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Mommy Mind

  • 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…


  • 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…


  • Nothing My Kid Does Impresses Me

    I have a serious complex I am going to admit. When I was a kid, my parents never took me to extra curricular classes, and I still feel slighted. My mom claims she brought me to ballet once, but I wasn’t into it so she was like “screw it.” Ummm mom, you were supposed to pressure me to excel regardless and become my “momager!” DIDN’T YOU LOVE ME ENOUGH TO DESTROY ME??

    I guess my mom did sign me up for tennis in the summers, but she didn’t bring me to the clinics to watch me. She just pointed to my bike and said, “The court is 2 miles that way.” When I played sports throughout school my parents NEVER came to my games, and I was always that kid with no one in the stands to cheer them on. Are you crying for me yet!!? Although I am obviously still working out some PTSD and deep-rooted resentment issues – I also totally get it.

    That shit is as boring as a dry fuck hole.

    However, in reaction to my upbringing I have enlisted The Munch in a variety of classes. She takes both dance and gymnastics twice a week, and now wants to play hockey as well. Theoretically I am very supportive of this. I want to expose Munch to a variety of artistic and physical outlets to learn skills. But… I also have been doing everything I can to avoid being the one responsible for bringing her to such events. If I can get someone else to do it, you bet your sweet ass that is what is happening.

    The obvious problem is I am selfish about my extra curricular time and want to work on my creative projects as much as possible. You guys, stop judging me. I am almost done with my movie about queefs, and it’s going to be amazing! My other issue is that I am excessively critical and hardly impressed by anything.

    BEFORE YOU THINK I AM AN ASSHOLE – IT IS NOT MY FAULT!! Have you seen the Internet lately?? Kids are amazing out there!! There are babies who breakdance, a 4-year old who is a top fashion designer at J-Crew, and a fetus that kicks ass at basketball. I have seen so much talent out there in the interwebs that my kid’s cartwheel seems just kinda meh.

    DON’T WORRY OKAY! I keep this all to myself and tell Munch her handstands are outstanding even though her alignment is off. She will get there I know… because I will MAKE her practice until she does, but that is beside the point. For what it’s worth, Munch’s gymnastics teacher sees potential in her, but all I see is a kid who hasn’t mastered the front walkover.

    January 21, 2015 • 4 years old, Education, Health, Mommy Mind, Mommyhood, Parenting, Playing • Views: 716

  • 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!!)


  • Peer Pressure Boston Adventure

    I used to be strong. I had never been susceptible to peer pressure. I was committed to my convictions, and believed in the validity of my perspective. And then something happened. Something that confused me, wore me down, and pushed every button of my being like I was a Nintendo 64. That something I am referring to was the meshing of my DNA to create another human.

    Since squirting out The Munch, I doubt myself more. Not because I don’t think I know what I am doing, but because there is someone talking in my ear every second of my life, and I have no peaceful moments to think. I am easily flustered because from the second The Munch opens her eyes, she is spouting the utterings of her consciousness like silence is something that must be destroyed by the sound of her high-pitched voice. When she is not talking, The Munch is doing something that I for sure don’t want her to be doing – but because she is being quiet I take my sweet time investigating the shit show she is creating in the other room.

    The other morning I was rushing to get ready to take Munch to the doctor’s in Boston to get her lazy eye checked. Unlike my hippy doctor where we make appointments days in advance, the “White Man’s Western Medicine Doctor” means I made this appointment 6-months ago… and of course I was running late. Why you may ask… because a certain someone had to change her clothes 7 times that morning. (I have a lot of sweatpants to choose from).

    While I was getting everything ready, and packing snacks for the car, The Munch was in the bathroom “playing.” When I finally went in to grab her, I discovered that she was actually painting the bathtub, and her face, with red glitter.

    Toni: Whoa dude… that is an insane amount of glitter.
    Munch: I was just making the bathtub pretty and my eyes beautiful for the eye doctor.
    Toni: Okay cool… but that is really quite a lot. Let me wipe some off so your doctor doesn’t think I am breeding you to become a stripper in Tampa.
    Munch: Where is Tampa?
    Toni: Uhhhhhh Munch… why isn’t the glitter coming off?
    Munch: Oh. Because I glued it on.
    Toni: What?
    Munch: Yeah… I just used this glue right here…
    Toni: Wow… you sure as shit did.

    I then shoved my harlot daughter into the car and started frantically driving to Boston. Even if we didn’t stop once, we would maybe have 3 minutes to spare. When we were about 20 minutes away, I called my mom and asked if she would figure out the exact building we had to go to in Mass General…. She called back to say my appointment was at 9:45 not 11:15.

    Toni: That is a fucking lie!! WHAT THE DICK!!!!!!!!!! They told me 11:15!!!!!!!!!! I even called the other day and they never corrected me? WHAT THE FUCK!!
    My Mom: I don’t know what do say. You can still spend the day in Boston and enjoy yourself while I hang with Munch?
    Toni: AHHHHHHHHH I CAN’T ENJOY MYSELF! It is going to take 7-months to make another appointment. FUCK FUCK FUCK!
    Munch: Mamma, what is wrong?
    Toni: We missed your appointment…
    Munch: That is okay. We can just go another day.
    Toni: Munch you don’t get it… that means I just drove 2-hours for nothing when I could of spent the day hating myself in front of the computer!

    When we got to Boston, my mom suggested I go to the hospital and beg them to see me. My whole walk there I prepared my speech. My approach had to be flawless or else they would turn me away from the hospital, and I would have gotten Ebola for nothing. Luckily I convinced the receptionist to see us because I am just that convincing. The doctor did a bunch of tests and told me exactly what I knew she was going to tell me. All the hippy stuff I did is great and all, and it is cool that she wore the eye patch, but she still suggests surgery. Come to think of it, she probably knew she was going to suggest this from day one, and the eye patch was just a formality. Something tells me eye surgery is kind of like the c-section for ophthalmology. Not always necessary, but a well-rehearsed process.

    After we left, my mom offered to take Munch for ice cream so I could walk around and think about what to do. I said that was a good idea, but I really didn’t want to think about this at all so I decided to walk down Newbury Street and look for some birthday presents for the Scorpios in my life. Okay, now here is where everything went to shit for me. I was already in a fragile state from the chaos of the day, and I have not gone “shopping” in maybe 5 years. I live it the sticks, and the only place I go to buy stuff is the farm stand to get some squash cookies sweetened with intentions. Being in a store with sales people overwhelms the shit out of me. I start to panic just thinking about them asking if they can help me, and the potential disappointment they will feel if I say “no thank you” – or even worse… leave the store without buying anything! The responsibility for their wellbeing is just too much to bear!

    I walked into a store that seemed big enough were I could just peruse on my own, but this girl could smell my vulnerability. She came up, and stuck to me like a barnacle. She wouldn’t stop talking. It was almost worse than Munch because she actually expected me to talk back. At least Munch has the decency to talk AT me. My social anxiety disorder started kicking in, and I desperately wanted her to go away – but she kept smiling at me!! It is not that she was mean or anything. In fact she was super cute and friendly. Yet she wouldn’t stop showing me stuff in the store that she liked. I started to get so flustered I didn’t even know what was cool anymore because this 19-year old chick was chirping in my ear about music school and growing up in San Francisco.

    For some reason, my reaction was to lie about every question she asked me. I don’t know why I did this, but according to this girl I live in Boston, work in graphic design, and have a phobia of balloons. I also have a guinea pig named Coco who I knit sweaters for, and I only wear wool socks. Things got so out of hand. I didn’t want to buy anything, but I couldn’t leave unless I did. I felt too guilty because we had been talking all this time, even though I didn’t want to be talking to her in first place. She showed me some hats, and even tried them on for me. I picked two thinking it would be the cheapest option, and left paying $145!!! FOR TWO FUCKING HATS!! I can’t believe I got peer pressured by a child to buy an $80 leopard print hat!?

    By this point I was about ready to have an aneurism. I decided grab some dinner for my mom and Munch, and go home. Yet the restaurant I ordered from had a wait of 20 minutes to get our food. Wait… did I mention that my phone was dead by this point?? Well it was!! I couldn’t just sit somewhere no phone to stare at and entertain me. THAT WOULD BE FUCKING INSANE!!

    I went back to the street, but everywhere I looked there were shops! I went into one jewelry store hoping I wouldn’t be noticed. Everything was insanely expensive and I was spotted within seconds. “How can I help you?” The expectations of the sales clerks were too much! I felt like I was disappointing them just by being there. It was as if I was the tap dancing son of a football coach in the South. I had to run out of there and hyperventilate against a wall. Why did they keep saying “hi” to me!! What do you want from me?!! Can’t you just leave me alone to look at stuff I will never buy?

    I still had 18 minutes to kill, so I decided to stand outside of restaurants and read their menus. This may have been slightly strange for the diners in the windows, but at least I didn’t have to converse with them, or pay for their rigatoni.

    (Here is sparkle eyes Munch… and the top picture is me and that stupid fucking hat)

    boston-blog-(i) boston-blog-(i2)

  • Is It Bad That I Didn’t Miss You?

    There are a lot of things that we are supposed to say in order not to seem like total sociopaths. I am supposed to say things like “I love my parents,” or, “I would die for the people in my family,” or “excuse me” if I fart. To say anything different would make me look like a total psycho. As the mother of a child the one thing I *really* should be saying is “I miss my child desperately when I am away because she is the joy of my life and the light of my loins.” Okay but here is the thing, I was just gone for five days from The Munch – and I am pretty sure I didn’t miss her at all.

    Ummmm is that bad? Does that make me a terrible person? I didn’t even really think about Munch that much when I was gone either. Holy crap – that makes me a worse person doesn’t it. Fuck. I am not doing well right now. Wait… wait for it… okay breathe… it actually felt awesome not to think about or miss my child. Shit.

    For the first 15 months of Munch’s life I was basically with her every minute of every day. Trust me. Read my blog during those early years and there is a meticulous account of every detail, including the consistency of her feces once food was introduced. But now that The Munch is four, there is more autonomy for us both. We have our own lives separate from each other. Munch goes to school, she has a babysitter, she spends time with family… Yet even though I do have physical freedom in my everyday life – what I don’t have is mental freedom. I am always having to think about where she is, who is picking her up, what food she has, if she is wearing the right leotard, does she have her rain coat, is there an extra pair of shoes in her bag, and are they the right fucking shoes because my kid is both neurotic and crazy.

    PS…. I also didn’t miss the tantrums, the yelling in my face about not giving her a 3rd piece of chocolate, the shoe throwing, the stink eye, the refusal to get dressed in warm clothes… you know, the basic toddler rage or a developing human.

    I don’t go away that often, so those days where I could just think about me and my needs were seriously epic. I was hundreds of miles away from Munch, and having a break from being responsible for her was as satisfying as burping after drinking soda too fast. It made me realize just how emotionally taxing it is to always have someone else on your mind. To be constantly worrying about them, and wanting to make sure they are okay. It is like Munch is a fascist dictator of my brain and heart. But it is not her fault! Well sort of, because she is really demanding…. But I blame the biological and psychological bond of motherhood more because holy fuck is it intense. Thanks a lot nature!

    On day three, The Munch was missing me so I talked to her on the phone. She was crying and telling me she wanted me to come back – but I got her laughing so then she was fine. Although I was momentarily sad that Munch was sad, it was also amazing talking to her on the phone because I never really do that either. There aren’t a lot of opportunities because we aren’t usually away from each other for that long. Yet having a phone call with my kid only further reinforced the truth of how the physical separation between us is only increasing as she ages. The attachment of those baby years is no longer, and now our relationship will have to withstand distance. Munch and are only going to grow farther apart because her life will take her away from me at times, as will mine. We can’t be together every moment of every day, so the journey then turns into staying emotionally connected even when we are not in each other’s faces.

    There is a certain beauty of loving someone so much you yearn for them. The Munch missed me because I have been the anchor of her life, and I represent so much in terms of love, safety, and security. Yet soon The Munch will crave independence, and want to get away from me. It is probably then that I will miss her desperately and call crying, but she will be like “Ugh… thank god I am away from my mom so she can stop fucking writing about me for five minutes.” But fuck you future Munch because I will write about that phone call so you can’t escape me!

    When I got home Munch was sooooo happy to see me that it actually made me tear up. She kept hugging and kissing me – telling me how much she loved me. I felt so honored to mean so much to this precious person. I was totally humbled by how much I adored her, and how lucky I was to have this tiny tyrannical human in my life. I held Munch in my arms and knew that every moment, even the hardest ones, were totally profound because of the depth of our love. Then of course she got mad at me because I wouldn’t let her watch “My Little Pony,” and I started planning my next trip.


    September 22, 2014 • 4 years old, Adventures, Mommy Mind, Mommyhood, Parenting, Relationships, Working Mommy • Views: 811

  • 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 Much Forgiveness

    People suck. They can be selfish, entitled, thoughtless, rude and the more you are around them, the greater the chance they will piss you off. In adult relationships there are many options on how to deal with asshole behavior. You can avoid the person, write a snarly text message, confront them after a few drinks when feeling belligerent, pee on their lawn, or simply resentment the person and never talk to them again. When dealing with a young child, you don’t have these options because they don’t have a yard, can’t read, and it’s frowned upon to get wasted with them. You actually have to be the mature one and lead by example.

    Children are moody daughters of dicks. (Why does that not have the same ring to it as sons of bitches?) Their emotions fluctuate like climate change induced storms and it’s hard to anticipate when they are going to fly into a fit of fury. And as quickly as kids shit in your mouth with their emotional bile, they turn around and are as sweet as cancer-causing aspartame.

    This afternoon started out with The Munch acting like a gentle creature, similar to a friendly giant on pot brownies. She was considerate, wanted to help making a sandwich, and was generally in a dreamy state of lovingness. Until she wasn’t.

    I sat down on the couch to tell Munch a story, but she wanted to be where I was sitting, and for me to sit across from her on this wooden chair.

    Munch: Mamma, move over so I and sit here and you can sit there.
    Toni: Dude, I don’t want to move over. I am already sitting here.
    Munch: But I want to sit there!! I want you to sit across from me so I can look at you!
    Toni: Well then you sit on the wooden chair. I am comfy on the couch.
    Munch: No Mamma… you sit on that chair and I want to sit on the couch!
    Toni: No way.
    Munch: Okay fine. I will put these pillows on the chair and now you can sit on it.
    Toni: I want to sit here… you can sit there.
    Munch: NO MAMMA NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAHHHHAHHHAHHHAAAAAAHHHAAA!!! You sit there!

    Munch then cried like she was going for the Oscar, while I wondered why my kid was such a little twerp. Her whole logic was so egocentric. Did she really want me to be uncomfortable so she could live her OCD moment and frame the perfect shot for story time?

    Then I sat on the stupid wooden chair because I am a weak.

    Munch of course immediately stopped weeping and happily wanted me to tell her a story – but I was bitter at that point. Even though I could have stood my ground, I acquiesced and then begrudged her for it. Despite the fact that I wanted to pout, I couldn’t sulk because it was my own damn fault for catering to her demands. I put my big girl pants on, let it go, and moved on.

    Then later we got into an argument over treats because as you may know, I am living with a sugar addict.

    Munch: Mamma, can I have a treat. I had healthy stuff for lunch remember?
    Toni: Sure, what do you want?
    Munch: A chocolate popsicle.
    Toni: Ummmm we don’t have that. So you want a mango popsicle?
    Munch: No. A chocolate popsicle.
    Toni: I just told you we don’t have that. But I can give you some pieces of a special chocolate bar?
    Munch: Okay.
    Toni: Here you go. Four pieces because you are four years old.
    Munch: I actually want a big bar of chocolate.
    Toni: But you are already eating the pieces I gave you.
    Munch: Yeah, but I want just one big piece of chocolate bar. Not little pieces.
    Toni: Dude, you just ate all the pieces I gave you. You stuffed them in your mouth the whole time you were demanding more?
    Munch: I want a mango popsicle now.
    Toni: No way. I just gave you a delicious special treat because you didn’t want the mango popsicle.
    Munch: Waahhhhaaaa!!!!!!!!!! I WANT A MANGO POPSICLE!!

    She cried for ten minutes, threw her headband across the room, and stomped her feet while staring me in the face. This time I didn’t comply to her desires because that would be insane. The Munch had to play out her rebellion, while I managed her snarky comments.

    Munch: Mamma, if you don’t give me a treat I am going to throw you outside.
    Toni: I would like to see you try.
    Munch: Fine, then I will just spit in your face.
    Toni: Go ahead and see what happens.
    Munch: Fine. Just give me a treat then and I won’t do any of those things.
    Toni: Dude, there is no way.

    She continued to cry until she finally accepted she had lost the battle.

    Munch: Mamma, I love you so much. I’m so lucky.

    There is no way you can stay angry with someone after a proposition like that.

    Parents have these dynamics with their kids everyday, and forgiveness is an hourly affair. You both have to forgive each other constantly because there is so much tension and conflict when raising children. They want what they want because they are tyrants and parents have to keep them in check so they don’t stay that way.

    Most relationships and our larger society could benefit from this level of fluidity. If we admit we are basically are all just big babies trying to make it in this cruel world, we’ll remember that we are all always growing and evolving.


  • Worth The Sacrifice

    One of the things parents talk about most about their experience raising children is the endless eternal effervescent joy… just kidding. It’s sacrifice. How much you have to give up of your own individual desires for your little ones happiness, security, and wellbeing.

    All the effort you put in on behalf of your kid can sometimes feel thankless. Your child is still just a child, and they don’t really get how much you forgo for them. As far as they are concerned you love waking up at all hours of the night, making grilled cheese sandwiches that are just crispy but not too crispy, and listening to Frozen 89 times a day.

    There are times when The Munch acts like I am put on God’s green earth to serve her. Yeah taking care of her is what I signed up for by birthing her, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t moments where I am like “put your own damn shoes on,” or long for the freedom I had once upon a time in a kingdom far far away. I love The Munch more than anything ever created, but there is a lot of stuff I can’t do because of her… like take a shit in peace.

    So the other day The Much and I had this conversation that became the catalyst to a truly cathartic moment. I had taken her to the park, and was pushing her the swing – providing about 7 million underdogs for her entertainment. Munch then decided she wanted to push her baby on the swing, so I stood aside and starting spacing out. At the other end of the park, there were these high school kids playing basketball. I was watching them shoot, flirt with each other, and express their overall nonchalance about life. They had no cares in the world besides impressing each other and trying to touch each others butts by “guarding.”

    Munch: What are you thinking about Mamma?
    Toni: Oh… I am just daydreaming.
    Munch: Do you wish you were over there playing basketball?
    Toni: Ummmm sorta….
    Munch: Yeah but you can’t because you have to stay here with me…
    Toni: Well, that is okay. I like being with you.
    Munch: It must be hard. You have to push me on the swing, play with my babies, give me underdogs. And then I sometimes whine and stomp my feet. I also yell when I am frustrated… And I keep asking for more and more underdogs.
    Toni: Ha… that is true.
    Munch: It must be hard having to do all this stuff for me when you want to go play basketball. It is not easy being a mom….
    Toni: (speechless)