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  • Do You Want To Share Reality With Me?

    The other day the Munch was having a play date with a friend, and they started arguing over which game to play – bakery vs. chipmunks making poop pie. Now call me out of touch with the youths, but I personally didn’t see a difference between the two ideas. I suggested they merge the games by one pretending to play bakery, and the other pretending to play chipmunks making poop pie. Sounds reasonable right? Well, it’s fucking not according to these girls.

    The girls condescendingly explained to me that my vision of separate realities would not work for them, and then rolled their eyes at my ignorance. They instead had to agree on a shared reality of what they were playing, even though what they were playing was pretend. I had assumed that since the game existed purely in their imaginations, it didn’t really matter what the other person was imagining – but I was goddamn wrong. It mattered a fuck of a lot to these girls, and was worth spending the next 20 minutes negotiating with the complex nuance of a Palestinian freedom fighter and Israeli soldier. These kids refused to continue playing their fantasy game until they had agreed on a common understanding of their imaginary experience.

    The sharing of reality was crucial, even inside a make-believe world.

    I think we can all learn something from this bakery vs. chipmunks making poop pie saga, mainly that my kid is weird as fuck for insisting chipmunks make poop pie when everyone knows they actually make diarrhea flan – but that’s just semantics. But the other lesson we can glean is just how vital it is for people to have a mutual understanding of their perceived reality both on the micro and macro levels.

    If you’re in a relationship with someone, living with them day in and day out, waking up with them every morning to see their face, going to bed with them every night with their breath on you – you know, the romance of being in a long-term committed relationship – then you also know how important it is that you both analyze your dynamic in a similar way. Sharing reality with someone is the only way to keep things functional. If you and I were together and we got into a fight because I was an asshole and you were an asshole, our common understanding of our individual asshole behavior would be imperative to coming back together. I would HAVE to see how thought I was an asshole, just like you would HAVE to see how I thought you were an asshole. If we both agreed on our asshole behavior, then peace could be made. (PS that agreement would consist of you admitting that you were the asshole and how the whole fight was actually your damn fault okay? GET IT!?)
    Yet if you don’t own your part of the equation when shit goes down, you don’t share a common reality of what happened, and then things then fall apart. When you refuse to look at yourself or be honest about how your actions impact others, then it’s easy to justify whatever behavior you want. You can become indignant and stuck in a paradigm of feeling superior. Yet part of being in a relationship with someone is learning how to understand the effect of your behavior on the other person. You have to be able to admit fault and come to a collective agreement of what happened. That is how we get closure. We have to mostly agree on our understanding of what happened. Of course we will always hold onto our subjective twists, yet the majority of the story needs to be consistent in order to feel emotionally connected.

    The best relationships are the ones where the couple is on the same page when it comes to dissecting their lives together. If you were to separate them and ask them to deconstruct their relationship, their fights, their faults, their main issues, what works and what doesn’t – they would mostly say the same things. When you share the story of your relationship then real communication is happening. When relationships have authentic communication, then it’s more possible to develop deeper intimacy. A major aspect of trusting each other is trusting that you both see things in a similar way. In order for that to be truly achieved, both parties have to be open to candid self-reflection. The more honest we are with ourselves about our motivations, insecurities, and shadow sides, the more honest we can be with our partners.

    We all can behave in ways that suck, or allow the worst of ourselves to sometimes take over – that’s to be expected. Yet when you own up to those parts of you, and those patterns, then it’s more possible to work through them in a real way. In order for that to be accomplished, you and your partner have to set aside your egos and replace the need to be right with the desire to understand each other.

    In the macro sense our shared reality is dwindling by the second, which is why Trump, partisan politics, and the idea of “fake news” is so fundamental. It kind of enrages me that Trump has taken over the concept of “fake news” because that used to be a hyper-progressive lefty thing. When I was in my 20’s I was always talking about fake news too – but what I meant by it was the corporate controlled media that had a vested interest in censoring information to protect their economic agenda. I would go on and on about Diebold and the voting machines being rigged in Florida so Jeb Bush could hand the presidency over to his brother. At that point the Internet was just starting to question official stories like 9/11, and I was ripe to eat up all the information about the lizard elite and their secret societies. Yeah fine, maybe I was off the deep end a bit and a little too open to aliens being the answer to all I didn’t understand, but I also think there was validity to questioning the “official stories” the government was telling me.

    Then the Internet became flooded with information, and as a result there now is an oversaturation of conspiracy. The real conspiracy is that there are now too many conspiracies to keep track of. Maybe that was an intentional move by the “New World Order” to keep us confused? Rather than denying “alternative information” that wasn’t controlled by the corporate media, they decided to allow all of it in order to dilute the brand.

    There are now so many versions of alternative truths that it is impossible to decipher what was what. No matter what you think, you can prove your hypothesis on the Internet. You want to think vaccines are harmless? Well, there is plenty of information that will support that thinking. You want to think vaccines will cause your child to become a mutant and grow scales? You can find that too. No matter what you want to believe, you can reinforce your beliefs with the “facts” on the Internet.

    Then we have Donny Trump yelling about “fake news” which only furthers us from having a collective reality as a society. Yeah maybe it was just as dangerous when everyone thought the New York Times was the Bible, but at least there was a communal story we were all buying into. There was unity in that, even if it was also delusional. The fantasy world we as adults buy into isn’t that much different than the imaginary world Munch and her friend were creating – they both rely on story to keep everything together. But now that there are so many potential narratives to believe, we’re all psychically being ripped at the seams.

    For thousands of years humans have used stories to organize themselves – the two most effective being the stories of religion and the story of money having actual value. Money isn’t real, but a collective fantasy we all agree to, just like religion. These are the fairy tails that have kept humans structured for millennia. It may be scary to think how much make believe stories are the scaffolding we’ve built our entire society around, but it’s true.

    Yet currently in modern America we no longer have a collective story that we’re all connecting to. Maybe that why the “Make America Great Again” slogan was so appealing to so many? Perhaps part of the nostalgia we cling to is how everyone was way more conformist in the past and bought into the story of the American identity? Yeah they were fucked up racist, sexist, homophobic stories designed to make us consumerist drones, but most people told them to themselves and their children. It was the American sexist, racist, homophobic story, until then those damn hippies started unraveling everything, encouraging people to think for themselves and question the narrative that women belonged in the kitchen, people of color belonged in segregated ghettos, and homosexuals belonged in hell.

    I embrace the rewriting of these stories because the past wrote a fucked up plot that I don’t want to be part of, but what are the new stories we’re writing? Some of the stories people are telling themselves today make me question if we’re even the same species. I don’t share reality with the white women in Alabama that voted for Roy Moore! That’s not a bedtime story I’m telling my kid at night. I don’t even know where to begin to find a common reality with those chicks that voted into office a molester? Yet I guess that’s what we have to start figuring out. What is the most base, common reality we share with people and then start slowly building a common understanding. Maybe we both enjoy marshmallows, and we can use that to keep finding common ground, and write a collective story together where maybe, just maybe, a fucking child molester shouldn’t be considered a candidate for senator.

    (Ps if you’re wondering where these delightful/disturbing images are coming from, follow my on Instagram to see my interpretive dance where Trump uses the language of my body to express his heartache after the Roy Moore loss. Toni Nagy)

  • I Can’t Play With You!!

    It’s really hard to play with my kid. My brain has been corrupted by adulthood. I no longer have an imagination that can travel off to distant lands where vampire kitties can fly. I don’t know how to lose myself in a fantasy world because the so-called real world in front of me is so goddamn consuming. All my imagination has transmuted into anxiety about the end of humanity and trying desperately to envision a future where I no longer torture myself with endless craving. HAVE I MADE IT YET?

    Playing with The Munch is challenging. As she’s busy making up a world where bunnies pick daffodils made of sugar, I’m instead obsessing about how Mitch McConnell is to blame for the Trump presidency. I can’t lose myself in the moment, and keep trying to make the chipmunks talk about universal health care.

    It’s my own fault though. When you have an only child, you end up having to play with them more than if you had more kids. In many ways having one kid is MUCH easier as a parent. I have more freedom. It’s easier to find childcare. If I asked you to watch my one kid for the afternoon you’d most likely say yes. But if I asked you to watch my 3 kids for ten minutes you would probably lie to get out of it right? I think there is a major misconception that having more kids doesn’t make that much of a difference because you already have one – so why not add a few more? NOPE WRONG! The difference between having one kid and two is almost as profound as having zero kids and one. The amount of need you deal with is added exponentially with each kid. The equation is something like one child squared to the 10th power.

    Yet when you have a bigger family, the kids are more of a pack. They play together leaving you more free time to yourself to clean up after them. I don’t have that. Lucky for me The Munch has many friends and plenty of play dates, but there are inevitable moments where she looks to me to be the one to act out scene 7 of the mermaids that are astronauts’ saga.

    But you guys…. I think I have the answer to satisfy my inability to free my mind from the burden of hyper awareness about the destruction of world, and my daughter’s insistence on playing with me… a solution besides getting really high I mean.

    We now play political games.

    These games have been a profound journey because I get to learn what my 6-year old thinks about political policy. It is both equally awe inspiring and depressing.

    The Munch: Okay so Ariel the mermaid is a princess, so that means she’s royalty.
    Toni: What does it mean to be royalty?
    The Munch: It means you have to be kind and gentle and you have to like solving problems. Oh, and you have to love everybody.
    Toni: How do you become royal?
    The Munch: Well Ariel’s dad was royal and his dad was royal and his dad was royal and his dad was royal…
    Toni: Who was the first royal person though? Why did they need royalty.
    The Munch: Because everything was so confusing and the mermaids wanted someone to help create solutions to problems.
    Toni: I see. In the human world royalty is kind of different – so I like what the mermaids are doing.
    The Munch: What do the human royals care about?
    Toni: Mostly power, that’s why the humans have so many wars.
    The Munch: The mermaids have wars too. But they are silly wars.
    Toni: What’s a silly war?
    The Munch: Well, there are no weapons because they are too dangerous. They don’t want to hurt the other animals or fish in the ocean with war and weapons. So it’s a splash tail war. They just splash each other with their tails on the top of he water… like this.
    Toni: That makes a lot of sense.
    The Munch: So how were the first people made?
    Toni: How do you think the first people were made.
    The Munch: Ummm I think there was a ghost lady that has always been here – she’s never been born or anything. And that ghost lady created all the people and the earth and the planet and the stars and the mermaids.
    Toni: You’re probably right.

    This is the set up for tonight’s game. It’s called “Hey congress, rape is not a pre-existing condition.”

  • Scratching That Itch Doesn’t Make it Go Away – it Just Moves it

    We’ve all had those moments where you ask someone to scratch your back, and some willing, but slightly irritated victim obeys. No one wants to scratch someone else’s back because as a rational person you know what you’re in for – a journey into the impossibility of satiating an itch. Seconds after the skin scraping ritual begins, the itch moves. “A little to the left,” you say. Once again, it moves. “Now back to the right,” you instruct as their nails skid across your human casing. “Now up… down… over… to the left… no to the right I said… back down again… up… more up… up some more… and…”

    An itch isn’t meant to be relieved; it is designed to torture you with craving. We fool ourselves into thinking that digging your claws into the right spot will make it go away. We forget the unavoidable truth that the very nature of yearning is rooted in the harsh reality that even when you get what you want, it isn’t what you want any more. Our collective story is fraught with examples of this. I want that man, but now that I have him, he bores me. I think that those drugs would feel divine, yet now I am puking into my shirt. I need that job – huh, boy this job is stressful. I need a vacation, and now I need a vacation from my vacation. I’ll go on this dating app to have meaningless sexual encounters, yet at the same time look for a relationship. Even though we can often see the hamster wheel of another person’s life, we put ourselves through the same cycle over and over and over again, running into the oblivion of our ravenousness.

    I think it’s that exactly feeling that our smarty pants phones tap into. This need for an instant hit of something outside of ourselves to distract our minds from the pain of our thoughts. For most of us, our brains have a mind of their own, and we are thinking about things we don’t want to think about, yet can’t stop thinking about. So we want, and want, and want some more. We want more love, more sex, more drugs, more success, more entertainment, more food, more sugar, more adoration, more acknowledgement, more appreciation, more money, more security, more freedom, more stuff… and then we want it all over again, just a better version.

    This constant striving may be the catalyst of the vast majority of our emotional suffering, yet it’s also the drive that pushes towards progress – and maybe even our own survival. The curiosity of humans, this ceaseless thirst that we cannot quench, is unique to our kind. Back in pre-history when Neanderthals reached the shores of an ocean do you know they did? They turned the fuck around because there was a goddamn giant scary body of water in front of them, and they couldn’t see the other side. Do you know what Homo sapiens did? They built a raft to float out into the unknown and see what was beyond the horizon. When the Neanderthals reached a mountain range they would camp at the bottom, but Homo sapiens, even the straight ones, would climb to the other side. Neanderthals lacked the seemingly crucial social construction of craving for more, where we Homo sapiens succumbed to it. And who the are the ones that are extinct now!?

    Even though our wanting is part of our demise, it’s also part of our successes as a species. So how do we as individuals have a more reasonable relationship to the seduction of desire? Is there a way to find balance amidst the chaos of greed?

    If there is anything that being a parent has taught me it’s that looking for someone else’s socks can make you suicidal. The other thing I learned is that children have a much greater capacity than adults to deal with disappointment. It may not seem that way at first. If I tell my kid “No you can’t watch Monster High while eating your leftover chemically ridden Valentine’s candy before bed,” she might scream for a moment in protest. This is where depending on my emotional capacity; I may give in just so she shuts the fuck up. But if I stay strong and deal with her momentary rebellion, she will forget about it, and move on. She doesn’t hold it against me. It’s not like The Munch will even bring it up again like, “remember that time you didn’t let me have that 3rd cookie?” No. She never says that shit. She just keeps living her life, not holding onto the past of her unfulfilled desires.

    Wanting shit is not the problem. It’s how we deal with not getting what we want is.

    The reason why kids move through their feelings with greater ease and grace is because they fundamentally think differently than adults. There is more space between their thoughts, because their egos aren’t as developed. The adult mind is dealing with CONSTANT chatter from the ego. Even right now as you read this very post your ego is still talking to you, judging what I say. Yet with kids, their egos aren’t as loquacious, leaving more room in their minds for observation and imagination.

    The more the mind is engaged with observing the world around us, the less energy is spent judging it. The more the brain is bouncing around creative concepts, the less it’s criticizing. So the solution to our all our problems is right in front of us. Think less by training your mind to observe, and through that you will find the wisdom of contentment in where you are in the moment – knowing it’s all a process and you’ll never truly be satisfied anyway.

    I think The Munch has tapped into this angst of mankind, and as such told me this glorious nighttime story.

    Munch: “Once upon a time there was a toilet, and this toilet was very sad. It was a sad toilet because no one was peeing in it, so it couldn’t drink pee, and no one was pooping in it, so it couldn’t eat poop. And that is the story of the sad toilet.”

    Am I raising a genius or what?

  • I Spend Most of My Time With You Trying To Avoid You

    I realized the other day that most of the time that I am home with my kid; I am trying to avoid her. If The Munch comes into the room I am in I will just stand there perfectly still, hoping she doesn’t notice me. It’s like I’m at Jurassic Park trying to avoid a loose Velociraptor. One slight movement and The Munch will see me with her peripheral vision, then ask me to do something for her.

    Kids can be really fucking high maintenance!

    First she will want me too look for something impossible. Like the red “play mobile” fork she was using for her “My Little Pony Set up.” Keep in mind said fork is literally the size of a ladybug wing. This goddamn utensil is so small you can’t see it with the naked eye, and yet somehow I am supposed to spend 45 minutes of my life searching for it.

    Then she will ask me to make her food. Of course you want your child to be well fed, but every request The Munch has is so complicated I feel like a chef at a 5 star restaurant. She will want a smoothie with peaches, two raspberries, a dash of vanilla, and seasoned with the shavings of a unicorn horn. There is always so much preparation and clean up associated with everything she wants to eat, and then I have to be at peace with the fact that only 1/3 of what I made actually goes it into her mouth hole. The rest she spills all over the table. I swear to god if The Munch had it her way, she would have a soufflé for an afternoon snack and flambé for dinner.

    Of course there is also the request that I play with her. I love my kid, but holy fuck playing can get real boring. It’s okay for 10 minutes – but imagining that we are kitties at the kitty shop that have to take care of the crying babies who need their diapers changed so they can fly is my idea of a nightmare. I love talking to The Munch – hanging out, cuddling, drawing – things of this nature. But when I have to take on the role of a playmate my attention span has an expiration date.

    The Munch is really good about self-entertaining, but I can’t always count on it. Some days all she wants is to get up in my grill, and make demands of me. Yet there are those blissful days when The Munch will keep herself occupied for hours in room. Of course during these serene moments I move like a ninja so as not to bring attention to my presence. If someone were to come into my house and disturb this vibe of her not needing me, I would put them in a sleeper hold. And maybe slit their throat and dispose of the body under my kitchen table. Anything to keep the Zen.

    My favorite time with my kid is when we are both in the house peacefully doing our own thing. She will be playing with her toys pretending that one of her stuff animals is hanging to death, and I will on my phone overwhelmed with feelings of self-doubt and personal loathing. Just like they did in the olden days.

    flower crown munch

    February 2, 2016 • Behavior, Mommy Mind, Mommyhood, Parenting, Playing • Views: 1044

  • You’re Better Than Me!

    My kid and I don’t really have a lot of the same interests. We have some things in common. We both really enjoy loud music, cookies, and fart jokes. We also both think it’s hilarious when you’re spitting phlegm out the car window, and said phlegm flies right back into your face. But in terms of things we like to do to pass the time, we’re very different.

    The Munch for one loves to play “hide and seek.” Maybe that would be fun if I was on acid, in a mansion, and the walls were made of Playdough. But playing “hide and seek” in my house where I know every possible hiding space isn’t exactly mentally stimulating. Especially because half the time I can obviously see her – because she SUCKS at “hide and seek!” So then I have to walk past her, PRETENDING I can’t find her like a fool. That game is really more of a time for me to look at my phone while crouched in the closet.

    Then there are the “make believe” games The Munch LOVES to play. There is something so inspiring about watching your kid lose themselves in a world of their own creation. I find myself awestruck by her authenticity – as she plays pretend with her toys, and explores her imagination. The Munch gets really into it too. She uses different voices for each of the characters, and develops incredibly intricate plotlines. Nothing is more peaceful than relaxing in the living room while eavesdropping as The Munch plays sweetly. I can just sit back and listen to her deepest thoughts as one of her character says, “my mom killed my sister Becka, but that’s okay because she didn’t even know her letters.”

    Like I would ever name my kid Becka!?

    But I can’t play pretend with The Munch! I don’t have that capacity any more. I am a grown up, and I use my imagination to stress out about my future and have anxiety about my past.

    Finding things to do together that we BOTH enjoy equally isn’t always easy. She is not that interested in talking about Donald Trump’s ties to the lizard Elite, and I don’t give a flying fuck in a rolling doughnut about My Little Pony.

    Munch: I’m bored! I wanna play with you!
    Toni: Do you want to play the Congress is corrupt?
    Munch: NO! Too predictable! Can we play kittens on a pirate ship?
    Toni: How about we draw together instead?

    Now let’s be clear about something. I cannot draw. I cannot create a depth of field. I can’t draw people. I can’t shade. I have no ability to draw anything beyond two-dimensional shapes. So I decided I would just do that – and color them in pretty.

    At first everything was going fine. My friend Natalya came over, and drew with us for a while as well. It was kind of an adorable scene – us all drawing together and drinking tea. After Natalya left The Munch and I continued to draw – sure it had been almost 3 hours at this point, but I was pretty OCD and NEEDED to finish my picture.

    Munch: You’re star is better than mine.
    Toni: Drawing a star is tricky. Do you want me to show you how?
    Munch: Okay.
    Toni: This is how I learned. You draw an upside down “v” like this. Then you bring one line over here, the other over there, and then you connect them!

    The Munch practiced with me, drawing a star with lines that ran through the center.

    Munch: But your star doesn’t have lines through it.
    Toni: That’s true. But it took me a long time to draw a star with no lines through it. I started with the lines until I got better.
    Munch: I wanna draw my star with NO LINES!
    Toni: Okay… give it a try.

    The Munch tried, and was having an increasingly difficult time.

    Munch: AHHHHHHHHHHHH! I CAN’T DRAW A STAR WITH NO LINES!!!!!
    Toni: Munch, you don’t need to get so worked up. The way you get better at something is to practice! You just have to keep trying. You will get it!
    Munch: BUT YOUR STAR IS BETTER THAN MINE!!!!!!!!
    Toni: That is because I have been practicing drawing stars for 30 years.
    Munch: YOU DRAW BETTER THAN ME!!!!
    Toni: Dude, if I didn’t draw better than a five-year old, you should be seriously worried about me.
    Munch: BUT I WANT TO BE ABLE TO DRAW A STAR AND I CAN’T AND YOU DRAW BETTER THAN ME!
    Toni: Munch, Natalya draws better than me.
    Munch: NO she doesn’t! Her “space cat” doesn’t even look like a cat!
    Toni: That’s because it’s a “space cat” with boobs! Not a regular cat! And she is a wayyyyyyyy better at drawing than me. Do you want to know why?
    Munch: Why?
    Toni: Because she practices! She works hard and drawing, and that’s how she got to be so talented.
    Munch: BUT I WANT TO BE ABLE TO DRAW A STAR AS GOOD AS YOU!
    Toni: Dude, this is the thing. How I draw a star has nothing to do with you. We have to be able to happy for other people and their accomplishments, even when we are struggling with our own feelings of insecurity. I can think Natalya is a better drawer than me, feel jealous about her skills, but at the same STILL be happy for her! In fact, my feeling happy for Natalya for working so hard means that I don’t even feel jealous anymore. My feelings of happiness for her are more pronounced than my feelings of jealousy. So I can instead focus on working hard and practicing, while being happy for my friend that I love.
    Munch: BUT I DON’T WANT TO PRACTICE! I WANT TO BE ABLE TO DRAW A STAR JUST LIKE YOU NOW!!!
    Toni: Munch, you can’t be so goal oriented about your art. That’s not the point of creating! You have to enjoy the process.
    Munch: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

    The Munch stormed off and left me to my coloring. Which I of course continued because I was ALMOST DONE! I had to finish it okay!?

    Since then we’ve had a few meltdowns about drawing – always the same theme. The Munch eventually gets upset because she can’t do something perfectly – then traveling down a rage spiral while comparing herself to me and feeling inadequate. But that doesn’t mean I am going to not draw my best because I have coloring to accomplish okay!!?

    But I realized that everything I said to The Munch about her drawing, I could apply to myself. I am SUPER goal oriented when it comes to my art. I have expectations of how I want things to be received, or turn out – and when they don’t I feel just like her. I get disappointed, frustrated, insecure, and yell belligerently at the wall.

    It made me think that maybe The Munch’s angst about her art is merely a reflection of my own. That she is just picking up on my vibes, and reflecting them back to me. It made me wonder how much of my energy is unconsciously infiltrating her consciousness, and perhaps most of her psychosis is really just my own stress being mirrored back to me.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some coloring to get back to.

    The famous “star picture”

    toni star drawing

    Natalya’s “space cat”

    space cat

    This only took me 5 hours

    toni drawing

  • I See How I Suck

    When someone does something shitty to you, the deed is done. They can never take away their past actions. The only thing they can do is change the way you feel about their shitty behavior.

    When someone refuses to acknowledge how they’ve been crappy, their crappiness is infinitely more intense in your mind. Yet if they some how recognize that they may have been crapalicious, then it is much easier to get past it.

    So basically, if you see how you suck, then I don’t have to think you suck anymore. But if you refuse to admit your suckage, all I can think about is seriously how hard you suck.

    I probably get into a fight every day with my kid about something. There are instances when these disagreements are because of my behavior, but 99.9999% of the time she’s just being an unreasonable twat. So inevitably The Munch and I will argue, and when she doesn’t get her way, she storms out of the room and slams the door.

    Now there is really no better treatment then the silent treatment. If you are mad at me, and want to ignore me, then that is fine with me. Go right ahead. But usually Munch’s silent treatment is preceded by her yelling in my face, which is just as annoying as it sounds.

    When The Munch returns back from her dramatic exit stage left, we have a moment where we make up. You can’t just act like that shit never happened! You told me you would poop in my shoe if I didn’t let you watch My Little Pony Munch! If I don’t make sure you know how I feel about your suckiness, then I can’t get over this! YOU MUST KNOW! We have to discuss the impetus of the conflict to truly process it, and that impetus is YOU!

    But… where Munch used to be a more passive receiver of my analysis of her shitty behavior, now she is turning the tables onto me!?

    Munch: Here Mom, I brought you this leaf.
    Toni: That is really sweet, thank you. I am sorry we fought, but can you understand that I don’t want you to watch TV in the middle of a beautiful day? It’s not good for your body or mind. You can play outside and use your imagination. I’m not saying “no” to hurt you, I’m just looking out! You really don’t have to yell at me for that.
    Munch: Okay, but you also don’t always have to tell me what to do.

    suck-blog

  • The Life Of an Artist is Just an Extended Childhood

    As an anti-conventional free-spirited hippy parent that wants my child to take down the system and plan a revolution, sometimes the idea of orthodox schooling disturbs me. Part of me thinks it’s important to learn how to function within the framework society has pre-established as necessary. Yet if my kid never conforms to that regimented approach, and instead commits her energy fully to a more creative life, then she would hopefully develop the skills to carve a different path. One where she is not contributing to the capitalist system that is currently sodomizing all of humanity – without even the decency of lube.

    The Munch has one more year at her idyllic Waldorf preschool where they frolic through the forest floor while a pan like creature plays a lute, and innocence is as abundant as leaves on trees. Yet soon she will have to go to school, sit at a desk, and be scolded for staring out he window. At least that would be the “normal” trajectory.

    If I were to project any dreams onto my child it is that she would live outside the confines of culture, and question it rather than submissively participate in it. I want to encourage her to define her own reality- not bow down to a soul sucking structure. What if she spent the rest of her life creating one giant art project!?

    Every kid on planet earth likes art when they are young. They all do artistic things naturally as part of the everyday shit that kids do. They gravitate towards art on their own. Not that many children are like “I want to learn about macro-economics today mommy,” but they all will sing the fuck out of the ABC’s.

    How kids play and enjoy life is the nascent stage of becoming an artist. All artists are just grown ups that were able to hold onto their childhood interests! Picasso was once a little brat who liked drawing noses where the ears should be. He just got really really good at it. So basically if you practicing playing really hard – eventually you could become an artist.

    When I think about what The Munch actually LIKES to do right now, and if she just were to concentrate on her playing, she’s got some pretty good life options a head of her!

    This is her average day, and the potential if she just keeps at it.

    1) Makes up Songs about “My Little Ponies” killing each other with magic powers: She could be a singer/song writer.
    2) Shakes her body around: She could be a dancer.
    3) Plays pretend with her dolls/My Little Pony’s: She could be an actor, director, or screenwriter. (PS these games are complicated as fuck and involve a variety of characters that talk in distinct voices and have very complicated backstories. I can’t just jump in and insist that “Pinkie Pie” can fly to Nightmare garden because according the to The Munch “Pinkie Pie” does not have wings!!!!!)
    5) Wraps herself in material: Totally high fashion designer
    4) Tells poop and fart jokes: She could be a comedian.

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    August 24, 2015 • 5 years old, Education, Musings, Parenting • Views: 1114

  • The World Of Make Believe is Kinda F*cked Up!

    As adults, I think we all envy the imagination of children. Their ability to lose themselves in a play pretend planet, and envision a reality I can only achieve after taking acid. Yet sometimes when I enter into these alternate dimensions with my child, I sometimes take pause, and think to myself, “Damn kid, your make believe worlds are kinda fucked up!”

    Here are some of the most recent games I have played with The Munch:

    1) Dead Mermaid Examiners:

    Munch: Let’s pretend we are these explores that find dead mermaids. We travel the seas, and every time we find a dead mermaid, we bring her on our ship and examine it. And then, we look inside her body, and see all her broken bones, and how her heart isn’t beating.

    Toni: Ummm okay. Do we have magic powers to save the mermaid or anything? So we can bring her back to life?

    Munch: Yeah, but first we have to use this tool to peel off her fin to make sure all her bones are broken – and then we can use the magic to make her heart beat again. But after we make her alive, she goes back into the water, and the bad guys just kill her again.

    2) Evil Jailer:

    Munch: Pretend that you are sleeping in my bed, and then I come in the middle of the night and capture you. But I tell you I am brining you to my house to watch my animals, but really, I just put you in jail. And because you believed me, and you love animals, you didn’t know I was going to do that. And when you are in jail there are bars everywhere, surrounding you, and you can’t get out.

    Toni: What happens to me when I am in jail?

    Munch: You cry because you want to get out.

    Toni: Wah!!!

    Munch: Pretend that I am evil, but you have this magic treasure that turns me nice. So here, you can use it now.

    Toni: Okay. I am using this magic treasure and I am making you nice! Shazam!

    Munch: Your magic didn’t work. I am still evil.

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  • Pretending to Pretend

    If you came to my house and saw me dressed up like a princess while talking to my stuffed animals, would you think that was sweet – or that I had totally lost my fucking mind? Chances are you would smile, back out slowly, and then call my mom to tell her that the moment had finally come – it was time to have me committed. Even though kids are expected to play pretend, when adults do, we consider it a mental disease.

    When I watch The Munch play pretend it is of course cute to watch her imagination wander, but she also gets into some really weird shit. Sometimes her baby dolls have to go to jail because they weren’t listening, her stuffed panda has been known to eat Mr. Bunny, and every so often her Carebear has to be put outside in the rain for punishment.

    That is just the information I am privy to as she talks to herself. There are a lot of times where The Munch is playing and she is quite. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a full narrative happening inside her head, I just don’t know what it is. And to be honest, I don’t know if I want to.

    A lot of times she asks me to participate in these games, which to be honest is hard for me to get into. I am too aware that this isn’t reality, and I can’t get lost in it like a child would. Of course I go along and pretend to pretend, but in reality my brain is spending its time stressing out about my life rather than truly being invested in My Little Pony’s adventure into the land of Dark Trees.

    Do you remember the feeling of being lost in your imagination? I have a vague recollection of what that was like, but I can’t connect to that headspace. I think my window was too short. I know some kids can stay in that mental state for a long time, but I think when I was like 6 or 7 I was like, “this is just silly.” I was too self aware, and that ability to forget myself melted away.

    Even though the social acceptability of pretending morphs as you age, plenty of grown ups still do it, just in a more adult way. They role play sexually, play fantasy sports games, have online Avatars, hold Dungeons and Dragon’s gatherings, go to adult summer camps… All this proves we will have a need for play even though it is manifested differently.

    Yet I can’t get into any of that shit, because again, my consciousness is too conscious of its consciousness. Maybe for those of us who still yearn for play, but are too uptight to figure out how to maintain the capacity, we turn to drugs. Not that I am a druggie now, but I was definitely committed for a good portion of my teen and adult years. Drugs helped me forget my mind and exist in a make-believe world.

    Perhaps if there were more opportunities for people to play as they grow up, less people would turn to drugs for that mental escape? I don’t know, but it seems like a fun little game of “You’re the Teacher and I’m the Bad Student,” is infinitely safer than heroine.

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    May 18, 2015 • 4 years old, Behavior, Mommyhood, Parenting, Playing, Toddler Thoughts • Views: 1143