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Parenting
Category

  • The Life Of an Artist is Just an Extended Childhood

    As an anti-conventional free-spirited hippy parent that wants my child to take down the system and plan a revolution, sometimes the idea of orthodox schooling disturbs me. Part of me thinks it’s important to learn how to function within the framework society has pre-established as necessary. Yet if my kid never conforms to that regimented approach, and instead commits her energy fully to a more creative life, then she would hopefully develop the skills to carve a different path. One where she is not contributing to the capitalist system that is currently sodomizing all of humanity – without even the decency of lube.

    The Munch has one more year at her idyllic Waldorf preschool where they frolic through the forest floor while a pan like creature plays a lute, and innocence is as abundant as leaves on trees. Yet soon she will have to go to school, sit at a desk, and be scolded for staring out he window. At least that would be the “normal” trajectory.

    If I were to project any dreams onto my child it is that she would live outside the confines of culture, and question it rather than submissively participate in it. I want to encourage her to define her own reality- not bow down to a soul sucking structure. What if she spent the rest of her life creating one giant art project!?

    Every kid on planet earth likes art when they are young. They all do artistic things naturally as part of the everyday shit that kids do. They gravitate towards art on their own. Not that many children are like “I want to learn about macro-economics today mommy,” but they all will sing the fuck out of the ABC’s.

    How kids play and enjoy life is the nascent stage of becoming an artist. All artists are just grown ups that were able to hold onto their childhood interests! Picasso was once a little brat who liked drawing noses where the ears should be. He just got really really good at it. So basically if you practicing playing really hard – eventually you could become an artist.

    When I think about what The Munch actually LIKES to do right now, and if she just were to concentrate on her playing, she’s got some pretty good life options a head of her!

    This is her average day, and the potential if she just keeps at it.

    1) Makes up Songs about “My Little Ponies” killing each other with magic powers: She could be a singer/song writer.
    2) Shakes her body around: She could be a dancer.
    3) Plays pretend with her dolls/My Little Pony’s: She could be an actor, director, or screenwriter. (PS these games are complicated as fuck and involve a variety of characters that talk in distinct voices and have very complicated backstories. I can’t just jump in and insist that “Pinkie Pie” can fly to Nightmare garden because according the to The Munch “Pinkie Pie” does not have wings!!!!!)
    5) Wraps herself in material: Totally high fashion designer
    4) Tells poop and fart jokes: She could be a comedian.

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    August 24, 2015 • 5 years old, Education, Musings, Parenting • Views: 142

  • Munch The Magician

    It turns out The Munch fancies herself a magician, and yesterday she put on a magic show for me. Here are some of her most famous tricks to date.

    1) The transforming quarters: This trick consisted of her placing two quarters in my hands. She then had me “close my eyes.” While my eyes were closed, she replaced the quarters with two sunflower seeds. MAGIC!
    2) The disappearing babysitter: This very tricky trick was executed by having me close my eyes, Munch taking her babysitter by the hand, and bringing then her into another room. When I opened my eyes again, her babysitter had disappeared. MAGIC!
    3) The transmuting book: With this trick I was told to look at a book and then… wait for it… wait for it… close my eyes. When I opened them again the book was gone, and in its place was a bloody pencil that Munch had colored with red crayon. FUCKING MAGIC!

    Later that night The Munch was asking me how I liked her magic show, and I suggested that maybe she try a few tricks that could be accomplished when my eyes were…. I don’t know… open!? That perhaps it would be more impressive if she could create an illusion that I could actually see. She took in this information, then looked at me with a stern expression: “But mom, when you close your eyes, that’s when the magic happens!”

    MAGIC!

    This is Munch’s Magic Show sign made by her and Spencer (the babysitter)

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  • WHAT IS THE POINT OF HIKING?

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

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

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

    This was my experience hiking with The Munch.

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

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

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

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

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

    She walks WITH her seaweed chips for .2 miles.

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

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

    Back on the path for 20 feet.

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

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

    “Mom, can I have some water?”

    She drinks water, we walk .2 miles.

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

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

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

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

    “COME ON MOM! PLEASE!”

    We go up and down the hill a few times.

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

    She eats her sammich.

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

    OF COURSE THE UNIVERSE GAVE ME A CHILD WHO APPRECIATES THE JOURNEY NOT THE OUTCOME – TO TORTURE ME!

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  • The Art of Spoiling

    We all know that Grandparents tend to indulge their grandchildren. It comes with the territory. I guess for them it’s fun giving kids whatever they want, and then sending them back to their parents to deal with repercussions – because who cares!? And actually fuck you for your teenage years… here’s your child who’s high as fuck on sugar and will totally crash in about 20 minutes.

    My mom should lead seminars on spoiling. She has taken it to a fine art. I truly believe the MOMA should commission her for a live performance piece. Grandparents across the nation can learn from her ways.

    When I tell my mom things like “I like to be aware of Munch’s sugar intake so she doesn’t become a monster,” or “I like to limit her screen time so she doesn’t become a FUCKING MONSTER,” my mom usually just rolls her eyes at me. She insists I am being dramatic, and that The Munch is “a lovely child who is easy to be around and a great companion.” Yeah… do you want to know why she is a good kid? BECAUSE I DON’T LET HER EAT SUGAR ALL DAY, LIMIT HER SCREEN TIME, AND TELL HER “NO” ALL THE FUCKING TIME SO SHE ISN’T A PSYCHO BITCH!

    It’s like my mom doesn’t see the correlation between boundaries and decent behavior!

    Yet she is the Grandmother, and she will do as she damn pleases. For example, The Munch comes home from a sleepover the other day and tells me “Manna let me have 3 cookies for breakfast this morning.” I called my mom thinking Munch was exaggerating because surely NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would give a 5 year old 3 CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES FOR BREAKFAST.

    Toni: Hi Mom, how did last night go?
    My Mom: She was an angel. I gave her 3 cookies for breakfast this morning to celebrate the American Iranian nuclear peace treaty.
    Toni: Are you fucking serious?
    My Mom: I want her to remember this momentous day where America and Iran became friends!

    A few days later I picked up The Munch from my mom’s and asked casually what she had eaten. You know, so I had an idea of what food groups, and if there was already a fair amount of treats I should be aware of.

    My Mom: She just ate healthy things – mango and some veggies
    Toni: Okay great!
    Munch: I had 3 cookies and a Nutella sandwich. AND Manna let me watch TV the whole time. I watched hours and hours of My Little Pony. Like so much, my eyes hurt.
    Toni: Did you now?
    Munch: Yeah! Mom, can I go to Manna’s again tomorrow?

    The look of a truly cracked out Munch.

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    July 22, 2015 • 5 years old, Behavior, Disciplining, Eating, Family Drama, Mommyhood, Parenting • Views: 397

  • The Munch Birthday Blog

    Today is The Munch’s 5th birthday!

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

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

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

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

    Anyway…

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

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

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

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

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    July 1, 2015 • 5 years old, Mommyhood, Parenting, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 353

  • Owning Your Shame

    The thing about doing something you regret is that you are often too ashamed to own up to it. When you are afraid to share your humiliation with other people, it ends up burrowing deep into your psyche. It then festers inside your soul like gangrene as you are left alone to deal with the remorse. Not only are you then shouldering the burden of your guilt, but also the heavy load of keeping it in.

    I feel like the only way to truly forgive yourself for misdeeds is to air them out like socks. Rather than tucking your offence back in like teenage boy with a boner, just let the mast of your transgressions fly erect.

    I had one of these experiences the other day. I was bringing The Munch to her last day of school picnic, and of course, was running late. I was also supposed to pick up her Uncle and Cousin Calvin on the way, so I was consequently making them late too.

    Of course in the grand scheme of life, it is not a big deal that we weren’t going to be on time. We were probably just missing out on some pagan Waldorf ceremony where the group sang to grandmother moon while making mazes out of freshly harvested wheat – but I was feeling anxious non the less.

    Part of my problem was that I was SUPER FUCKING STRESSED out that week. A lot was going on, and I was NOT on my best form. I am not usually one to take out my feelings on others, but much like those rare moments when you think a fart is just a fart – shit happens.

    So Munch and I got in the car, drove down the driveway, and were about to turn onto the highway.

    Munch: Wait Mom! Can we go back and get my Frozen Flip Flops?
    Toni: Dude no. We already have your sneakers and other sandals. Let’s just go… we are already late.
    Munch: PLEASE MAMA I WANNA TURN AROUND AND GET MY FROZEN FLIP FLOPS!
    Toni: NO!

    This wasn’t just any “no.” This was the kind of “no” where I screamed in Munch’s face with such vigor that her hair blew back from the velocity of my breath.

    The Munch turned away from me, looked out the window, and silently cried.

    Okay, there is NOTHING more disturbing than a child crying silently.

    I felt soooo fucking horrible about myself. But I was also still SUPER aggravated! GODDAMN THOSE FROZEN FLIP FLOPS! I HATE THEM!

    Toni: Munch, I’m really sorry. I should not have yelled like that. But sometimes you can be really annoying when you don’t take “no” for an answer. Can you understand that?
    Munch: Yes.

    Munch was still pretty damn sad. So just to totally mix messages, confuse things, and probably fuck her up for life – I turned around and got the shoes.

    Toni: Here are your shoes. I really resent doing that, but I did it out of guilt because I snapped at you, and I don’t like snapping. Just please realize that when people say “no,” you have to respect it.
    Munch: Okay.

    We hugged it out, but she was still pretty quite on the drive to her cousin’s house. So when her Uncle and Cousin got in the car, rather than let the energy chafe the vibe of the car like testes on a hot thigh, I just told them the story of what happened.

    Toni: On our drive here, Munch really wanted her Frozen flip flops, but I really didn’t want to get them, and I yelled at her super loud! Like I was a child! I acted like a big baby rather than the grown up!

    We all laughed.

    Munch: And then I cried! But we made up, and my mom gave me a hug.

    Then everything was fine. Why hide this outburst so we both had to pretend it didn’t happen? By talking about it, we both could let go of it. People flip the fuck out all the time, and the best way to deal with it is to look it in the face and admit it happened.

    This is me gearing up to be an asshole…

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  • I am a Dance Mom Failure

    For the past year, The Munch has been attending dance classes at the local dance studio. I’m usually teaching dance or dancing myself during that time – so her grandmother has been forced to be the stand-in “dance mom.” Since I have not really been around, I was totally clueless to the culture of this studio, and just how much they were seriously not fucking around.

    It all started with the impending dress rehearsal. I asked Munch’s grandmother if she could take her, and she started to get very nervous.

    Munch’s Grandmother: Oh I was hoping you could take her to her dress rehearsal.
    Toni: I would but I have a super important meeting and then I’m teaching. Is there anyway you could?
    Munch’s Grandmother: I can, but they want her to be in full costume with make up and a bun. I only had sons, so I don’t think I can do all that.
    Toni: I’m sure it won’t matter. She’s only four. Just shove her hair up and slap some eye shadow on her face.
    Munch’s Grandmother: Ummm, they are very particular about the buns.
    Toni: Okay, well I will send her to your house with a bun already in her hair.
    Munch’s Grandmother: Okay, they are just really serious about those buns.
    Toni: I’m sure it will be fine.

    That Monday, I got Munch ready in the morning for her afternoon rehearsal.

    Toni: Listen, I have to do your hair now, because Grandma isn’t sure about putting your hair back in a bun for your rehearsal. So just try not to mess it up.
    Munch: Okay. But can you put two braids in the side and then a braid around the bun?
    Toni: Do I seriously have to go all Game of Thrones on your hair right now? Can’t I just do a regular bun?
    Munch: I WANT BRAIDS WITH MY BUN!!!!!!!!!!!

    So I did what any normal parent would do when their child screams in their fucking face. I did exactly as she asked.

    I brought Munch to her Grandmother’s house and she was immediately anxious when she saw Munch’s hair.

    Munch’s Grandmother: Oh her hair looks very pretty, but are you sure those braids are okay?
    Toni: They’ll be fine. It’s a dress rehearsal! Who cares?

    Well it turns out those braids WERE NOT FUCKING FINE AT ALL! Munch’s Grandmother was scolded for having the wrong kind of bun, and the owner of the studio had to do ANOTHER PERFECT BUN! She then sent Munch’s grandmother home with hairpins, a hair net, and specific instructions for me on how to get her bun perfect!

    Okay fine.

    The night of the show, I gave Munch the best goddamn bun you ever did see. But her “Dust Bunny” costume, which was a tutu adorned with pink feathers, was fragile. So I decided I would just get her dressed at the venue, so as not to smash her tutu during the car ride (or have pink feathers all over my car). We drove to the performance venue with the windows rolled up (so as NOT to disturb the bun), and got there just on time.

    As I was dressing Munch, another Mom told me she was going to leave early, as the “Dust Bunnies” were the first to perform, and it was a long show. She was afraid her daughter would be too tired for the next night’s performance if she had two late nights. Her logic made perfect sense to me. One because who wants to deal with a tired kid? And two because who wants to sit through 2 hours of watching other people’s kids dance?

    After Munch had her 3-minute moment on stage, we sneaked out, and I went to find her backstage. I guess leaving 5 minutes after the show has started and taking your kid away is NOT exactly “Dance Mom” etiquette. So as I was leaving her teacher walked past perplexed.

    Dance Teacher: Are you taking Adelia? She’s not going to stay for the bow?
    Toni: No. I’m getting her home early so she isn’t a total A-Hole tomorrow.

    So I guess “Dance Mom’s” also don’t refer to their child as an “A-Hole” in public.

    The next night of the 2nd performance I figured I could have the same routine as I did the 1st night. I did the bun at home, and assumed I could get Munch into her costume backstage again. Yet when I tried to enter, I was stopped.

    Dance Mom Volunteer: Are you a chaperone volunteer?
    Toni: No?
    Dance Mom Volunteer: Well you can’t come in here. Dancers only.
    Toni: Okay, I just wanted to get my kid dressed real quick.
    Dance Mom Volunteer: You were supposed to do that at home. She was supposed to come dressed and ready to perform.
    Toni: Well is there a bathroom I can use?
    Dance Mom Volunteer: No. There isn’t. She was supposed to come dressed and ready.

    My mom and I took Munch around the corner, found the fucking bathroom that this chick pretended didn’t exist, and proceeded to put on her goddamn costume and makeup.

    Toni: Jesus H. Christ she was being aggressively unreasonable.
    Munch: Who was mom?
    Toni: Nobody. Don’t worry about it.
    Munch: That mom that wouldn’t let you in that room?
    Toni: DON’T TELL HER I SAID ANYTHING! YOU WILL RUIN ME!

    I mean that was a lot of stress! Now I am not saying that Munch wasn’t the most AMAZING Dust Bunny… but basically she just skipped across stage a few times with a bunch of other girls who looked just like her, and then rolled on the floor.

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    June 22, 2015 • 4 years old, Adventures, Education, Family Drama, Mommyhood, Parenting • Views: 458

  • The World Of Make Believe is Kinda F*cked Up!

    As adults, I think we all envy the imagination of children. Their ability to lose themselves in a play pretend planet, and envision a reality I can only achieve after taking acid. Yet sometimes when I enter into these alternate dimensions with my child, I sometimes take pause, and think to myself, “Damn kid, your make believe worlds are kinda fucked up!”

    Here are some of the most recent games I have played with The Munch:

    1) Dead Mermaid Examiners:

    Munch: Let’s pretend we are these explores that find dead mermaids. We travel the seas, and every time we find a dead mermaid, we bring her on our ship and examine it. And then, we look inside her body, and see all her broken bones, and how her heart isn’t beating.

    Toni: Ummm okay. Do we have magic powers to save the mermaid or anything? So we can bring her back to life?

    Munch: Yeah, but first we have to use this tool to peel off her fin to make sure all her bones are broken – and then we can use the magic to make her heart beat again. But after we make her alive, she goes back into the water, and the bad guys just kill her again.

    2) Evil Jailer:

    Munch: Pretend that you are sleeping in my bed, and then I come in the middle of the night and capture you. But I tell you I am brining you to my house to watch my animals, but really, I just put you in jail. And because you believed me, and you love animals, you didn’t know I was going to do that. And when you are in jail there are bars everywhere, surrounding you, and you can’t get out.

    Toni: What happens to me when I am in jail?

    Munch: You cry because you want to get out.

    Toni: Wah!!!

    Munch: Pretend that I am evil, but you have this magic treasure that turns me nice. So here, you can use it now.

    Toni: Okay. I am using this magic treasure and I am making you nice! Shazam!

    Munch: Your magic didn’t work. I am still evil.

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  • My Personal Parenting PTSD

    Over the weekend I hosted a women’s dinner where we celebrated our uteruses by winding our fallopian tubes around the moon, and dancing our menses deep into the earth’s core. Or we made quinoa and grilled some fish. Whatever.

    My goddess friend Olivia brought her precious priestess daughter, a mere babe of 7 months. They were like one glorious unit – the perfect depiction of the serene Madonna and child. As I gazed upon their unbounded beauty, and how physically/spiritually/emotionally interwoven they were, I thought to myself, “Holy fuck how did I ever get through that baby stage? That shit was hard as fuck.”

    Looking back, I still cannot believe how much work it was to keep that thing alive and happy. It was so intense, I actually blocked out a lot of the experience. Watching Olivia, I realized that she was in this whole other dimension of babyness that I couldn’t relate to – not because I didn’t understand – but because my mind has filtered away those memories to protect myself.

    Every description of motherhood Olivia revealed felt literally insane to me.

    Olivia: Well, I haven’t had that much time to do that because I haven’t really left Rosey with anyone else for more than an hour.
    Toni: WHAT? Are you serious?? You have been with her this whole time?
    Olivia: Yeah, basically. I mean, how long would you leave Munch with other people when she was 7 months?
    Toni: I mean maybe an hour tops. But I hardly ever did that.

    It’s like I have PTSD!! Baby Munch is my personal Vietnam! Not that she was a hard baby either. She was super chill. But the level of commitment and patience required for a baby was like nothing I ever experienced, and now that it’s over, I can’t believe I ever got through it alive.

    Now that The Munch is almost 5, the freedom I have is unparalleled to what it was like when she was baby. She’s really independent and that has given me my independence. But I guess the reason why she’s so secure in the world is because of the hard time I put in when she was an infant. The breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and constant connection helped create a strong foundation between us, and now she is like a little bird that can fly away. Not too far though, she still needs me to make her sandwiches and charge the iPad.

    LOOK HOW TIRED I WAS!

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