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  • Being Spoiled vs Acting Spoiled

    Here in America, we are surrounded by overconsumption, overabundance, and overzealous materialism. Excess is everywhere. Go through your house right now and I bet you are surrounded by shit you don’t use, don’t need, but yet don’t want to get rid of.

    What if I need that second rolling pin later?! Say I was making a pie, and also wanted to beat someone over the head, but didn’t want to get flour everywhere. See ~ I NEED 2 ROLLING PINS!

    We have an obsession with stuff partly because of nostalgia, partly because of a fear of scarcity, and partly because it is so easy to get. Corporate Culture has made everything cheaper and more accessible. The seduction to buy things is so engrained in our psyche that we hardly ever question the impulse. Is it essential that I buy another pair of printed leggings with the Buddha’s face? Not really, but that doesn’t mean my butt won’t look cute in them!

    Often times we think we need money because we want to buy more things, but really what we should be looking for more of is time. More experiences. More moments that make memories. Who cares about material objects in the face of a life worth remembering?

    Because I don’t live in an urban environment, shopping is not one of my past times. Go in the woods and fart. Yeah, that is something I do. Go shopping for things? There really is nowhere to go. Except for Target.

    Even though I try to avoid supporting any multinational mega-business, I do sometimes wind up at Target. I mean, it’s not Wal-Mart. But sometimes, I have to get clothes for The Munch, batteries for the remote, a shower curtain, and, you know… leggings that make my butt look cute. YOU JUST CAN’T HAVE ENOUGH OF THOSE!

    The Munch and I probably go to Target once every 2 months and every time we go, she wants to buy a toy. Now I could say, “wait till your birthday or Christmas.” I probably should say that, right!? That way she understands the meaning of patience, and that she shouldn’t just try and fill The Void with crap.

    But then there is the selfish part of me that says, “Well, if I buy her this toy/Lego set/My Little Pony, when we get home she will leave me alone and play with it. Sure it was probably made in a sweatshop with materials that are not only toxic, but also off-gassing poisonous plastic secretions into the house, but did I mention she would also shut the fuck up for 10 minutes?”

    Not every time I enter a store with The Munch do I buy her something, but often times I do. It is not like she has expensive taste, but I also don’t want her to unconsciously devour shit around her that she later discards because it was too available. If we were living in Colonial times, and she only had one baby doll that was missing an arm and half it’s face – but it was all she had – she would love the shit out of that doll. But in my house where she has 10 fucking dolls, it is easy to lose interest because, hey, it’s just one of many.

    It is hard to pretend the world isn’t what it is. I don’t live in an off-the-grid geodesic dome. Acting like my child does, is borderline absurd. I could insist that The Munch only play with wool and wood I whittled into stick people. But I am not sure denial is going to empower The Munch to figure out how to navigate a world that is filled with longings. I want to instill values onto The Munch that build her awareness, not pretend like I can’t afford a $7 stuffed unicorn. I would rather talk about something being produced by a company that “isn’t kind to the people that make the toy,” than sheltering her from the fact that these things exist.

    Yet, sometimes I just buy her whatever the fuck she wants. Because fuck it. So yeah. The Munch is spoiled in that way for SURE! But there is a difference between acting spoiled and being spoiled. As long as she isn’t a selfish dick and gives a shit about child labor laws, this mother is happy.

    munch barette

    October 14, 2015 • 5 years old, Behavior, Family Drama, Mommyhood, Parenting, Playing • Views: 295

  • How Not To Be an Emotional Terrorist

    Even though emotions seem esoteric because you can’t tangibly experience them with your physical senses, that doesn’t mean they aren’t energetically tangible. We are all entangled in each other’s emotional webs. We feed off each other in an eternal feedback loop of feelings – like a snake giving it’s tail a blowjob.

    You are mad at me, so I then get mad at you, which makes you even madder at me, and that makes me SUPER mad at you. You know what? Forget it. I don’t even want to talk to you about this any more.

    People are so easily impacted by the moods of others. There is a contagious quality to our dispositions that spreads like a virus. It is really hard not be influenced by each others energies, and often we blame people for fucking with our chi. We say things like “you’re bringing me down,” “you’re putting me in a bad mood,” or “bitch don’t kill my vibe.” Yet even when we feel like we are victims of emotional terrorism, we are also the emotional terrorists when we take on other people’s feelings.

    Here is my 2 step guide on how not to be an emotional terrorist.

    1) Contain your own energetic temperament. If you are feeling particularly negative, perhaps keep to yourself until you can work through what’s going on. Just because there is internal turmoil doesn’t mean you have to externalize that experience and take it out on others.

    2) Don’t be an energetic sponge! It is one thing to be intuitive and notice that someone you love is cranky, sad, disappointed… whatever. You can have compassion for their experience, but that doesn’t mean you have to mirror their state of mind. You can still be happy and content around someone who is having a hard time.

    When we don’t own our own feelings, then we make it impossible for people to be authentic around us. We can’t go around being shitty and expect that not to impact people. But we also can’t get impacted every time we are around someone acting shitty. Maybe you come home from a hard day, and some motherfucker is in your house – like your kid, spouse, or dad who actually is a motherfucker. We are not academy award winning actors. I can’t always act happy just because someone is in my kitchen making a sandwich. When you live with people, they are sometimes going to witness your foul being, and that has to be okay.

    There is a fine line between allowing feelings to pass through us, and using them as weapons of mass destruction. If we all could learn how to better negotiate our moods, then we wouldn’t terrorize each other with them. Like when The Munch is really cranky, I don’t want to give her the impression that there isn’t space for that. I don’t scold her for having emotional complexity. Of course she can be in a bad mood about not finding the Lego piece. That is totally understandable. But it is also okay for me to leave the room as she processes those feelings. Just like she is free to feel, I am free to get the fuck out of there and do something else. I don’t to be the audience for that breakdown because holy shit kid; it is just a fucking Lego piece.

    Moments before the meltdown…

    lego much

    October 12, 2015 • 5 years old, Behavior, Family Drama, Musings, Parenting, Playing, Relationships • Views: 297

  • Do You Get My Sense of Humor?

    Of course I want my kid to have her own personality, but I also like it when The Munch reminds me of me. The more like me she is, the more I relate to her, because you know, me.

    There are many ways in which The Munch and I see the world differently, and I embrace our divergent perspectives. She for one likes yogurt, where I happen to think it is worse than eating bear semen. She also has no interest in learning the rules to “Connect 4,” where I… actually that’s a really big problem and I need her to change that about herself immediately.

    My only hope was that my child would inherit a similar sense of humor to mine. If we can’t laugh about the absurdity of the world together, then how are we ever going to make it in this cold world? I know she isn’t sophisticated enough to understand the nuances of all my many vagina jokes, but I’m hoping the flaps and folds of her brain begin the birthing of that process.

    But you know what you guys? I think she’s starting to get it. For one, The Munch is beginning to wrap her mind around the concept of sarcasm. A few weeks ago some friends visited with their kids, and The Munch was really not into their children. They didn’t have a vibe she liked, they were pretty physically aggressive, and they made her room messy. We all had a plan to meet at the park, and when we got there, The Munch noticed that my friends’ car wasn’t there.

    Munch: Oh wow, it’s too bad your friends aren’t here yet.
    Toni: What do you mean?
    Munch: It’s just too bad they’re not here. I just really wish they were.
    Toni: You do?

    It was probably the proudest moment of my life. One single tear was shed knowing that my sweet little girl was slowly turning into the cynical bitch I know she can be.

    I don’t know about you, but I am a huge fan of pushing bruises. I mean what’s funnier than seeing a bruise on someone, and just giving it a little press?! So the other day I was giving The Munch an airplane ride, and she noticed some bruises on my leg. Even though said leg was holding her up in the air, The Munch looked at my bruise contemplatively, and then pushed the shit out of it! I almost dropped her from the shooting pain, but she didn’t care and just dug in harder. Munch then tackled me, trying to push the other ones. I mean… she just gets it. That is hilarious!

    You have to laugh at your own pain because otherwise you are overtaken by it.

    Okay so here is another one. About 2 years ago The Munch went to drink some juice, and an ant bit her uvula. You know, that punching bag in the back of your throat. The ant was stuck there for 2 days despite my many efforts to dislodge it. I never told Munch that it was an ant however, because I didn’t want to freak her out.

    That is until this weekend.

    Toni: Munch, remember when you got that black thing stuck in your throat, and you thought it was a blackberry?
    Munch: Yeah.
    Toni: Well, it wasn’t a blackberry. It was something else, but I didn’t want to tell you and make you upset.
    Munch: Well, what was it?
    Toni: An ant. An ant bit your uvula.

    She laughed the whole car ride home because that IS comedy gold.

    (Fun fact: I have received over 10 emails from people who had this exact same thing happen to them! I’m pretty sure I’m the foremost expert on Google for what to do when an ant bites your uvula. Just saying, I am kind of a big deal in that circle).

    I feel like The Munch is developing a sense of humor that is somewhat akin to mine, which makes me feel like I’m doing at least one thing right as a parent. Like when she saw this picture of herself, and insisted I show it to the entire dinner table (including her great grandmother) because The Munch knows comedy is more important than personal modesty.

    (Ps those are socks on her hands… for whatever reason).


    How could you not want to push these bruises?


  • I am The BEST! Now I’m the Worst :(

    Life is not a competition. But just so you know, I totally read that sentence better and faster than you. That one too. I win.

    When you compare yourself to other people, you mislay yourself in a feedback loop of ego glorification and flagellation. Isn’t that a big word I just used that you probably had to look up? Point for me – you lose.

    The only person we really should be competing with is ourselves. Life is ultimately about progress. As long as you are moving forward, and on a path towards evolution, there is a genuine satisfaction in your efforts that no one can take away. You may not be as good as the person next to you, but when you know you are doing the absolute best you can, there is authentic pride.

    Yet when we strive to be better than someone else, and define self worth through the comparison of the “other,” the motivation to succeed becomes tainted. If you are always looking outside at what everyone else is doing, rather than being happy for them and their achievements, you feel jealous. And when you are the one who feels superior, you look down at other people because that makes you feel all the more higher on the pedestal.

    There is room for everyone on this planet. Well, not really because of overpopulation and depleting resources. But theoretically there is room for everyone to be the best possible versions of themselves. Someone else’s accomplishments doesn’t take away from yours, and even when you may not be the absolute best ever, that doesn’t mean there isn’t great value in what you are doing.

    There is this American ethos that “if you are not going to be the best, then why bother?” But in truth, doing something out of pure joy is the most worthwhile motivation to do anything. Why not spend our time doing what feeds our spirit, even when we aren’t the best?

    With all that being said, last year The Munch was the best at her gymnastics class. Whatever, she just was. So her teacher suggested she go into the more advanced group that meets twice a week. I of course complied, because my kid was the fucking best.

    Yeah, well now that she is the youngest in her class, she is also the worst. She is the fucking worst. She just is. The worst.

    I watch the class and think, “holy shit Munch, these little bitches are better than you! GET IT TOGETHER AND WORK ON YOUR SPLIT!”

    So thank the universe The Munch actually lives the values I write about. Despite my personal inner crisis that can’t handle how much she sucks in comparison to these little flipping twats, the Munch doesn’t give a flying fuck in a rolling doughnut and just keeps practicing because she loves it.


    September 30, 2015 • 5 years old, Education, Mommyhood, Musings, Parenting, Playing • Views: 422

  • Are Cartoons Getting Sluttier?

    I can admit it; I am not the best girl. I am okay. I know how to tuck this in, push that out, and spruce myself up a bit. But interests in conventionally feminine things have eluded me. Isn’t shaving once a season enough for this world?

    I have been working to socialize my daughter so that she too, sticks to my principles of being a low maintenance chick. So far, my influence seems to be permeating her psyche. She is not captivated by showers, or changing her clothes – which is not only convenient for me, but we are also doing our part as environmentalists by saving water. You’re welcome!

    I have taught her the value of seeing her fingernails as functional tools to pick her nose with, rather than fashion accessories to paint and gloss. And she has no problem rocking her braids for up to 4 or 5 days regardless of the forming of dreads. So far I’m doing a pretty decent job of enforcing my beliefs onto my kid.

    Yet the one place where we diverge is The Munch is really into Disney Princesses, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, and every toy designed for girls to be girls. This is not something I want to change about her (because I already tried and failed) but I do have a ton of questions for the artists rendering these characters.

    When I was a kid, Strawberry Shortcake had a boxy body, like that of a child, or a piece of cake. It was a square shape. Something a young girl could relate to. Having a body like a square. The modern Strawberry Shortcake has a skinny physique that is long and lean like Giselle. Ummm… Her name is Strawberry SHORT CAKE… shouldn’t she look like a piece of cake, not a model who is runway ready!?

    And what is with the Disney Princesses? Why does every one of them have a “come fuck me” look on their face? Seriously!? It’s one thing to be drawn with a waist to hips ratio that defies all laws of physics, but do they have to have an expression that suggests they are ready for a threesome?

    Most writers creating narratives for girls are seemingly trying to espouse more feminist values, but whoever is drawing these ladies is making them look excessively saucy.

    Tell me I’m wrong! They have such a porno look on their faces!

    Strawberry Shortcake then…


    And here she is now?!

    dp 2

    What is Rapunzel thinking about? Maybe “Sure, I’ll put your balls in my mouth.” And that lecherous lizard is like “I got two right here for ya.”

    dp 3

    What is Jasmine trying to tell us? How about “I’ve got a secret. I do anal.” And her Tiger Raja is ready in line. “You bet your sweet ass you do.”

    dp 4

    Here Sleeping Beauty is saying, “Go ahead, come on my face.” And that owl is like “get ready bitch.”

    dp 5

    September 28, 2015 • 5 years old, Mommyhood, Parenting, Playing, Women's Business • Views: 356

  • Munch The Magician

    It turns out The Munch fancies herself a magician, and yesterday she put on a magic show for me. Here are some of her most famous tricks to date.

    1) The transforming quarters: This trick consisted of her placing two quarters in my hands. She then had me “close my eyes.” While my eyes were closed, she replaced the quarters with two sunflower seeds. MAGIC!
    2) The disappearing babysitter: This very tricky trick was executed by having me close my eyes, Munch taking her babysitter by the hand, and bringing then her into another room. When I opened my eyes again, her babysitter had disappeared. MAGIC!
    3) The transmuting book: With this trick I was told to look at a book and then… wait for it… wait for it… close my eyes. When I opened them again the book was gone, and in its place was a bloody pencil that Munch had colored with red crayon. FUCKING MAGIC!

    Later that night The Munch was asking me how I liked her magic show, and I suggested that maybe she try a few tricks that could be accomplished when my eyes were…. I don’t know… open!? That perhaps it would be more impressive if she could create an illusion that I could actually see. She took in this information, then looked at me with a stern expression: “But mom, when you close your eyes, that’s when the magic happens!”


    This is Munch’s Magic Show sign made by her and Spencer (the babysitter)


  • The World Of Make Believe is Kinda F*cked Up!

    As adults, I think we all envy the imagination of children. Their ability to lose themselves in a play pretend planet, and envision a reality I can only achieve after taking acid. Yet sometimes when I enter into these alternate dimensions with my child, I sometimes take pause, and think to myself, “Damn kid, your make believe worlds are kinda fucked up!”

    Here are some of the most recent games I have played with The Munch:

    1) Dead Mermaid Examiners:

    Munch: Let’s pretend we are these explores that find dead mermaids. We travel the seas, and every time we find a dead mermaid, we bring her on our ship and examine it. And then, we look inside her body, and see all her broken bones, and how her heart isn’t beating.

    Toni: Ummm okay. Do we have magic powers to save the mermaid or anything? So we can bring her back to life?

    Munch: Yeah, but first we have to use this tool to peel off her fin to make sure all her bones are broken – and then we can use the magic to make her heart beat again. But after we make her alive, she goes back into the water, and the bad guys just kill her again.

    2) Evil Jailer:

    Munch: Pretend that you are sleeping in my bed, and then I come in the middle of the night and capture you. But I tell you I am brining you to my house to watch my animals, but really, I just put you in jail. And because you believed me, and you love animals, you didn’t know I was going to do that. And when you are in jail there are bars everywhere, surrounding you, and you can’t get out.

    Toni: What happens to me when I am in jail?

    Munch: You cry because you want to get out.

    Toni: Wah!!!

    Munch: Pretend that I am evil, but you have this magic treasure that turns me nice. So here, you can use it now.

    Toni: Okay. I am using this magic treasure and I am making you nice! Shazam!

    Munch: Your magic didn’t work. I am still evil.


  • 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…


  • Pretending to Pretend

    If you came to my house and saw me dressed up like a princess while talking to my stuffed animals, would you think that was sweet – or that I had totally lost my fucking mind? Chances are you would smile, back out slowly, and then call my mom to tell her that the moment had finally come – it was time to have me committed. Even though kids are expected to play pretend, when adults do, we consider it a mental disease.

    When I watch The Munch play pretend it is of course cute to watch her imagination wander, but she also gets into some really weird shit. Sometimes her baby dolls have to go to jail because they weren’t listening, her stuffed panda has been known to eat Mr. Bunny, and every so often her Carebear has to be put outside in the rain for punishment.

    That is just the information I am privy to as she talks to herself. There are a lot of times where The Munch is playing and she is quite. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a full narrative happening inside her head, I just don’t know what it is. And to be honest, I don’t know if I want to.

    A lot of times she asks me to participate in these games, which to be honest is hard for me to get into. I am too aware that this isn’t reality, and I can’t get lost in it like a child would. Of course I go along and pretend to pretend, but in reality my brain is spending its time stressing out about my life rather than truly being invested in My Little Pony’s adventure into the land of Dark Trees.

    Do you remember the feeling of being lost in your imagination? I have a vague recollection of what that was like, but I can’t connect to that headspace. I think my window was too short. I know some kids can stay in that mental state for a long time, but I think when I was like 6 or 7 I was like, “this is just silly.” I was too self aware, and that ability to forget myself melted away.

    Even though the social acceptability of pretending morphs as you age, plenty of grown ups still do it, just in a more adult way. They role play sexually, play fantasy sports games, have online Avatars, hold Dungeons and Dragon’s gatherings, go to adult summer camps… All this proves we will have a need for play even though it is manifested differently.

    Yet I can’t get into any of that shit, because again, my consciousness is too conscious of its consciousness. Maybe for those of us who still yearn for play, but are too uptight to figure out how to maintain the capacity, we turn to drugs. Not that I am a druggie now, but I was definitely committed for a good portion of my teen and adult years. Drugs helped me forget my mind and exist in a make-believe world.

    Perhaps if there were more opportunities for people to play as they grow up, less people would turn to drugs for that mental escape? I don’t know, but it seems like a fun little game of “You’re the Teacher and I’m the Bad Student,” is infinitely safer than heroine.


    May 18, 2015 • 4 years old, Behavior, Mommyhood, Parenting, Playing, Toddler Thoughts • Views: 449