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  • My Personal Parenting PTSD

    Over the weekend I hosted a women’s dinner where we celebrated our uteruses by winding our fallopian tubes around the moon, and dancing our menses deep into the earth’s core. Or we made quinoa and grilled some fish. Whatever.

    My goddess friend Olivia brought her precious priestess daughter, a mere babe of 7 months. They were like one glorious unit – the perfect depiction of the serene Madonna and child. As I gazed upon their unbounded beauty, and how physically/spiritually/emotionally interwoven they were, I thought to myself, “Holy fuck how did I ever get through that baby stage? That shit was hard as fuck.”

    Looking back, I still cannot believe how much work it was to keep that thing alive and happy. It was so intense, I actually blocked out a lot of the experience. Watching Olivia, I realized that she was in this whole other dimension of babyness that I couldn’t relate to – not because I didn’t understand – but because my mind has filtered away those memories to protect myself.

    Every description of motherhood Olivia revealed felt literally insane to me.

    Olivia: Well, I haven’t had that much time to do that because I haven’t really left Rosey with anyone else for more than an hour.
    Toni: WHAT? Are you serious?? You have been with her this whole time?
    Olivia: Yeah, basically. I mean, how long would you leave Munch with other people when she was 7 months?
    Toni: I mean maybe an hour tops. But I hardly ever did that.

    It’s like I have PTSD!! Baby Munch is my personal Vietnam! Not that she was a hard baby either. She was super chill. But the level of commitment and patience required for a baby was like nothing I ever experienced, and now that it’s over, I can’t believe I ever got through it alive.

    Now that The Munch is almost 5, the freedom I have is unparalleled to what it was like when she was baby. She’s really independent and that has given me my independence. But I guess the reason why she’s so secure in the world is because of the hard time I put in when she was an infant. The breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and constant connection helped create a strong foundation between us, and now she is like a little bird that can fly away. Not too far though, she still needs me to make her sandwiches and charge the iPad.



  • Spring Up My Ass

    Time has sprung forward, but my daughter missed that memo. I don’t admit this proudly, but The Munch normally goes to bed around 9 or 9:30.  It just works out that way.  Even if I get her in bed by 8:30, as soon as I leave the room she gets up, jumps on the bed, stomps around, and calls for me to do stuff for her.  Daylight savings means she is staying up until 10.30 or 11 pm!

    Last night she was particularly wound up, maybe because I let her have strawberry sauce at 9 pm as I chatted on the phone. She was so just quiet and content while eating it… and did I say quiet?  Fine – I take some of the blame for that one.  At 9.30 I brought her upstairs, told her an amazing story about a witch who kicked his little sister in the chin because she was trying to steal his ball (Munch believes all witches are boys) and then wished her goodnight.


    Munch: No Mamma, don’t go! Stay and cuddle!

    Toni: Listen, I told you a story, we did our cuddle. It’s really late and now it is time to go to bed.

    Munch: But I am hungry!

    Toni: Okay but you had dinner and strawberry sauce.  Besides you don’t want to eat right before bed – you’ll have indigestion and weird dreams.  I’ll tell you what: we’ll have an especially big breakfast tomorrow morning, ok?

    Munch: But I need something to eat now! Can you bring me some pasta and pesto?

    Toni: Ummmmm, that is actually an insane request.  If you ate pasta and pesto in bed you would wake up covered in ants because you would make such a mess.  It is bedtime — lets focus on that.

    Munch: But I don’t want to go to sleep!

    Toni: Listen Munch, you have to go to sleep. It is time.  I need to go down stairs to do some work, clean the kitchen, do laundry, and go to sleep myself. I need you to stay in bed and get some rest so you are not tired tomorrow.

    Munch: But I am not sleepy!

    Toni: That’s ok.  Waiting to fall asleep is a good time to think and be in your own head.

    Munch: But I don’t want to be alone! Can you stay with me?

    Toni: Being alone is really important. Munch.  That’s how you get to know yourself.

    Munch: Okay fine…

    Toni: I love you.  See you in the morning.


    Munch: MAMMA! Can you come upstairs?? I need you to fix my blanket!!

    Toni: Okay, but this is the last time.

    Munch: Thanks Mamma.  I love you.  Sleep well.


    Munch: MAMMA! My feet are peeking out!!

    Toni: Just tuck your feet back into the blanket!

    Munch: Mamma, can you come here and cover them, please?

    Toni: Okay… but this is really the last time.


    Munch: MAMMA!  My Minnie Mouse fell off the bed!

    Toni: Well just pick her up and put her back in.

    Munch: Can you come up and help me please? I need her to be tucked in up to her neck!

    Toni: Okay… but this is the last time I am coming up.

    Munch: Thanks Mamma.  I love you.


    Toni: Munch! What are you doing down stairs?

    Munch: I just needed that thing that I look through.

    Toni: What are you talking about?

    Munch: That brown thing that I look through like a telescope.

    Toni: The paper towel role?

    Munch: Yeah I need that!

    Toni: Fine.  It’s in the recycling bin. Now go back upstairs.

    Munch: Can you come up and tuck me in.

    Toni: Uggggg.  Fine, but this is seriously the last time.


    Toni: Seriously Munch… what are you doing down here? You have to get back upstairs and in bed.

    Munch: But I have a clippy on my nail.  Can you clip my nails please?

    Toni: Jesus… okay… I will clip your nails but then right to bed!

    Munch: Okay thank you.  Wait… you need to get the thumb too.

    Toni: Back upstairs.

    Munch: Will you come tuck me in please?

    Toni: Okay but for real this is the LAST TIME… I feel like a crazy person how many times I have said that and because I am not sticking to my word it obviously has no meaning to you.

    Munch: Okay Mamma, I am listening. I will go to bed.  I love you.


    Munch: MAMMA!! I can’t sleep!!

    Toni: Munch I am not coming up.  Just turn on your music and sing then!

    Okay yeah I am sure there is tons of stuff I did wrong here but she was being so polite and when someone needs a manicure they need a manicure.  Who am I to deny that to Munch?

    I, of course, didn’t get to bed until 1 am, when at 6 am in the morning I hear:

    Munch: MAMMA!!!

    Toni: What is it??

    Munch: Can you pass me a toy from my basket to be in my bed with me please?

    Toni: Fine… here you go.

    6:09 am

    Munch: MAMMA!!

    Toni: What Munch…. What do you need?

    Munch: I just wanted to give you back your hair elastic.

    Toni: Thanks.

    6:13 am

    Munch: (whispering) Mamma…. Can I get in bed with you and cuddle for just a minute?

    Toni: Fine… get in. But you can’t wiggle around and you have to go back to sleep.  It’s still dark out –it’s not time to get up yet.

    Munch: Okay.

    6:19 am

    Munch: Mamma… can you tickle me?

    Toni: Fine.

    6:24 am

    Munch: Mamma, have you ever seen the Care Bears where they all switch belly badges?

    Toni: Munch, you have to go to sleep.

    6:40 am

    Munch: Mamma, can I lay on you for a while?

    Toni: Fine. Close your eyes and go to sleep.

    6:52 am

    Munch: Mamma, can you tickle me again?

    Toni: I will if you stop talking and go to bed.

    7:04 am

    Munch: Mamma, can you face me?

    7:08 am

    Munch: Mamma can you move your hair?

    7:14 am

    Munch: Mamma, I am going to zip up your sweatshirt more so your nanas don’t peek out. (nanas = boobs)

    7:28 am

    Munch: Mamma, can you tickle me again?

    Toni: Okay. That is it.We are getting up. Lets get you dressed and ready for school.

    Munch: But I don’t want to go to school! I am too tired!

    Toni: I am sorry you don’t want to go, but  you have school today. I let you stay home Monday because you didn’t get to bed until too late. It’s not my fault you are tired.

    Munch: But I am so tired!

    Toni: Listen, you can relax for a moment while I meditate but then we are getting dressed.

    Of course she fell asleep during the 20 minutes I meditated, not giving a flying fuck in a rolling doughnut that she woke me up at six am.  When I went downstairs to get myself together, I noticed the cat barfed in Munch’s lunchbox.  I don’t know exactly what that signified, but it did feel like a metaphor for my life.

    (Here is The Munch taking her morning nap, the cat vomit, and me staring out into the abyss of existence)


  • Sleeping With The Enemy

    I have this idealistic notion that sleeping with my child would be this peaceful event.  I picture The Munch and me snuggling together, wrapped in a blanket of bliss, as we serenely entangle our limbs.  Yet the reality of sharing a bed with a toddler is more like sleeping next to a live wire that is about to electrocute me at any moment.

    For one, she thrashes.  The Munch flails her limbs periodically and unexpectedly throughout the night, and often kicks me in the back and slaps the shit out of my face. These random assaults usually happen when I am in the deepest part of my sleep, and being awoken by her inadvertent violence makes adrenalin flood my system like I am a cadet at army camp – so then it takes an hour to get back to sleep.

    The Munch also talks, yells, moans, and whines in her sleep.  It feels like I am witnessing a performance art piece.  Her vocal capacity seems to exceed the prowess of when she is awake, and the volume of these random cries startle me to the point of making my heart momentarily stop working.

    Then there are the excessive changes of temperature Munch seems to experience.  The hotter and sweatier she gets, the closer Munch wants to get to me.  It is like lying next to a wood-burning stove that is sizzling alive Smokey the Bear.  And of course the extreme warmth makes her flounder even more, continuing the feedback loop of kicking my ass while she slumbers.

    She is the most still in the early morning hours, and that is when Munch snuggles up… which sounds sweet, if she weren’t breathing her morning breath directly into my nose.  One wouldn’t think that such a stank stench could be produced by such a darling little girl, but it is quite impressive.


    February 27, 2014 • 3 years old, Family Drama, Parenting, Sleeping • Views: 836

  • Is it Okay To Give Your Kid Sleeping Pills?

    When I was a young kid, my parents often called me “manic,” and at times “bipolar.”  I am pretty sure I was the only kid in the 3rd grade who described themselves as having hyper activity disorder.  I would like to think that my parents’ casual references to psychiatric conditions when referring to me were all in good fun, but it also does give you a little insight into how they felt about my behavior.

    But maybe I was intense, and occasionally annoying.  I can believe it.  And now that I have a child of my own, I know how it can feel at times as if your offspring is your own worst enemy.  That are they are living in your house for the sole purpose to punish you for past misdeeds.  So I have empathy for my mom and dad and how they may have fantasized about removing my voice box.  You know… just a simple operation to take out my larynx… nothing drastic.

    So I guess I can understand what happened Thanksgiving Day circa 1989… although I am not sure if it was legal.

    Here is what happened.  My mom was trying to cook dinner, my brother was busy doing what 12-year old boys do, and my dad was in his study working.  So I guess I was in the kitchen, irritating the shit out of my mom with my demands.  I was also slightly under the weather, so my mom had an idea.  It think it was partly motivated in her wanting me to feel better, and also partly inspired by her wanting me to get the fuck away from her.

    She gave me an Excedrin PM… at 10 in the morning.

    Now I don’t know if you have ever head Excedrin PM…. But that shit is not fucking around.

    So what happened you may ask? I feel asleep.  And slept all day until my brother woke me up at 7 in the evening to eat dinner.

    When I tried to go to bed that night, I couldn’t fall asleep.  Why you might wonder? Ohhhh… because my mom gave me a sleeping pill and I slept all day that is why!!! So I did what any normal kid would do.  I took another.

    And that was the beginning of my 8-month journey of being addicted to sleeping pills.

    (I guess I did have a pretty wild look in my eyes)


    February 25, 2014 • Behavior, Family Drama, Old School Stories, Parenting, Sleeping • Views: 1696

  • My Future Party Girl

    I think my kid is going to be into partying when she gets older.  I don’t know what the scene is going to be like 20 years in the future… maybe everyone will be getting high on android saliva, listening to music telepathically, and wearing radio active armor… but I can pretty much guarantee that The Munch will be in the middle of the action.

    You know how there are morning people, and nighttime people? The Munch is just a creature of the moon.  As dusk turns to darkness, she doesn’t start to melt down, or get tired and cranky like most 3 year olds I know.  When the stars are out, it is her time to twinkle.  While our side of the planet is snubbing the sun, The Munch is looking to bathe in the celestial energy of the earth’s satellite.

    Every night when I put her to bed she says she is going to go to sleep, but I know she doesn’t.  How do I know? Because she still has a baby monitor in her room.   I kind of feel like the NSA listening in on The Munch’s private time, but I am keeping her safe by making her live in a police state right? (wink wink)

    The first thing she starts doing after I leave is DJing.  She goes right to the iPod player that plays her nighttime kiddie music, and changes it to songs she can rock out to.  She sings along and dances until she gets sweaty.

    Then the light show begins.  She stores flashlights under her bed, and even has a few toys that light up.  Munch gets them all going at once, and then starts waving the beams around and choreographing a laser light show for herself… and whatever pothead stuffed animals are encouraging this behavior.

    I think she then begins to trip out a bit because she starts talking to herself – mostly broken promises of things she wants to do in the future.  Eventually she passes out, and when I go up to check to see if she is okay I notice her outfit has changed, she has a random sock halfway hanging off her foot, and is lying upside down with drool cascading down her cheek.

    Sounds like a pretty epic party night to me.


    January 20, 2014 • 3 years old, Parenting, Sleeping, Toddler Thoughts • Views: 372

  • The Water Conspiracy

    I think there is a conspiracy going on. One where all kids are consulting each other either through advanced nanobot technology, telepathy, or they are running the NSA. Plotting with their tiny malicious consciousness-es to infiltrate the collective adult psyche and destroy any hope for sanity with one question. “Can I have a glass of water.”

    Now I am pretty sure that The Munch has never overtly discussed with her friends different strategies on how not to go to sleep… so how on goddess’ green earth does she know that once she is tucked in, and I am downstairs, to come and ask for a glass of water like every cliché sitcom moment of “parent putting kid to bed.” Was she born with this instinct? Who taught her this fail proof approach? It is the perfect excuse. Because who would refuse their child hydration? Yet once she gets said water she barely takes a lick…. LIKE SHE WAS NEVER EVEN THIRSTY IN THE FIRST PLACE!

    So I had an idea. I would circumvent her scheme by making sure there was always a glass of water next to Munch’s bed. That way she would never have to come down with any needs. Right?? Hehehe. Right?? Is anyone out there?

    Toni: Munch! What are you doing downstairs? You need to get back up there right now. You know the rules. Once Mamma tucks you in, you have to stay in your bed.

    Munch: I know Mamma… I just needed my toy.

    Toni: Which toy?

    Munch: Uhhhhhhhh….. this one! This dogy right here. Yup. That is the one I needed all along.


    Toni: Munch! I can hear you stomping down those stairs – go back to bed!

    Munch. I am not stomping. I am tip-toeing

    Toni: What do you need?

    Munch: Uhhhh… I need my ballerina book from The Nutcracker.

    Toni: Munch the lights are out. It isn’t time to read.

    Munch: But that is why I have my flashlight Mom.


  • Don’t Have Fun Without Me Okay?

    I hope that you guys did something magical on the solstice over the weekend.  That you somehow communed with Grandmother Moon, sang snow salted songs sprinkled by the illusion of time, and danced under star beams through a pomegranate dusk.  Or that just drank a few beers and farted.  Either or…

    On my solstice saturday I decided to go to a yoga class where we did 108 sun salutations while chanting wishes of peace to all living beings… because that is the type of shit I would do.  Sometimes you just have to see what you are made out of.  I have to say, that was the hardest thing thing I have done since giving birth.  Of course it was physically challenging to do that many downward dogs, push ups, upward dogs, lunges… but the mental part was way more maddening than the moving.  Doing anything 108 times is boring as fuck — even having 108 orgasms in a row gets pretty old.  When I was at sun salutation #12 I was already thinking “boy this totally sucks”  let alone 37, 63, 89…

    I then had a small girls gathering, where there was a pretty high possibility of breaking out a mirror to individually get to know our own cervix – because it was that kind of crowd.  After our delicious meal of kale salad and discussion of the many benefits of garlic on the immune system, the vibe was obviously getting pretty wild – pretty soon we would be comparing our favorite yogi tea.  So it became time to put The Munch to bed.

    I put her to bed, kissed The Munch goodnight and came bak down stairs.  But we were all still in the kitchen chatting about such scandalous things as the emotional satisfaction of having stacked wood in perfect alignment, when I heard The Munch come down the stairs.

    Toni: Dude! What is going on? When Mamma puts you to bed, you have to stay in bed.  You can’t come downstairs after that.  You know that.

    Munch: I know, but I think you should go to bed too.

    Toni: Munch, I will go to bed, but not yet.  Mamma is having fun with her friends.

    Munch: Yeah, but I think you should go to bed now like me.

    Toni: Much, get back into bed.  I love you and I will see you in the morning.

    Munch: Yeah okay.  But don’t have fun without me and go to bed in five minutes.


  • Nightmares about Nightmares

    I have nightmares about having nightmares. Even though they allegedly serve a purpose of helping us process vital information through our subconscious, why do they have to be so scary?! Supposedly nightmares are the brains way of focusing our attention on issues we need to address, but that is assuming you are able to decipher the complex messages behind these torturous images. What does it mean that I had a dream my hand was covered in flesh colored scales which blew in the wind like grass??? I DON’T GET IT BRAIN!!!!

    I remember this one nightmare I had as a kid that haunted me for months and months. I was in a room with black and white tiles and a huge white spiral staircase that led up into a balcony. It was a massive space, as if I were in a mansion. It felt sterile. Then down the stairs came this woman. She had no neck, and curly dark hair. She reached out to me and said “let me bite your hand.”

    I slept with my parents for almost an entire summer after that. They finally kicked me out… probably to have sex again, so then I slept with my brother. That continued for a few weeks until one afternoon he made fun of the dream. I guess that maybe embarrassed me, but also made me realize the absurdity. His joking was the the catalyst to get me in my own bed again.

    Jokes and laughter – the answer to all our problems!

    Recently The Munch has been having not only nightmares, but also night terrors! Holy fuck! Night terrors!!! They sound even worst than the mares. Almost every night between 12-1 The Munch thrashes around, talks in her sleep, wiggles, yells, and moans. I go in her room just to sit with her. I stroke her hair, kiss her face, put her blanket back on, and wait for the chaos to end. Even though she never wakes up, I can’t leave her in that state – I feel so badly for her! Recently I have tried doing Reiki on her, and it seems to make them shorter. At least she doesn’t remember even having them in the morning, but poor little Munch, straying through the twisted nature of the subconscious!

    I messaged my brother about Munch’s nightmares/terrors because I remember he used to have them frequently as a child. I figured he might have some insight for me…

    Maybe she is just like her Uncle Laszlo, very very prone to these things. I don’t know if mom and dad even remember, but I can’t tell you what an awful time I had with nightmares as a kid. I think what is scary is when you are told that “oh don’t be silly.” It has to be more about her knowing that “we are right behind you Munch.” I guess in a weird way, the nightmares can be intensified by feeling alone and abandoned. That is what I think might drive them.

    It makes me happy to think I helped you out of that nightmarish time in your life. But I am CHILLED to even think of it. “Let me bite your hand” is some scary scary shit. I mean there is a vividness to all these things. Maybe another thing you can do is actually tell her about how scared you were about all the nightmares that you used to have as a child. Then she might feel less alone about her nightmares. I think the thing that is so scary is that you are just alone with these terrifying prospects, like that son of a bitch who was trying to bite your hand. I mean even in the dream, I wish there was some to say, “hey you sick cannibal, piss off.”

    PS Do you have any nightmares from your childhood that you remember?




  • The End of an Era

    Cribs are amazing because they are like little prisons.  You put your kid in one, and they can’t get out.  Amazing invention.  Who ever came up with that should get a Nobel Peace Prize.

    The Munch sleeping in her crib was the best thing about my life.  At night, I would put her in it, we would say goodnight, and she would be there until the morning.  With all the chaos in the world, this was the amazing consistency that brought balance to my universe.

    Until one day when she decided she didn’t want to sleep in her crib any more, because cribs are for babies, and she needed a big girl bed.  And for some sick reason my mom told Munch that when she got a big girl bed, she could wake up and go poops by herself- planting the seed for future pandemonium.

    This was my fear.  Once Munch had a bed, and could get out of it, she would be a free agent.  She could walk around and do whatever she wanted, including come in my bed.  But after co-sleeping with The Munch for the first 18-months of her life, I have had enough of that.  Call me crazy, but it is hard to sleep when someone insists on holding your throat – or as Munch calls it, “cuddling.” Also, my energy is too connected to hers.  Any sound or movement she makes wakes me up, and it is like a special kind of torture.

    I figured I would get The Munch a bed that she would be really into, and want to sleep in.  So we went to Toys R Us, and a piece of me died.  We found a purple Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck bed that was made from off-gassing toxic plastic, and was probably fabricated by fetuses in China.

    The first night at around 3 in the morning I heard little footsteps come into my room, and The Munch crawled into my bed and snuggled right against my back.  Then for the next four hours she proceeded to kick, jab, and choke me.

    Toni: Listen Munch, this is not going to happen.  You wanted a big girl bed, so I got you a big girl bed, and now you have to sleep in your big girl bed.  I can’t have you coming in my bed and kicking me all night.

    Munch: I wasn’t kicking you! I was cuddling you!!!

    Toni: Well, that is very sweet, but you can cuddle me in the morning when the sun is up. But you have to sleep in your big girl bed during the night.  Otherwise you can’t go to school.  Your teacher said all the kids sleep in their beds all night and that is the rule.

    Okay fine.  It is not nice to lie to your kid.  But it is not nice to only sleep a few hours a night either so whatever.  But it worked.  The Munch slept in her bed all night and didn’t wake me up until the morning.

    Toni: Munch, are you wearing underpants?

    Munch: Yeah! I woke up and went poops all by myself.  But I didn’t wipe my bum, so I got some poops on my chair, and the rug, and on the other chair in my room.  But don’t worry Mamma.  I cleaned it all up.

    I got up, looked around, and sure enough on the chair, and on the rug, and on the other chair was a square of toilet paper covering each shit patty left behind.  I literally woke up to a shit storm.

    Munch: And look Mamma look!  I put sparkles on my bear!

    And there was an entire bottle of sparkles covering her bear.

    The end of the crib era… sigh….