baby products

  • Maybe Metaphors Are Lost On You?

    Reading and writing is good and stuff.  It important.  I care much reading nice.

    I spend a shit ton of my life writing and reading, so of course, theoretically I want The Munch to share these passions.  But reading children’s books is as boring as sitting on the toilet without your phone, and I desperately fear the day Munch starts writing about me… because boy am I in for it.

    But of course I have to prioritize The Munch’s education over my own selfish needs of wanting to avoid crappy kids books, and my desperate attempts to censor my child from exposing me like I have her.   Ahhhhh parenting.  The sacrifices we make!So I read The Munch books everyday, and then I read them again and again until she memorizes them and feels somewhat in control of her existence.

    Of course not all kid-books are torturous.  There are classics like Madeline, Pippi Longstockings, Peter Rabbit, and The Runaway Bunny.  Even though some of my favorites have demented values and a slightly skewed moral compass, I still appreciate the tangible effort and artistry that is put into the illustrations.

    But what drives me crazy about most modern kid-books is the computer-generated art that goes along with it.  If the book is beautiful, and someone took the time to hand draw each page as if it mattered, then I can truly honor it.  But when its some shitty story about some shitty talking peanut with shitty ass pictures I pretty much want to throw up in my hands.

    I crave some sort of stimulation when reading to The Munch, so when the stories and art blow cock I want to blow my brains out.

    So the other day I was searching through my shelves and saw a book called “I Haiku you” that was a gift from her babysitter.  I figured that would at least be somewhat intellectually titillating.  But even though I found the book to be quite poetic, I realized that toddlers don’t really understand metaphor.

    Toni: “your rainbow colors

    come out to play when it pours-

    chase the gray away”

    Munch: “But I can’t see it chase the gray away!”

    Toni: “Well, it’s not exactly chasing the gray away.  Its just that when the kids draw a rainbow it makes the rainy day seem less gray.”

    Munch: “Oh.”

    Toni: “Here, I will read another…

    what are the chances

    maybe one in a million?

    what luck I found you

    Munch: “But I can’t see one in a million!”

    Toni: “Munch you can’t take this so literally, one in a million is an expression and she is talking about the 4 leaf clover she found.”

    Munch: “But what are the chances? What are they?”

    Toni: “It’s also an expression.”

    Munch: “But I can’t see what are the chances?”

    Okay, fine. So maybe I get why kid-books usually try and keep shit simple.

    “Mamma I can’t see love letters in the tummy!!!!!”


  • Can I buy my Happiness online?

    When I was a young child life was much different.  If I wanted something, I actually had to go to store and find it.  Doesn’t that sound wild? Almost as extreme as having to walk 9-miles to school, in the snow, with the wind blowing in my face both directions while wearing shoes made of Kleenex boxes.

    There was no online shopping in the 80’s.  So as a 5-years old when I really wanted Teddy Ruxpin for Christmas, my parents had to drive around for hours searching for him.  After a whole day of their lives was spent frantically going in and out of Toys R Us’ they finally found my precious talking bear- only to find out that the reason I had wanted him was to see how he worked, and then didn’t give a flying fuck about him anymore.

    Okay, that was a dick move on my part.  But it wasn’t totally my fault.  Teddy Ruxpin looked so seductive in the commercials.  Like he was the Charmin bear come to life.  Once I realized you just stuck a tape in his ass so he could tell you some asinine story, the novelty quickly wore off.  But don’t blame me alone.  Blame the marketers! The ad guys! I was not a spoiled little shit!

    The Munch lives a pretty sheltered life, I am willing to admit that, but one day I mentioned the concept of buying something online for her.  She really wanted foot pajamas like her cousin Calvin, but Target didn’t have any.  So I explained I would get the jammas on the computer while she was sleeping. This was a strange concept for The Munch to understand, but once they came in the mail she was pumped.

    My issue with online shopping is that there is no effort involved.  I mean besides flapping your fingers around on a keyboard.  This breeds a disconnect between the thing you think you want, and what you are actually are buying.  The idea of material objects is irrationally seductive. Hey computer, I WANT ALL THOSE LEGGINGS!

    But when you are actually shopping and holding something in your hand, you have to identify with it more than if it were just on a screen.  Of course there are extreme cases of shopaholics where the act of spending and acquiring goods is a rush, but even if you have a semi-normal relationship to consumerism, it can still be corrupted in the ethereal world of the Internet. Not only do I want all those wrap-around dresses, but I WANT THEM TODAY!

    I didn’t realize that this concept had been so deeply imprinted into The Munch’s psyche until she was visiting with my mom this weekend.  She saw a doll catalogue that my mom (who The Munch calls Manna) had lying around.  Why my mom has doll catalogues floating around her house is yet to be determined, but once The Munch found it she was flooded with things that she desperately desired.

    Munch: “Manna, I want this doll right here.”

    Manna: “Well, there is no store to get that doll right now.”

    Munch: “You can get it on the computer.”

    Manna: “Oh I can?”

    Munch: “Yes go on the computer and you can pay for it.”

    Manna: “Okay.”

    Munch: “I wanna see.  I wanna see too!”

    Manna: “Alright well sit next to me.”

    Munch: “I want that baby too!”

    Manna: “Munch, you already have that baby.”

    Munch: “NO I DON’T!”

    Manna: “Yes you do, that is the same as Water Baby, just with a different outfit on.”


    Manna: “Pretty sure I know my babies and that is the same as the one you have.”

    Munch: “Can I get that baby then?”

    Manna: “Okay but for your birthday.”

    Munch: “Can I get the stroller too?”

    Manna: “The running stroller?”

    Munch: “YES!!”

    Manna: “Okay.  Done.  The baby and the running stroller on their way.”

    Munch: “But I want to have them now.”

    Manna: “You can’t have them now they are coming in the mail.”

    Munch: “NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I WANT TO HAVE THEM NOW!!!!!!!!”

    The proceeded to fight about The Munch wanting her toys now and my mom saying she had to wait.  So my mom calls me on the phone to fill me in..

    Manna: “Your daughter is absolutely insane did you know that?”

    Toni: “I did.  But why now?”

    Manna: “Well she made me order some things for her online, and she was angry that they weren’t here right away.  So then she used my phone to have a pretend conversation with you and said ‘Mamma, get me my fucking stroller now!’”

    Toni: “Maybe the new family rule should be no more online shopping.”

    Manna: “Maybe you should stop swearing around her too.”

    Toni: “Maybe I fucking should.”



  • Sometimes Being Eco is Annoying

    I really don’t want to live in a trashcan of a world, but being eco can be annoying.  To exclusively support organic fair trade local products that you also happened to grow in your back yard, had harvested by virgins, and processed by leprechauns is a fucking challenge.  The other day I thought I would buy some organic cotton t-shirts for The Munch, and one shirt was $40?! When I saw the price I threw up in my hand and then had to eat it because my dinner was from the organic store and my tofu kale wheat-free sandwich was not cheap.

    I know the responsibility is on me to be the change I want to see in the world, but I already changed my underwear today -isn’t that enough?  It is a lot of pressure for me to always make the right decision when there is so much crappy crap out there that is way crappy, but easier to get.  My main question is, why is there so much temptation to poison ourselves with toxic shit?  We have so much access to such a vast variety of products, but the majority of them are actually semi dangerous.  Major corporations are exposing us to some sort of poison, subjecting employees to horrific working conditions, and sometimes secretly feeding people rats they think is lamb.

    So there is plenty of incentive to be conscious consumer.  In fact I consider myself to be a PROsumer with all the positive shit I buy.  Get it? PROsumer rather than CONsumer? Am I lyrical genius or what?  But sometimes I want to be just like ahhh fuck it! I mean I got The Munch this hippy sunscreen because I read that sunscreen, although may protect you from getting skin cancer from the sun, actually just gives you another kind of cancer.  So I slapped the eco stuff on her, and it worked in the sense that she didn’t get burned, but it wouldn’t absorb into her skin.  She was walking around looking like Casper the Ghost the entire day.  I mean that is fine for a kid and all, but there is no way as a self-respecting woman, I can go out in public like a member of the Adams Family.

    Of course when we are talking about green products, food is the one I am most committed to.  But sometimes I get sick of being healthy.  Over the summer I am part of CSA (community supported agriculture) and get all my organic vegetables delivered to me.  They are grown in the most fertile soil and picked by a bearded farming angel.  Yet by time September rolls around all I want is to eat cheeseburgers and doughnuts.  I get so sick of vegetables I want to throw them against the wall, and then waterboard them.

    I know I should probably find a balance and feel peace knowing I am doing what I can and all that…. But what the fuck world?  Why can’t eco shit just be the only shit we can buy so I wouldn’t have to compare it to the other shit?

    (Here I am…. saving a spider and bringing her outside so I don’t murder her…. because I am environmentally responsible!)



  • Bikini Girls

    Little girls in bikinis.  Is this okay? Not okay?  Should you even be reading this? Are we going to get arrested for talking about this? I am scared.

    Last week my friend Gita sent me an article about how Gwyneth Paltrow designed a line of bikinis for 4-8 year old girls, and a group called Kidscape was outraged that she was promoting the sexualization of young girls.

    I wasn’t sure what I thought about little girls in bikinis, but I was sure that the 5-year old model was way skinnier than me, so I immediately committed to getting back to my birth weight.  Then…the next day I opened the mail and my mom had sent The Munch a bikini! Coincidence? Irony? Or was the bikini actually for me and my mom was trying to inspire my new diet goals of weighing 7 pounds 4 ounces?

    Of course The Munch was really excited about her new bathing suit and immediately wanted to put it on.  She was at first confused about the idea of a top and didn’t get it.

    Toni: “See… It’s just like Mamma’s Munch.”

    Munch: “Ohhhhhhh.  I see. I see.  To cover my nanas.” (which is what she calls boobs).

    Then she tried on the bottoms, but it was too big,  So The Munch did what any normal person would do.  Took off the bottoms and just wore the top – for the rest of the entire day.

    So now that my daughter not only has a bikini, but is wearing half of one, what do I think about this?  Does clothing sexualize little girls? Or does the observer?  If someone is going to see a child as sexy, does it matter what the kid is wearing? Or does their perversion exists regardless of apparel?  I am not sure – I am kind of the thinking that if someone is going to be turned on by kids, its because there is something wrong with them, and putting the child in a Yves Saint Laurent dress isn’t going to make a shit bit difference.

    But I do think the fashion for children has changed drastically since I was a kid, and there is something creepy about it.  My biggest issue is that kids now look like mini-adults rather than children.

    This was never an issue I had to contend with.  When I was young we didn’t have low wasted jeans or Baby-Tees to chose from.  Clothes were distinctly for kids.  As a pre-teen Pearl Jam was the shit and grunge was what was in style.  All my pants were baggy corduroys, and all my shirts were long sleeve plaids.  In high school, hip hop was the main cultural influence – so again all my pants were baggy and my t-shirts oversized.  I wasn’t hiding my body on purpose, I was just wearing what was considered cool.  I didn’t wear a tight pair of pants, or shirt that fit me, until I was in my 20’s.

    Now leggings, skinny jeans, high heel boots, and tight tops are the current things to wear.  In order for your kid to fit in, they have to be somewhat hip to the trends. But is this look problematic?  I don’t think little boys are necessarily seeing the girls as more sexual -because they are too busy thinking they have cooties, but I do question how little girls start seeing themselves.

    I remember as a child being fascinated by the idea of being a woman. What it would be like to have tits, or my period, were concepts I was intrigued by.  But the truth is that we are women for 80% of our lives.  It is such a short time where we get to be kids, so why not fully immerse ourselves in the experience of it.

    Maybe what kids wear can contribute to their growing up too fast, or maybe it really doesn’t matter.  I tend to believe that valuing your childhood happens within the context of your parents treasuring it as well.  That childhood is more of a state of mind that is preserved through environment.  Maybe once The Munch grows into the bottom half of her bikini I will think differently, but under these circumstances, all I see is a crazy little girl mooning me.



  • You Better Be Looking Hot, Baby

    There is a $170,000,000,000 industry that women all over the world contribute to.  Can you guess what it is?  Ending world hunger? Stopping sex trafficking? Saving orphans? No silly! IT’S BEAUTY BITCHES!

    In the US alone over $50 billion is spent every year on beauty products.  The average woman uses 12 products a day, which is exposing her to over 160 different chemicals.  Chemicals that cause mice to go blind, produce cancer in rats, gives you lead poisoning, and make rabbits look really funny in lipstick.

    According to this chick, Stacy Malkan, cofounder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry “Most of these chemicals have never been assessed for safety. There are no requirements for cosmetic companies to assess the chemicals in their products for safety.”  AND… until more laws are passed companies can use words like “natural” and “organic” and still create products that are anything but. “There are no legal standards for the use of such words on cosmetics.  There are no laws to prevent it and the FDA has no authority to prevent it.”


    So as we all know, society thinks old woman are yucky, and ugly women are just the worst.  Soooo to look less old and ugly, paint your face with toxic chemicals.  That will do the trick.

    And you want to know something really funny? Most of these products are all the same ingredients anyway.  So they cost $2 to make, and then if you are a French company with a fancy sounding brand, you can sell it for $200 and people will still buy it.  Just because of some sexy packaging and marketing strategies that European women have skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom.   Well, obviously the French have never seen diaper rash because that shit is a mess.

    That is why I am a Doctor Bronner’s kind of gal.  It is hard for me to believe that you need special face soap, then body soap, hand soap, shampoo…  Aren’t they all just shit that bubbles and makes you feel clean?  So picture me in the shower.  I know.  Pretty awesome.  I can put Doctor Bronner’s on my head, then on my face, then on my body, then brush me teeth with it, and the then do the dishes that I brought in there with me. Because it works for everything!

    Okay, so why am I even caring about all this?  If ladies want to spend their money on making themselves feel beautiful who am I to judge right?  Well…. I was recently alerted to this blog post that goes through all these toys for toddlers to get baby girls ready to become part of this booming industry.

    There are countless toys on the market to teach babies to beautify, preparing girls for a lifetime of preening.  Okay, so this is obviously totally baked and fucked up.  Even if you are an avid make up user, you can probably see the moral complexity of these types of toys.  Baby make up, baby nail polish, baby beautician outfits, baby vanity mirrors, baby thongs…(just kidding on the last one, but I am working on a prototype).

    But here is the problem.  I can absolutely see how girls would love to play with this stuff, especially if that is what they see mommy doing.  The Munch once saw me putting on chapstick and thought it was fascinating.  Now every time she sees it she wants to put it on.  I distinctly remember watching my mother put on blush, so every day before the 5th grade I would go the bathroom, purse my cheeks, and do the same.  As little girls we idolize our mothers, and things mommy is interested in has a seductive quality.  Point is, our daughters are observing us much more than we maybe realize.

    And here I am living in the country, feeling depressed that I wear fleece sweatpants on a daily basis and haven’t worn mascara since the Bush era, except if you count on my bush.  Yet I am probably being a great influence on The Munch.  She may not know how hot I can look with a bunch of makeup on my face, but she isn’t obsessing over beauty yet either.

  • Whoops… Are You Going To Die?

    “Mamma I drank the medicine” is not exactly what you want to hear on a Sunday morning.  Mostly because I had a flashback of five minutes earlier when I saw The Munch walking around with a baby syringe.  Riiiiiiigggghhhhttttt.  So that is what she was getting into.

    “Munch, you drank the medicine, can you show me?”


    Sure enough the entire bottle of Baby Advil was gone.  Now here is where a lot of the details get fuzzy.  How did she open the bottle? Aren’t they child proof? Technically yes.  But this bottle had been strewn in drawer and a lot of the medicine had coagulated and congealed.  So I guess she just could pull the top off? Or perhaps my cat is a drug pusher?

    “Munch how much of the medicine did you drink?”

    “Only one Mamma!”

    Okay, so that was kind of hard to keep a straight face at.  Especially considering her maniacal demeanor and the fact she was giggling like Cheech and Chong talking to the cops.

    “Munch, are you high?” How much of the medicine did you drink? A big sip or a little one?”

    “Big one!”

    Then she proceeded to run around the house like her diaper was on fire, yelling and laughing Jim Morrison style.  In the midst of this display, my friend and I were trying to decide what to do about it, and if I should be worried.

    “Well, it is only infant Advil so I don’t think she is going to go into a coma.”

    “Wow, thanks.  Hadn’t even thought of her going into a coma until now.”

    Then another friend called and suggested I call the company, and in the meantime give her milk and bread to absorb it.

    “Munch, do you want some milk and bread?”

    “I want milk in my bread Mamma!”

    “Ooooookkkkkaaaaayyyy.”  But I only had moldy bread, which of course she grabbed out of my hand before I could tear off all the green parts and ran like a wild horse stuffing it in her mouth.

    As my friend heard all this she reminded me that at least with the moldy bread she was getting penicillin, so that made me realize what I good mom I really am.

    I called the 1-800 number and they were only open Monday through Friday, so I figured most people didn’t poison themselves on the weekend so we were probably okay.  It was hard for me to know what to do because Munch was having the time of her life.  She was like living the Van Halen dream.

    I tried to calm her down, and put her at the table to eat some things that weren’t rotting.  While I was cutting her pear she threw my glass bowl on the floor, which obviously shattered.

    “Uhhhhh Munch, why would you do that? Why would you throw glass?”

    “I wanted to bounce it Mamma.” This oddly made sense to me.

    To distract The Munch while I cleaned the 120,000 shards, I gave her the lotion she had been demanding to play with.  Not the best toy, I concur, but she wanted to squeeze the “creamy creamy.”

    When I finally swept up the debris and looked at her again, Munch had lotion coating her entire face and hands like she had just done an incredibly inappropriate porno movie.

    “Oh dear Munch, that is really gross, you need to wash your hands.”

    I put her by the sink and was wiping up the clumps of white gooey lotion from the table, and when I looked at my child, I saw that she had created a soapy concoction mixed with lotion, chewed up pear, and water that she was dipping her bread into and eating happily.

    What the heck do they put in Baby Advil?  Because I need to get me some of that!

    (Notice the moldy bread in mouth and glazed over eyes.  This kid knows how to party!)


  • Tales of The Munch and The Ipad

    Ipads are like a mommy’s little miracle.  I give it to The Munch and poof… instantaneous relief from her constant yapping.  Maybe that doesn’t make me look very good, but you don’t look that great in yellow so whatever.

    As it stands right now I only let The Munch play with the Ipad in long car rides… because otherwise I am using it so hands off kid.  But she does have control issues (which I really don’t understand where she gets that from – hey don’t read this blog with your voice in your head, use my voice in your head, it sounds better), so of course Munch insists on holding the Ipad. And like the little post-modern toddler that she is, she totally knows how to use it.

    However, there are times when The Munch is trying to find a specific video that is not on the history list.  Then she starts insisting that I find the exact video she wants while I am driving.  Me going through Youtube while driving is of course insanely dangerous, so most of the time I refuse, and explain she has to find her dumb Elmo video by herself.

    “No you find it Mamma… I want to see Elmo talking outside!”

    “Munch I have no idea what you are referring to… Just watch another video.”

    “No Mamma, you find it.”

    And with that, she threw the Ipad.  Ummmm… this was NOT okay… So I grabbed it off the floor of the car and put it in the drivers seat next to me.  And there it sat, like its own little person.  I love you Ipad.

    “Mamma I want the Ipad!!”

    “No Munch you threw it.  You know you are not allowed to throw things.  Especially the precious Ipad.”

    “But Mamma I want it, I want to see Elmo.”

    “No Munch, you have to think about what you did and learn never to throw the Ipad again.”

    About a half an hour passed with her listening to Ring Around The Goddamn Rosie on repeat, then she asked for the Ipad back.  I figured she had thought long enough about how to treat this important member of our family, so I gave it back to her.

    “Munch, now respect the Ipad.  No throwing.”

    “Okay Mamma.”

    She watched some Mickey Mouse clips and somehow got into a video about a talking orange, but all was peaceful.  Until she got frustrated again because she couldn’t find the video of that fucktard Elmo singing that she wanted.  Then came the horrific thunking sound of her throwing the Ipad!

    “Munch! What is wrong with you? I told you not to throw the Ipad!”


    “Well Munch did you throw it or did you drop it on accident.”


    “Munch, didn’t Mamma tell you not to throw the Ipad?”


    I figured she had to cry it out because that is what babies do.  They cry because they feel; because she was sincerely dealing with the loss and burden of disappointment.  I knew her tears were genuine because she is just a child who has no choice but to express her emotions in an authentic way.

    But I still wasn’t going to give her the Ipad because fuck her.

    “Munch, crying about it isn’t going to make me give you the Ipad back.”

    “Oh.  Can I have a tissue then please Mamma?”

    What a little shit.

    October 11, 2012 • 2 years old, Adventures, baby brain, baby products, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 2597

  • Things I Swore I Would Never Do

    There are many things I swore I would never do as a parent.  All these preconceived ideas of how I was going to be and all the principles I would maintain hung like a halo signifying my future moral superiority.    But with every day that passes, those once strong convictions seem to melt away like M&M’s in my palm.

    One “never going to let my kid to that” doctrine I held onto was not having a DVD player in the car.  Yeah car rides are boring, but boredom is the birthplace of creativity and imagination.  I figured I never had a DVD player when I was a kid and I survived.   The most exciting apparatus for the car was a Walkman.  I had to entertain myself by staring at the window and asking my parents every five minutes when we were going to get there.

    So I was pretty adamant on The Munch dealing with the tedium that is being in the car.  That is until I had to take a five-hour car trip with her.  Knowing what I know about my child, being able to anticipate the constant demands to DJ “wheels on the bus” into “ring around the rosie” 4,000 times, then open the window, then close the window, then finding her pacifier she dropped, to listening to her say every 30 seconds she wants to get down, to yelling at me not to use the windshield wipers, to demanding the inside lights to be turned on… Yeah…. Pretty sure I loaded up that Ipad with her favorite movie “Babies.  And when that was not good enough for her anymore, pretty sure I found videos of “babies laughing,” “babies crying,” and “babies dancing” on Youtube on my phone.

    Yeah.  I get it now.

    October 1, 2012 • 2 years old, Adventures, baby brain, baby products, Parenting • Views: 2360

  • Is Elmo Made of Crack?

    Is Elmo made of crack cocaine?  Kids get so addicted to Elmo I am convinced he is laced with some sort of amphetamine… it is impossible to be that obsessed with something as a sober person.  Munch has never even seen Elmo in action because I am afraid if I exposed her to him moving around on a screen her head would implode.  All the contact she has had with Elmo is on her big girl potty seat, and on her nighttime diapers where there is a small quarter-sized picture of him, and yet she is totally fanatical.

    She will hold her potty seat and scream “I found Elmo” over and over again until I feel like my life is a David Lynch movie.  And now when I change her diaper and try and put her brown-hippy-paper towel- 7th generation ones she screams in protest….

    “No!!! I want Elmo diapi!!  Elmo diapi!!!”

    “But Munch, we only use your pampers at night…. We use these burlap sacks during the day because it is better for the environment.  Don’t you want to grow up in a world with trees?”

    “Nooooooooooo! Elmoooooooooooooo!”

    So I decided the best thing was to get her an Elmo doll to see if that calmed things down.  Like how if you catch your kid smoking you make them smoke 10 in a row so they get overexposed, barf, and never want too see a cigarette again.  (Or they totally hooked because their blood has been replaced with nicotine but whatever….) But of course all these modern toys have batteries that make a simple doll do 7 different things including answering your emails and unloading the dishwasher.  So this freaking Elmo doll talks by pushing his nose, and now the soundtrack to my life is that disturbing little voice wanting to be hugged, tickled, and molested all day.

    (PS…. My friend Grace told me there is a documentary on the guy that create Elmo and the intention behind the puppet’s essence is pure love and physical affection- awwwwwww I get it now!)

    Munch nodding out on heroine laced Elmo


    March 30, 2012 • 1 year old, baby gear, baby products • Views: 3967