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  • Baby Xanax For Planes

    Anytime I get on a plane and realize I’m going to be sitting next to a toddler, a piece of me dies. Not that I don’t like kids – well fine I don’t really like other people’s kids at all. Especially when trapped next to one for 6 hours while inside a tube of metal that’s flying through the air. Probably why someone needs to manufacture “Baby Xanax for Planes.”

    The other day I was on a plane and across the aisle from me was a dad with his 2-year old daughter. This guy’s wife and other daughter were seated at the back of the plane, so he was on daddy duty. The little girl was playing quietly, and I was actually kind of impressed. It seemed like a sweet seem. They were a cute little family – until they weren’t.

    As the plane was ready to take off, the little girl started to freak the fuck out. She wiggled out of her seatbelt, and started screaming about how she wanted to find her mom. But since we were about to FLY THROUGH THE AIR, this was not allowed.

    Obviously I have a kid, and am totally aware that children have tantrums during inopportune circumstances. Every parent has experienced a massive meltdown that is mega embarrassing, and really poorly timed. Even though I have endless compassion for this kind of chaos, what I was witnessing was also really annoying the shit out of me. Not the kid crying. That was fine. But how the dad was reacting.

    He had a backpack that was FILLED with different toys, amenities, snacks, iPads, and from what I could tell – a goddamn amusement park. I have never seen anyone better equipped in my life, but I realized, he was actually too prepared.

    He kept offering the kid things to placate her, but she had way too many things to choose from. She had 700 different flavors of granola bars, 400 coloring books, 62 dolls, and half a million arts and crafts covered in glitter.

    It was like a rapid-fire list of indulgences he kept proposing to her.

    Airplane Dad: Honey do you want to color? Play a game? Watch this cartoon? Watch that cartoon? Have some candy? Eat a gluten-free gluten bar?

    The more ideas he was suggesting, the more agitated the kid was getting. All the while, every passenger was like, “sit the fuck down in your seat kid, so we can get this plane in the goddamn air.” We were next in line to take off after an hour of taxiing. This was NOT THE TIME TO DICK AROUND LOOKING FOR MOMMY! WE GOT TO GO!

    The fight attendant tried to intervene, but this kid was not having it. She refused to get back in her seat, and obviously we couldn’t fly until she did.

    As this dad started to prepare a filet mignon in an attempt to seduce his kid into sitting in her seat, I thought maybe rather than staring and judging, I should try and do something to be of assistance.

    Toni: Can I help you?

    Airplane Dad: No.

    He then literally presented her with a rodeo clown riding a pony, but her discontent still couldn’t be satiated. The only thing he didn’t try doing was saying, “Hey sweetie-pie – why don’t you sit the fuck down because the plane is going to fly through the air and if you slow down that process from happening, we will be executed by the other passengers. So take this lollipop and shut up. ”

    In our first world, irrationally materialistic, overly excessive, excessively abundant culture – we have wayyyyy too much shit. Yeah you may feel like you’re being a good parent when you give your child everything they could possibly want including a vile of dragon blood to entertain them, but you actually aren’t doing them any favors. Of course we have good intentions when wanting to indulge our kids, but that undermines their vast ability to imagine. Or find a wooden stick and hoop interesting.

    Humans don’t do well when presented with too many options. It’s like our wires get crossed and our brain frizzes. We actually do better with boundaries and limited options. It is easier to make decisions when there is less on the table.

    So the next time I take The Munch on a trip, I am just going to bring a box of toothpicks for her to play with. She may resent me at first, but then maybe, just maybe, she will quietly enjoy the plane ride while playing with good old “toothpick man.”

    Look how fun!!

    toothpick_person_by_tiemiosho

    March 9, 2016 • Behavior, Disciplining, Parenting, Toddling • Views: 1199

  • The Heartbreak of a Broken Heart

    Do you remember your first broken heart? Did it feel like someone peeled back the layers of your skin only to pry their fingers deep into your aorta, and scrape the inner walls of your ventricles with their nails? Were you writhing in agony as the seething suffering traversed your veins and settled into a cantankerous cavity hidden inside the bowels of your being? ME TOO!!!

    My heart was broken for the first time when I was 15. He told me we lived too far apart, and he couldn’t be my boyfriend anymore because he wanted to finger-bang other girls. I wasn’t just devastated… I was destroyed. Forget the fact that I had another boyfriend who went to my school. The loss was too profound to bear. I would think of him every night when I went to sleep, and he was the first thing on my mind when I woke up. I sometimes wouldn’t leave my house in hopes that he would call. (The tragedy of being a teenager in the 90’s, pre cellphones *tear). I thought of him obsessively, and would look for him in any crowd I was in. It took me an entire year to move on emotionally, and of course as soon as I got over him, he was like “let’s date again,” – so we did.

    Being broken hearted is a helpless and vulnerable feeling because it is rooted in rejection. No matter how the other person tries to rationalize their reasoning, the piercing truth is that they don’t want you. That sinking reality is so painful because it also digs at the core of your self-esteem. The ego becomes enmeshed with the heart. Not only is the object of your love leaving, but they are also scarring your sense of worth with their disinterest to stay.

    The Munch is going through her first experience with heartbreak, and it has been breaking my heart to witness her sorrow. Her baby sitter since she was one year old has decided to move on. We had a conversation about it last week, and I think at first Munch was in a state of shock or denial. She didn’t really mention it, so I was hoping maybe it would be a smooth transition. Then the other morning, Munch came in my room while I was meditating wondering what I had done with a picture her babysitter Liliana had drawn her. It had been hanging on the fridge, and I had taken it down. At first I didn’t want to admit that, and tried to claim I didn’t remember – but Munch kept asking me where it was.

    Toni: I took it down.
    Munch: Why?
    Toni: It made me sad to look at it.

    That was when everything hit her. Suddenly Munch had to face reality. She started weeping in my arms telling me how much she missed Liliana. I held her, and began crying right along with her. Her pain was so relatable. Of course wanting to discontinue employment as a babysitter is drastically different than ending a relationship – yet in Munch’s world, the sentiment is the same.

    Munch: I still want her to be my babysitter. I don’t like those things she said. They really hurt my feelings. I don’t want her to leave. I miss her. I can’t stop thinking about Liliana!
    Toni: I know baby. It is really hard. But people can’t always be who you want them to be. Sometimes they have to be who they want to be. And when you love them, you have to give them that space.
    Munch: But I miss her so much and I want to see her. I am so angry that she doesn’t want to see me any more. I want to be with her. My heart is broken. She broke my heart.
    Toni: It hurts, I know. But Liliana wants to go back to school. And we want her to be happy. She needs to find her happiness. Don’t you want her to do that?
    Munch: Yes, but I also want her to stay with me.
    Toni: It doesn’t always work that way baby. Sometimes happiness means you have to leave.

    We sat, talked, and cried. I didn’t want to talk her out of her feelings, because that seemed like a fruitless effort. We can’t rationalize our way out of loss. We have to go through it. The only thing I could do was to listen, and suggest different ways of seeing the situation. After a while, we got up, got dressed, and got in the car to go on an adventure. We decided that we would listen to music as loud as we could, and sing as loud as our voices would go.

    As I was driving I realized the universal truth of heartbreak. The other person is happier with out you. That is why they have to go. Suddenly I felt elated by this knowing.  Even though there is a sweet sadness, there is also hope. Your aching has meaning because the person you love is happier. Even though that bruises the ego, the true self wants the people you adore to find their bliss, even if it means they take a different path.

    I know Munch is still hurting from this separation. She will go through her iPod, find videos of her with Liliana, and then cry as she watches them. Although the tragic rawness is brutal to witness, I also respect that this is a process she has to go through in order to let go. All I know is that I considering Munch is only 4 and feels this deeply, I am seriously in for it when she is a teenager.

    heartbreak-blog-(i)

  • 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)

  • A Distraction From Life

    You know what blows? When you are really excited for something to happen, and it doesn’t go down the way you had planned. It is like experiencing emotional blue balls. You just want to release your joy all over the back of existence, but then some metaphoric knock pounds down the door to cock-block your bliss.

    Disappointment is probably the most dissatisfying emotion. At least if you are angry or sad there is some spice too it. You can punch walls, or weep until your eyes look like Bill Clinton’s. Yet when you are disappointed all you do is turn yourself inside out like dyslexic calzone – oozing cheesy self-pity all over the place, but too despondent to spread the sauce of your agony. There is a pathetic flavor to disappointment. You are inherently admitting anticipation that was squelched like a weed in a soybean farm sprayed with pesticides. There is nothing cool about being let down, because it shows you cared in the first place.

    Over the weekend I was going to host a dance retreat so some friends and I could spend our days dancing our asses off. Not in a twerking kind of way where we bounced our asses until they created so much friction they combusted, but in a sweet way. I like having women’s weekends where we eat copious amounts of kale, drink an absurd amount of tea, and talk incessantly about how we don’t need men – because if we discuss them constantly that means we totally aren’t thinking about them am I right?

    The first night I led a yoga class where we explored our 2nd Chakra. You know how bitches are all about opening up their hips and shit. That evening, while washing homemade hummus off the dishes, I told my friend I was going to bail on the morning Kundalini yoga adventure.

    My friend Sarah: NO! You have to go. That is part of the whole plan.
    Toni: I don’t know… it is just so early. I will just meet you guys back here when yo are done.
    My friend Sarah: Dude… it is one morning. We are all giving and we are all sharing our talents. Don’t be a wimp.

    So I womanned up and went to the class. The thing about Kundalini yoga, is that it is all about moving energy and going into the crevices of the body to address core issues. It is more intense than other kinds of Yoga, which is why it is both amazing and terrifying. Not everyday you are psychically prepared to look your inner demons in the face and have a conversation about your damaged childhood.

    I am pretty sure that on this Saturday morning, I just wasn’t in the mental state to get to the bottom of my self-loathing and inner rage. We did all these positons and exercises that felt equally freeing and constricting. As soon as we left the class and I got into my car, I knew my back was totally screwed up. I was like “FUCK! Who am I kidding? I am white! I am not supposed to face my emotions, but repress them deep inside my body until I eventually die of a heart attack. That is the American way!”

    We got back to my house and I tried to do the ballet class – but I could hardly move. I forced myself to continue through the crippling pain for 30-minutes because that is what New England people do, but then I had to lay down and admit defeat. I had fucked my shit up hard core. I could feel it in my back and my hips – if I was a rapper this could have been a pretty sweet Hip Hop song.

    I tried to stretch to release the spasms, but it wasn’t working. I fell down the staircase of frustration because I knew that my dance retreat was ruined. There was no way I was going to have spontaneous recovery and pirouette my way out of this. All my excitement about the weekend was transformed into feeling very very very sorry for myself.

    One of my friends is OF COURSE a hippy healer girl, so she came over to do some voodoo on me.

    Hippy Healer Friend: I am getting a message that part of your pain has to do with your daughter. Not sure exactly what, but that is the information I am receiving. Maybe some issues of violence?

    Ummmm…. WHAT THE DICK!? The last thing I wanted was some peaceful yoga hippy girl to think I was beating my child or something!!?

    Toni: Ummmm violence?
    Hippy Healer Friend: Well it doesn’t have to be literal violence. It could be emotional. Or spiritual. Anyway… don’t get attached to any of this. Just something to think about.
    Toni: Uhhhh yeah okay…

    Not sure if you have ever tried to peacefully receive a healing while at the same time stressing out about what your healer thought of you. But let me tell you… it is NOT as relaxing as it sounds.

    I tried to think about why those were the messages this serene chick was getting about me. It just seemed so extreme?! I mean, I guess I had admitted to her the night before how I let The Munch eat ice cream for breakfast. I some how rationalized this because she also had green beans. The Hippy Healer girl also witnessed The Munch watching Snow White. Maybe in her pristine child-raising world where her daughter thinks raisins are candy and screen time refers to some mediation practice, exposing my child to Disney and vanilla flavored sugar was a type of violence?? Maybe Munch also casually mentioned how we eat meat too! BUT IT IS ORGANIC FLESH FROM A LOCAL FARM OKAY!!???

    I wasn’t exactly sure that my pain had to do with The Munch, and was more convinced it was my philosophic quandary regarding the futility of existence. This relentless knowing that no matter what life path I choose, it will be fraught with bullshit and the same patterns of consciousness that oppress me today. How regardless of my efforts, I will continually make the same mistakes while I swirl in a spiral of mediocrity. Come to think of it, I would much rather contemplate my relationship to The Munch than that shit!

    So I thought about my child, and how so often she can feel like a distraction from life. Yet in truth, she is not distracting me from my life. The Munch is my life. Maybe The Munch thinks I am not showing her that enough?? Perhaps she feels that our time spent together, I am too distracted from all my blaming her for being the distraction.

    I felt sad. Even though I can’t live my life where every second of everyday is devoted to my child, I still want her to feel valued. I decided we had to have a discussion about this so I could get to the bottom of my back pain … ummm I mean, be a good mother to my kid and figure out how she was feeling.

    Toni: Munch, you know how Mamma’s back hurts?
    The Munch: Yeah….
    Toni: Well, my friend says it is not physical. She says my spine feels aligned. She thinks it is an energetic block from something emotional.
    The Munch: What is emotional?
    Toni: Like my feelings? She thinks my back hurts because of my feelings. She told me it has something to do with our relationship. What do you think about that?
    The Munch: I don’t know. Maybe your back hurts because you dance too much. Maybe you should stop dancing because it is so boring for me.
    Toni: Ummm well I love dancing so that is not going to happen. But what do you think about our relationship. Do you think I am a good Mamma to you?
    The Munch: Well sometimes. You always say “no” to me when I want more chocolate.
    Toni: Okay “more” chocolate… fine. But I have to do that. Seriously. Are there things you want me to do different? Is there ways I could be a better Mamma to you?
    The Munch: I don’t know. Maybe we just have to take care of each other more.
    Toni: Okay. That sounds like a plan.

    The next day, because I was hurt, I couldn’t do anything but relax. As a result, The Munch and I ended up spending 7-hours playing together with ZERO interruptions. We didn’t even leave the room we were in. I didn’t touch my phone. We just hung out – and rationed out a banana with peanut butter to survive. It was like we were in a vortex. Usually some thing breaks up your day, like going on an errand, or having some sort of obligation to do. Yet we were in this black hole of togetherness that nothing could penetrate.

    Things got kind of weird at times, we laughed, we fought, and she pretended to be a baby as I swaddled her in a yoga blanket. But it was amazing to just be present with her. I am not sure we have been like that since she was first born and I was high on all the new mom hormones. So even though it sucked my back hurt and I couldn’t dance for my retreat, it created the space for this memorable moment with the most important person in my life.

    distraction-blog

  • YOU WILL BE A FUCKING STAR

    I never had any talents as a kid. Wait – let me reframe that. I never had any cultivated talents. I could do some pretty cool stuff, like an impression of a seagull being attacked, but there was not intentional effort to make me excellent at any one thing.

    I dabbled in some lessons. I took tennis in the summer, and piano during the school year. But I was never truly committed to anything besides shoving an entire package of Big League Chew in my mouth. So I obviously had ambition, albeit misdirected.

    I would like to think I had potential to be good at stuff; it just wasn’t a priority within my family dynamic to explore what my hidden gifts might be. Part of me thinks I would have been an amazing astrophysicist but I never went to math camp. Thanks a lot mom and dad! Now I will never understand the space-time continuum.

    It is not that my parents didn’t care about me; they just didn’t give a shit. But in a sweet way. They did however give me the tools to one day have the motivation and confidence to eventually figure out my own skills. Like how amazing I am at making sandwiches. Hint: it is all about the layering.

    It is not like I am going to overschedule my 4-year olds life, because they need time to play and develop their imagination. Plus I am not that interested in driving Munch around places – it is a waste of gas. Plus I am selfish. But she does take dance twice a week and gymnastics twice a week, and then we practice what she learned at home. But in a fun way!! Seriously it is fucking fun!!

    Do I sound crazy because I am not!!

    I am not going to make my kid take classes if she hates them, but I want to expose Munch to disciplines and see what she is most passionate about. I think gaining abilities by working hard is life affirming. Having a connection to your body, as well as an artistic outlet, is a crucial part of being human. The more opportunities you have to be creative, the more you will connect to the artist inside your soul who is waiting to come out like a gay theater student in high school.

    So far, The Munch is into dance and gymnastics, and is pretty damn good if I do say so. I mean, she is not a prodigy or anything, but she doesn’t suck. It is not that I have a complex or anything, but I sure as shit am going to make sure that The Munch is A FUCKING STAR!!!!!!! My kid will excel at everything if it kills me!! Just kidding…. But no, seriously she will.

    Check her out… KILLING IT in gymnastics!

    star-blog-(i) star-blog-(i2)

    October 8, 2014 • 4 years old, Education, Musings, Parenting • Views: 19818

  • 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

  • Taking “No” For an Answer

    I do not take “no” for an answer. If I am trying to get a something done and people say “no” to me – I try a variety of different avenues. I keep insisting, literally and figuratively, until they say yes. It has been my common practice to push a “no” as much as I can until I get the answer I am looking for. GOOD THING I AM NOT A GUY!

    I think this tenacious way of being is rooted in the fact that once I set my mind to something, I want to see it through. When I have an idea, I believe in it fully and will pursue every angle possible to make my vision a reality – even if it is obtuse. If I took every “no” at face value, I wouldn’t be where I am today… alone, at my computer, wearing socks for gloves, and writing to you.

    There is also a cultural aspect at play. I have Hungarian blood, and they are very pushy people. The Hungarian way is to offer something 7 or 8 times before accepting a “no.” Even when I am trying to be polite, I will NEVER accept the first “no.” Let’s say if I offered you a piece of gum and you responded “no thank you.” I would then say “are you sure?” and you would be like, “yes I am,” then I would be all “not even to keep for later?” and then would be like “yeah I am fine,” and then I will be all “just take one for your pocket – you will want it at some point,” at which point you will acquiesce just so I stop asking. IT IS THE HUNGARIAN WAY!

    I have a very fluid understanding of what “no” means. I don’t think it is a definitive answer – I just think it means you have to work harder for a yes. HOLY CRAP I AM SO GLAD I AM A GIRL.

    Ready for the irony!!?? MY KID NEVER ACCEPTS NO FOR AN ANSWER EITHER!!? Of course I totally expect her to, and remain painful sour when she defies me. When you have a child, you want them to do everything you say not because it is best for the personality, but because it is easiest for you. The kid I want is not necessarily the adult I want Munch to be. I like the part of me that is persistent. I respect that quality in myself because it means I am dedicated. Yet it is driving me bat shit crazy in my kid.

    Ultimately, I don’t want my daughter to be a push over who fears challenging people. Those who avoid dissent end up being complicit to injustices they know may be wrong, but don’t know how to confront because they lack the confidence o stand up for what they believe in. I am not an advocate in ultimate authority. When you don’t question what you are told, you may easily become an unconscious follower – disconnected from your own value system.

    I think there is great danger in forcing people to do as they are told, which is articulated time and time again in a variety of arenas. Think of war torn areas where soldiers kill innocent civilians because of protocol. Or within the prison system where correctional officers all but torture inmates because they are following the status quo of prevailing dynamics. Obeying orders is not necessarily the right thing to do. People are easily corrupted by power, and one should never blindly trust commands.

    I want The Munch to mentally dissect what she is told, and make sure her actions are aligned with her moral compass… but when she is older. Can’t she just do every thing I fucking say for now?

    no-for-an-answer-blog-(i)

  • 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: 1428

  • 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: 1447