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Parenting
Category

  • Pretending to Pretend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    pretending-blog-2

    May 18, 2015 • 4 years old, Behavior, Mommyhood, Parenting, Playing, Toddler Thoughts • Views: 198

  • Even Though I Love You I Don’t Always Like You

    We all love our families – or at least we feel the cultural pressure to say we do, and honor the obligation by pretending. I have an to uncle whom I sign off emails saying, “love Toni,” but in truth I think he’s kind of a dick. I have cousins I adore, and then one I think is a mega tool. Even though I guess there is a general aura of love around my family, I sure as shit don’t enjoy all their company.

    When someone is in your life, and probably never going anywhere, you can feel love for them – but that doesn’t mean you always want to be around them. Some of my best loving I do from afar. The less I have to deal with your bullshit, the better I can appreciate my love for you.

    Even the people I know I love a lot… I sometimes imagine the joy I would feel murdering them. Not the consequence of their actually being dead – just the initial satisfaction of choking the life out of them.

    Love may be unconditional, but liking someone is not.

    I LOVE my child until the ends of the multiverse – but I don’t always like her.

    Sometimes being around the people you love the most is the most annoying. When you really care about someone, the emotional juxtaposition of being sincerely irritated by them makes your feelings even more extreme. With my kid, my eternal love is so boundless that when she really pisses me off, I want to throw her into the outer edges of the atmosphere – and then toss those damn Frozen sneakers that she was making me look for right after her.

    I love The Munch everyday of my life regardless of her behavior, but the most exciting moments between us are when I really like her. Now that she is almost 5, The Munch is almost like a real person. She is less driven by her base animal instincts, and no longer does things like scream, “I hate you” because I wouldn’t open the box of cookies while driving – I was too busy texting. JUST KIDDING! I was looking at Facebook.

    As The Munch is growing up and getting to be more governed by her own moral compass, I have come to observe that she is a really good person. She cares about her friends’ happiness, and is always willing to share her leotards. She made me a Mother’s Day gift, and was nice to me all day because according to her “It’s important to do things for moms – they are so busy all the time doing things for their kids.” And the last time we had a picnic, she picked me flowers and offered me the BIGGEST strawberry.

    The Munch’s personality is also really developing, and I am learning more and more what I like about her every day – mostly how many things we have in common. We both are really into music, dancing, and of course trying to make people laugh. She tells amazing jokes like “Knock knock. (Who’s There?) A fart on your head because you just made a smelly poop.” I mean, that is some real comedy gold right there.

    like-vs-love-blog-2

     

    May 13, 2015 • 4 years old, Family Drama, Mommyhood, Parenting, Relationships • Views: 263

  • Dealing With Your Addictions

    I have never been addicted to anything, but I have abused a variety of substances. Even though my relationship to drugs and alcohol was excessive – and would lead to my doing things like being at a bar and falling onto a glass table full of drinks, breaking said table as my entire body became submerged in cranberry juice and vodka, then getting right back up to dance like that never happened – I never got hooked.

    So I can’t say I personally understand the struggle of addiction, but I do understand the urge to fill the existential hole in your soul with cocaine. It happens!

    I think the root of addiction lies in wanting to satiate your emotions with something outside of yourself. It’s a way to deal with the monotony of existence, or mask the pain of life. You turn to a chemical compound that will shake shit up inside your mind, and dull your heart from having to feel.

    I know my kid is only 4, but I want to set up good patterns of behavior even now. I don’t expect that The Munch won’t ever experiment with drugs. I am sure one day she will get super fucked up, hippy flip at a festival, and then have to vomit on her best friend because she mixed nitrous with an ecstasy acid combo. These things happen! I can’t shelter her from wanting to party in her youth, but hopefully I can build the groundwork so she has the mental fortitude to avoid being consumed by chasing the dragon – because that guy is fast!

    I want The Munch to be able to express her inner being, and not feel confined by the confusion of the human condition. I figure the more we confront things head on, the less she will feel the need to escape later in life. Sure, I am not dealing with any hard-core strife right now. I mean, it isn’t that complicated to process your tears after losing a Frozen flip-flop. Yet I have noticed that when The Munch hurts herself, her first request is to watch something on TV to “take her mind off it.” And when she is bored, and doesn’t know what to do, she always asks for a treat.

    I decide that we needed to unpack these instincts so she doesn’t one day move to Tampa, Florida.

    Munch: Mom, my sunburn really hurts. Can I watch some Carebears?
    Toni: Munch, you don’t want to watch something just to run from being in pain. You need to face it head on.
    Munch: But I really wanna watch something so it doesn’t hurt.
    Toni: Yeah, but life is full of pain. And sometimes you have to just sit with it. That’s the only way to realize that you are not your pain, and you can overcome it.
    Munch: Can I overcome my pain tomorrow morning and watch something tonight?
    Toni: I’m not sure it works like that.

    THE NEXT DAY

    Munch: Mom, can I have a treat?
    Toni: You already had like 5 chocolates today.
    Munch: But I REALLY want another treat.
    Toni: Munch, if you have a treat every day then it’s not special any more. You are just eating sugar all the time and cultivating a sugar addiction. Remember when we talked about how sugar is addictive?
    Munch: Yeah but what does it mean again?
    Toni: Well….
    Munch: Oh right. Addiction is when you can’t control yourself and you just want more and more and more even though it’s not good for your body.
    Toni: Exactly.
    Munch: How about I have one more treat today and none tomorrow. I will work on my addiction, and I won’t have treats every day. Just sometimes. And a lot of them.

     

    addiction-blog

  • Do You Like Being a Mom?

    The other day The Munch and I were driving in the car and she asked me this question.

    Munch: Do you like being a mom?
    Toni: Well, I like you! I am glad you were born and I love you forever. But I don’t always like being a mom.
    Munch: Yeah, being a mom is hard. You always have to do things for your kid – like drive them around, and make them sandwiches, and find their socks… Then you have to make sure they do the right thing, and when they don’t you have to get into fights…

    EXACTLY MUNCH!!

    like-mom-blog-(i)

    May 7, 2015 • 4 years old, Mommyhood, Parenting, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 494

  • It Turns Out Many People Don’t Like Me

    I’m a pathologically optimistic person. I like to assume the best of the world because I am into asses, and u and me. Yet sometimes I have to acknowledge the brutal reality that not everybody wants to be my friend, nor do they even like me at all.

    I brought The Munch to the playground on Sunday because it was the first spring-like day of the season. You see, up here in the Northern Tundra, we have been dealing with the harsh atmosphere of what I like to call “eternal winter.” It was only 3 weeks ago when I decided it was time to wear 1 pair of pants instead of 3. So considering it was the kind of sunny day where you didn’t have to wear a wool body suit, I was in a pretty cheery mood.

    I initially anticipated that the other parents would be equally jovial. You would think that on a beautiful day at the playground people would want to do the monkey bars, play chase, and push me on the swing. But guess what – they don’t at all. No one was even interested in my cool tricks, like when I hang upside down by my knees. They just kept looking away.

    When I tried to talk to some of the other parents, I felt like I had SARS. None of them wanted anything to do with me, and they kept looking at my mask with suspicion. It’s a fashion statement okay!? At one point a kid near me went down the slide on his stomach, flew off the end, and landed on the ground. When his dad came over, I tried to explain what happened so he would know why his kid was crying.

    Toni: He went down the slide head first on his tummy, and just ricocheted off. I’m pretty sure he got the wind knocked out of him, but don’t worry, he didn’t fart or anything.
    Dad: Uhhh yeah… thanks…

    Ummm what’s the problem Dad?

    Then there was a mom with her son who was playing near us in the sandbox, and the son wanted to know why dry sand didn’t make good castles. The mom was on the phone, so I decided to help out and give the kid an answer so he would stop interrupting her call.

    Toni: Probably because 98% of the universe is dark matter, which is a substance so complex, the human mind can’t comprehend what it is. This is just one of many questions you will never know the answer to, so you should probably settle into the deep crisis of unknowing because it will help you better deal with the mystery of death.

    At this point, the mom collected her stuff, but not quickly enough to avoid hearing Munch’s follow up statement.

    Munch: When our dog and cat die – can we please get a bunny!?

     

    park-blog-(i)

    April 13, 2015 • Adventures, Mommyhood, Parenting, Playing, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 578

  • Splash Me and I’ll Splash you Back

    After squatting out my child 4 ½ years ago, every single day of my life since, I’ve been a mom. The problem is that I don’t always feel like being a mom. Or maybe more accurately, some days I am better at being a parent than others.

    This is a story about one of those days where I just wasn’t at my best. The night before I had a party, I was tired, and also my lady parts were leaking blood. It was not a good scene – like seriously, it was a murder scene in my pants. My preferred day would have involved a room full of pillows, an opium pipe, and someone reading to me the philosophy off a cereal box while tickling my back.

    Yet as the universe would have it, The Munch wanted to go swimming. Now she has recently learned to swim without “swimmies,” and I wanted to honor her interest in cultivating this new skill. So I agreed to take her, even though I would have rather, I don’t know, covered by body in leaches.

    At first everything was going fine. The Munch was doing a great job, and I was encouraging her efforts. But then, I got kind of bored, so started swimming around myself and going under water. I was still right next to her, but while I was underwater, Munch was momentarily stuck and couldn’t get to the side. She didn’t’ sink or anything, but she needed my help. When I came up to get to get a breath, I grabbed her and all was fine.

    Munch: Mom!!! YOU CAN’T GO UNDER WATER!!!!!!!
    Toni: Munch, if I’m underwater, wait for me to come up and then practice your swimming.
    Munch: NO!! YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO WATCH ME SO YOU CAN’T GO UNDERWATER EVER!!
    Toni: Dude, we have been in here for an hour, and I’ve been doing nothing but watch you. Sometimes I want to go under water and have fun swimming too. You have to give me a turn to do that.
    Munch: NO!! YOU ARE NEVER GOING UNDERWATER EVER AGAIN.

    Okay, so I can understand she wanted me to be there for her in case she needed me. Which I WAS!! But I also felt like I needed to have turns practicing I was a mermaid.

    Toni: Listen, we have to communicate better and take turns. I will tell you when I go underwater, and then you wait for me to come back up.

    It felt like a good solution. But then Munch didn’t hear me say I was going underwater, and got SUPER mad when I did it again.

    Munch: I TOLD YOU NEVER TO GO UNDERWATER!!
    Toni: MUNCH! I told you I was going to. You have to pay attention, and let me have turns to swim too.
    Munch: Well I DIDN’T HEAR YOU!

    At this point we were both livid. Munch was mad because she wanted me to pay attention to her, and I was mad because I thought she was being a tyrant.

    Toni: You know what? I can’t just spend my life doing only things for you. Sometimes I want go underwater, and you have to respect that.
    Munch: Fine! If you go underwater, then I’m going to take Molly (the stuffed animal I sleep with), and you will never get her back. I will put Molly where you will NEVER FIND HER!! Then I’m never going to talk to you again.
    Toni: Okay. That’s enough. We’re going to get out of the pool now, and go home.

    This was the point where Munch splashed me. Now we were both already wet, but their was an intention behind the splash. She looked me in the eye, and splashed water in my face. It was a splash that said, “Hey Mom, fuck you!”

    What I did next I am not proud of. But it’s what happened. I splashed her back.

    Munch stomped away, and so did I. We were both seething. She then came over to me and splashed me 10 times while I tried to ignore her.

    Toni: If you splash me one more time, we are going home, and you are going right to bed even though the sun is still out.
    Munch: But I don’t want to go home and go to bed!
    Toni: Well, do you think you have been acting kind?
    Munch: No!
    Toni: Do you think you should apologize for splashing?
    Munch: I think you should apologize for splashing too!!
    Toni: I only splashed you because you splashed me first!
    Munch. MOM! You’re acting like a child.

    Point Munch.

    So then we had to BOTH apologize for splashing. My pride is officially not only swallowed, but also fully digested and has transmuted into shit that will now have to be evacuated.

    splash-blog-(i)

  • Desire Vs Logic

    We don’t always want what’s good for us. Desire in its rawest form comes from a deep primal craving to indulge in the moment – regardless of consequences. Some of the best times of my life were when I abandoned all reason, and allowed myself to succumb fully to my yearnings. But, you also can’t spend every day doing only what pleasures you – like watching 12 hours of documentaries on Ancient Aliens while eating nothing but cookie dough ice cream sandwiches, then doing a bunch of blow off a hooker’s tits before going to club to dance the night away and have sex with a stranger on the bathroom floor. You can get cavities that way.

    The reason why the ability to reason is so important is that it keeps us from spending all our time in a dark void of our longings. When we consider the long-term impact of our decisions, we tend to make better ones. That’s why I only do cocaine off the breasts of young college girls now. See how I’m maturing!?

    Part of the parenting process is monitoring your child’s wants, because they’re still learning how to self-regulate. Sometimes they control themselves and choose not to go to the point of excess. Yet other times they struggle with finding a balance between reasonable pleasure seeking and extreme debauchery.

    Recently, the main fight I have been getting into with The Munch is about screen time. She’s allowed to watch things, but I also have to be the one to create limits. If I were to let her, she would seriously watch cartoons all day. I mean, that would be fine if she was in her early 20’s and taking bong hits – but she’s a child, and it’s just not appropriate behavior.

    On Saturday we had our most major blow out to date. I had let Munch watch the iPad the entire hour drive to my dance rehearsal, and the entire hour drive home. We had a plan that when we got back, we would make chocolate strawberry pancakes. But, once we got in the house, she decided she wanted to finish her show.

    Munch: Mom, I really wanna finish my show. Can I please!!!!???
    Toni: Dude, you said you wanted to make chocolate strawberry pancakes?
    Munch: Well, can you make them while I watch something?
    Toni: No way! You’re not my evil stepmother, and I am not Cinderella. If you want the pancakes, you have to be my little helper.
    Munch: Can I watch something first, and then be your little helper?
    Toni: We aren’t going to have enough time.
    Munch: BUT I REALLY WANT TO WATCH SOMETHING!!
    Toni: You know what? Do you what you want, but I am asking you not to.
    Munch: I’m just going to watch one thing!

    I decided I would let her be the master of her domain and make her own decisions. Partly to see what would happen, and partly because I was sick of saying “no” and then dealing with her incessant efforts to negotiate. One thing is for sure – The Munch would make one hell of a used car salesman.

    Toni: Okay, Munch. It’s time to go to Grandma’s.
    Munch: BUT I DIDN’T GET TO EAT CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY PANCAKES!! WAHHHHAHHHHAHAAA!!
    Toni: Listen. I would have made those with you. But you made a decision to watch something instead – and now we have to go.
    Munch: BUT I WANTED THOSE PANCAKES!! YOU SHOULD HAVE MADE THEM FOR ME!! WAAHHHHAHHAHHAAAAA!!
    Toni: I told you I would make them WITH you, not FOR you. This is the thing. When you choose to watch TV, you are not making any memories. You are just sitting there avoiding boredom.
    Munch: But I HATE being bored!
    Toni: No one likes being bored. But it is through allowing boredom to come, that your imagination is challenged.
    Munch: BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE MADE ME THOSE PANCAKES!!! WAHHHAHHAHAHAA!!
    Toni: Maybe you should have made the choice to make a memory with me, and we could have done that. Every time you choose to be in front of a screen, you aren’t living life.
    Munch: Well I want to bring my iPad to Grandma’s house then.
    Toni: That is not happening.
    Munch: BUT I WANT TO!!! I WANT TO PLAY MY ELMO GAME THERE, AND GRANDMA HAS NO GAMES, AND SHE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND THE COMPUTER!
    Toni: Grandma will play games with you. Human to human games. She doesn’t want to watch you play the iPad. Grandma wants to spend actual time with you, and make memories.
    Munch: BUT I WANT TO BRING MY IPAD AND IF YOU DON’T LET ME I’M GOING TO THROW YOUR PILLOWS OUT THE WINDOW, AND BREAK YOUR COMPUTER, AND THROW YOUR PHONE IN THE TOILET, AND NEVER TALK TO YOU AGAIN.
    Toni: Munch, if you were the mom, and your daughter was acting like this – would you let her bring her iPad?
    Munch: No.
    Toni: And do you think you have watched enough things today?
    Munch: Yes.
    Toni: Do you realize that by not letting you watch stuff, I am trying to be a good mom to you?
    Munch: Yes.
    Toni: Do you want me to let you do whatever you want, and be a bad mom?
    Munch: No.
    Toni: Your friend’s don’t watch that much TV, do you think you have watched more than them today?
    Munch: Yes, a lot more.
    Toni: And if your friends are using their imaginations they are going to get smarter right? And if you just watch things, your brain will melt. Do you want your friend’s to get smarter than you?
    Munch: No. I want to be as smart as my friend’s and use my imagination.
    Toni: Okay, so do you understand why I am saying “no, you can’t bring the iPad to grandmas?”
    Munch: BUT I WANT TO BRING THE IPAD TO GRANDMA’S SO I CAN PLAY MY ELMO GAME WAAAHHHHHAAAHHHHHAAAA

    Check out at her inner conflict…

    logic-vs-desire-blog

  • 10 Things My Kid Has Said To Me That I Am So Glad No One Knows About

    Here are some direct quotes from The Munch that has she said to me in private. Thank god no one overheard her, because that would soooo embarrassing!

     

    1. Mom, did you put puke oil on your hair? It smells like puke.
    2. Your face is always stuck in a frown.
    3. It’s so sad you can’t even draw a squirrel good – you really need more practice.
    4. You should probably go to the bathroom because your fart smells like a poop fell out of your butt.
    5. Your clothes aren’t very pretty. You should wear more dresses so people will like you.
    6. I thought you’d know the answer, but I think you’re wrong. I guess there’s a lot you don’t know. Like so much. Did you even do homework?
    7. I’d love you more if you were a stuffed animal.
    8. When you sleep, your face looks all “scrumbily.”
    9. I can see your nanas (boobs). They are so funny.
    10. When I grow up can I live with you? You’ll probably be sad and lonely when you’re old.

    It’s not like your hair is that great either….

    munch-says-blog-(i)

  • I Don’t Really Like Being Around People

    Every family has its own culture. Personality traits pass through generations. Mannerisms and tendencies are preserved through the socialization process from parent to child. This can take on a variety of forms, and each family has its own specific texture. Take for instance the funny family, the family that loves to cook, the science oriented family, the family that lives off the land, and in my case – the hyper judgmental family that hates being around people.

    My whole family is very cagey. We can have our moments of being social – but it is very emotionally taxing, and usually takes us days to recover. Being around a group of people means our brains have to work overtime while we over-analyze, scrutinize, and dissect others. That’s why I’m best with one on one dynamics. I can fully focus on a single person to psychically disembowel. Yet in any crowd setting, I am paralyzed by my unconscious need to evaluate everyone around me. The only context where I enjoy being part of a pack is when I am drunk, and have taken copious amounts of cocaine and ecstasy procured off the dark web – then I am actually quite friendly!

    The Nagy gene of being cripplingly critical has now past down to its youngest member, The Munch Nagy. I didn’t know I was doing this. I didn’t intentionally tell her, “Listen darling, most people suck. So make sure you stare at them, observe their inadequacies, and then show intense disdain on your face as you pick your nose,” yet that seems to be the case any time I take my child out in public.

    The Munch is not interested in most children. She has her few friends, and that is all she needs. Whenever I suggest we go do something “kid oriented,” her usual reaction is to politely decline because “there will probably be other kids there.”

    The other day one of my mom friends and I decided to take our daughter’s to the new “bouncy house” that opened in the area so they could, you know, bounce.

    Munch: Are other children going to be at the bouncy house?
    Toni: Of course – it is a public space.
    Munch: Well I don’t want to go if other kids will be there. I just want it to be Amelia and me.
    Toni: Well, we are going first thing in the morning, so chances are there won’t be too many other kids.
    Munch: If there are too many kids, can we go? Babies are okay if they are zero. But I’m really not into toddlers. They bother me, and they don’t even know their letters.

    don't-like-peopel-blog-(i)