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Talking and Not Talking

  • How Do You Treat People When You’re in a Bad Mood?

    How often do you get in a bad mood? Every week? Every day? Every few hours?

    What do your bad moods look like? Do you take it out on the people around you? Do you retreat into yourself? Do you punish your furniture or punch walls? Or do you paint pictures of Donald Trump with your menses?

    Everyone gets into bad moods. It seems like an unavoidable aspect of the human condition. We can’t have happiness without moments of darkness. We all feel waves of pessimism, and ironically, our own thoughts are often the cause of the turmoil.

    Most problems we have are not the external interference of someone intentionally fucking with you. The majority of our personal suffering we put on ourselves by being upset over things we have little control over. We thus end up spending a huge part of our lives managing this self-induced pain.

    But here is the problem with being in a bad mood. NO ONE LIKES TO BE AROUND SOMEONE WHO’S IN A BAD MOOD!

    Negativity is more contagious than a strand of herpes infested Ebola virus mixed with measles. When you are around someone who is complaining, wallowing, or finding the fault in everything – it is hard not to sink into the pit of despair with them. Bad moods are the quick sand of the emotional spectrum, and most people will run the other direction so as not to get sucked in.

    So the question then becomes, what do you do with yourself when you are in a bad mood? If you don’t honor your feelings, they tend to fester and breed. That energy has to be expelled somehow, because denial only delays the inevitable breakdown. The ideal would be to notice your bad moods, but allow them to float through you without attachment. Just let them pass like gas! Yet that can be really hard if you are not a Buddhist monk spending your life meditating in the forest!

    When you live with a kid, their moods are in a constant state of chaos. They can get angry about something as simple as having too many raisins in their granola. Which although is maddening, is not a reason to throw yourself on the floor and weep as if you just ate your cat by accident.

    When Munch is in a bad mood, she also happens to be a total asshole. It is hard to be empathetic to her anguish when I also think she is being a dick. I don’t want Munch to feel like there isn’t space to be her authentic expressive self; but I also don’t want to be an emotional punching bag in the process.

    Toni: Listen, Munch. I totally understand that life can be frustrating, and sometimes you get in a bad mood. I am never asking you not to feel your feelings. But I am asking you to start thinking how you treat people when you are angry inside. If you are in a bad mood, is it possible for you to also be kind?

    The Munch was quiet for a moment while she took this suggestion in. Then she looked at me as if she totally understood what I was saying, then dramatically threw her head back.

    Munch: BUT IT’S SO HARD!!!!!

    Exactly Munch…

    (This was her first day of school… and boy was she in a bad mood!)

    first day of school

  • 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?


  • What is Funny vs. What is Appropriate

    I like to challenge social convention. It makes me feel more comfortable when I am making other people feel uncomfortable. Something is soothing about the discomfort.

    As a result, this means I have a very fluid relationship to “appropriate behavior.” I like it when people tease acceptability, especially when trying to get a laugh. Sometimes you have to take things too far just to wake people up. That’s how you find the comedy gold.

    I also strive for authentic honest connection to people. So when my 5-year old is going to say something like “Let’s pretend this My Little Pony is really mean, and called this My Little Pony a ditch,” I’m going to correct her. It’s bitch honey…. Not ditch.

    Of course I don’t want my daughter to swear, but she can’t go around thinking people are “ditches.” That’s just absurd. I don’t have to shelter The Munch from the existence of these words, but I do have to explain that children aren’t supposed to curse. Only fucking grownups are allowed to do that.

    When The Munch and her little friend were showing me their butts the other day, I had to take pause. Either I could say, “that is rude,” or I could say what I actually said: which was “that is called mooning.” If they are going to moon me, they should at least know what it is called – because mooning people is hilarious in the right context. Of course you don’t want to moon the wrong person… like your teacher or a pervert at the park. But what kind of world is this when you can’t moon your own mom and crack up with your friends about it!?

    So this takes me to The Munch’s new favorite music videos to watch. They are parodies of her favorite pop songs, and she thinks they are wittiest thing every to happen to the Internet. “Mom, in this one video she keeps putting her butt in this guy’s face and it is soooooooooooo funny.” Yeah maybe it is not proper to let my kid watch videos with swear words and shit, but the fact The Munch is developing her butt and poop humor is the first sign of a future comedy genius. At least here’s praying.

    September 7, 2015 • 5 years old, Behavior, Mommyhood, Parenting, Pee & Poop, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 532

  • I See How I Suck

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • 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)



    When I go hiking, my objective is to get to the end of the trail. I am NOT the type of person who can trek half way up a mountain, and then turn around. No fucking way. If I start walking up a goddamn hill, you bet your sweet ass I am going to get to the top!

    I am definitely not one to dilly dally, dawdle, or meander. I wouldn’t dream of straying from the trail. I look straight ahead and propel my body forward. I don’t take breaks. EVER! I barely stop for water, and certainly wouldn’t dream of eating – that would slow me down! I’ve got places to go!!

    So can you imagine my horror when I realized that I have given birth to the type of hiker who wants to linger and explore!?

    This was my experience hiking with The Munch.

    .1 miles in: “Mom! Lets go check out these rocks over there!” (She jumps over rocks for 10 minutes).

    We get back on the path and walk 25 feet. “Hey, look at this right here. These rocks! Let’s go check them out!” (She plays on rocks for another 5 minutes.)

    “Mom, I am hungry! Let’s have snack!” (She eats a bar).

    We walk 100 feet farther down the path: “MOM!! Check out these rocks! Let’s go over here! Aren’t these so cool!?” (More rock playing).

    We get back on the path. “Mom. I’m hungry again. Can I have my seaweed chips?”

    She walks WITH her seaweed chips for .2 miles.

    “Mom, let’s take a little rest. Can I have some of my sammich?”

    She eats half, of a half, of her sammich.

    Back on the path for 20 feet.

    “Mom, can I have the other half, of that half, of my sammich.”

    She stops, finishes that half, and we walk 80 feet.

    “Mom, can I have some water?”

    She drinks water, we walk .2 miles.

    “Mom!! Check out this hill! Can I go up it?”

    I remind her that the hill is NOT on the path, and we should continue on the path.

    “Ummm I think I’m going to go up and down this hill a few times. Will you come with me? PLEASE!?”

    I again remind her that said hill is NOT the path.


    We go up and down the hill a few times.

    “Can I have the other half of my sammich?”

    She eats her sammich.

    This was my experience for the ENTIRE 3 MILE HIKE!! And get this. SHE DIDN’T EVEN CARE ABOUT GETTING TO THE END OF THE TRAIL! She just wanted to enjoy nature, look around, take breaks, eat snacks, and investigate the terrain. I guess where I am more “goal oriented,” The Munch is more “process oriented.”



  • The Munch Birthday Blog

    Today is The Munch’s 5th birthday!

    Of course this marking of time makes me look back at these past few years and reflect. Hold on. I have to go stare in the mirror real quick. Okay I’m back. Still cute.

    Oh right… I was supposed to be reflecting about my child! Duh!!!

    Being a parent has taught me many things – like what it’s like to wipe someone else’s butt first thing in the morning, or what another human’s puke feels like dripping through my fingers. My child is the one person on planet earth whose imperfections, leaking body parts, or explosive emotions don’t freak me out. Yeah sure, I don’t always want to deal with them, but the fact that she is a part of me makes me infinitely more patient, loving, and tolerant. I’m like “awwwwww, I love you because you remind me so much of me, sweetie.”

    Even though I have to give The Munch A LOT of my time, energy, and food (she always want to eat what I’m eating), I’m also fully aware of how much she has given me. Like pink eye. Just kidding… I washed my hands so I didn’t catch it. Actually in truth, I don’t wash my hands at all. I only pretend to in public bathrooms because I don’t trust anti bacterial soap, but I also don’t want you to judge me. It’s not like I’m peeing on my hands though, so what’s the big deal you critical twat?


    What I’m trying to say is that parenting is an endless journey of satisfying someone else’s needs. Wait. No. That was my auto correct. Sorry. What I meant to say is parenting is the best thing that ever happened to me!

    The Munch has been a source of endless inspiration. I mean look how much I write about her! Sure, I take breaks every once in a while to talk about politics or vaginas, but the rest of this blog is my observations on this special creature. Even though The Munch has no idea I have been exploiting her childhood for my personal gain, she has been such a good sport about it!

    I have learned more about human nature from this human than I ever thought possible. She has been my greatest and wisest teacher, and has instilled me with lessons like “don’t sing Mama while I’m singing because I cannot hear myself if all I hear is your voice.” I mean, come on. That is some Buddha shit right there.

    My Munchee is a true miracle and I’m grateful for her beyond words.


    July 1, 2015 • 5 years old, Mommyhood, Parenting, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 491

  • 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…


  • 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.