I really like The Munch. I think she is pretty badass. But damn – she can also be quite the drama queen.
Kids hurt themselves a fuck of a lot. They don’t watch where they are going, are easily distracted, and are just about eye-level of all table corners. They are going to injure themselves at LEAST once a day, and in The Munch’s case she makes an event out of every instance as if she were auditioning for role of Lady Macbeth.
Here is my conundrum. I don’t want to deny The Munch of her pain. I think saying “oh never mind… forget it… you are fine” is demoralizing because it is telling your child how to feel rather than listening to what is actually going on. But as much as I want to honor her life experiences, and for The Munch to understand her mind, body, and spirit in all its complexities – I also don’t want her to be a total pussy.
One major mistake I made recently was letting The Munch watch the iPad after a particularly bad fall. She was just in such a state of personal chaos… and I was super hungry for lunch. The problem is that now she asks for the iPad when she is in pain like some possessed post-modern Pavlovian dog.
Munch: WAAAAHHHHAAAA MAMMA IT REALLY HURTS! I NEED TO WATCH A MOVIE!
Toni: Munch, no you don’t need to watch a movie. Would you like me to give you a hug though?
Munch: NO MAMMA NO!! I NEED TO WATCH CURIOUS GEORGE!! WAHHHHAHHHHAAAHHHHHAHAA!
Toni: Sweetie, that is not going to happen. But I can give you a hug, or I can tell you a story about the little girl named Adelia who fell and hurt herself?
Munch: NOOOOO! I NEED TO WATCH CURIOUS GEORGE BECAUSE I HURT MYSELF AND THAT WILL MAKE ME FEEL BETTER!! WAHHHHAHAAAAHHHA!
Toni: Munch, I know one time that happened, and that watching a movie helped you to feel better. But that was a special occasion. I am not going to let you watch Curious George every time you hurt yourself. That would be setting you up for disaster. For the rest of your life you will turn to TV as a distraction from you pain rather than facing it head on. I don’t want to create bad habits like that.
Munch: WAAHHHHAAAAA BUT I NEED TO WATCH CURIOUS GEORGE SO I CAN FEEL BETTER!!!
Toni: Munch listen to me. Do you know who else hurts themselves?
Toni: Your cousin Calvin – he hurts himself. And so does your friend Amelia. Remember how she broke her arm? And your friend Julien – sometimes hurts himself too.
Toni: You see Munch, everyone hurts themselves. It is a part of the human condition. Life is pain sweetie. And the challenge of existence is how you deal with that pain. So you have to remember you are going to hurt yourself a thousand more times in life, and it is important to cope with pain with grace and humility. So not every time you hurt yourself you have to get into a state of hysterics. It is important to not be controlled by your suffering, but realize it will pass in time.
Munch: Can I look at pictures on your phone then?
I think I made my point 😉