• Maybe You Don’t Have To Be a Selfish Prick?

    There are a lot of personality qualities that suck, but being selfish is one that bothers me the most.  I really don’t want my kid to be a selfish asshole.  If you are kind and generous you may get taken advantage of at times, and perhaps are more vulnerable to pariah like people, but at least you are not an energetic vampire.

    The other day The Munch and I were playing in her room, and I brought up a box of raspberries for us to share.  Now of course raspberries in the winter are a decadent post-modern snack, so it is natural to want to covet them – but the plan was that we would distribute them evenly.  At one point I realized that there were 2 raspberries left, and as The Munch went to the box I asked for one.

    Now I have to admit, this was kind of a test.  I didn’t really care if I had one more raspberry; I just wanted to see if Munch would give it to me.  Earlier that week I had been listening to the podcast “This American Life,” and there was an episode about “good guys.”  At one point one of the producers was telling a story about how his son was eating a piece of cake, and when it got to the last bite, the dad asked for it.  And you know what happened? The son gave it to him! I remembered hearing that and thinking, “I don’t think Munch would EVER give me her last bite of cake.”

    I was kind of jealous of that dad and his stupid altruistic son, so that was why I asked for one of the two remaining raspberries left.  And do you want to know what The Munch did?  She looked me in the eye, stuffed them both in her mouth, and laughed in my face.

    Okay.  So part of me wanted to laugh too.  I personally hate sharing my food, but I still do it all the time! I always have to share with The Munch, and it is not okay that she didn’t share with me.

    Toni: Dude, that is really not cool. I would have shared with you and given you one.

    Munch: But there was only two left! And you have already eaten so many!

    Toni: Still Munch.  We were sharing them, and I would have given it to you if you had asked.

    Munch: No you wouldn’t have!

    Toni: Yes I would have. You know I would have.  It makes me really sad that you didn’t share with me.

    Now I could have let it go after that, but I didn’t want to.  The Munch wasn’t taking me seriously.  She kind of just shrugged it off.

    The reason why it bothered me so much is that The Munch is really well taken care of. She is never hungry.  She has plenty of toys.  She gets to wear all the dumb hello kitty dresses and princess outfits she desires.  She is not lacking anything.  There is no reason for her to hoard things.  All I could think about was how I bet a kid who has wayyyy less than her and lives in the sub-Saharan desert would have shared a raspberry with their mom.  Often times it is the people who have the least who are the most giving, and those who have abundance are the greediest.

    The Munch kept trying to play but I wouldn’t any more.

    Toni: Munch, I am really sad that you didn’t share with me.  So I don’t feel like playing right now.

    Again she tried to engage me, or be endearing and asking sweetly to jump on the bed with her.  But I kept telling her I felt too upset to play.  At one point she left the room in a state of frustration, but I stayed where I was.

    I decided I didn’t want to tell her how to handle this situation, or give instructions to make it go away.  I wanted her to feel that what she did was fucked up – even if raspberries are goddamn delicious.

    Eventually she came back to her room, sat on the bed next to me, and looked up with sincere expression on her face.

    Munch: Mamma, I am really sorry I ate the last raspberry and didn’t share.

    It was the most genuine apology I have ever heard come out of her mouth – mainly because I didn’t tell her to say it, she chose to.

    Toni: Thank you for saying that.  I really appreciate that.  Maybe in the future you can remember this moment, and that it is really important not to be selfish.

    Munch: Okay I promise.  Also maybe next time you can get two boxes of raspberries so we can each have one.



  • Dinner With My Brother

    Last night I went out to dinner with my brother Laszlo.  Everything was going well as we chatted about normal things.  Like music, and how Laszlo envisions that once the planet is overrun by transhumanists, cyborgs and androids will really dig his beats.  He went on to explain how his sound has real robot appeal, and that he sees a feasible market for himself in the future.  You know… the usual meal banter.

    We were getting along as well as siblings can, until I tried to rush the cheese.

    Laszlo: I think we should get some dessert.

    Toni: I am not sure if I will have time. In fact, why don’t we get a doggy bag so you can take some of this stuff home?

    Laszlo: Yeah sure why not. I can take the rest of this bread with me… and these left over mushrooms…. And these 5 fries you didn’t eat… and….

    Toni: Sure and we can pack up that cheese as well and get going.

    Laszlo: What are you talking about? I am not hurrying this cheese. I am not in a rush.

    Toni: I know you are not, but I still have to drive two hours home, and it is already 8:20.

    Laszlo: But you just heard me order a coffee.  You can’t have me rush my cheese and coffee.  That is inhumane.  It is my basic human right to enjoy my cheese and coffee and even have 5 minutes to digest them before I leave.

    Toni: Yeah but I have a two hour drive home with a 3 year old remember?

    Laszlo: Yeah but we are talking about my justices as a person on planet earth.  You can leave me here if you want.  But you cannot rush my cheese and coffee experience.

    Now let me just say, this was actually my brother’s second dinner of the night.  The first was with my parents and The Munch… where he not only got dinner, but also dessert.  But this was no time for logic.  Laszlo already was emotionally violated by my mere suggestion of packing up the cheese.  If I had left, he obviously would have felt pretty insulted. And as much as I was feeling the pressure to go, Laszlo was committed to leisurely enjoying his dairy-stimulant combo.  The tension rose as he placed 1 of the 17 cheese squares left in his mouth.  I didn’t want to ruin our nice time so….

    Toni: Okay.  I won’t rush the coffee and cheese.

    Sometimes as a sister you just have to give in, and let your brother eat a pound of cheese.

    Laszlo: Okay.  Now I am ready.  That was a good compromise. I got to be a civilized person who consumes at a reasonable rate, but I didn’t make you get dessert.


    February 18, 2014 • Adventures, Eating, Family Drama, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 2885

  • Am I Cheating On You?

    So The Munch has been gluten free for almost 5 months now.  As much as I don’t trust people who are “gluten free,” and part of me thinks it is a new-age eating disorder – I have seen positive results.

    For one, The Munch has not gotten sick once since she has been on this diet.  Now, I live in New England, where most winters everyone gets at least 3 colds, 2 flus, and some sort of weird hybrid stomach virus.  If you were to peruse the blogs of my past, there are probably 20 where I am complaining about Munch being ill.  Considering she goes to school now, and is around snotty nosed cesspools all day, it is kind of impressive that she has managed to stay so healthy.

    Yet I feel bad for The Munch having to harbor this concern so young.  She asked me the other day is pears were gluten free.  When I was a kid I ate gluten sandwiches on gluten bread for lunch, and my child is concerned about gluten lurking in carrot sticks.  So in solidarity with The Munch, I am gluten free too.  I don’t buy things for the house that she can’t eat… because I am a good and noble person.

    Buuuuuut…. Last night I was having a sleepover at my friend Gita’s and she lives near this organic Pizza place that I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE, and never get to go to.  So you better believe that is what I wanted for dinner!

    Gita: Why don’t you guys come pick me up, and then we can drive and get the pizza before we drop off the car and unload your stuff!

    Toni: I can’t do that.  Munch will see the pizza.  I can’t do that to her.  You have to go and get it while I am putting her to bed.

    Gita: Fair enough.

    Of course because we are in a new place it took forever for Munch to get to sleep… and so by the time Gita came back with the Pizza I could tell she was still awake.  But I couldn’t wait to eat it,  and started digging in.  But every noise I heard, I panicked thinking Munch was getting out of bed and coming into the living room, and my reaction was to hide the pizza… I didn’t want to get caught cheating on The Munch!


    January 30, 2014 • 3 years old, Eating, Health • Views: 2413

  • Nothing Is Ever Enough

    Sometimes I have these moments where I kind of wish my kid didn’t exist.  Not that anything bad would happen to her, but that she would just evaporate, like vicks-vaporub.  And as she traveled into the nasal passageway of the space-time continuum, so would my memory of her.

    As lovely as The Munch is, she can also be as equally maddening.  There is always something going on with her.  Some particular behavior that is particularly annoying.  At one point it was clothes.  How she was obsessed with certain items and wouldn’t wear anything else.  So I bought her two of everything she liked, and that shut her up for a while.  For a moment I thought, “wow, this is pretty cool.  We have no problems and everything is peaceful and amazing.”  Then the next day happened and I was like “nope, wrong.”

    Right now she is dealing with an insatiable appetite for all things.  I have to say; now I understand why gluttony is one of the 7 deadly sins. The inability to appreciate what you just had because you are always in a state of wanting is indeed problematic.  It is like she is in a hedonist spiral of desiring all that she enjoys and forgets to be grateful for what she is in fact experiencing.

    Munch: Mamma, can I have a piece of chocolate?

    Toni: Sure.

    Munch: Can I have 3 pieces because I am 3 years old?

    Toni: Well, okay.  But that is all. That is plenty of chocolate.

    Munch:  Thanks Mamma!

    (she eats chocolate)

    Munch: Can I have another piece of chocolate?

    Toni: No way dude.  You just had 3.


    Toni: Listen… you just had 3 pieces.  That is enough.  You promised you wouldn’t ask for more.  You have to be thankful for what you just had.  You can have some tomorrow.



    Munch: Can I watch the Carebears Movie?

    Toni: Okay.  But you can only watch it once.

    Munch: Okay I promise!

    (she watches it)

    Munch: Can I watch another Carebear movie?

    Toni: Dude! You have to keep your promises! We said one, and it is not fair to ask again!



    Toni: Okay goodnight Munch.  Sleep well.

    Munch: Can you tickle me more Mamma?

    Toni: Okay I will tickle you one more time, and then it is time for bed.

    Munch: Okay.

    (I tickle her)

    Toni: Okay Munch that is it.

    Munch: No 5 more times Mamma.  I promise.  Just 5 more times.

    Toni: Sigh…. Okay Munch but that is it!!!  Then bed time.

    Munch: Okay

    (tickle her “5” times… whatever that means).

    Toni: Okay goodnight Munch.  Sleep well.

    Munch: No Mamma! 16 more times.  Just tickle me 16 more tickles.



  • Exploiting Your Bad Math Skills

    Okay fine. So my kid is officially an addict.  Stop judging me.  You probably are too.  Maybe not to black tar heroine – but I am sure you have some vice okay?  The Munch’s just happens to be sugar.

    She loves candy canes, lollipops, chocolate, hot cocoa… and even if they are organic and made with the tiny tentacles of fairly-traded bees – it is still sugar.  So obviously I have to monitor the intake of such goodies, which feels like a part time job.

    You see, kids don’t just ask for something once.  They will keep asking until they break you.  It doesn’t matter if you say “no” or “you have had enough.”  They will continue to ask relentlessly like they the bad cop interrogating you at the 5th ward.

    So I have a strategy.  The Munch isn’t allowed to have a treat until she eats something healthy first.  Okay… sounds pretty smart right?  She may have a face full of sugar, but that will only be after she has ingested copious amounts of kale.

    But The Munch is a smart girl, and even though she will comply with the eating healthy request, the next debate becomes how much of the healthy stuff does she need to eat before she can have her treat?

    Munch: Mamma, can I have a cookie?

    Toni: Okay.  But you have to have something healthy first.  I made some spinach and carrots.  Why don’t you have that?

    Munch: Okay, so I will have 3 bites and then I can I have my cookie.

    Toni: No, you have to have more than that.

    Munch: But I am 3 years old!

    Toni: Okay, so how about this. You have 3 bites, 3 times.

    Munch:  Okay, I have 3 bites at a time.

    Toni: Right.

    Munch: So is that 3 bites?

    Toni: That is 3 bites one time. But you have to have 3 bites 3 times, so have 3 more bites… and why don’t you have those bites 3 more times too because that is 3 bites at a time 3 times.

    Munch: Okay so I had 3 bites Mamma.

    Toni: You did, but you need to do that 3 more times.  So have 3 more bites, 3 times, and then 3 times more, times 3.  And then you can have your cookie.

    Okay fine.  Maybe I am not doing the best job at teaching her to multiply, and I am blatantly exploiting her bad math skills.  But that is easier than telling her to finish her plate, which after having 3 bites that many times she always does anyway.

    “I think I am too full from seaweed and chia seeds to finish this cookie…”



    January 9, 2014 • 3 years old, Behavior, Eating, Health, Parenting, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 2111

  • My Halloween Conundrum (HELP ME!)

    Halloween is coming up, and I am having a major existential crisis.  I know The Munch knows about Halloween, but there are a lot of details she is not aware of.  So far, all she is cognizant of is that people get dressed up in costumes.  Which is a great part of Halloween.  I am into that.  She wants to be a fairy, and she wants me to be a big Mamma fairy.  Fine.  I can do that.  But here is my problem…. The trick or treating….

    Now if you know me at all by now, you know I am a little off the deep end when it comes to GMO’s, high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils.  I just can’t get down with it.  I can’t feed my kid that stuff – not only from a health perspective, but also from an environmental one.  I have done enough research to have a solid opinion on this.  I am not saying it has to be your opinion, but it fucking should because everything I think is right so get with the program okay?


    So the thought of The Munch accruing an entire bag of GMO goodies, made by the hands of fetuses in Africa, is giving me an anxiety attack.  But at the same time, I also don’t want to deny her of this extremely fun childhood ritual!  I remember loving Halloween when I was a kid.  My mom would dress like the Ayatollah Khomeini and had baby Toni as a Werewolf and my brother as Dracula.  Or the time my mom was Mr. T and my brother and I were David Bowie and Boy George.  And of course when my mom was a giant baby with a bald wig, bottle and diaper while my brother and I were Tom and Jerry. It was fun times.  (And a great example of how insane my mom is!) I even kept it going until I was 16 years old!! But my friends and I were “too cool” to dress up, so when people asked us what we were, I just said “the cast of Beverly Hills 90210.”

    And I LOVED candy as a kid.  I remember the trauma of my mom eating too much of my Halloween treats when I was at school, and coming home and discovering my Reece’s Peanutbutter cups were gone.  It was like the ultimate betrayal.  I wept over that shit and I was 9 or 10!!??  How do you think my 3-year old would react if I took all of her candy away! I think it would be the primal wound she would discuss in therapy until she was in her 70’s.

    I have thought about getting organic candy and replacing the stuff she gathers.  But I really think she would notice the difference?? So what do I do?? Do I replace the candy? Not let her go this year? Let her eat the stuff that literally pains my soul and anally rapes the Jiminy Cricket of my conscious?  HELP!

    PS this was my costume for the Halloween Party I went to this year… get it?? A COKE HEAD!


  • Road Tripping

    Taking a road trip with a toddler is a lot giving birth backwards.  And much like stuffing a baby back inside of me feet first, I am not sure I recommend taking a 5-hour drive with The Munch.

    For on,e she had to pee about 7 times, and always in the worst places.  I had to pull over on the highway, or in a Parking Lot in Springfield MA.  And since I let her pee in a parking lot, I did it too.  And yes, I did make eye contact with a woman driving by.  But you know what? That is just what made sense for me, in my life, at that time.

    I also let The Munch watch the Ipad because I am weak.  And I just can’t sing Old Macdonald Had a Farm that many times.  After that stupid farmer has a whale, gazelle, and wallaby I have gone through too many verses.

    But after about 3 hours she just about lost her mind. The Munch was crying, yelling, and demanding a treat like a crazy person.  And of course I could not find anything that wasn’t a Dunkin Doughnuts or MacDonald’s, and I just could not bring myself to go there – even if that dude did a have a farm.

    I really didn’t want to get off the highway, but finally I acquiesced and took an exit.  Dealing with a kid having a fit while driving is a recipe for disaster.  I almost just drove into the car in front of me just to end the misery.  Finally, I pulled into a gas station, which seemed to be my only hope.

    Toni:  Munch…. Seriously dude.  You cannot freak out like that while I am driving.

    Munch: But I wanted a hug Mamma!

    Toni: Well, that is very sweet, but I can’t hug you, and drive, and look for a stupid treat okay?

    Munch: Well can we get a treat now? And can I have a hug?

    Toni: Yes.  Why don’t we get you a Cliff Bar? It’s organic, and it has chocolate chips in it.

    Munch: But I don’t want bar. I want a treat.  I want cookies!

    Toni: Wait, just try the Cliff Bar.  You will like it.

    Munch: I don’t like it.  Mamma, I really want cookies.

    Toni: Sigh… okay….

    Munch: Can we get these?

    Toni: You want to get Famous Amos cookies?

    Munch: YES!

    Toni: For real? They have hydrogenated oils in them! And high-fructose corn syrup!

    Munch: But I want them!!!

    Now I have never fed The Munch a GMO mess like a Famous Amos-Oreo cookie rip off.  But I was beaten down.  I was a mess.  So I did it.

    And you know what? They put her in the best mood.  I would give her one, she would be ecstatic for about 20 minutes, start to come down, ask for another, and then she would be super happy again.  It was like she was doing lines of cookie in the back of the car.  But you know what… It totally worked.

    (Notice the chocolate caked to the corners of her mouth and the blank stare of watching the Ipad)


  • The Appliance of DEATH

    Yesterday morning I was having breakfast with my dad when I saw him do the most unthinkable act.


    My Dad: WHAT?? WHAT DID I DO??

    Toni: Are you seriously going to put that in the microwave??

    My Dad: What? Yes! I am just heating up my milk for coffee so it’s warm.


    My Dad: Why not? I always use a microwave.

    Toni: Are you serious?? We need to get rid of that thing!!!!!!!

    My Dad: Oh no we are not!!!! Why, what is wrong with microwaves?


    My Dad: Jesus, Toni I would have to see how you would react to the rest of my life.

    Toni: Dad, I am not kidding, you can’t use those.  I am getting rid of it.

    My Dad: OH NO YOU ARE NOT! What is wrong with it? It gets my milk warm.

    Toni: They are dangerous!!

    My Dad: What do you mean?

    Toni: I mean I don’t know specifics but I know they aren’t good for you.

    My Dad: I think I will be okay.

    Toni: Dad, they take away all the nutritional value of what you are eating! The microwaves zap the nourishment away or something.  So you are taking this beautiful raw milk and then annihilating all the stuff that is good for you.

    My Dad: I don’t drink milk for it nutritional value, Toni, I just need it in my coffee for the taste.

    Toni: Dad, there are a lot of other things wrong with microwaves.  I just can’t tell right now because I haven’t researched it, but I know they are bad.  Lets just look on google for a minute.

    My Dad: Well, thank God the internet doesn’t work in the kitchen.

    Toni: Dad, you can’t trust anything that was popularized in the Regan years.  Just think of cocaine and Wham.  I mean you are in a time warp if you really think this is okay! Are you listening to Tears for Fears on your Walkman too?

    My Dad: Look Toni, I use the microwave everyday and that is just how it is.

    Toni: Well not any more Dad!


    Toni: Dad, it’s gone.

    Dad: Well what if I promise I won’t use it. Only for emergencies? But you can’t take it away from me!

    Toni: Well can I unplug it at least??

    My Dad: No!! It has a clock on it!!

    Toni: There is a clock on the oven Dad!!!

    My Dad: I need that one!

    Toni: Dad I will get you a clock and put it there!!

    My Dad: No! Every appliance needs a variation on time. The clock and oven aren’t even set on the right time, and I like it that way.

    Toni: Let me unplug it!

    My Dad: No this is a tyranny!!! You can’t make me live in a tyranny!!

    And you know what? I was right! Microwaves do take away all the nutritional value, and they create carcinogens in your food!! A cup of water that is microwaved and then used to water a plant with kill that fucking plant!!! I am taking that microwave Dad!! It is time to heat your milk on the fucking stove!



    August 23, 2013 • Eating, Environmental Impact, Family Drama, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 11018

  • A Conspiracy Theory About Conspiracy Theories

    I have always been interested in “conspiracy theories.”  So much so that I resent the term.  Why does an alternative perspective have to be labeled a conspiracy?  The implication being that any viewpoint, which is not pushed through the mainstream media machine, is ultimately illegitimate or some kind of scheme.  Considering 6 corporations own 90% of the media, to think that corporate influence does not deeply impact the information we are exposed to is just as absurd as believing the moon landing was a hoax.

    But I have come to realize that I myself am living in a conspiracy theory. And the players in question are my mom and The Munch.

    As a parent you have to make rules.  It’s important to have restrictions so your child knows there are limitations on what they can and cannot do.  There is nothing more debilitating then a life without boundaries.  It is hard to appreciate anything when you have access to everything, or can behave in whatever way without consequences.

    But do you want to know who doesn’t give a fuck about rules.  Grandparents.

    One rule I have is that I don’t want The Munch to eat a lot of treats because it turns her into an asshole, and she has plenty of time to form a sugar addiction like her Mamma.  And as someone who watched way too much TV as a kid, I also don’t want her to watch tv/youtube/ipads/Netflix/ipods/iphones/hulu … Not because I want to keep her from it forever.  But she is fucking 3.  The Munch should be imagining or some shit.  She has have her entire life to waste in front of a screen, so she should go outside, play pretend, and enjoy her fucking childhood while it lasts.

    But does my mom care about my rules? Nope.  If The Munch is being annoying, a great way to make that stop is letting her have a cookie or watch Curious George.  Shuts her right up.  I am not saying it is not an effective strategy though…

    The other day I had my mom and dad watching Munch and when I went to pick her up things were peculiarly quite.

    Toni: Where is Munch?

    My Mom: She is upstairs with your Dad.

    Toni: What are they doing? It is oddly silent up there.

    My Mom:  They are just playing.

    Toni:  Playing what?

    My Mom:  Just playing.  Talk to me for a minute.  I want to hear how you are.

    Toni: I am going up there….

    And of course there was my dad reading and Munch watching the iPad.

    Munch: Mamma! Mana and Baba let me watch a movie!!!

    Toni: I can see that!

    Then The Munch came home yesterday and the first thing she said was,

    Munch: I had a chocolate chip cookie!

    So when I saw my mom next I mentioned this information that The Munch revealed.

    Toni: So Mom… I heard from a pretty reliable source that you gave Munch a chocolate chip cookie.

    Mom: Adelia! That was supposed to be our secret!

    Munch: I told my Mamma!

    Toni: MOM!!! What the FUCK! You can’t tell her to keep secrets from me!

    Munch: Mana can I have another chocolate chip cookie?

    Toni: No Munch you can’t.  Mom what is wrong with you?

    Mom: She wanted a cookie, and I told her ‘you mom doesn’t like you to have cookies,’ but then she told me ‘Mamma is not here.’  And she was right.  You weren’t here.  So I gave her the cookie.  Besides, you never had to know it even happened.  You would be non the wiser.  I merely suggested we keep the information between ourselves.

    Munch: Cookies are sooooo good!

    Toni: I think you guys are conspiring against me.

    Mom: Don’t be ridiculous Toni.  You are such a conspiracy theorist.

    (Look at them, conspiring against me)