• Beauty Is A Rainbow (of hair)

    When you bring your child into a public space, there is a pretty good chance that someone might overhear your conversation and judge you as a parent. This is especially the case when you frequent a new-agey organic restaurant where the seats are painfully close to each other, and the diners next to you are hyper-critical snobs… but in a non-critical accepting way. Yet just because you know someone is listening in on your conversation doesn’t mean you have to self censor. Sometimes you’ve got to speak the truth, even if that means dealing with dirty looks from hippies.

    Toni: I kind of want to dye my hair red like the color of this doll’s hair.
    Munch: You do?! How come Mamma?
    Toni: I don’t know. I guess I am sick of my hair color.
    Munch: I want to dye my hair too then!
    Toni: Okay. What color?
    Munch: BROWN!
    Toni: What?! NO! Not brown! You have beautiful blond hair Munch. Why would you want to dye your hair brown?
    Munch: Because you have brown hair Mamma, and I want to be just like you!
    Toni: Munch that is really sweet, but your hair is awesome. I wish I had yellow hair like you because there is so much more you can do with it. Like you could dye your hair pink if you wanted?
    Munch: No Mamma. BROWN! I want to dye my hair brown!
    Toni: What about purple! It would be so easy. You wouldn’t have to bleach it or anything. You see my hair is too dark for that….
    Munch: Mamma, I want brown hair.
    Toni: Dude there is no way I am going to let that happen. What about blue!!! It would look so rad with your eyes! We could do blue streaks!
    Munch: Nope brown.
    Toni: Okay fine. I guess neither of us will dye our hair then.


  • Can You Do Me A Favor And Not Ask For Any More Favors?

    If you are going to ask people to do favors for you, then be prepared to do favors for them. It is all part of the favor etiquette. You of course act like “I would do anything for you – because I love you,” but really you are saying “Yeah fine I will do this super annoying thing and act cool about it, but get ready because I am going to be asking you to do something for me real fucking soon.”

    Recently The Munch and I have been having a battle of the wills over the concept of favors. I can understand how this may be a slightly confusing concept considering there is a nuanced distinction between favors and the rest of our day where I am blatantly telling her what to do. With favors there is an element of will involved. You are not demanding something of someone, but asking… while hoping they comply out of the goodness of their hearts because you will be SUPER resentful if they don’t.

    For Munch, me asking her for a favor is no different than the 500 other insistences of the day – like my suggestion she doesn’t pee in the bath. But what she does not understand is that 99% of my ordering her around is for HER benefit not MINE. It is not like it matters to me if she has chocolate all over her face – but I have to recommend wiping it off so she doesn’t look demented. So when I ask for a favor it is one of the FEW requests where she does something for me. Munch will do it, but then she thinks of absurd favors for me to do in retaliation. Wait… I guess she totally gets the idea of favors after all.

    Toni: Hey Munch, will you pass me my shoes that are right next to you.
    Munch: Sure. Here you go.
    Toni: Thanks.
    Munch: Mamma, will you go upstairs and get my polkadot headband?
    Toni: Ummm, you are already wearing a headband.
    Munch: I know, but I need my polkadot one.
    Toni: Why don’t you get it yourself Munch. You are a big girl.
    Munch: But Mom, I am asking you to do me a favor!


  • Why You Shouldn’t Eavesdrop

    When The Munch plays pretend, she often talk to herself. She comes up with characters to act out scenarios. The murmurs of her banter is endearing. I love when she happily plays by herself, content in her own imagination while creating a world through the dialogue of her dolls. It is one of the most peaceful moments of motherhood that soothes my soul.
    Ummm… yeah.The truth is, I haven’t been listening that carefully to what Munch’s characters are actually saying.
    The other day I brought The Munch with me to my dance studio while I took a ballet class. She had her back to us and was completely lost in her own universe. Our presence was totally inconsequential — The Munch was committed to her own reality.
    Here’s the thing about sound.When you have loud music on, it drowns out all other noise. Yet when said loud music is turned off, all other noise is amplified in the silence. In this case, when the song ended and the teacher was momentarily thinking about the next exercise, the sound of Munch’s voice echoed throughout the room.
    At first we all looked at each other and said with our eyes “awwww how sweet… the little girl is playing pretend.”  Then the actual words coming out of her mouth became clear.
    Munch: You go over here Mamma because I am going to put you in jail. Then I am going to stomp on your face if you don’t give me all the jellybeans I want. Go in jail right now and stay there forever and ever for 100 years and I am never going to let you out!! And then I might KILL YOU!



  • 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)


  • Don’t We All Want To Kill Ourselves?

    There is a fine line between creativity and mental illness. When tapping into the true artistry of the mind and heart, your sense of reality can change. People who move us the most with their creative gifts allow themselves to examine culture in a manner that digs deeper than most of us are willing or able. Yet the more layers you philosophically peel off of the onion of life, the more the tears are going to flow.

    The tragedy of Robin Williams’s death does not simply lie in the questions surrounding his suicide. The specifics details may not be known, but I think we can assume the genuine and significant existential angst this brilliant man must have experienced. Creative, artistic, reflective people can’t be happy all the time. When you take the time to really sit down to contemplate humanity, the world, and the seeming futility of life, there is no way not to wonder, “What is the point?” People who truly consider the nature of existence will never naively subsist in society.

    In order to get out of bed in the morning, most of us choose to ignore the harshness of life. I don’t wake up thinking about genocide or child prostitution. Instead I worry about what I am going to eat for breakfast and what form of caffeine to ingest. I read the news to stay informed, but I distance myself from the information I am inundated with. “Wow, that sucks about the Ebola outbreak in Africa… sigh… good thing I don’t live there.” To avoid paralysis, I avoid emotionally connecting with the horror of the headlines each day.

    There are moments when the callous, protective, self-involved layer is shed and my rare underbelly is exposed while I weep about how helpless I really feel about the state of the world. In high school I often came home from school and cried – not only about drama in my own daily life, but largely about the merciless awareness growing in me about the grave injustices of the world. The innocent benevolence of my childhood was replaced by the brutal realization of history. I wished with all my heart I didn’t have to feel the truth in this way.

    The reality is the human condition is depressing and many of us are probably slightly depressed all the time. There is so much suffering inherent in being alive. Heartbreak, death, failure, oppression, unfairness, the confusion of identity – there are endless reasons to feel destitute and wonder about ending it all. The journey is how we learn to deal with all the massive disappointments we face. For people who live in the world of Hollywood, the pressure to be adored is unparalleled. While the glory of being worshipped is an intense high, the moments you are not must be a serious low. Robin Williams’ career was spent in an industry that treats people as disposable and replaceable. It had to be challenging as he aged to understand his sense of self without constant public validation.

    People who take their own lives don’t hate life, but actually love it the most. They see and feel beauty so acutely that the pain of the ugliness in our world is too much to bear. The schism of these extremes must be maddening. For those of us who have found self-preservation in the middle, we can never truly understand the power of having those bipolar forces to pull at you. I find comfort in knowing that in addition to the extreme darkness someone must experience to take their life, there was also a time when they were immersed by lightness so bright it was blinding.


    August 13, 2014 • Current Events, Health, Musings • Views: 552

  • The House You Grew Up In

    The house you grew up in is almost as profound as the people you grew up with. It is like a character in the story of your life. The building that housed your youth serves as a porthole into the nostalgia of days gone past. It is a place where you can transport yourself into memories vaguely recalled, yet still so familiar. When you return to the rooms that contained your childhood, visions will flood your brain as you try to connect to the person you used to be when you were still forming into the person that you have become.

    It is some deep shit!

    Of course not everyone has access to the home of their younger years to mill around searching for relics. Parents move, and new homeowners don’t always allow strangers to come over to talk about how this room used to be smaller before the walls were ripped out, or shed tears at the site of a old tree with rotten branches they used to climb. Yet sometimes you have a chance to go back to a house that is no longer yours, but forever will be anyway.

    My childhood home is unique because I grew up in a Harvard dormitory, so even the sight of pizza boxes in the trashcan of the parking lot made me tear up. I went to this place I once called home to take pictures for a project, and realized it had been 22 years since I last roamed those halls. I immediately yearned to be like Benjamin Button so I could age backwards and return to that innocent time of trying to steal beer from 18-year old boys.

    I had brought The Munch on this tour so she could see where her mom grew up. She was somewhat amused, by maybe more so because a nice lady gave her a Tootsie-pop, which was her first exposure to high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. I pointed out to Munch every space in the building that had meaning to me, while she nodded her head and drooled orange bio chemicals.

    Toni: Look at these corridors! This is where I would roller skate with my bird on my shoulder. Check out this dining hall where I would eat nothing but burgers. Do you see this vending machine? This is where I would eat candy for dinner. Check out this elevator. My friend and I once pooped on this elevator as a joke… and now that I have said that out loud it is clear how disturbing that act really was.

    There was something so emotionally satisfying about being in the place that helped remind me of little Toni. That girl who wore yellow stirrup pants and survived on Reece’s Pieces. I was getting high on all the information inundating my consciousness.

    I saw a couch complete with beer and cum stains that would provoke most people to say “ew” – but to me it was beautiful simply because I remembered it. I sat on the white parts while lovingly running my fingers across the wood.

    Toni: Munch! Look at this couch! I used to sit here when I was a little girl!
    Munch: Are you sure you want to be sitting there now?


    August 12, 2014 • Adventures, Old School Stories • Views: 214

  • The Mystery Of Miscarriages

    A week ago, one of my closest friends found out she was pregnant. She took the test and her life was changed forever in a moment, punctuated by a blue plus sign. She came to visit me so we could share in this miraculous moment together. We hugged and right away felt I was embracing two beautiful souls. She was happy, scared, nervous, nauseous, tired, and joyous – with her tummy full of a baby. We talked about the future, planned how I was going to be at the birth and just as fast as it all started, the fear of it all ending began.

    At first there was light bleeding. Nothing to be nervous about, as we assumed it was a good sign of the baby getting comfy in its new home as the egg emplanted itself on the uterine wall. Then the bleeding got heavier and we realized that there is such a fine line between “healthy” bleeding and “scary” bleeding. It was hard to know what side we were on, so we searched the Internet for answers.

    There were so many possibilities. Women saying they bled their entire pregnancy yet had a healthy baby, others who had lost a twin but the other baby survived, some who experienced chemical pregnancies, and then of course those mourning the loss of spirit that never came to be. Nothing was clear. The cramping was mild, but who can really tell one person’s pain compared to another? It was hard to self-diagnose and the more we read the more stressed we became.

    The waiting was agony. I sat and watched her curled up in a spiraled fetal position, terrified for the fate of this little being inside her. While a woman gets to experience the great gift of a life growing inside her, she also may sometimes feel a life ending as well. All I wanted to do was cry. Even though we can always look at the metaphysical and biological reasoning for such events, that doesn’t dissolve the pain.

    I felt like we had to do something proactive. We went to the hospital for a blood test hoping to at least learn for sure what was going on. Miscarriages are surprisingly common – a staggering 25% of all pregnancies end that way – yet there is so little we really know about them. The doctor told us it could be a miscarriage, or it could be bleeding, and that there is no way to know unless blood is taken today, and then again in two days to compare the hormone levels. She took another pregnancy test which came up positive, but pregnancy hormones can be present in the body for up to a week after a miscarriage. Everything felt so inconclusive.

    Listening to the uncertainty made me feel outraged. Considering miscarriages are such a huge part of women’s health, why isn’t it a bigger priority in the medical community to understand and preventing? There is a blue pill that wakes up a man’s dead penis, and there is nothing we can do for a baby trying to hold onto life?

    When we got home, The Munch was concerned and wanted to know what was going on.

    Munch: Why did you go to the hospital?
    Toni: Because your Auntie isn’t feeling good, and we needed to make sure she was okay.
    Munch: Why isn’t she feeling good?
    Toni: We are not sure, but something might be wrong with the tiny baby inside her.
    Munch: Is the baby sick?
    Toni: That is what we are trying to find out.
    Munch: Why is the baby sick?
    Toni: Well, sometimes babies get made, but they don’t get to be born.
    Munch: You mean I am never going to get to meet the baby in my Auntie’s tummy?
    Toni: I am not sure yet. We’ll find out on Tuesday. But maybe no, you won’t.
    Munch: Will the baby just stay in her tummy and live there forever?
    Toni: Sort of yes. Part of the baby will live with her forever.
    Munch: That’s good. The baby will be so happy in there.


    August 11, 2014 • Being Preggo, Mommyhood, Musings, Vagina Stuff, Women's Business • Views: 394

  • Top Ten Reasons Being an Adult Sucks

    1. You spend all your time making money, so you can spend all your money making time.
    2. You work hard to buy a home just to work as hard inside your home.
    3. There is no summer vacation from your job – unless you work at a school but then you are back at school.
    4. There are young people who poop their pants and old people who poop their pants who you are expected to take care of.
    5. All the power of your imagination that once relished in creating characters out of toothpicks turns into an anxiety that can only be suppressed with the right combination of Xanax and white wine.
    6. Your body starts to breaks down as various folds of flesh fall while orifices and crevasses emit an increasingly distinct odor.
    7. You wake up tired.
    8. You have to watch what you eat – not just as it comes towards your mouth.
    9. Once thrilled by the chase of childhood tag, you’re are now pursued and haunted by failed dreams.
    10. You are that much closer to death.

    (Yup… this picture pretty much sums up my adult life)


    August 8, 2014 • Musings • Views: 317

  • Private Acts In Public Spaces

    I have a thing with public bathrooms. They really gross me out. If I am going to use one, I hover over the seat like a helicopter. My thighs burn from the squatting position during the time it takes for various substances to evacuate my body.

    When my kid needs to use a public facility, I use toilet paper to create a crown for her. Even then, her hands end up touching the seat and the back of her shins will make contact with the bottom part of the potty. It is really hard not to get anal about all the germs coating the latrine. If you are going to be anal anywhere, it might was well be in the John.

    So the other day The Munch and I were at the beach and rather than peeing outside in the woods like a normal person, she insisted on going to the porta-potty. This was my worst nightmare. I had coffee that morning, which is a rare thing for me, so not only was I high as fuck, I was on edge and full of anxiety.

    Toni: Dude, I really don’t want you going in there. Just pee over here – behind the bush.
    Munch: No Mom! I want to just use the potty.
    Toni: Munch it is so gross in there. Just lets go over here… and pee outside.
    Munch: MOM!
    Toni: Okay fine. But let me take your leotard off out here.
    Munch: Why are you doing it out here? What are you doing?
    Toni: I don’t want you to get your clothes all gross in there.
    Munch: Mom, now I am naked.
    Toni: Its fine. Okay… so I am going to just hold you up over the potty, and dangle your butt over the seat.
    Munch: Uhhhhhhh okay.
    Toni: Here we go… now pee.
    Munch: Mom is the pee going in the potty, I feel it dripping down my legs?
    Toni: Yes it is. Sorry… let me change the angel. Is that better?
    Munch: Mom, you are really freaking me out right now.
    Toni: Listen… it is just better this way. Trust me.
    Munch: Mom, I really don’t like the way you are acting.
    Toni: You are going to thank me later when you don’t have someone else’s pee on the back of your thighs… just your own.

    (I mean… would you want to bring that leotard into a porta potty??)


    August 7, 2014 • 4 years old, Adventures, Family Drama, Parenting, Pee & Poop, Toddler Thoughts • Views: 213