Parenting
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  • Does Always Wanting More Make you An Addict?

    The problem with good things is that they leave us wanting more. If I have a bite of delicious cake … I want more. I have some good sex…I want more. I try some amazing pure Columbian cocaine…I want more. The nature of pleasure is to desire more, more, and more of it.

    Part of being an adult is learning to moderate the seduction of indulgence. We are expected to find balance because we have the foresight to understand that too much of a good thing is actually bad. Too much food destroys your heath. Too much sex gives you bumpy rashes. Too much drugs can kill you. Understanding boundaries is part of growing up. The alternative is to end up an addict.

    The thing with kids is they don’t get it. They have no concept of time, so rationalizing the limitation of a certain behavior because of future consequences is futile. I can tell my kid “Look, if you eat all that chocolate you are going to feel sick and shit your brains out later.” Her response will always be “I don’t care.”  It is up to me to moderate her intake, because left to her own devices The Munch just doesn’t give a fuck.

    I’ve tried letting The Munch totally indulge, so she could do a little soul searching on this subject. The prevailing logic was that she would realize for herself the results of excessive behavior, and consider the impact the next time she is faced with temptation. Yeah. No. That really didn’t work. Saying to my four year old “Remember last time when you ate too much ice cream and felt really sick,” only resulted in yet another “I don’t care.”  Whatever memory of the ice cream tummy ache from the past held no power over the delicious taste of ice cream in the present. I guess The Munch is very Buddhist because she only exists in “the now,” but the awareness of past or future effects is a pivotal part of learning restraint.

    The Munch is relentless in her quest for more of everything. She is never satisfied and this is annoying as fuck. She will make a promise like “Mom, let me watch something. I will only watch one episode of My Little Pony I promise. Then you can turn it off and I won’t fuss.” So I let her because I trust her* (*want to get away from her) but when her stupid neon colored show is over, The Munch immediately says, “okay just one more. I PROMISE!”

    While I admire The Munch’s commitment to negotiation, everything becomes a battle because of her inability to be content with what she just had. She will literally be eating a cookie while asking for another. I will be like “Dude, you don’t need to double fist cookies. Just relax and appreciate what you got!” But then she will start crying because I won’t give her another cookie WHILE SHE IS STILL EATING THE FIRST FUCKING COOKIE.

    Here is my dilemma. I can’t tell if The Munch’s excessive wanting “more” of everything is a result of her age or a precursor to a struggle that she will battle with for the rest of her life. I don’t want my kid to grow into an adult with an addictive personality. That is how you end up in back allies doing things you really regret. And is a hard thing to overcome. It is difficult for me to distinguish between normal kid shit, and the makings of a person who is going to beat up old ladies to steal money for blow. It is a fine line, my friends.

    Munch: Mamma, can I bring two lollipops to the beach?

    Toni: No Munch.  One is enough.

    Munch: But what if I want another one? Let’s just bring two just in case.

    Toni: Munch, that is excessive. You don’t want to feed that part of your soul. We all crave more, but it is pivotal to know your limits. Being greedy is a detrimental trait because you will never be satisfied, nor truly appreciate anything. Be grateful for what you have. You are so lucky and have so much abundance in your world.

    Munch: Okay how about I eat one lollipop now, and we bring the other one for later.

     

    more-blog-(i)

  • Swimming In Bacteria Like a Boss

    Okay. So I totally fucked up. But it’s not totally my fault. It is also nature’s fault… and global warming… and all the politicians/corporations/bankers who are ass fucking the planet. But I guess it is also my fault too.

    This is what happened. I live on a lake. It is a beautiful clean mountain lake. I have always thought it was a magical, healing, energetically pure body of water. It never occurred to me to doubt its virtue. The other day my baby sitter, Lilliana, brought The Munch to the beach to go swimming and was told not to go in because of bacteria contaminating the water. When Lilliana texted me this information I was like, “what the holy dick hole. I don’t believe this shit. I have never heard of this in my life. NEVER in 30 years on this lake have I been told not to swim because of bacteria! That is some serious yuppie bullshit!!”

    I just didn’t believe the hype, and quite arrogantly considering I did ZERO research on the subject. Had I just taken… oh… I don’t know… 3 minutes on the Internet all my questions would have been solved. But NO! I was NOT going to be told that I couldn’t swim in the damn lake I have been swimming in my whole damn life.

    Okay so this is where shit got bad. Later that afternoon when I went to pick up Munch she mentioned our plan to go swimming that we had made earlier that morning before this whole debacle.

    Toni: Do you think we should care about the bacteria in the water?
    Munch: Nope.
    Toni: Cool. I am going to trust you because you have the wisdom of a 4-year old. Forget the fact that I am an adult who can and should research potentially dangerous situations. Lets do this because you, my child, say its cool.

    And we drove straight to the bacteria filled beach.

    Okay, so here is a little context. For one… august has been cold as fuck. New England weather already sucks, and our summer has been uncharacteristically short. It didn’t get warm enough to swim until July, and then we had a serious cold rainy front for most of August. Essentially we got dicked out of summer and our only swimming time. After days and days of crappy weather, it was finally a nice day to swim. To not go because of some cryptic threat seemed ludicrous.

    Then next influence is my overall denial of drastic changes in the environment. I know they exist – but I don’t want to actually believe it. I see all those kids wearing sun shirts to protect their skin from the hole in the ozone, but I keep going back to the fact that I never wore sunscreen when I was a child… so what is the big deal? It is this stubborn renouncing of obvious truths because to admit reality is too painful. Yeah maybe when I was a kid the lake wasn’t contaminated, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t now.
    Here is another element of the equation that maybe is less nature’s problem and more mine. I felt SUPER guilty about how much I have been working all summer, and wasn’t feeling like I spent enough time doing stuff outside with Munch. The fact that the season was almost over, made me feel like I didn’t appreciate it. The months went by so fast, and I spent an ample of amount of time inside working trying to make something out of my life. It was this crippling realization that my relentless ambition kept me from enjoying the fleeting warm months with my child.

    The last contributing factor to this scene is the “Holly” in me. You see, my mom –Holly- has a very particular approach to life. She is they type of woman who has mustard from the 80’s that she will put in your sandwich – ignoring the fact it expired 15 years ago – and rationalize eating it because fermentation or whatever. She has fed me rice with maggots unknowingly cooked in, because hey protein. She doesn’t measure when she cooks because measuring is for pussies. She let me ride in the back of a pick up truck because you know, safety is for weak. My mom just doesn’t give a fuck. She operates on her own frequency, and her attitude has obviously impacted my psychology.

    So being told I couldn’t swim because of some stupid bacteria seemed absurd! Forget the fact that NO ONE was at the lake. Never mind the water was eerily still and I could see the algae floating on the surface. Munch and I went anyway, had a wonderful swim, and watched the sunset.

    Sooooooooooooo…

    The next morning The Munch felt a little off. Her throat hurt, her tummy was cramping, but she seemed to pull through after breakfast so I totally forgot about it.

    Later that afternoon we again went to the beach. I assumed whatever silly little water thing HAD to be cleared up by now because it was all so ridiculous any way. Buuuuuut…. yet again it was closed. Yet this time though, there was a GIANT sign explaining what was going on with the water. So yeah…. I spend a moment looking it up, and it turns any contact with this bacteria can make you sick as fuck – including skin rashes, fever, sore throats, and stomach problems.

    Ummmm whoops.

    After I read that, I couldn’t help but feel sick myself. I couldn’t tell if it was in my paranoid head, or it was because I HAD BEEN SWIMMING IN BACTERIA FILLED WATER LIKE AN OVERCONFIDENT FOOL!

    So my guilt about not playing outside enough with my kid quickly transformed into guilt about maybe poisoning her with bacteria infested water. Luckily, she seems fine and never got to the explosive diarrhea or anal leakage stage… thank god Munch has been eating over at mom’s house having old mustard sandwiches with maggot filled rice to build her immune system.

    bacteria-blog-(i)

  • Here You go Sweetie… Eat this Tapeworm for Your Fat Ass

    Hi. The world sucks. Everyone is a total asshole. We might as well just flush our heads down the toilet because that is where society is headed.

    I recently read a delightful article about a mother who covertly fed her daughter tapeworm eggs so she would lose weight before a beauty pageant. When this girl went to the hospital complaining of cramps, the doctors did an ultra-sound thinking she was maybe pregnant, only to discover her belly was full of worms.The teen was administered medicine to flush out the parasites and await the exciting reality of having worms exit her asshole.

    A rehash: a mother didn’t think her daughter was skinny enough, wanted her to win a stupid contest about beauty, and made the decision to risk her child’s life (giving her the life experience of SHITTING LIVE WORMS UP TO 30 FEET IN LENGTH). Can you please close your eyes and imagine a LIVE WORM slithering out your ass, knowing it had been living INSIDE OF YOU??!!

    Of all the things I would not want coming out of my ass, a 30 foot live worm is at the TOP of my list. A squash would be a close second because of the girth, but at least it wouldn’t be moving around. In fact, I would take almost any inanimate object coming out of my ass – including a lamppost – over something that alive. It’s just wrong.

    Now that we’ve gotten over the whole worms coming out the ass part… wait hold on… wretch, gag, barf… okay I am better… there are some GLARING issues about parenting, this mother’s priorities, and how beauty is a defining attribute for girls. Of course I could say the classic rationalization that my mind gravitates towards, like the societal conditioning of women as sex objects, the societal pressure of female attractiveness, and the inaccessibility and absurdity of modern beauty standards. Of course I agree with all these points and believe we’ve been corrupted by oppressive definitions of gender. Yet this is also a chicken and egg scenario. Women often care obsessively about our physical appearance because culture dictates this and our culture is obsessively focused on female beauty because women are obsessed with it.

    We can hate the media for always writing about Kim Kardashian’s body, but every time I see an article about Kim Kardashian’s body I always look at it. I have been socialized to care and I should be furious about the constant objectification of women but I am also totally capable of rejecting this fucked up brainwashing.

    I remember being a kid in history class learning about slavery, the holocaust, Jim Crow, apartheid, and asking the teachers “I don’t get it. How did people allow that?? How could they not know that was wrong?” The prevailing justification I was given, “That was the culture of the time. Those people were reacting to the zeitgeist, so you can’t really blame them for participating in the perceived norm.” To which I would respond “What the dick!” and be sent out of the room.

    My reaction was “No way would I have gone along with that bullshit! I don’t care what kind of culture raised me. I would KNOW slavery was wrong. I would have NEVER let Jewish people be taken to concentration camps. There is NO WAY I would have drank water from some stupid whites only fountain. I would have been different. I would have NEVER let that happen!!”

    The same thinking applies here. Despite conditioning, there were still people who knew enslaving humans/segregation/genocide was wrong and actively fought against it. We women can also be like “fuck this beauty standard shit in the ass.” We don’t have to participate or buy billions of dollars of beauty products every year. We don’t have to hate our bodies or feel insecure that our thighs touch. We don’t have to give a shit about shit. Even though I know it is hard to reject all the fucked up messaging, it was also hard for people to start the Underground Railroad or hide Jews in their attics – but they still did it!

    Let’s do this. Let’s do it for ourselves, our mothers, our sisters and our daughters. Lets keep our toilets tapeworm free

    worms-blog-(i)

    August 26, 2014 • Current Events, Health, Mommyhood, Musings, Parenting, Women's Business • Views: 157

  • Don’t even think of leaving your kid alone… EVER

    I don’t know about you guys, but I had a lot of independence as a kid. Maybe my parents were quasi neglectful, or maybe I was just exceptionally mature. After all, I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and believed marshmallow “Fluff” was a legitimate food source. So there you go.

    I started walking to school on my own in the first grade. The journey was about a mile and I embarked on this solitary excursion with my pride packed in my little backpack (which I ONLY ever wore on my right shoulder because I was NOT a NERD who wore their bag on BOTH shoulders….that would be CRAZY!!!!!) After school let out, I walked back to our empty house, put on my roller-skates, and glided around aimlessly until it got dark.

    When I was eight years old, I began babysitting for our neighbor’s twins. They were six months old and I got paid $5 an hour. I guess I was an innocent victim of a child labor ring – obviously I should have gotten $10 for two kids! I would play with these baby girls, change their diapers, sometimes remember to feed them, and play some more. I may not have been the most diligent baby sitter of all time, but I kept them alive and we had fun.

    In the summertime, I easily biked 15 miles a day because my mom thought driving her kid around was a “republican thing to do.” The majority of my childhood I was either alone or frolicking with friends making wise decisions like eating half a pound of cookie dough for dinner. Maybe this lead to a bout of serious diarrhea, but I also gained a sense of responsibility over my own person. I learned to rely on my instincts of self-preservation and subsequently understood how to take care of both myself and other people. The more my parents trusted me the more I trusted myself.

    It turns out that my mother, my neighbors, and half the parents I knew as a child, would have been arrested if they were parents today. According to a recent pole, 68% of Americans think there should be a law that prohibits kids age nine and younger from playing in parks unsupervised and 43% feel the same way about 12-year-olds. Despite the fact that people in this country are enjoying the lowest crime rates in decades. When asked: “Do kids today face more threats to their physical safety?” 62% answered “yes.”

    Americans are living with unprecedented fear. Enter the presence of modern day news. The pressure that 24-hour “news” channels have to fill each hour with content, every story is magnified to epic proportions. Media relies on people tuning in, so the more intense the tragedies, the higher the viewership. We have a morbid fascination with catastrophe, so media companies have a vested interest in amplifying every horrific detail to make more money, unconcerned that this ultimately exacerbates our culture of fear and paranoia.

    Call me crazy but parents today are in deep denial thinking the dangers facing their children are lurking in the park rather than I don’t know…THE FACT THAT CORPORATIONS AND THE BANKING INDUSTRY ARE RAPING THE PLANET OF ALL ITS RESOURCES SO THERE WILL BE NOTHING LEFT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS? Or how about our foreign policy: the U.S. is currently fighting SEVENTY-FOUR different wars right now? It is comparable to someone refusing to swim in the ocean for fear of sharks but then driving down the street because they don’t feel like walking—turning a blind eye to the reality that the likelihood of getting eaten by a sharped tooth bony fish is INFINITELY smaller than dying in a car crash.

    The benefits of allowing children to be accountable for themselves by playing with other kids without constant supervision and micromanaging of adults seems much more meaningful than our culture’s current obsessive panic over safety. Imagine if the movie “Stand by Me” took place today? The boys would be like “wanna see a dead body” and then some medley mom in the background would be like “no, you boys do not – now get back inside.” Roll credits.

    Of course we need to protect our children, but that also means helping them learn how to protect themselves. A generation of kids who has never once felt the autonomy of making their own decisions will potentially grow up to be a generation of very insecure adults. Although a 12 year old is still young, it is also kind of old. I mean… Mary was 12 when she had Jesus. If she can raise the Son of God, then I am pretty sure our kids can swing on a damn swing without their mommy having to observe their pumping skills.

    Maybe I am wrong. Maybe these kids will be happy and well adjusted. Maybe part of the problem is that too many of us were raised by inattentive parents. Who knows. I do know that the fun of playing outside until dusk with no one telling what to do so maybe you try a cigarette that makes you puke seconds after the rush of your life–those memories will last a lifetime.

    (I would be scared of Munch if I came across her alone at the park)

    alone-kid-blog-(i)

     

    August 26, 2014 • Behavior, Current Events, Disciplining, Mommyhood, Parenting, Playing • Views: 278

  • 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.

    hair-blog-(i)hair-blog-(i2)

  • 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!

    favors-blog-(i)

  • 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!

    eavesdrop-blog

     

  • 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.
    Munch: BUT WHY MOM!!? I REALLY WANT EARRINGS! IT IS NOT FAIR!
    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)

    earrings-blog-(i)

  • 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??)

    porta-potty-blog-(i)

    August 7, 2014 • 4 years old, Adventures, Family Drama, Parenting, Pee & Poop, Toddler Thoughts • Views: 225