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  • 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: 215

  • Self-Righteous Hippy

    I know I am a hypocrite. Despite the fact that I am staunchly committed to certain values, I am also very lenient when it comes to my moral code. I live in a quantum mass of contradictions, and I am as uncomfortable as I am okay with that. So yeah….

    I have a lot of standards of how I want to operate in the world, but life doesn’t always allow the purity of my vision. Or maybe more accurately, my laziness does not always foster flawlessness. In an ideal circumstance I would never support a corporation, eat only food that grew on the virgin soil I tilled, and exclusively wear fabrics weaved by fair trade fairies. But I don’t. I try…. but I am far from perfect.

    I wanted to raise my kid to be a new age indigo child of the future who ate stardust, played with caterpillars, wore Birkenstocks, and communicated telepathically with her acute 6th sense of empathy. I mean The Munch is cool and all, but she for SURE is corrupted by popular culture – and I really only have myself to blame. It is not like I introduced Munch to My Little Pony, but now that she knows they are out there with their fluorescent manes, I don’t deny her of them either.

    In my New Hampsha community many of us straddle the line of wanting our kids to be the crystal generation that saves humanity with their heightened awareness and compassion, and getting sick of them so we let them eat candy and watch cartoons. We are doing our best to condition them with sticks for toys and mud for entertainment, yet we also sometimes give up when they whine too much about getting dirt in their butt. It’s a compromise.

    But in Vermont, the state that is 69-ing with New Hampsha, they keep it real. Vermont is hardcore when it comes to their hippy ideology. Most of my friends live in cabins you have to hike 1.8 miles to get to, and once you are there you realize there is no running water or insulation. It is super common for someone to ask to use your shower because they live in a tent, and if you were to ever mention having a dishwasher or a dryer people would look at you like you just raped their cat in their living room.

    The dance studio I own is in the mecca of Vermont hippy central. Even though I am kind of part of the community, I also am not because I don’t harvest my own Kombucha.

    Sooooo…. the other day Munch and I went to this organic “fish and chips” place to get some dinner after my class. I had been there before, and knew the guy who owned the place had a daughter about Munch’s age. While we were waiting for our food, I was trying to be nice, so I asked the dude about his stupid kid.

    Toni: So how is your daughter?
    Self-righteous Hippy: She is really good. We have been taking her out into the woods to identify mushrooms so…
    Toni: Oh cool. That sounds fun.
    Self-righteous Hippy: Yeah, well she already knows all the birdcalls of the indigenous species in the area so….
    Toni: Right on. Ummm. Does she like Frozen?
    Self-righteous Hippy: Excuse me?
    Toni: You know, Frozen? The Movie.
    Self-righteous Hippy: Oh. The Disney movie?
    Toni: Yeah. Like all the little girls I know are obsessed with that movie and the music from it.
    Self-righteous Hippy: Yeah, we don’t allow any screen time in our yurt, and we certainly wouldn’t ever let our child watch the corruption that is Disney.
    Toni: Yeah, I get what you mean. It is not ideal. But I think at least Disney is trying to promote a more feminist message lately.
    Self-righteous Hippy: Ummm yeah… I guess. I just would never know that or care to know that.

    I then looked over at Munch who was wearing her “Little Mermaid” dress, Cinderella glass slipper high heel shoes, and Dora The Explorer hat.

    Toni: Right totally… me neither.

    (Here is Munch is her “Frozen” princess dress celebrating the sky, and her “Beauty and the Beast” princess dress, Dora hat, eating a tomato from our garden)

    self-righteous-hippy-blog-(i1) self-righteous-hippy-blog-(i2)

  • Does Pain Have to Be So Dramatic?

    I don’t understand why when kids cry; they have to cry so damn loud. There is always a wail beneath their weeping that makes the whole incident an event you are forced bear witness to. Trying to talk over a crying child is like whispering to an 80’s punk band musician during a car alarm. Nothing is going to get heard.

    Kids also cry a fuck of a lot. Especially when they hurt themselves. When children are in physical discomfort, their bellows have a density that is unparalleled. It is not that I can’t understand the need to express your emotions when faced with agony, but why at such an intense decimal?

    When The Munch hurts herself, she suddenly has the vocal capacity of an opera singer with an elephant lung transplant. If I am being real with you, it can get annoying. I am not a monster, so of course I hug her while she is processing the pain – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck having someone screaming inches from your ear. I am not saying that she isn’t suffering, but does she have to suffer so dramatically?

    You guys… it is not my fault I am like this. I was raised in New England, by WASP’s. We don’t talk about silly things like emotions. When I felt a feeling, like coldness, I would never express my penetrating discomfort – I would just get a mild case of frostbite because it “builds character.” That was how you did things. As much as I want to be sensitive to The Munch’s despair, it is also sometimes hard for me to patiently tolerate the theatrics.

    The other day Munch and I went on an adventure to this kid’s extravaganza that involved the stories of Roald Dahl. I don’t really get what was going on, but there were girls dressed like oompa loompas and what else did I really need to understand? We went with a bunch of our friends, so after 3 minutes of being there I was already overwhelmed by the variety of needs demanded from the variety of children who surrounded me. I told Munch and her friend Hazel to go climb the rocks so I could have a moment to watch the rain fall on my head and travel down my cheeks like the tears of failed dreams.

    As the weather got more extreme, I watched the girls sliding down the slippery rock, and knew some shit would go down.

    The Munch lost her footing, slipped down the rock, and then landed on her knees on another rock. I am not going to say it wasn’t a digger. It was. It looked fucked up. She was bleeding, and it bruised immediately.

    Yes she was also freaking the fuck out. At first I was like “yes, yes I understand” like a normal person, but as the minutes ticked on I was kind of like “girl, you got to get over this and moveon.org.”

    The problem when Munch hurts herself is then everything becomes about her “boo boo.” She will be like “I can’t walk because of my boo boo.” Or she will just keep repeating “my boo boo hurts” like the mantra of a stoned monk who forgot what he just said 3 seconds ago. Now we had just driven for 40 minutes to get to this god forsaken kid’s paradise, and there was no way I could deal with the entire evening being textured around her fucking boo boo.

    Munch: Mom… my boo boo really hurts. Will you carry me? I can’t walk. I need you to carry me. My boo boo really hurts mom.
    Toni: Listen dude. We have an entire evening here, and I cannot carry you the whole time because my arms will fall off my body.
    Munch: But my boo boo really hurts mom! Wahhhhhaaaa. WAHHHHHAHHHA!
    Toni: Munch, it’s okay to cry, but can’t you just do it more quietly?
    Munch: But I can’t calm down. It really hurts.
    Toni: I get that it sucks, but that is being a kid. Children fall down Munch. You fall, you scrape your knee, but then you get up and keep going. Life is full of pain. You are going to hurt yourself 1,000 more times. You can’t hide from the pain. The only thing you can do is learn how to deal with it.

    The Munch hobbled along stoically… yet would still occasionally mention the bleeding festering wound on her knee. I of course would respond oh so compassionately with statements like, “I am not sure little girls who complain will get chocolate at the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory station where there is a chocolate fountain to dip your chocolate sticks into.” The Munch would then bravely continue – ever motivated by sugar.

    Then last night, as Karma would have it, I trekked outside to visit my brother around 11 pm. It was very dark, and the clouds covered the slight sliver of moon that would have provided light. I couldn’t really see where I was going so I tripped on a log, bashed my knee, and cut my toe. AND BOY DID THAT HURT!! I just started screaming out into the abyss of the night “Holy fucking mother of Christ!!! God fucking dammit to hell!!” I was so loud that everyone in a one-mile radius could hear me with the clarity of Beats by Dre. When I finally got inside where I could see the damage, there was barley a scrape on my knee, and the slightest cut on my toe. BUT YOU BET YOUR SWEET ASS I COMPLAINED ABOUT IT!!!

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  • You Really Shouldn’t Fucking Swear

    Swearing is not good and shit. It is considered offensive, rude, and inappropriate. There is never a circumstance that truly justifies it, and it reflects poorly on your character. One should recognize that the language you use represents how people perceive you, and as a dignified member of society you should avoid vulgarities at all costs. Since I am a parent, it is pivotal I imprint these values onto my daughter so she can grow into a being a respectable lady.

    Yet hearing my kid swear is funny as fuck.

    Okay fine. I am not proud of the fact that I SOMETIMES swear in front of my child. It is not that I swear at her! I just on occasion swear around her. As a consequence, The Munch has been exposed to my potty mouth, even though I REALLY TRY to wipe it clean.

    So the other day I made The Munch a grilled ham and cheese sandwich for dinner, which she brought to my office to eat while watching Japanese cartoons. Uggggggggghhhh…. I really don’t like admitting this context ☹ I usually don’t let my kid watch shows and eat. It is bad for digestion, a terrible habit, unsocial, and most importantly dangerous for my computer – crumbs in my keyboard are a nightmare. But I was having a super PMS moment and pretty much couldn’t deal with existence. All I was capable of was staring at a door and wondering if it opened into a parallel universe where I was a mermaid.

    Munch then came into the kitchen asking for more dinner…

    Munch: Mom, can you make me another grilled cheese sammich?
    Toni: Whoa! Did you eat the whole thing! Wow! Good for you.
    Munch: Well, I didn’t exactly get to eat the whole thing. I dropped half of it on the ground, and then Mona (our dog) ate it.
    Toni: Oh no! Mona at your sammich? That is terrible.
    Munch: Yeah. Fucking Mona.

    And then, all was right in the cosmos and life had meaning again. Not only did Munch use “fucking” in the right context, but her cadence was hilarious. She wasn’t angry, or upset – her tone just perfectly articulated how anyone would feel after a beloved pet ate their delicious sammich. Fucking Mona is right.

    fucking-mona-blog-(i)

  • Can I Volunteer To Not Volunteer?

    There are not that many things that make me feel old. The fact that I smoked my first cigarette 23 years ago, used the dewy decimal system to research papers in college, and still think Casio watches are cool… none of that makes me feel decrepit. Yet having a child who is in school, where I have to be a parent and do parent-like things for that school – that makes me feel old as fuck.

    The Munch goes to a Waldorf school where there is a lot of expected parent participation. This gives me so much angst for a variety of reasons. For one, I am selfish with my time. For two, I get social anxiety around groups of people. For three I am selfish with my time.

    It is not that I don’t think it is important. I want to be part of the community of my child’s school. Friends have such a huge impact on socialization and personal growth – knowing the parents your kid interacts with is meaningful. Besides, I want to support the teachers that are now a part of raising my child. I just don’t want to do anything or have anything expected of me.

    The Munch’s school, Cobb Meadow, was planning a fundraiser at a local venue where they host a “make your own pizza” night. People bring their toppings, and the bakery provides the dough, sauce, and cheese. The deal is that Cobb Meadow helps with all the set up and clean up, and then the school got to keep the profits. Great idea! Love it. The parents were supposed to help for this event and there was a sign up sheet for different responsibilities.

    My friend Sierra, who I LOVE, signed up for ice cream duty. Okay cool! I will do that with her. Then there was an email that came out from the Super Mom who organizes all parent participation activities, which stated they needed a clean up crew. Sierra signed up for that as well, and since I do everything Sierra does, so did I.

    I figured if I did two things, it would make up for my lame participation record of the past. I also assumed “cleaning up” meant I would cruise around at the end of the night and maybe pick up trash for 20 minutes. Fine. I can do that!

    The pizza night was a great success and Sierra and I started the clean up process. At first, it all seemed reasonable. Throwing away plates here, picking up cans there, rinsing off a cup here. All good. I brought a bin of pizza stones into the kitchen and assumed my duties were done. It was then that I realized that not only were we expected to wash the stones, but also all the bins, all the trays, and EVERY SINGLE DISH THAT WAS INVOVLED FOR THE KITCHEN TO MAKE THESE GOD FOR SAKEN PIZZAS AND SERVE THEM TO 150 PEOPLE!!!!

    Now, it is not like I couldn’t wash dishes for 2 hours… I just wasn’t mentally prepared for it. If I had known, at least I would have been ready for it. But then again, if I had known, I NEVER WOULD HAVE SIGNED UP TO HELP BECAUSE I AM SELFISH!

    We got started doing the dishes, and immediately the heat in the kitchen was oppressive. The only relief was when the backwash from dirty dishes would spray flour-coated water on you. This was where my complaining began.

    Toni: What the dick! It is as hot as Satan’s scrotum up in here.

    At first it was just Sierra and I in the kitchen, but 40 minutes go by, and hardly a dent was made. We needed reinforcements if we were going to finish by dawn. Munch’s teacher came to help, as well as the Super Mom who organized everything. Now let me be honest. I wanted to impress Munch’s teacher and Super Mom with my work ethic because I feel slightly inadequate about my track record. BUT… I could not stop freaking the fuck out either because the piles of dishes were ETERNAL.

    Sierra wasn’t bothered, because she decided it was a Zen practice. Super Mom is SUPER FUCKING MOM, so she too was totally chill. Munch’s teacher is a FUCKING WALDORF TEACHER who sings through chores and has the cheery disposition of a FUCKING WALDORF PRE SCHOOL TEACHER. Then there was me. WHO WAS LOSING MY FUCKING MIND!

    Despite the fact that I WANTED to come off like a normal person who goes with the flow, is helpful, and pleasant to be around – I physically could not contain myself from bitching every 6 seconds about what was happening. While everyone else was calmly washing dishes and humming I was grumbling “Holy fucking mother of Christ there is more! Son of a cunt! Fucking shit cock!”

    Yeah… so pretty sure I didn’t exactly improve my reputation.
    pizza-night-blog-(i)

    July 31, 2014 • Adventures, Education, Mommyhood, Parenting • Views: 272