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Family Drama
Category

  • In Your Mother’s Arms

    The first home you ever had was inside your mother. Of course, she eventually evicted you, but her uterus was your apartment – complete with psychedelic posters and tapestries.

    After you were birthed into to this cold dark world, her arms then became your home (assuming your mom stayed in your life). It was there that you felt safest. As a child we run into our mother’s arms for comfort, we collapse inside her hug for security. To experience this kind of embrace with your child is profound. It makes up for all the complexity of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and the unique pressure women face of living up to the role as “MOTHER.” That moment when your kid melts into for solace is truly priceless.

    Yet eventually your child gets to know you more, and realizes how you damaged them in one way or another. Then the arms of the mother are no longer their salvation. There is this thing between you – the mistakes, arguments, resentment, and annoyance that your Mom is always yelling at you about using the last of the toilet paper. The purity you once felt for your mom eventually gets clouded. She is not the goddess you once perceived her to be that was the answer to all your problems, but a flawed person who is doing her best… most of the time.

    As a child you want your mom to be a function of you. You assume that she was born onto this planet solely to be there for you. But as an adult understanding motherhood I have to admit that even though The Munch is a priority – she’s not my ONLY priority. Sometimes other things are more important than her. Like wanting to dance, or be with my friends, or work, or be creative, or eating the last cookie I know she was saving.

    The relationship we have to the MOTHER is as much personal as much as it is societal. There is an image of THE MOTHER that we are all conditioned to expect from media/stories. We have a tendency to compare our mothers to the narratives we are given. When I was a kid, all I wanted was a suburban stay at home mom. They kind who knitted, did crafts, and baked cupcakes. Instead, the mother I got was ambitious, anti-conventional, and would threaten to pick me up at school wearing her Magnum Condom T-shirt.

    Even though my mom wasn’t my ideal, as a grown up I very much like her as a human. She is way more fun than the Joan Cleaver of my childhood fantasies.

    Last night my mom came to New Hampshire because her mom has been really sick. There was a scare, and we all thought that this could be the end… but as soon as my grandmother heard everyone was coming, she perked right up and went downstairs to have a roast beef sandwich. My mom and I got into bed with my grandmother that night to keep her company as she slept.

    So there we were, 3 generations of mothers all entangled in each other’s arms as my mom and whispered to each other about mothering while my grandmother snored.

    My Mom: I know I wasn’t the mother that you wanted, but I was exactly the mother that I wanted!

    Toni: Well even though there were these ways you parented that felt traumatizing in the moment, I also think those very same things I wished were different made me a stronger person. I felt abandoned as a kid because you gave me so much independence, but now I’m a really emotionally independent person – and I like that about myself. Even though I may have wished that I were coddled more, I am glad I wasn’t.

    We all tend to parent in reaction to our parenting. We become the parents we wish we had rather than the parent our kid necessarily wants.

    There are a lot of similarities in the way I parent Munch and the way I was parented by my mom, and there is a lot I do that’s in direct reaction against the way I was parented. I have to constantly remind myself that Munch is not my inner child wanting to be healed, but her own person. I have to constantly observe and adjust my approach to her, and not get lost in trying to re-imagine my past.

    I will never the exact parent Munch wants me to be, but I can at least be open to her feedback. I want to build the kind of trust where she always feels at home in my arms, and comforted by my embrace. That way I can be sure that when I am super old she will jump into my bed with her daughter and talk about me behind my back while I sleep.

    toni munch painting

    May 19, 2016 • Family Drama, Mommyhood, Parenting, Relationships • Views: 1135

  • Chemical Candy Chaos!

    I am the type of person that would rather go hungry than to eat food that I don’t like, or is bad quality. Eating is such a pleasurable experience for me, and goes way beyond the basic need to fill my stomach. I want to have a tantric experience with my meals. I don’t want to eat just because I am hungry – I want my wet mouth to orgasm while I fill it with delicious sausages.

    Local and organic of course.

    Maybe this can be annoying for others – especially for those who want to just eat and move on with the day but have to instead wait for me to find the perfect artisanal pizza place specializing in hand foraged pixy farts.

    For example: There was this one time when I went hiking in the Swiss Alps with my boyfriend and friend, and we got really lost. We finally came across a sign that read “Wanderweg” and decided we would go there, and take the train home. We followed the path for a few miles, then came across another sign that said “Wanderweg.” This sign, however, pointed in another direction. We were confused, but followed that path for another few miles. We then came across two signs, that pointed in opposite directions, and they BOTH read “Wanderweg.”

    Toni: Where the fuck is Wanderweg!!!??

    Finally we passed some other hikers who explained that “wanderweg” means “path.”

    We didn’t get off the mountain until 10 at night, and had been hiking for 12 hours with no food or water. When we finally got to the small town, everything was closed except for one restaurant. Inside there was an old man smoking cigarettes and chewing on his hands. He showed us the menu, which consisted of a variety of canned meat.

    Toni: Ummm I don’t think I’m gonna eat here.
    My Boyfriend: What??! DUDE I am starving! Lets just eat! There is nowhere else?
    Toni: It just doesn’t look very good. And the smoke is bothering me. I won’t even be able to taste anything. Maybe we can take the train to the next town? Or walk there?

    And that was the day my boyfriend strangled me.

    And here is a story where my 5-year old almost choked the fuck out of me. The Munch and I were coming back from a road trip, and had been in the car for a few hours. She told me she needed to go to the bathroom, so I pulled over at a gas station. Once we were inside, she wanted a treat.

    The Munch: I want a treat.
    Toni: No. Not here. I can’t.
    The Munch: But MOM I AM REALLY HUNGRY! YOU DIDN’T GIVE ME DINNER AND I WANT A TREAT.
    Toni: I can’t buy you chemical candy.
    The Munch: PLEASE!? What about these?
    Toni: Sour Patch kids? No way dude! Those are chemical kids coated with sugar flavored chemicals.
    The Munch: What about these??
    Toni: Reece’s? Those are just partially hydrogenated oil patties. I can’t. I can’t support those companies. I can’t get you these natural nuts? Or GMO free chips if you are hungry.
    The Munch: BUT I WANT A TREAT!
    Toni: It’s not going to happen.
    The Munch: FINE!!!

    The Munch STORMED back into the car. She was PISSED! When we finally got home a few hours later, she was STILL mad! She went to bed furious at me.

    The Munch: I REALLY WANTED A TREAT!

    The next morning when she woke up, she still had the idea of treats on her mind.

    The Munch: Can I have a treat?
    Toni: Yes you can… but we have to go to the Green Grocer to buy one, because we have nothing here.
    The Munch: That’s too far! I don’t want to get back in the car!
    Toni: Neither do I!
    The Munch: Let’s go to the General Store.
    Toni: I can’t do that. All they have is chemical treats. If you want a treat we have to go to the Green Grocer.
    The Munch: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

    It’s not like she doesn’t KNOW I only buy organic food. The Munch is FULLY AWARE that I am never happy when someone gives her chemical candy to eat. Halloween was a big challenge for me! We had agreed that was the only chemical candy she would eat. But for whatever reason, she was NOT feeling my commitment to quality food this day.

    Toni: Dude I am not saying you can’t have a treat. I am saying you can’t have a chemical treat. The Green Grocer is five minutes farther than the General Store. Let’s just go there.
    The Munch: BUT I DON’T WANT TO WAIT THAT LONG!
    Toni: Can I tell you why I don’t want you to eat chemical candy?
    The Munch: FINE!
    Toni: Do you remember what war is?
    The Munch: When people kill each other for power?
    Toni: Yes… and back during World War 2, the Americans developed a chemical called “agent orange” to kill people. But when the war was over, they started using those chemicals on the food as pesticides – to kill the bugs. But pesticides kill all life – including butterflies, bees, and even birds!
    The Munch: BIRDS TOO?
    Toni: YES! And then we eat those pesticides! And these same companies have also have genetically modified plants, created a monopoly on seeds, and are arguably destroying the farming community. Plus… we don’t know the long-term impact of eating GMO tomatoes with fish genes in them.
    The Munch: I don’t want fishy tomatoes!
    Toni: And you know cancer? Since we have been doing this to our food, more and more people have been getting cancer. It’s hard to say it’s not related. So I don’t want to support these companies, because when I give them my money, I am saying that it’s okay to poison food, poison people, and poison the land.
    The Munch: Fine we can go to the Green Grocer. But I am getting TWO treats.

    “Seriously Mom, can you just shut your mouth hole?”

    munch shutting up toni

  • Health and Healing Hypocrisy

    I see all physical ailments as metaphysical messages. I believe our souls communicate to our egos through the language of the body. Every time I am sick, hurt, or in pain – I see it as an opportunity to dig deep in the bowels of my inner being, and extract a warm brown piece of who I really am.

    Because of this belief system, I never take western medicine. The medical establishment may lesson your symptoms, but it drives your sickness deeper inside. When you take pills for momentary relief, you are denying yourself the opportunity of self-reflection. Rather than trying to mask my pain, I will willingly sit in it so as to discover what it is I need to learn.

    Yet when my kid is suffering, I just want her to stop complaining – I mean I just want her to get better fast.

    The Munch was really miserable the other day. Usually when she is sick, she takes it as an opportunity to watch TV all day. Yet this time, she was in such a state of distress, that she wouldn’t even watch “My Little Pony!” She said that her eyes hurt too much to open them, and was writhing around in my bed in a state of physical crisis. The only thing I could do was to tickle her back to relax her.

    I felt so helpless. It’s traumatizing to see your child in anguish. But she was also being really dramatic and annoying about it. Sorry that was my auto correct. I meant to write; she was being SUPER dramatic and annoying about it.

    At first I tried to examine the mystical meaning of what was going on with her.

    Munch: MOMMY! It hurts! Wahhhahhhhaaa!
    Toni: I know it does sweetie. Can you tell me what it feels like?
    Munch: My eyes are pushing into my mouth.
    Toni: What do you think that means? What is it you don’t want to see? Or don’t want to say?
    Munch: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? My eyes and mouth just hurt! Wahhhaaahha!
    Toni: I hear you – but what do you think is the significance of your eyes hurting? Do you feel like there is some hidden question you could be asking yourself? What are your eyes and mouth trying to teach you?
    Munch: MY FACE HURTS! WAHAHHHHAHH
    Toni: Is there something about yourself that you have to face, and that’s why your face hurts?
    Munch: I DON’T KNOW! I JUST KNOW IT HURTS!!!

    My philosophical inquiry wasn’t exactly getting to the bottom of things. The Munch didn’t seem too interested interested in delving into the spiritual significance of what was going on with her health.

    Then my mom called.

    My Mom: I think she has allergies.
    Toni: How do you know?
    My Mom: Because she is experiencing the same symptoms I used to have. Stuffy nose, itchy eyes, irritability… That’s why I take Benadryl every day.
    Toni: But what do you think that your runny nose and itchy eyes are trying to tell you mom? Is your nose running perhaps a metaphor for something else you are running from?
    My Mom: Jesus Toni, it’s just seasonal allergies from pollen. Stop being such a hippy freak and go get your daughter some over the counter allergy medicine like Zyrtec.

    So I did.

    The Munch ended up sleeping the entire day, and I kind of felt like I drugged my kid. Which I guess I did. But then she woke up the next day, and was perfectly fine.

    hiding under the pillow munch

    munch sick sleeping

    March 17, 2016 • 5 years old, Family Drama, Health, Mommyhood, Parenting, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 1182

  • Am I Smarter Than A Harvard Professor?

    When I was in high school I hated school. I would go to the bathroom every class, each and every day. I guess this practice earned me the reputation amongst my teachers of either having a serious bladder infection, or a rampant case of irritable bowel syndrome.

    I also had no problem blatantly lying to my dad to get out of going to school. He would come wake me up at 7 am, and I would tell him that morning classes were cancelled, and to wake me up in two hours. Either my dad was insane for believing me, or he just didn’t care about my future. Regardless, most days I sauntered into school around 11.

    I perfected my mom’s signature, and would forge notes about my many doctors’ appointments – fueling rumors that I had some incurable communicable disease. I was even known to bend down to “pick up a pencil,” and then crawl out the open door of my classroom. If there was an opportunity to roam the hallways aimlessly, I took it.

    Part of the reason I disliked school was because I didn’t feel it was cultivating my own understanding of the world. I only did well when I learned how to anticipate the teacher’s opinion about the subject, and then alter my material accordingly. The process of developing my personal philosophies was hardly encouraged – rather I was only praised when able to regurgitate the views of my teacher.

    My junior year, I had this one English teacher who really didn’t like me. Maybe he didn’t view me as a serious student, or an avid intellectual because I was usually talking out of turn or trying to escape. It’s not his fault he didn’t see me as academically curious, because I did oscillate between being totally disruptive and completely checked out. But it was also kind of annoying that every book we read was written by a man and about male characters. Yet that was the canon, so that was what we read.

    Even though I don’t blame this teacher for hating me, and I am sure I could have been more strategic, but there was a deeper reason I didn’t thrive. My problem with this teacher was that I only got good grades from him when I didn’t read the book! If I hadn’t read the book, and could write papers or take tests purely on my notes that I took during class, he would give me an “A-.” But if I were to read the book, and add my own analysis into my writing, he would give me a “B.”

    It’s like he didn’t even care if I thought Moby Dick was a dick.

    I went to a super competitive private school in Cambridge Massachusetts. It was the kind of place where kids were having full blown anxiety attacks in the 5th grade because they got a 90% on their spelling test, and felt like that ruined their chance of getting into Harvard. At my school, a “B” was the kiss of death. I might as well have flushed my head down the toilet for shaming my family. It was clear that soon I would have to build a raft and set myself out to the ocean for all the disgrace I was causing.

    I told my dad that my English teacher gave me bad grades because he didn’t like me, rather than my shitty “B’s” being a genuine reflection of my efforts. My dad however, didn’t believe me. He thought that I wasn’t applying myself, and would tell me to work harder.

    One day, I decided to put my dad’s theory to the test. Was it really my fault I wasn’t doing well in this class?

    It was the end of the school year, and I had two papers to write. They were both due the next day, and there was no way I could finish them both, or get an extension. I went upstairs to my dad’s office to discuss my predicament.

    Toni: Here’s the deal. I have two papers due tomorrow, and I can’t write them both. If I don’t hand one in, I will get an F on that paper – which will not look good when I apply to colleges.

    My Dad: You bet your ass it won’t. This is not good Toni.

    Toni: I know. So this is what is going to happen. I will write one, and you can write the other.

    My Dad: Jesus H. Christ Toni it is 10 pm!

    Toni: I could take the F.

    My Dad: No we can’t do that. Then you won’t get into a good college and bring eternal dishonor to the family.

    Toni: You can choose between “The Old Man and the Sea” or “Great Expectations”

    My Dad: I am not happy about this.

    Toni: You don’t have to do it.

    My Dad: I’ll take the Old Man.

    I smugly tossed my dad the book, and went downstairs to write my paper. Okay fine, I was being kind of an entitled asshole. My poor dad had better things to do with his life than write my English papers, but at the same time, fuck him.

    Now keep in mind, my dad is kind of a genius. He graduated high school when he was 16. Blasted through college in 2 years. Got his PHD from Harvard when he was 23. Speaks 22 languages. He writes a book almost every year of his life. In short, my dad is way smarter than the average high school student.

    My dad should have received a good grade on this paper right? He was after all competing against the standards of 17-year-old kids. If my English teacher was truly giving each paper I wrote a fair chance and not typecasting me, this essay should have done well right?!!

    I handed in the two papers, and when I got them back, I got a “B+” and my dad, THE GENIUS HARVARD PROFESSOR, got a “B.”

    Toni: So dad, since I got the better grade, does that mean I’m smarter than you?”

    My Dad: WHAT!? I got a “B?” I really tried too! I didn’t even dumb myself down! That teacher of yours really is an asshole.

    Look at that guy! HE DOES NOT DESERVE A “B” FROM A HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER!

    218023_1025466730208_5564_n

    February 25, 2016 • Education, Family Drama, Old School Stories • Views: 1270

  • You’re Better Than Me!

    My kid and I don’t really have a lot of the same interests. We have some things in common. We both really enjoy loud music, cookies, and fart jokes. We also both think it’s hilarious when you’re spitting phlegm out the car window, and said phlegm flies right back into your face. But in terms of things we like to do to pass the time, we’re very different.

    The Munch for one loves to play “hide and seek.” Maybe that would be fun if I was on acid, in a mansion, and the walls were made of Playdough. But playing “hide and seek” in my house where I know every possible hiding space isn’t exactly mentally stimulating. Especially because half the time I can obviously see her – because she SUCKS at “hide and seek!” So then I have to walk past her, PRETENDING I can’t find her like a fool. That game is really more of a time for me to look at my phone while crouched in the closet.

    Then there are the “make believe” games The Munch LOVES to play. There is something so inspiring about watching your kid lose themselves in a world of their own creation. I find myself awestruck by her authenticity – as she plays pretend with her toys, and explores her imagination. The Munch gets really into it too. She uses different voices for each of the characters, and develops incredibly intricate plotlines. Nothing is more peaceful than relaxing in the living room while eavesdropping as The Munch plays sweetly. I can just sit back and listen to her deepest thoughts as one of her character says, “my mom killed my sister Becka, but that’s okay because she didn’t even know her letters.”

    Like I would ever name my kid Becka!?

    But I can’t play pretend with The Munch! I don’t have that capacity any more. I am a grown up, and I use my imagination to stress out about my future and have anxiety about my past.

    Finding things to do together that we BOTH enjoy equally isn’t always easy. She is not that interested in talking about Donald Trump’s ties to the lizard Elite, and I don’t give a flying fuck in a rolling doughnut about My Little Pony.

    Munch: I’m bored! I wanna play with you!
    Toni: Do you want to play the Congress is corrupt?
    Munch: NO! Too predictable! Can we play kittens on a pirate ship?
    Toni: How about we draw together instead?

    Now let’s be clear about something. I cannot draw. I cannot create a depth of field. I can’t draw people. I can’t shade. I have no ability to draw anything beyond two-dimensional shapes. So I decided I would just do that – and color them in pretty.

    At first everything was going fine. My friend Natalya came over, and drew with us for a while as well. It was kind of an adorable scene – us all drawing together and drinking tea. After Natalya left The Munch and I continued to draw – sure it had been almost 3 hours at this point, but I was pretty OCD and NEEDED to finish my picture.

    Munch: You’re star is better than mine.
    Toni: Drawing a star is tricky. Do you want me to show you how?
    Munch: Okay.
    Toni: This is how I learned. You draw an upside down “v” like this. Then you bring one line over here, the other over there, and then you connect them!

    The Munch practiced with me, drawing a star with lines that ran through the center.

    Munch: But your star doesn’t have lines through it.
    Toni: That’s true. But it took me a long time to draw a star with no lines through it. I started with the lines until I got better.
    Munch: I wanna draw my star with NO LINES!
    Toni: Okay… give it a try.

    The Munch tried, and was having an increasingly difficult time.

    Munch: AHHHHHHHHHHHH! I CAN’T DRAW A STAR WITH NO LINES!!!!!
    Toni: Munch, you don’t need to get so worked up. The way you get better at something is to practice! You just have to keep trying. You will get it!
    Munch: BUT YOUR STAR IS BETTER THAN MINE!!!!!!!!
    Toni: That is because I have been practicing drawing stars for 30 years.
    Munch: YOU DRAW BETTER THAN ME!!!!
    Toni: Dude, if I didn’t draw better than a five-year old, you should be seriously worried about me.
    Munch: BUT I WANT TO BE ABLE TO DRAW A STAR AND I CAN’T AND YOU DRAW BETTER THAN ME!
    Toni: Munch, Natalya draws better than me.
    Munch: NO she doesn’t! Her “space cat” doesn’t even look like a cat!
    Toni: That’s because it’s a “space cat” with boobs! Not a regular cat! And she is a wayyyyyyyy better at drawing than me. Do you want to know why?
    Munch: Why?
    Toni: Because she practices! She works hard and drawing, and that’s how she got to be so talented.
    Munch: BUT I WANT TO BE ABLE TO DRAW A STAR AS GOOD AS YOU!
    Toni: Dude, this is the thing. How I draw a star has nothing to do with you. We have to be able to happy for other people and their accomplishments, even when we are struggling with our own feelings of insecurity. I can think Natalya is a better drawer than me, feel jealous about her skills, but at the same STILL be happy for her! In fact, my feeling happy for Natalya for working so hard means that I don’t even feel jealous anymore. My feelings of happiness for her are more pronounced than my feelings of jealousy. So I can instead focus on working hard and practicing, while being happy for my friend that I love.
    Munch: BUT I DON’T WANT TO PRACTICE! I WANT TO BE ABLE TO DRAW A STAR JUST LIKE YOU NOW!!!
    Toni: Munch, you can’t be so goal oriented about your art. That’s not the point of creating! You have to enjoy the process.
    Munch: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

    The Munch stormed off and left me to my coloring. Which I of course continued because I was ALMOST DONE! I had to finish it okay!?

    Since then we’ve had a few meltdowns about drawing – always the same theme. The Munch eventually gets upset because she can’t do something perfectly – then traveling down a rage spiral while comparing herself to me and feeling inadequate. But that doesn’t mean I am going to not draw my best because I have coloring to accomplish okay!!?

    But I realized that everything I said to The Munch about her drawing, I could apply to myself. I am SUPER goal oriented when it comes to my art. I have expectations of how I want things to be received, or turn out – and when they don’t I feel just like her. I get disappointed, frustrated, insecure, and yell belligerently at the wall.

    It made me think that maybe The Munch’s angst about her art is merely a reflection of my own. That she is just picking up on my vibes, and reflecting them back to me. It made me wonder how much of my energy is unconsciously infiltrating her consciousness, and perhaps most of her psychosis is really just my own stress being mirrored back to me.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some coloring to get back to.

    The famous “star picture”

    toni star drawing

    Natalya’s “space cat”

    space cat

    This only took me 5 hours

    toni drawing

  • All My Mom Wants From Me

    Teenagers are intense people. Their emotional brains, and hormonal influxes rule their relationship to sanity. Every parent is going to have conflict with their teenage children because they are in such an intense state of growth, exploration, and questioning.

    As far as teenagers go, I wasn’t that bad. Fine… I may have had a LOT of parties behind my parents’ back, would go to raves to take crystal meth, got caught stealing, and maybe one New Years Eve I did a ton of ecstasy and called my mom at 3 am to tell her I was going to marry my 18-year old boyfriend. It’s possible I was once brought to the hospital with a police escort from public intoxication and running from the cops, and perhaps at 14 I spent a night “roof jumping” with some boys only to come home at 7am the next day really stoned.

    BUT I DID MY HOMEWORK!!

    I got along with my parents, but we also fought. Mainly because THEY SUCK!

    Over the holiday I was home in my childhood room, and I found this note I wrote to my mom. I think it was an effort to make up with her after an argument, and show I was listening to her “needs” in terms of our relationship.

    (PS my favorite is “no manipulating with tears.” As if I NEVER had an authentic reason to cry or be upset, and only wept to control my mom).

    Mom Needs from me note

    January 6, 2016 • Family Drama, Old School Stories, Parenting • Views: 1273

  • I Don’t Love You Anymore!

    The Munch is still in a state of healing from her eye surgery. It is for sure WAAAYYY more complex than I imagined, and as it stands right now the doctor is thinking that we may have to do another operation. I of course REALY don’t want to put Munch through that, so have been going hard on the holistic healing front.

    In these past few weeks I’ve taken her to a variety hippy doctors, and they all say her body is still processing the trauma of the experience. Because I want to be as proactive as possible, there are a bunch of things I am trying in order to address both the emotional and physical distress. This is the short list:

    1) Eye patch glasses: Munch didn’t want to wear an eye patch because she didn’t think patches were “fashionable,” and the adhesive gave her cheek a rash. So I made her some super sweet Hello Kitty glasses with a ballerina patch over the good eye. Now she looks like a punk rock pirate, and will wear them around her friends.
    2) Pills for her blood/liver: My acupuncture lady said we needed to support her liver/blood to keep tendons and eyes healthy. I brewed Chinese herbs for 2 days in hopes that Munch would drink it, but she refused because it tasted like “monkey poop and pee.” But she did learn to swallow pills so at least that is happening – but she is also now irrationally excited about swallowing pills… which makes me somewhat concerned for her future and doing ecstasy. PS I am also now drinking the “monkey poo and pee” drink because I don’t want it to go to waste, and it tastes more like giraffe semen.
    3) Eye Games: We play games with flash cards where I make her move her eye around. This game has now evolved to me also playing, and working out my eye, which can now bench press 250 lbs.
    4) Massages: I massage her leg to stimulate blood production, her feet to lower stress, her head to relax the brain, and her eye to bring awareness of healing. This is a 30 min process where I have to keep her relaxed and entertained so she doesn’t squirm around. This means I tell stories the entire time, which I make up from the top of my head. I now have carpel tunnel syndrome in my hands from all these damn massages, and probably should enter an improv group for my amazing off the cuff story telling abilities – although many of them end with someone farting really loud.
    5) Singing: Now I have to make her sing as much as possible because the vibration in her head is healing, but she HATES it when I sing because The Munch is a musical snob… sooooo this one isn’t going so well.

    I have also been taking her to healers who do cranial sacral work and trauma release. I have noticed that when we get home from these visits, she has total meltdowns that night. The Munch isn’t really one to have tantrums, so I figure she is getting out these buried emotions that she kept in while trying to be cooperative during the surgery. She was excessively stoic, and maybe needs to get some of the fear and rage out?

    I have been trying to give The Munch space to have these outrageous moments of outburst, and not take them personally or get angry with her for acting out. I know her well enough to know this isn’t her normal behavior, so there is no point in punishing her for needing to release. But this is what it looked like last night.

    The Munch: Mamma, can I have a candy cane?
    Toni: There is no way! It is bedtime, and you can’t eat a candy cane right before bed.
    The Munch: But I WANT ONE!
    Toni: That is understandable because candy canes are delicious. But you have to wait until tomorrow. You can have one then.
    The Munch: Well I can eat it anyway, and you can’t stop me.
    Toni: Of course I can. I am way bigger than you and can take it from you. I would rather you just put it away and have it tomorrow.
    The Munch: Try and take it from me.
    Toni: I am not going to do that.
    The Munch: Just try and take it from me.

    Okay fine… I am the grown up and could have refused. But she was TAUNTING ME OKAY!

    I grabbed the candy cane and it she held onto the hook, and now the other half was in my hand.

    The Munch: AHHHHHHHHHHHHH YOU BROKE IT!!!! WAAAAHHHHHHAAA
    Toni: Dude I am sorry. I didn’t mean to break it. It was an accident!
    The Munch: WELL YOU DID BREAK IT!! WAHHHHHAAAA
    Toni: You told me to try and take it!
    The Munch: WAAAAAHHHHHHHHAAAAAHHHHHAAA!!! YOU BROKE IT!
    Toni: I didn’t mean to break it, but you did tell me to try and take it. Besides, you can have the pieces in the tomorrow. It gets all broken up in your tummy anyway. I will save them for you.
    The Munch: I DON’T WANT IT TO BE BROKEN! I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE! AND I AM TAKING MOLLY FROM YOU AND YOU WILL NEVER SEE MOLLY AGAIN. EVEN THOUGH SHE IS YOUR FAVORITE STUFFY.

    The Munch then went into my room, and got my stuffed animal dog named Molly, and hid her. Okay fine a grown up isn’t supposed to sleep with stuffed animals. But I have had molly for 25 years! I always sleep with Molly!

    The Munch: There! Now Molly is hidden and you will never find her!
    Toni: Munch I hear that you are angry, but I think you maybe need some time to think and calm down and then we can talk.
    The Munch: NO! I am locking you in my room and YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE!
    Toni: Never? What if I get hungry?
    The Munch: You will get nothing to eat!!!
    Toni: So I would just starve to death in your room?
    The Munch: YES!!!
    Toni: So when people ask you “what happened to your mom?” you would just say “oh I got super mad because she broke my candy cane so I locked her in my room. She eventually starved to death and died.”
    The Munch: Yes!
    Toni: Don’t you think you would maybe miss me?
    The Munch: YES I WOULD!
    Toni: Okay well can we think of a solution for you to feel better so you are not yelling or trying to starve me to death?
    The Munch: NOTHING WILL MAKE ME FEEL BETTER EXCEPT FOR WATCHING MY LITTLE PONY OR EATING A NON BROKEN CANDY CANE.
    Toni: Well, neither of those things are going to happen.
    The Munch: WELL THEN YOU CAN’T MAKE ME HAPPY!
    Toni: Of course I can’t make you happy! You have to make your elf happy! Can you think of something that might make you happy? Like maybe you could jump on the bed and then into my arms.
    The Munch: Ummm okay.

    Then she was totally fine and we did our 45-minute healing routine and I got early onset arthritis. This morning we talked about it…

    The Munch: I love you. You’re the best mommy in the whole universe.
    Toni: Remember when you told me last night that you didn’t me any more? Did you mean that?
    The Munch: No… I was just angry.
    Toni: I know. But when you say harsh things, even when you are angry, it can really hurt someone’s feelings. You have to always be careful with your words, because you can never take them back.
    The Munch: Well you didn’t seem like your feelings were hurt last night.
    Toni: That is because I’m your mom, and moms are always more forgiving towards their children. Not everyone will be that way. I knew you didn’t mean those words, but I also know you have been going through a lot, so have a lot of emotions you are working through.
    The Munch: Maybe you also knew you shouldn’t have broken my candy cane.

    She does look pretty bad ass right?

    don't-love-you-(i)

  • That Time My Dad Came To My Prom

    When I was in high school I had a lot of parties. A lot.

    You are probably asking yourself where were your parents? Were you not supervised? The answer…. Not really.

    My mom and dad were raising their kids in the 70’s and 80’s. It was a different time. They didn’t do silly PC things like quit smoking when pregnant. It never occurred to my mom not to have bourbon before bed while I was gestating inside of her. Nonsense! They didn’t share the same uptight morals of today – like making your children wear seat belts – poppycock!

    My parents wanted their independence from us, so in turn my brother and I had a lot of independence from them. We knew how to take care of ourselves, mostly. I did however eat candy for dinner many a night.

    When my brother went off to college, that meant my there was only one more child in the house – a 15-year-old girl. They were practically done with their whole parenting journey right?! I mean what kind of trouble could a teenage girl get into when left alone to explore her moral compass? The answer… quite a lot.

    My parents would leave most weekends to visit their country house in New Hampshire. That meant from Friday through Sunday, the Boston house was mine for the taking. As a result, I had a LOT of opportunities to throw parties. I developed a system that was so thought out, it would probably qualify me to run for president… you know… considering Trump and all.

    This was how it would all go down. My parents would leave Friday afternoon, and I would sweetly kiss them goodbye. As soon as they were out the door, the phone calls would start. This was before the age of cell phones, so we had to use my house phone. Because my parents craved autonomy, and didn’t feel like sharing, we had 4 separate phone lines – one for each member of the family. That meant that 3 of my friends and I could all simultaneously call almost everyone in our class.

    I believed in equal opportunity high school parties. I didn’t want to only invite the popular cliques. That felt way too cliché and exclusionary. So I invited representatives from each group from my grade. The kids who played Dungeons and Dragons, the hockey players, the druggies – everyone was welcome. At least everyone who answered their phone because there was no mass texting. If that had been around then… lord help me.

    The party would happen on Saturday. My friends and I would spend all day preparing. We would tape off rooms people weren’t allowed in, and leave a few open for make out sessions. We would take all my mom’s fancy living room bullshit frills, or anything breakable, and lock it away. We always provided a few cases of beer that a homeless man had bought for us (preferably something sophisticated like Red Dog), and the other kids would bring the rest. Everyone was invited to sleep over, so no one had to travel home wasted. At the end of the night, my one friend and I would walk over passed-out bodies, and drink all the half-filled drinks that were left over. You know, because we were classy.

    The next morning my core group of friends would stay behind to help me clean up. This often consisted of my calling the rug cleaners, and convincing them to come in on a Sunday. Once the house was spotless, everyone would leave just in time for my parents to come home.

    My Mom: Wow. It is really clean in here.
    Toni: I cleaned up for you… because I love you.
    My Mom: Did you have anyone over while we were gone?
    Toni: A few people.
    My Mom: You didn’t have a party did you?
    Toni: Of course not. It was a gathering.
    My Mom: What is a gathering.
    Toni: Well it is a little more than a get together, but much less than a party.
    My Dad. Oh. Okay.

    Maybe they knew I was full of shit. But there also weren’t any real consequences they had to deal with. The neighbors never complained, and the house was immaculately tidy.

    I started to get cocky. There was even one time when my dad was home, and I had a party while he was upstairs working. It was in the summer, and he was trying to finish his book in time for the deadline. Our house is a town house, so it is really tall and skinny. It has 6 floors, with one or two rooms on each floor. I figured since my dad was on floor 6, surely he wouldn’t hear us on floor 1 and 2!?

    Toni: Dad… I’m going to have some people over. Maybe you could just stay up here and not come down at all.
    My Dad: Well can I have some pistachios so I don’t get hungry?
    Toni: Sure. I will bring them to you.
    My Dad: I don’t have to talk to anyone do I?
    Toni: You don’t. Especially if you stay up here, and don’t come down at all until tomorrow morning.
    My Dad: Deal – as long as I don’t have to talk to anyone.

    He never even knew 40 kids were in his house listening to Snoop Dog and drinking 40 ounces of malt liquor.

    By the time I was 18 I felt invincible. I had this whole thing down to a science that would make Bill Nye proud. I was too confident, and that’s where things went wrong.

    We had a party the night before prom. Because it was towards the end of the year, some older students who had already graduated, and were home from college, decided to come. These older kids brought some of their friends, and shit got out of hand. When I usually had parties it was only kids who knew me, and appreciated the opportunity to drink and dance to Dr. Dre. They didn’t want to fuck shit up for me, or themselves. That’s why those parties were always respectful. Everyone was on the same team of wanting them to continue. But these older kids didn’t give a care about my house, or anything in it.

    The next day the house was a disaster. We spent all day cleaning, and I assumed no major catastrophe had gone down. I went to my prom thinking that I was in the clear. As I was on the dance floor, the energy suddenly changed. It went from lighthearted bouncing around to Adina Howard “Freak Like Me,” to like a dark haze of collective anxiety. Everyone was whispering to each other , and looking around frantically. Finally the message came to me. My friend pulled me aside.

    My Friend: Dude. Your dad is here.
    Toni: What do you mean my dad is here? At prom?
    My Friend: He is looking for you. He looks really angry. You better run.

    Without thinking, I ran. It wasn’t until I was pushing past people in the hallway that I saw him. I knew it was my dad, although he didn’t really look human. His face was a shade of red that you only see in horror movies. His hair was standing on end like Einstein had been electrocuted. But it was his eyes that were the most alarming. They weren’t exactly inside his face anymore, but rather bugging out so far that they touched you from a foot away.

    My Dad: TONI GET OVER HERE THIS INSTANT!
    Toni: Uh. Hi Dad. What are you doing here?
    My Dad: You had a party while we were away didn’t you?!
    Toni: Maybe?
    My Dad: Well you mother’s laptop has been stolen! And her book was on that! AND NOW IT IS ALL GONE!

    With that, my dad left. This is the catholic way. To shame you with intense guilt for your wrong doings, then leave you to self-flagellate. It was very effective.

    I had no way of getting home, so I had to wait for the rest of my friends and ride in the limo to my house. It wasn’t exactly the fun “after prom limo ride” everyone had envisioned. We were all quite solemn because I was crying. Everyone knew I was in a ton of trouble, but they also really wanted to get rid of me so they could have fun with the rest of their night.

    Luckily my mom had backed up most of her book on hard drive so she didn’t lose the entire thing – although no one really ever forgave me. The only redeeming moment was my high school graduation. No one would sit next to my mom or dad, and all other parents were pointing and whispering “There are those Nagy parents with their hedonistic ways.” At first my parents couldn’t understand why they had the plague, but it eventually became clear to them the reasoning behind their social outcast. Then one mother came up to them with a different kind of energy.

    School Mom: I just want to thank you for inviting my son to all those wonderful parties you had.
    My Parents: Oh…. Right. Yes Of course.
    School Mom: They were the only parties he was invited to, and he always had such a great time. Thanks for making this high school experience happen for him.

    So you see mom and dad! Those parties were actually my form of philanthropy!

    This its he actual outfit I wore to my junior prom… couldn’t find any pictures of this fateful senior prom…

    toni jr prom night

    December 14, 2015 • Family Drama, Old School Stories • Views: 1473

  • Why Being Around Your Parents as an Adult Sometimes Sucks

    One of the hardest things about the holidays is being an adult, and being around your parents. No matter how great your relationship is with them, there are moments when you are going to feel infantilized, triggered, or irrationally full of rage. This is often solved with the right amount of bourbon, Xanax, and preferably pure MDMA – but one can’t always get their hands on such things… mainly because grandma keeps hogging all the drugs.

    If you think about it, most of your life with your parents, or with your kids, is when you are adults. Childhood isn’t really that long. So the rest of that time is seeing and treating each other as peers. Yet that can be challenging when looking at your now grown up child and remembering them as that baby who once shat in their own hand and ate it. You know too much about your kid to take them seriously as an adult.

    This holiday my parents were gone, but because of Munch’s surgery, I spent a week with them in Boston before Thanksgiving… which is the LONGEST we have been around each other for 17 years. Okay granted this was a time of stress and anxiety because of Munch’s medical journey, so that may have colored things a bit. Yet I did come to a MAJOR realization of why this adult parent-child dynamic can be so challenging.

    My mom and I have a lot in common when it comes to our interests. We both enjoy walking in nature, talking about ourselves, and reading trashy magazines. We can bond over the fact that Scott Disick cheated on Kourtney Kardashian with not one, but TWO of her sisters. Yet we also are fundamentally different people. We have different moral inquiries, different views on life, and a different standard of what constitutes as dirty hair.

    Most of my time with my mom we got along really well, but there were a couple instances where we didn’t. In short it boiled down to two things. She thinking I was a total basket case for my life choices, and me thinking she was a judgmental bitch.

    We could have just swept those moments under the rug to join the other unsaid resentments of the past – yet instead we discussed what happened. From my mom’s perspective, she sometimes still sees me as that teenage girl who thought it was a good idea to do acid at an Allman Brother’s concert then drive to a rave. Or that girl in my 20’s who would often drink so much that I would end up puking at a diner, then leaving on the back of hot guy’s motorcycle to later get dropped off at the apartment building I moved out of 2 years earlier. Yeah I get it. I had a time in life when I was a little reckless. Yet a lot has changed since then, because I wear helmets now.

    Toni: The thing with you mom is that you go so far in your thinking to see my behavior as questionable, and judge said questionable behavior. Yet you don’t take the next step and ask yourself “why is she acting that way.”

    My Mom: Yeah I can see that. But I think I just have PTSD from that time in your life.

    Toni: You know, as parent it is really easy to see the parts of your kid that you like, and take credit for those aspects of who they are. Yet when you see parts of them you don’t like as much, we often want to say “oh well, that’s just they way they are.” Or “that’s their personality.” We want to see our nurturing as the reason for their good, and their nature as the reason for their bad. But we are equally responsible for all parts of our kids. Social conditioning isn’t just about shaping the positive, but also the negative.

    My Mom: Haha. That is so true. But seriously that was just you being you and I am the reason why you are okay.

    Me and my mom during my “questionable behavior” period… (PS the top picture is my mom and dad in the late 80’s… pretty sure it’s the best thing ever)

    toni and mom hughie party

    November 30, 2015 • Family Drama, Parenting, Relationships • Views: 1385