less than her and lives in the sub-Saharan desert would have shared a raspberry with their mom.  Often times it is the people who have the least who are the most giving, and those who have abundance are the greediest.

    The Munch kept trying to play but I wouldn’t any more.

    Toni: Munch, I am really sad that you didn’t share with me.  So I don’t feel like playing right now.

    Again she tried to engage me, or be endearing and asking sweetly to jump on the bed with her.  But I kept telling her I felt too upset to play.  At one point she left the room in a state of frustration, but I stayed where I was.

    I decided I didn’t want to tell her how to handle this situation, or give instructions to make it go away.  I wanted her to feel that what she did was fucked up – even if raspberries are goddamn delicious.

    Eventually she came back to her room, sat on the bed next to me, and looked up with sincere expression on her face.

    Munch: Mamma, I am really sorry I ate the last raspberry and didn’t share.

    It was the most genuine apology I have ever heard come out of her mouth – mainly because I didn’t tell her to say it, she chose to.

    Toni: Thank you for saying that.  I really appreciate that.  Maybe in the future you can remember this moment, and that it is really important not to be selfish.

    Munch: Okay I promise.  Also maybe next time you can get two boxes of raspberries so we can each have one.