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  • No One Likes To Be Told What To Do

    The key do getting someone to do what you want, is making them feel like it is their idea. No one likes to be told what to do unless you are craving a dominant lover. Human nature tends to rebel against supreme authority even though we desire boundaries.

    There is a complex relationship between subordination and revolt, which is played out in the famous Milgram experiment. The experiment is one that looks into blind obedience and how far someone will go when told what to do by an authority figure. The logistics consist of a scientist telling a participant to administer an electric shock to another participant every time they get an answer wrong. The person being shocked however is an actor and is just pretending to be physically suffering. The person administering the shock thinks the other person is actually being shocked, and the experiment showed that 60% of men would literally shock someone to death if the man in the white coat encouraged him to keep shocking.

    People often interpret this to mean that people will do the most atrocious things because they were ordered to by an authority figure, but that is not accurate. The scientist had four prompts they would say in order to get the “shocker” to continue shocking. Meaning most people would get rather disturbed by the experiment and want to stop, but would keep going because they were encouraged. The first three prompts would embolden them to continue because this is what the experiment called for, but the last prompt was “You have no choice, you must continue.” 100% of the people refused to continue once they were told they had no choice!

    So technically the participants shocking the shit out of some stranger considered themselves active participants in the greater good of science. It wasn’t just about authority telling them what to do, but that they were contributing to a greater cause. They didn’t see themselves as passive and their decisions were fully their own. But once they were told “they had no choice” they had absolutely no interest in continuing.

    Every time I try and take something from The Munch she has a fit worthy of a reality TV show, but if I just ask her for what she has she will give it to me within seconds. I am getting the same result; her giving me what I want, but when I ask she is an empowered participant in the process and thinks giving it to me is actually her idea.

    “Munch, can I have my phone back?”

    “Here is your phone!”

    January 26, 2012 • 1 year old, Behavior, Disciplining, Parenting • Views: 1865

  • Your Kid Is a Jerk!

    Sometimes you meet a kid that is a total jerk. This is a perilous predicament to be in that must be handled with the care of cupping testicles. You can’t treat the kid like a jerk because then you look like the jerk. You have to smile politely and pretend to understand that they are just being kids and don’t know any better, even though you know that this little jerk does know better and is just being a jerk. If you were to bend down, grab their little jerk face, and look them in the eye to say “I will skin you alive and feed your flesh to Satan if you do that again” it would probably be frowned upon.

    I encountered one of these little jerk kids at baby gymnastics the other day. The Munch had climbed up onto a platform and was walking between two beams when this little kid got on the same contraption from the other direction. I assumed this kid wasn’t a total psychopath and expected they would figure out how to get around each other… but then this kid charged at The Munch and pushed her over the ledge so she fell off the two-foot drop!

    “Oh my I am so sorry!!”

    The other mother seemed super embarrassed so I didn’t want to make her feel like crap.

    “Don’t worry! It is fine. She falls off things all the time like that. Nothing to fret about. It is just a scratch, bruise, and her eyeball is slightly bleeding. It is nothing really! She cries hysterically when she is having fun!”

    “I feel terrible. I don’t want to be that mom that no one wants to hang out with because their kid is so aggressive.”

    “No….. No… don’t be silly.”

    Crap… you are that mom… I never want to hang out with you.

    “I don’t know where he gets it. He is really violent with me and other kids. Especially with girls.”

    Well you have got yourself a winner there!

    “I am sure it is just that he doesn’t know his own strength. It was nothing malicious.”

    I did my best to lie to this woman’s face because I didn’t want to stress her out. I know that kids can be rough and I have never felt concern about it. The Munch has lots of boy friends that push, hit, grab hair, poke, but you could tell their intention was rooted in curiosity. Boys can be more physically intense, but I think that is because they have a higher tolerance in dealing with aggression so they don’t see the problem with being rough. But I am telling you this kid was demented and he had it out for The Munch. For the rest of gymnastics he would literally try and shove her off of anything she tried to climb on, as his mother did her best to deter him. I forced a serene face and acted like everything was normal, but this week we are going to work on some Karate moves so she is more prepared for next time!

    “Okay Munch, lets do 70 more reps then get you back on the Pilates machine to strengthen your core!”

    January 25, 2012 • 1 year old, Adventures, Behavior, Disciplining, Parenting • Views: 1341

  • Why Did I Let You Do That?

    Consistency is a pivotal part of any successful training method, be it with a dog, child, or man. You have to maintain a strict set of rules so the boundaries are clear. I find this to be a lot easier with beasts that drool and can be easily satiated with meat, but children are a bit more complex.

    If I am totally focused on The Munch and prepared for whatever emotional outcome my rules might inspire, then I can be decent at monitoring her behavior and making sure she follows them. Come to think of it, I don’t have that many rules for her to obey. Don’t touch mommy’s computer, don’t use mommy’s phone to make calls to people mommy doesn’t want to talk to, and don’t drink martinis before sunset.

    Recently The Munch has gotten really interested in standing in her high chair while she is eating. When this first began I would be very stern, tell her to “sit down,” and she would comply. But then one fateful day I was talking on the phone having a pretty intense conversation and The Munch just kept standing in her dumb chair. I got embarrassed telling her to sit down every 7 seconds so I lurked over her and fed her as I yammered on, figuring she would forget about this one lackadaisical moment.

    Do you see where this is going?

    Now every time she sits down to eat I spend 90% of the time threatening her, coaxing her, counting to three, looking mad, and then getting up to physically take her from the chair. It is only just as I am about to pick her up that she sits down, so my entire meal is spent working on my thighs I have to get up so many times.

    So what lessons have I learnt? Well, for one that my ass is looking amazing, and for two to press mute when it is not my turn to talk on the phone so I can keep telling my kid what to do but act like I am paying attention.

    January 18, 2012 • 1 year old, Baby Brain, Behavior, Disciplining, Eating, Parenting • Views: 681

  • Mine!!!!

    In some cultures, the word mine isn’t even in their vocabulary. Without the word “mine,” the concept of ownership isn’t engrained into the psychic lexicon. Imagine the freedom of never feeling like you possessed anything, because everything is everyone’s anyway. Except for my stuff, especially my clothes, and shoes, and jewelry, and hair accessories, and computer, and phone, and Facebook page, because you better keep your grubby hands off my things.

    How did the concept of mine ever come into being? Who was that first guy that stuck a stake in the ground and said “This plot of land belongs to me. Any being that dares set foot on my part of the earth, be it man or animal, I will spear their flesh repeatedly until their blood forms a river for me to sail my miniature models of sailboats.” That was one bold person, who also probably had too much time on their hands.

    There is a girl in my mommy group who calls every toy she happens to get her paws on “mine.” If another child tries to play with the toy, she will grab the toy back and repeat the word “mine” over and over again until I sort of want to secretly put gum in her hair and tie her shoelaces together. It is not “yours” kid… you just happen to be holding it you little jerk.

    But to be empathetic, this girl has an older sister so I am sure there are lots of conversations about what are her things, and what are her sisters. When you only have one child, you don’t really deal with the realm of “mine” because I have no interest in The Munch’s dolls, I have my own blocks, and her clothes don’t fit me because they are too big. I recently went on a diet to get back to my birth weight.

    Although The Munch knows that she “wants” certain things, she doesn’t yet feel any ownership to the things that she wants. For example, if she found a pair of scissors and I ask her to “give it to mama” she will, but if I try and take them from her without asking she will surely run away and resist, and you know how dangerous that can be. So even if she does desire certain things, she doesn’t consider anything her possession. I wonder how long I can keep this going? I hope at least until she is a teenager and starts smoking pot because it is never a good look to be stingy with that stuff.

    “Ummm I am holding the yummies. I want them. Do you want them too? I guess I will give you some…”

    January 17, 2012 • 1 year old, Behavior, Disciplining, Musings, Parenting • Views: 782

  • Nature vs Nurture (Your Fault vs My fault)

    Before having a baby I thought social conditioning was 90% responsible for your personality. If a kid was being an asshole, I assumed it was something the parents did, or did not do, that socialized them into that behavior pattern. Now that I have my own child, I think their nature is 90% of who they are, and my maternal influence should only take about 10% responsibility for my baby being a total jerk. Okay fine, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but maybe you need to go on a diet so take that.

    Lets take for example falling. I am fully aware that if I were to overreact when The Munch fell, or bonked her head, it would exacerbate her response. I swear on everything holy that I NEVER change my facial expression even slightly when she falls. But you know what? 9 times out of 10 she cries anyway. It is not like I am encouraging her to do that, she just does.

    The Munch also has a very determined will. When she wants something to be a certain way, there isn’t much I can do to talk her out of it or distract her. I either have to deal with her full body thrusting protest to force my will upon her, or just let her do what she wants.

    If I were to hear someone say what I just said I would totally judge them and think were weak, but since I just said it I think I am making a lot sense.

    I am fully aware that I can’t keep indulging her, but it is hard to reason with someone who doesn’t really understand what you are saying, has no problem smacking you in the face, kicking your tits, or head-butting you in the gut.

    Perhaps I am being overly critical and avoiding accountability… but that isn’t my fault… I probably picked that up from my parents.

    This can’t be my fault!

    I captured this moment mid-tantrum… notice the arms swinging…

    December 15, 2011 • Baby Brain, Behavior, Disciplining, Parenting • Views: 709

  • Temper Tantrums

    A temper tantrum, although annoying and socially inappropriate, is a great way to get what you want. I think I am going to start adding them to my repertoire of relating to people because screaming, kicking, and bashing your head against the floor is quite an effective way of communicating your point. And here is a tip, if you are really passionate about making sure you message is clear, add pulling out your hair, gagging yourself, and shoving your fingers into your tear ridden eye balls to create a dramatic impact that is truly immeasurable.

    Although I thought I would never tolerate such rancid behavior before having a baby, the thing about actually having to deal with these emotional eruptions is that more than wanting to teach your child a lesson on good behavior, you want them to shut the fuck up. Rather than kneeling down and trying to explain why The Munch can’t eat a dead fly, I will more likely just give the corpse back to her and hope it isn’t laden with malaria. You got to pick your battles right?

    Recently The Munch has spent her mornings in a craptastic mood because she didn’t seem to get the memo on daylights savings and is all out of wack. Not sure why, but she is pretty amped to start her day at 3:30 am, and I have been spending my predawn hours wrestling her and trying to pin her back to sleep. Granted, my full nelson has improved, but we are both pretty cranky by the time the sun is up reminding me that somewhere out there someone is living a full, emotionally stable life, and it is not me.

    So this morning I decided we should go play outside because it is nice out, and I was hoping she might trip on something and bring a little laughter into my life. The tantrum began with shoes…sigh… doesn’t always with girls? Once I shoved her little hooves in, she was in such a state that she just lay down on the floor screaming and thumping her head repeatedly. I had to pee so I went to the bathroom and sat there hoping my soul would pour out and free me from this condemnation when I heard her little feet stomping around the house to find me. Then she just looked at me and cried in my face while I tried to relax and release… Not an easy task mind you.

    Then I left her in the bathroom with something to actually cry about in the form of stench and went outside. I figured if I left the doors open she would figure it out and find me… which she did. And you know what? She actually had calmed herself down! I am not sure if ignoring her feelings is always the best strategy, but maybe it can work sometimes when her fury is fueled by apparel?

    “But I don’t want to wear these shoes!”

    “I guess these shoes are okay… where are you Mama? Outside… I wanna come out and play!”

    “Dude… what are you nuts? It is freakn’ raining out here!”

    November 11, 2011 • 1 year old, Adventures, Baby Brain, Behavior, Disciplining, Parenting • Views: 781

  • Gag Me With a Spoon!

    I am all for rebellion and protest and everything, but The Munch has a new way of being defiant that is seriously creepy. She has developed a habit of gagging herself as a means of communicating her discontent. I am not that sure of this strategy because she is gagging herself not me! If she were gagging me, then maybe her efforts would make more sense right? Even though she does gag herself AT me, it is still herself that is being gagged and I am simply a witness.

    What is going on?

    She does it every time she is slightly upset about doing something she doesn’t want to do. Change a diaper…. gag… eat some carrots… gag… get out of the bath… gag… massage my shoulders… gag. She looks me in the eye, shoves her fist down her throat to provoke me, and then wretches and dry heaves.

    Of course it bothers me that she is gagging herself, because I know I hate the feeling of being gagged, but again, I can’t stress this enough, it is not me who is the one gagging. So part of her has to know that my empathy and love for her is so strong that her hurting herself hurts me. That is like full on psychological warfare. Isn’t that twisted?

    “But it was my turn to look at Facebook!”

    November 4, 2011 • 1 year old, Baby Brain, Behavior, Disciplining • Views: 768


    Have you ever been around someone and their child and thought to yourself “Man, that kid is kind of a dick?” You then wonder how the parents tolerate such lame behavior and why they aren’t stricter with their little demon child. I would fantasize about lecturing them on the importance of discipline like the dog whisperer Caesar Milan, and explain how you need to be the pack leader and assert your dominance. Of course this was in my pre-baby days when I was pretty convinced that raising a dog and a baby was basically the same thing. I still kind of think that except a baby isn’t smart enough to poop outside.

    What I didn’t understand and couldn’t relate to, was how much you love your kid even if they are being a total asshole. You may have the awareness to know they are behaving like a jerk, but acting on it can be difficult because you are hard wired to be empathetic to their needs. But is what The Munch wants in life the same as what she needs? And who am I to judge that?

    For instance, I got really sick recently and could not seem to get better. I went to the hippy holistic doctor who told me my adrenal glands were severely taxed from waking up so much at night with The Munch. Her suggestion was that I wasn’t going to get better until I changed my sleeping habits.

    “Hmmmm well she seems to like sucking my soul out of my boobs throughout the night. I don’t want to traumatize her and make her suffer. What if it changes our relationship? What if she feels abandoned by me? What if for the rest of her life she feels like she can’t trust anyone because of this?”

    (Okay, fine maybe I was being a little intense and a tad dramatic, but that was honestly how I felt).

    “Well Toni, it is going to be a transition, and she might be angry at first. But you are the parent and sometimes you have to make the hard decisions because they are the right ones. She may not be happy about it, but she will get used to it, and maybe you both will get more rest at night. She is probably pretty tired too.”

    I know this sounds dumb, but that was a revolutionary concept for me. Making a decision she may not like because it is “best.”

    Here is a problem about being a parent. How do I know what is best for The Munch? Doesn’t she know what is best for her, and I should be a guide to help her see her own truth? Or am I being too idealistic and she is just a baby who needs to be told what to do? I am having a hard time being the boss of The Munch because I tend to take my cues from her. Probably why I spend a lot of my time giving airplane rides and pretending to fall down. Maybe she is the boss of me…

    She does know how to rock a pair of plaid pants that is for damn sure!

    October 12, 2011 • 1 year old, Behavior, Disciplining, Health, Musings, Parenting, Sleeping • Views: 662

  • We Are Mirrors To The Universe (Sort Of)

    The thing about being a human is that you have your own will. That is fine and dandy if you are responsible for making those desires manifest on your own, but with a baby human their personal will is a real pain in the ass. When they are infants their needs are simple. “Feed me, get this shit out of my pants, burp me, I have to fart, and put me to sleep now.” But as they get older and begin to have a more complex understanding of the world, their needs mature and multiply respectively. “Give me your phone, I want what you are eating, I want to flush the toilette repeatedly, I don’t want to eat that, don’t look at Facebook.”

    In learning how to understand this new toddler phase of The Munch’s development, I started to read “Happiest Toddler on the Block” because if my baby isn’t happier than everyone else’s I am going to punish her and she will be sorry.

    In this book Dr. Karp talks about how toddlers are like cavemen and should be treated and talked to as such. Like our ancient brethren, they are mostly controlled by the right brain and are highly emotional as a consequence. He goes on to say that we cannot treat toddlers like mini adults, or even mini children, because they lack the brain capacity to process information in a way that is more “civilized” and “reasonable.”

    This got me thinking about how the growth of a human from conception to adulthood mimics the evolution of all species on this planet.

    Think about it. We begin as a single cell organism, then we become a tadpole like thing, then we turn into a fish-like early fetus, then we grow a tail and become sort of reptilian, then we are born and take our first breath of air and are mammals, then we start to crawl around like a chimpanzee monkey type, then we walk around grunting and pointing like an early human hybrid Australopithecus Africanus, then we become kids and are like a Neanderthal, then we are teenagers which is the missing link part of evolution, then finally we evolve into Homo Sapiens as adults.

    Isn’t that so profound? I don’t know if it comes off as deep as it does in my own internal monologue but it made me feel like we really are children of the stars.

    August 31, 2011 • 1 year old, Behavior, Disciplining, Musings, Parenting • Views: 742