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motherhood
Posts

  • My Personal Parenting PTSD

    Over the weekend I hosted a women’s dinner where we celebrated our uteruses by winding our fallopian tubes around the moon, and dancing our menses deep into the earth’s core. Or we made quinoa and grilled some fish. Whatever.

    My goddess friend Olivia brought her precious priestess daughter, a mere babe of 7 months. They were like one glorious unit – the perfect depiction of the serene Madonna and child. As I gazed upon their unbounded beauty, and how physically/spiritually/emotionally interwoven they were, I thought to myself, “Holy fuck how did I ever get through that baby stage? That shit was hard as fuck.”

    Looking back, I still cannot believe how much work it was to keep that thing alive and happy. It was so intense, I actually blocked out a lot of the experience. Watching Olivia, I realized that she was in this whole other dimension of babyness that I couldn’t relate to – not because I didn’t understand – but because my mind has filtered away those memories to protect myself.

    Every description of motherhood Olivia revealed felt literally insane to me.

    Olivia: Well, I haven’t had that much time to do that because I haven’t really left Rosey with anyone else for more than an hour.
    Toni: WHAT? Are you serious?? You have been with her this whole time?
    Olivia: Yeah, basically. I mean, how long would you leave Munch with other people when she was 7 months?
    Toni: I mean maybe an hour tops. But I hardly ever did that.

    It’s like I have PTSD!! Baby Munch is my personal Vietnam! Not that she was a hard baby either. She was super chill. But the level of commitment and patience required for a baby was like nothing I ever experienced, and now that it’s over, I can’t believe I ever got through it alive.

    Now that The Munch is almost 5, the freedom I have is unparalleled to what it was like when she was baby. She’s really independent and that has given me my independence. But I guess the reason why she’s so secure in the world is because of the hard time I put in when she was an infant. The breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and constant connection helped create a strong foundation between us, and now she is like a little bird that can fly away. Not too far though, she still needs me to make her sandwiches and charge the iPad.

    LOOK HOW TIRED I WAS!

    accomplishments-blog-inside

  • Hating Your Parents

    You know how you once thought you would never turn into your parents, and then you realize, “oh fuck, I am totally just like my parents?” Yeah… so do I.

    There are many things my mom did to me when I was a kid that I SWORE I would never do. She ate my Halloween candy when I was at school, she also ate my valentine chocolates when I was at school, and then she once bit the head off my Easter bunny when I was at school. OBVIOUSLY I SHOULD HAVE NEVER GONE TO SCHOOL!!!

    Along with her penchant for sweets, my mom’s also a compulsive cleaner. If you are eating in her kitchen, she will tidy around you as you try and finish your meal. She will even go as far as to pick up your plate and wipe the table clean mid bite. She is obsessed with order and everything being in the right place – kind of like Martha Stewart on meth.

    Because my mom likes things to be neat, she was also always moving our stuff and throwing things out. In her mind it was clutter, but to my brother and me, those He-Man toys were important!!

    The way I learned to deal with my mom’s ways was deciding personal possessions are meaningless. One day you could come home, your things would be missing, and you just moved on. Maybe that Godzilla doll did have go, even though now I would never know where its vagina was. These are the questions of my childhood that will remain unanswered.

    But it turns out that I am now also a compulsive cleaner. I’m constantly moving Munch’s stuff around and giving away old shitty toys I can’t look at any more. I try to be discerning, and only abandon the objects she discarded, but sometimes my instincts are wrong. There have been moments where she looks at me with rage in her eyes and asks, “Where is that one Barbie shoe that was in that box?! I NEED IT!”

    Kids have a lot of fucking shit, and their shit takes over your house like an infestation. In every room there are remnants of plastic toys to step on in the middle of the night. It’s hard to escape, and sometimes you just want to purge and say, “fuck all your stuff.”

    In order to deal with the vomit of neon littering the house, I ordered some furniture for Munch’s room so she could better organize her toys. She spent all night putting everything away in just the right place, and we were both happy with the result. But then I went downstairs, looked at the living room, and felt like there was still too much crap. There was a table that was covered with her paraphernalia, and I really wanted it put away.

    Okay so here is the thing about Munch. She’s an installation artist. She creates these set ups, and then refuses to play or touch them because she put so much effort into their arrangement. I’m not trying to stifle her vision, but it’s also super annoying because then there are these shrines of her “work” I’m not supposed to touch.

    So what did I do?

    I cleaned up the fucking table.

    What happened when she saw it the next day?

    She was fucking pissed!

    Munch: AHHHHHHHHH WHAT DID YOU DO???
    Toni: I cleaned up in here.
    Munch: MY TABLE!!!? WHEN DID YOU DO THIS?
    Toni: Last night when you were sleeping.
    Munch: WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? YOU SHOULD HAVE ASKED ME FIRST!!!?
    Toni: I’m sorry. But you wouldn’t let me clean it, and it was driving me nuts.
    Munch: I WORKED SO HARD ON THAT!!!
    Toni: Yeah, but then you never played with any of those toys again.
    Munch: THAT’S BECAUSE I WORKED SO HARD! THAT WAS MY COLLECTION!
    Toni: I’m sorry, but it looked really messy.
    Munch: I AM SO CROSS WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Toni: Look, you can’t just put your toys everywhere. That’s not fair.
    Munch: WHERE IS ALL MY STUFF?
    Toni: It’s right here in these bins.

    I showed Munch the bins, and to be honest, I did get rid of some of the things that were on the table. Like I don’t know… a pile of rocks she brought in from the driveway. But I also kept a lot more than I wanted to. Munch then started tearing through the bins and throwing things across the room looking for all her nick nacks.

    Munch: IT’S NOT ALL HERE! WHERE IS THE LITTLE BUNNY WITH THE MISSING HEAD??!!! I AM SO CROSS WITH YOU RIGHT NOW!!!! I HATE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Toni: Dude, that isn’t fair come with me. Lets go on a tour of this house.

    I then proceeded to drag her into every room in the house.

    Toni: Whose stuff is this here?
    Munch: Mine.
    Toni: What about here in this room. Whose stuff is this?
    Munch: Mine.
    Toni: Come upstairs. What about here in the hallway – whose stuff is this?
    Munch: Mine.
    Toni: Do you see how your stuff is all over? You can’t monopolize every room in the house! You’re not the only one who lives here. We have to compromise okay?
    Munch: Fine. I will make my collection again, and if you touch it, I will throw your computer out the window.

    Pretty sure I won’t be touching this table for a while…

    art-table-blog

  • I am totally okay with you growing up

    When you first squirt out a precious baby, the prevailing advice people give is “savor every second – it goes by so fast.” Yeah kinda – but it also goes by really slow. Some days with my kid I look at my watch and think “oh wow… only 4 pm… so are you ready for bed or what?”

    It was cool when The Munch was a baby. I enjoyed that she didn’t talk. That was convenient because less negotiating. Her not walking meant she had to go wherever I carried her. These were all pluses. Buuuuut, there was also plenty of times having an infant sucked. She shat in the bath when I was in it (*twice), cried every time I tried to save her life by not allowing her to do things like stick her tongue in a wall socket, and she woke up 20 times a night to feed off my chest like a rabid chupacabra. These were all things I could do with out.

    The toddler stage was okay. Well, at least I have recovered. Sort of. A lot of the annoying baby stuff became a distant memory, and that felt hopeful. She stopped crapping her pants, so my relationship to her poop transferred from full visual and nasal exposure to simply wiping her butt. She slept through the night in her own bed, learned how to communicate her needs by requesting sweetly “get me out of this fucking bath,” and started picking up my mannerisms. But she would also would freak the fuck out every morning when deciding what to wear, and convincing her of the concept of lateness, or how time actually does exist, was like persuading you that unicorn farts smell like leprechaun burps.

    Every stage your kid goes through will present a variety of pluses and negatives. As they age, new problems emerge, but old ones disappear. A complex roller coaster of thank god she doesn’t cry about what socks to wear any more, but holy shit now she cries about what headband!

    Now that The Munch is 4 ½ she is becoming a semi reasonable human. She cleans her room, makes her bed, dresses her self, gets her own damn water, is more flexible about what tights she is wearing as long as they are not itchy, or too floppy, and just the right color. She can handle disappointment, understand that she doesn’t always get her way, and use her words to express discontent rather than flying into a fit of rage. Even though I will never get those years back where she was a young irrational being that would scream “I don’t love you anymore” because I wouldn’t let her have a 3rd cookie, I am actually totally okay with her growing up.

    If you are always hanging onto the past or anticipating the future, it is hard to value the present. Even though I want to honor these days with my young daughter, I am also super interested to get to know the person she is becoming. The type of girl that practices her cartwheels, loves music, thinks farts are hilarious, has an opinion about everything, is a great friend, and takes risks – like drinking bath water she has peed in.

    (Look at her washing dishes!!!)
    growing-up-blog-(1)

    February 4, 2015 • 4 years old, Behavior, Disciplining, Mommyhood, Parenting, Playing • Views: 1333

  • Just Because You Are Privileged Doesn’t Mean You Have To Be Entitled

    My kid is privileged. Not like Kim Kardashian’s daughter North West or anything… she doesn’t have $100,000 diamond earrings, wear designer Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses, of have birthday parties where a giraffe does cocaine off a hippo’s tits. We don’t have it like that. But The Munch lives in a house where she is fed, warm, and has plenty of toys. She attends a wholesome school where they learn what acorns are made out of, and the biggest stress of her day is not getting to eat as many cookies as she wants. Compared to the vast majority of the world, pretty sure she has it fucking made.

    I know there is only so much you want to expose your 4-year old to regarding the tragedies of the world – but I also don’t want The Munch to be an entitled little shit who doesn’t understand how lucky she is. There is innocence to childhood you don’t want to corrupt, but letting your kid believe the world is exclusively a benevolent place can also be corrupting. There is a delicate balance between being truthful, and just traumatizing. I don’t think I need to explain the horror of child brides in India, but I do think we can talk about sweatshops making crappy plastic toys she doesn’t need. I am not trying to make my kid fear the world, but I do want her to have a realistic perception of it.

    I try to make these conversations authentic, and come up when appropriate. It is not like I put her to bed at night and whisper in her ear, “sleep well sweetheart… and just remember 90% of the indigenous tribes in the Amazonian rainforest have been destroyed, and every 2 minutes someone in the United States gets sexually assaulted. Nighty night.” Yet there are many opportunities to talk about complex issues and give The Munch some perspective.

    I try to provoke exchanges that help Munch understand that the world does not exist to serve her every need. No dude, you cannot keep the water running in the bath just so you can fill cups with the “waterfall.” Water is a precious resource and we have to respect it. There are children who have to walk miles to get access to water. Yeah running water is fun to play with, but once the bath is full, you have to shut it off so you don’t waste it. Fine maybe this comes to bite me in the ass when she insists I wash dishes with only a stream as thick as a pubic hair, but at least she has got the right idea!

    The Munch and I can talk about resources, environmentalism, the economy, whatever – it just has to be in a context that has meaning to her. For example, she loves to eat candy so we can debate how certain candy has a lot of chemicals, and that is why we don’t buy that kind. The chemicals are bad for your body, unfairly compete with farmers who grow organically, and make the ground all yucky. I don’t have to say how Monsanto products cause cancer or factory farmed meat comes from animals who lived in torture chambers and then were mercilessly murdered – but I can say that meat didn’t come from a happy cow, so lets find another kind.

    Kids are way smarter than we think, and they do have a sense of empathy even if they are mostly driven by their egos. They are kind of like men in that way. JUST KIDDING! There was one afternoon when Munch and I talked about homelessness, and she wanted to know if there were any children that didn’t have a house to live in.

    Munch: Who are they mom? Do you we know any of these children?
    Toni: No we don’t know them, but there are millions of them in the world.
    Munch: Can we see them?

    So we went online and looked at pictures of homeless children, and talked about why some people have money, and others don’t. It is not like we discussed major economic theory or the Federal Reserve, but she does understand the concepts of selfishness, and greed.

    Toni: Certain people have so much money that they are able to ensure that they keep making more money. Once you have a bunch of money, it is easier to maintain because you are running the businesses that make all the money. It isn’t that there isn’t enough money to go around; the problem is the way it is distributed. The people who have the most want to keep the money for themselves, and not share it.
    Munch: Why don’t they want to share? Didn’t they go to school and learn about how it is important to share?
    Toni: Well they did. But it isn’t just about the money. Money also means you have power. And people want power.
    Munch: But is the power more important than children? Why can’t the people with money give money to the children so they can have houses?
    Toni: Well, that is a good point. But it isn’t just the people that need to change. It is also the systems.
    Munch: But who makes the systems?
    Toni: The people.
    Munch: So pretty sure the people just need to change – then there will be no more children who don’t have homes.

    (Turn off that fucking bath water!!)

    privilidge-blog-(i)

  • How Can I Get Out Of Being Around You?

    Most of adult life is spent getting out of plans with people. We say “yes” to something we feel obliged to do, yet when the time comes to actually follow through… we don’t want to anymore. But rather than say, “hey man, forget it. I am not into it anymore. I decided to stay home and eat a ball of buffalo mozzarella in front of my computer” we come up with some fabricated event that is beyond our control.

    Bailing on a commitment has to be accomplished with a certain amount of finesse. You cannot give the same excuse twice, and you must make sure that whatever you say borders between totally reasonable and completely insane. No one is going to tell you that your grandmother isn’t in the hospital because she choked on a gerbil. It could have happened, right? Somewhere in the world, at one point, that has taken place. The key is to make your explanation not only outlandish, but also tragic enough whereas to doubt the validity of your story would make the other person look like the asshole. The prevailing reaction to your fib must be “who would lie about Nana deep-throating a gerbil?!

    That is the beauty of adult relationships… the freedom to flake at any moment. Even if you are out with someone, you can bail on them if they were annoying the fuck out of you. You could easily pretend to get a text message saying you have to leave because a wolverine bit your Uncle Bam Bam. These things happen! Who would keep you from being at Bam Bam’s side while he bleeds to death?!

    Here is the thing that sucks about being a parent. You don’t always want to be around your kid, but it is not that simple to ditch them. I can’t be at a museum with The Munch and out of nowhere say “ummmm I am going to take off because I just got an email saying my dad gave birth to an acorn squash… so now he is a medical anomaly and I got to go be there for him.” The Munch would be like “yeah cool, well bring me with you because you are the person who keeps me alive and shit.”

    There are days when I don’t feel like catering to her needs, demands, and desires for candy. Yesterday, for example, I was in the middle of working but had to pick up Munch from school. I wanted finish what I was doing, yet if I was even 2 minutes late her teacher would be like “Come get your damn kid before I turn her into stew while singing a song about rabbits who like jumping through clouds.” (P.S preschool teachers sing while they do stuff). So I stopped everything, and got my child like a responsible parent.

    Even though I wasn’t in the mood to hang out with a four year old, I had no choice because she is my child and that’s just what was happening. I decided to take Munch to the park so I could stare off into the loneliness of space while she kept herself busy going down the slide. However, we stopped at the organic store to pick up some self-righteous and morally superior snacks. Rather than coming into the store with me, The Munch decided to freak the fuck out because her hair was in her face.

    Munch: My hair keeps getting in my face!
    Toni: Okay, wear this clippy. I can easily solve that problem.
    Munch: I don’t want to wear a clippy! They are too floppy and just flop around. I want a headband.
    Toni: Well, I don’t have a headband.
    Munch: I WANT A HEADBAND!!! WAHHHHHHAAAAAAHHHHHHHAAAAA!
    Toni: Dude! Relax… I don’t have a headband. Just wear this clippy and lets move on with our lives!
    Munch: I NEED A HEADBAND!! I WANT TO GO HOME AND GET A HEADBAND AND THEN COME BACK AND GET SNACKS AND THEN GO TO THE PARK!
    Toni: Ummm there is no way that is happening. Home is 20 minutes away. If we go home, we are not coming back. It is a beautiful day. Why don’t we go play and enjoy existence by emotionally avoiding it.
    Munch: I WANT A HEADBAND!! WAHHHHAHHHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHA!!
    Toni: UGGGGGGGHHHH.

    I didn’t have it in me to fight about a headband, nor did I think Munch would buy it if I said I had to take off because I left the oven on. She knows I never use that thing. I was stuck with her, and her shitty mood about a shitty headband. So we drove to CVS to buy a stupid headband because that is exactly what we need in the house – MORE HEADBANDS. 36 just isn’t enough.

    We then went back to the organic store, grabbed some heightened sense of self-worth, and finally got to the park. Once we are there, The Munch decided she didn’t like the grilled cheese sandwich on the gluten-free substance-free wrap I got her.

    Munch: I don’t like it. It is too cheesy!
    Toni: What do you mean you don’t like it? You said that is what you wanted.
    Munch: Well I don’t want it now. It is too cheesy.
    Toni: Do you want me to take some of the cheese out?
    Munch: But that is all there is? The rest is just air.
    Toni: Whatever fine. Don’t eat it then. Have some kale chips or mango chia pods.

    The Munch went to play for a moment and I did what any normal person would do. I ate her grilled cheese. SHE SAID SHE DIDN’T WANT IT OKAY?

    Munch: Mamma, where is my grilled cheese sammich?
    Toni: I ate it.
    Munch: What?! I WANTED THAT!!! WHY DID YOU DO THAT??!!
    Toni: You said you didn’t want it!? I didn’t want it to go to waste. It was $89?! They harvested the cheese from a golden cow!
    Munch: WWAHHHAHHHAHAAAA! I WANT MY GRILLED CHEESE SAMMICH!
    Toni: You shouldn’t have said you didn’t want it!! I am really sorry, but I didn’t want it to go to waste!!

    If The Munch had been an adult, I would have just left. No excuse necessary. I could have just been like “you are insane, and I am out of here.” Yet this was not an option. I HAD TO HANG OUT WITH HER EVEN THOUGH I DIDN’T WANT TO!

    Munch was furious at me. She stomped around and pouted about her sandwich while I tried to look like a good parent by checking my text messages. After about 5 minutes of this display, Munch decided to show me one of her amazing “tricks” – hanging on a monkey bar and then letting go to fall on the ground.

    Munch: Mamma look! Watch me!
    Toni: Great…

    As annoying as kids can be, they are also amazing at transitioning out of their crappy moods. Just like that,The Munch was as happy as a clam, which I assume is happy, even though clams seem really closed off to me. I followed her lead and we ended up having an amazing evening together. I guess that is the lesson I needed to learn. When you cancel on people or don’t show up, you never know the good time you might have missed.

    (Here is Munch about to discover her sammich has been eaten)
    dont'-wnna-hang-blog-(i)

  • Power Tripping

    I think I would be a really bad dominatrix. I am sure I would look pretty decent in the getup because black latex is so slimming and all, but I don’t have the emotional bandwidth to humiliate someone. There is no part of me that gets off on making someone feel inferior because I get too overwhelmed with empathy. The whole time dominatrixing I would instead be like “hey, is your gag ball too tight?” or “should I whip you softer – it looks like your left butt cheek is really red.”

    Yet power and control are huge parts of relationships. You cannot avoid the fact that one person will always has a little more power over the other. Unless you are Ram Das and have a perfectly balanced bond, there will always be some element of a struggle. In romantic situations power directly contributes to romance, passion, and lust. These themes are unavoidable because they are so interconnected. Eventually the goal in any dynamic is to obliterate the power element and find true equality, but unless you are meditating every day in a cave for 40 years – good fucking luck accomplishing that. The question then becomes how do you handle power, and to what extent to you abuse it.

    In the parent-child relationship the complexity of power runs deep because of course as the adult, you have ALL the power over your young child. Yet to constantly exercise that will is not only oppressive, but also tyrannical. As your kid ages, they become increasingly aware of how power plays are played out. Children also have to deal with power clashes in relationships they have with other kids. Who gets to play with what toy, which kid is hitting, and who is forcing their will upon the rest? There is always some kid asserting their dominance, and those who are acquiescing to that aggression. So basically as soon as we start socializing with other humans, we are dealing with the subject to power.

    Okay… so this weekend, power became the theme of my Sunday morning. It began when Munch and I went to practice yoga in the barn next to my house. Now I know my child can be demanding, but she has been socialized to respect my time when I dance or do yoga. We have been doing this since she was a baby, and there are days where she will let me practice for 3-hours and play the entire time on her own. We have an understanding.

    Yet this fateful day, she had another agenda. It started with her INSISTING we listen to her music and not mine.

    Munch: Mom, can we listen to Iggy Azalea two times, and then we listen to your music.
    Toni: Ummmmm okay… but just two times.
    Munch: Okay. Let’s listen to “Fancy” and then “Bounce.”
    Toni: Fine. But then we listen to my music.
    Munch: I promise!

    We listened to her songs, but then Munch wouldn’t give me back my phone to play my music.

    Munch: Let’s listen to Iggy Azalea for two more times, and then The Spice Girls two times.

    Okay, so you want to know the least peaceful music to practice yoga to? Fucking Iggy Azalea and the Spice Girls that is who. But I was trying to be cool, so I let her listen to her songs…. but then things got out of hand. Munch wouldn’t give me back my phone, and she wouldn’t stop playing these fucking songs. Now of course I am stronger then my 4-year old and could have easily grabbed it out of her damn hand, but that would be a terrible example.

    Toni: Dude, you have to give me my phone. I am going to lose my mind if I have to keep listening to these songs over and over again. You had your turn, and now it is my turn.
    Munch: I don’t care what you say.

    Ummmmmmmmmm so when your precious little 4- year old baby looks you straight in your face and says something like that, pretty sure you want to drop kick them across the room.

    Toni: That is a very rude thing to say. I am not going to grab the phone out of your hand. But you are being very selfish right now. You are not he only person in the room. We got to listen to your music, and not it is Mamma’s turn to listen to her music. If you think what you are doing is right, then keep doing it. But I think you are acting very selfish.
    Munch: I don’t care.

    I really didn’t know what to do with that logic.

    Here was the other problem I faced. My kid is also very extremely proficient with technology. She knows how to use the iPhone. She knows how to set up the blue tooth to the speakers. And she also knows how to control the volume. Even when I would try to turn it down, or disconnect the phone from the room speakers, Munch would just reconnect them, and turn it the fuck back up.

    Let’s keep in mind I was trying to practice yoga and be all one with the cosmos and shit, so getting angry felt hypocritical. I was kept trying to appeal to Munch’s rational spirit body, yet it wasn’t working because she kept responding that she didn’t care what I said. So in the ethos maintaining some semblance of patience, I decided to ignore Munch and keep practicing – as the charming lyrics “I’ve been up all night, trying to get that rich. I’ve been work, work, work, work, working on my shit” melted into my psyche.

    Munch noticed that I wasn’t fighting her on the music anymore, so she then started physically harassing me. She would crawl underneath my downward dog and stare me in the face and be like “Mamma, I am going to turn it up okay?” Or she would get underneath my warrior two and push my thigh to try and tip me over. It was relentless. The more I tried to keep my Zen, the more creative she got with trying to destroy me.

    Toni: You know what? I have had enough. Not only are you being really selfish about he music, but you are not respecting my body. You need to go in the house.
    Munch: NO! I want to stay with you.
    Toni: Listen, there is no way you are staying with me right now. You need go in the house and I will come find you when I am done.
    Munch: Well then I want to watch something.
    Toni: You are out of your mind if you think that is going to happen. Now go in the house. I can’t be around this energy. It is too disrespectful, and I have had my limit.
    Munch: FINE! I am going in the house and I AM NEVER GOING TO LOVE YOU AGAIN!

    Munch stormed off and went in the house as I tried to find a place of peace within my own soul. I really didn’t get what was going on. I had never encountered this kind of problem before with her, and was getting super depressed. It wasn’t just about the music (although just so you know, if you ever want to torture someone, play the Spice Girls 6 times in a row) but the intention she had of being inconsiderate. I am not being paranoid or overly sensitive. She was trying to fuck with me!

    About ten minutes later, Munch came back into the barn.

    Munch: Mamma, you really hurt my feelings.
    Toni: Well Munch, you also really hurt my feelings.
    Munch: I know.
    Toni: What was going on with you?
    Munch: Sometimes my friend Maya is mean to me, so I wanted to act like her.
    Toni: So you wanted to act mean to me to see what if felt like?
    Munch: Yeah.
    Toni: Well did it feel good to act mean?
    Munch: No. It felt really bad.
    Toni: Do you know what people sometimes act mean?
    Munch: Why?
    Toni: I think people can be mean sometimes because it makes them think they are powerful.
    Munch: And people want to be powerful?
    Toni: Sometimes yes. But I don’t think that is what real power is. Do you?
    Munch: No I don’t. But what is real power?
    Toni: I think real power is making someone laugh. Or making someone feel good about themselves. Or making someone feel loved.
    Munch: I am really sorry Mamma.
    Toni: I am sorry too.

    power-trip-blog

  • Why Is “Mom” the Answer to Everything?

    Even though I love the shit out of my kid, being “the mom” can sometimes seriously suck. Whenever The Munch is sick, all she wants is me – her mom. No one else will do. Not even if My Little Pony had an orgy with Frozen, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid to produce the ultimate neon princess pony with magical powers and tail.

    I think we all have this visceral connection to the idea that “mom” emotionally translates to safety. When I was young and sick, it was my mom who I felt I could trust most to know what to do. Which was pretty much the right idea since her cure to all ailments was to mix together a drink of lemon, honey, warm water, and whisky. Not sure if those concoctions actually helped me heal, but they did facilitate a damn good time.

    When we are at our most vulnerable, especially when young, one true relief is being with mom. But what is it about “the mom” that is most soothing? Is it because we once lived inside her as an actual physical home while feeding from her blood like a parasite? Does the inadvertent nurturing dependency of pregnancy impact an assumption that mom = support? But what about adopted children? I am sure they still want to snuggle with their mom even if they didn’t spurt out her birth canyon. Is it a female thing that bitches are inherently more comforting and shit? But what about children of gay couples? Which mom is the sick mom? Or which dad becomes the sick dad? Is one person always burdened with being the sick parent? Why did it have to be me?

    The Munch came home from school yesterday with a fever, and has literally been on top of me ever since. I mean I know I am delightful and all, but this primal urge for her to be near me is intense. She slept on me all afternoon – pinning me down so I felt like a guy after a one-night stand that wants to chew his own arm off just to free himself from the embrace of a girl he is just not that into. If I tried to maneuver myself away, Munch just held on tighter around me neck – IN HER SLEEP LIKE A BOSS!

    Then of course last night she didn’t want to sleep by herself. She kept waking up with these intense hallucinations like she was at a Grateful Dead Show – her heart beating as fast as tripping hippy. So I brought her into my bed hoping we could both get some rest. My logic was that if she was alone and scared she would wake up more than if she was next to me. I also wanted to keep an eye on her in case things got really bad throughout the night. What I wasn’t prepared for was the fever induced nightmares that would ensue. It was like trying to sleep in an insane asylum. Every 20 minutes she would yell in her sleep. Some of my favorite utterings she bellowed into the darkness were “Don’t peel my skin off! I want to eat it later,” as well as “Those bushes are evil and the sugar will destroy you,” and then “I don’t want to go to school, the monsters keep taking our blankets and using them for polenta.” I was fucking terrified.

    At one point Munch woke up for some water, which she proceeded to drink too fast, and then vomited all over my bed. As exciting as that was to have this exorcist moment, it was also pretty gross to sleep in bile. So we went back into her room, where I slept on the floor in case she puked again. Then came the deliriums, which caused not only intense thrashing, but for Munch to wake up yelling in my face blowing barf-breath directly into my nose – all the while still sort of sleeping and sweating like a coke head in the early morning hours.

    Today wasn’t any better. A kid with a fever is a lot like being around a detoxing junkie. There is a lot of crying, flailing, fitful napping, and relentlessly asking for more medicine. There wasn’t any liberation from her unyielding need for me to hold her through this process, which was as flattering as it was oppressive. It is nice that she feels so consoled by me, but I haven’t seen the light of day in 24 hours. Has WW3 started yet? What is going on out there?

    Hopefully despite all this direct contact I won’t catch whatever she had, but if I do get her germs Munch promised we would take care of each other. Meaning I would still do everything for her, but she would let me have some of her orange juice and some of her medicine that takes like candy.

    I give up…

    sick-munch-mom-blog-(i)

    September 24, 2014 • 4 years old, Health, Mommyhood, Parenting • Views: 1222

  • Is It Bad That I Didn’t Miss You?

    There are a lot of things that we are supposed to say in order not to seem like total sociopaths. I am supposed to say things like “I love my parents,” or, “I would die for the people in my family,” or “excuse me” if I fart. To say anything different would make me look like a total psycho. As the mother of a child the one thing I *really* should be saying is “I miss my child desperately when I am away because she is the joy of my life and the light of my loins.” Okay but here is the thing, I was just gone for five days from The Munch – and I am pretty sure I didn’t miss her at all.

    Ummmm is that bad? Does that make me a terrible person? I didn’t even really think about Munch that much when I was gone either. Holy crap – that makes me a worse person doesn’t it. Fuck. I am not doing well right now. Wait… wait for it… okay breathe… it actually felt awesome not to think about or miss my child. Shit.

    For the first 15 months of Munch’s life I was basically with her every minute of every day. Trust me. Read my blog during those early years and there is a meticulous account of every detail, including the consistency of her feces once food was introduced. But now that The Munch is four, there is more autonomy for us both. We have our own lives separate from each other. Munch goes to school, she has a babysitter, she spends time with family… Yet even though I do have physical freedom in my everyday life – what I don’t have is mental freedom. I am always having to think about where she is, who is picking her up, what food she has, if she is wearing the right leotard, does she have her rain coat, is there an extra pair of shoes in her bag, and are they the right fucking shoes because my kid is both neurotic and crazy.

    PS…. I also didn’t miss the tantrums, the yelling in my face about not giving her a 3rd piece of chocolate, the shoe throwing, the stink eye, the refusal to get dressed in warm clothes… you know, the basic toddler rage or a developing human.

    I don’t go away that often, so those days where I could just think about me and my needs were seriously epic. I was hundreds of miles away from Munch, and having a break from being responsible for her was as satisfying as burping after drinking soda too fast. It made me realize just how emotionally taxing it is to always have someone else on your mind. To be constantly worrying about them, and wanting to make sure they are okay. It is like Munch is a fascist dictator of my brain and heart. But it is not her fault! Well sort of, because she is really demanding…. But I blame the biological and psychological bond of motherhood more because holy fuck is it intense. Thanks a lot nature!

    On day three, The Munch was missing me so I talked to her on the phone. She was crying and telling me she wanted me to come back – but I got her laughing so then she was fine. Although I was momentarily sad that Munch was sad, it was also amazing talking to her on the phone because I never really do that either. There aren’t a lot of opportunities because we aren’t usually away from each other for that long. Yet having a phone call with my kid only further reinforced the truth of how the physical separation between us is only increasing as she ages. The attachment of those baby years is no longer, and now our relationship will have to withstand distance. Munch and are only going to grow farther apart because her life will take her away from me at times, as will mine. We can’t be together every moment of every day, so the journey then turns into staying emotionally connected even when we are not in each other’s faces.

    There is a certain beauty of loving someone so much you yearn for them. The Munch missed me because I have been the anchor of her life, and I represent so much in terms of love, safety, and security. Yet soon The Munch will crave independence, and want to get away from me. It is probably then that I will miss her desperately and call crying, but she will be like “Ugh… thank god I am away from my mom so she can stop fucking writing about me for five minutes.” But fuck you future Munch because I will write about that phone call so you can’t escape me!

    When I got home Munch was sooooo happy to see me that it actually made me tear up. She kept hugging and kissing me – telling me how much she loved me. I felt so honored to mean so much to this precious person. I was totally humbled by how much I adored her, and how lucky I was to have this tiny tyrannical human in my life. I held Munch in my arms and knew that every moment, even the hardest ones, were totally profound because of the depth of our love. Then of course she got mad at me because I wouldn’t let her watch “My Little Pony,” and I started planning my next trip.

    didn't-miss-you-blog-(i)

    September 22, 2014 • 4 years old, Adventures, Mommy Mind, Mommyhood, Parenting, Relationships, Working Mommy • Views: 1281