Cultural Commentary
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  • Baby as the Perfect Excuse

    I used to have a hard time saying “no.” The thought of knowingly disappointing someone was super difficult for me. Granted, this propensity got me into many a situation I wish I didn’t have to file in my memory banks… like the time I helped my friend put medicine on her grandmother’s infected boil, but it was easier for me to just go with it then let someone down.

    In the same vain, I was always overbooking myself. Having to be two places at the same time. Rushing from one commitment to the next. Beating myself up for being late. Feeling bad if I just wanted some time to myself to recuperate. It was like I was operating on hyper drive. Every minute of everyday was pretty much accounted for by personal or professional obligations.

    Now that I have a baby all that has changed.

    I am not saying I purposefully use my baby as an excuse, but she has without a doubt become the perfect excuse.

    For instance, the idea of being “on time” has become totally absurd. How can I say what time I will get anywhere when I don’t know when she will wake up from her nap, or if she has shit in her pants, or if she will want to eat, or if she will want to puke up what she ate and then shit her pants only to get hungry and want to eat again. I cannot predict that stuff. I can only say, “How about we plan for Thursday afternoon. Sometime between 2 and 5.”

    Or lets say I am somewhere and I want to leave. All I have to say is “the baby” and everyone is like “Yes, yes Toni. Of course. The baby.” Mind you “the baby” doesn’t not have to be prefaced by anything, I just have to say the “the baby” and it is reason enough. Same for not being able to go to something “Oh, I am sorry, I can’t. The baby.” And that is totally acceptable.

    So maybe having a baby hasn’t solved my life long problem of getting myself into situations like hosting an intervention at my house, but at least for now it is helped me to say “I can’t.”

    “Give my five minutes to put my make up on… oh wait… no… I just shit my pants”

    February 9, 2011 • 5-8 months, Mommy Mind, Musings • Views: 1843

  • Why It’s Okay To Talk To Your Baby Like a Dog

    You know that voice you use to talk to your pets right? It is usually high pitched, coated with sweetness, and veiled with adoration. It is your own little voice that you composed, and is reserved for those moments when you are communicating with your animal. Even the burliest man, with the most intimidating muscles, probably still softens his tone, irregardless of who he is in front of. It is like second nature.

    Interestingly, I find we talk to babies in a very similar way. Hence why we call them “baby voices.” (Yes, I do agree I am quite observant). Before I had a baby I didn’t picture myself using a “baby voice.” I thought that would be degrading. I would use my big girl voice.

    But you know why you talk to your baby in a baby voice? Because like your dog/cat/komodo dragon, that is how they know you are talking to them.

    Imagine what it is like for a baby to hear adults “blah blah blah” all day in their boring adult tone of voice. I bet they tune most of it out. There is not melody to it. But when you use your “baby voice” it distinguishes your voice, and the baby knows you are talking to them! The musicality seduces their little ears to pay attention.

    I think babies like to be talked to in baby voices. Of course I can’t interview her to prove this theory, but they way she smiles makes me think I am on to something.

    February 7, 2011 • 5-8 months, Mommy Mind, Musings • Views: 2247

  • Babies Have No Free Will

    As Americans, freedom is as important Krispy Kreme doughnuts. It is the thread of our national fabric. A concept worth fighting for, killing for, conquering other people and obliterating their freedoms for, setting up puppet regimes for… Freedom is a political platform. A buzzword to spice up the soup of rhetoric, the Byriani of debate. We elect presidents because they promise us more freedom… like the freedom to watch Bridalplasty and have drive thru gun shops.

    The ironic thing about this is that we begin our lives with virtually no free will. As a baby, we are complete subordinates to the whims of parents.

    “Oh you want to dress me up like a Zebra. Fine. What can I do about it? You think its funny to put dumb hats on me. That’s cool. You want to stuff me in this S&M contraption, buckle me into a moving vehicle, only to end up at the grocery store. Great. My favorite place. Woopdie freakin’ doo.”

    My baby has no control over her day, what she wears, when she eats, how long she has to sit around with shit in her pants. She is at my mercy. Her only protests are a cry, or grunt, and sometimes I don’t even understand what it is what she wants. I have been known to try to stuff a boob in her mouth when poo is seeping down her leg.

    “What are you dumb Mom? Wrong end bitch!”

    Maybe it is this dormant memory that makes freedom such an issue for our country. Maybe that is why the concept of a monarchy is so threatening to our collective tissue. Maybe the first settlers of America had really shitty parents?

    February 5, 2011 • 5-8 months, Mommy Mind, Musings • Views: 2885

  • Farts: A Humanitarian Cause

    My baby laughs at her farts. She knows that farts are funny. Not all farts mind you. My farts happen to startle her. But her farts, she finds hilarious. She doesn’t even need an audience to witness her accomplishment. In the morning when she thinks I am still sleeping she will let one rip and giggle to herself.

    What is it about our own farts that are so funny? Is it simply the sensation of air coming out of our assholes? Is it the noise? Is it the possibility that we may shit our pants? Living on the edge of unknown disaster? But she shits her pants all the time and doesn’t give a care. No. There is something deeper. Something more profound.

    Maybe it is that farts remind us of the absurdity of life. That we are imperfect beings no matter how we try to mask that fact with manners and social conventions. That farting is a part of what makes us human, what makes us vulnerable, even though we have conquered the planet with our nuclear technology. Maybe dropping a bomb in our pants while smirking to ourselves is the one thing that all humans have in common? Farting unites us in the simple fact that we are all organic beings who go through life making funny noises and smells, and all are one day going to die. Our mortality hidden in each SBD we try to blame on the dog.

    So what if we got all the men (and I guess women) together who are at war. The people of Egypt, the Middle East, The USA, Israel, Palestine, Africa… everyone who is killing or terrorizing each other. Lets get them all in a room and say this.

    Me: Hey, do you find your farts funny?

    The Warring People: Why yes. Yes. That is quite true. I do happen to find my farts quite amusing.

    Me: You know what? So does the guy next to you. So do all the people you are killing. They think their farts are funny too. Don’t you realize what this means? Can’t you see the people you are trying to destroy are just human beings who also enjoy their own stench? Doesn’t it make sense that we all embrace this ultimate similarity and work together to make sure the world is safe for our children to find joy in their own flatulence? (I would use that world because hey, this is a world meeting after all and I have to look smart).

    I mean, if my baby gets the joke why can’t the leaders of the world?

    (The Munch saying “Pull my finger!”)

    February 3, 2011 • 5-8 months, baby body, baby brain, Mommy Mind, Musings, Political Banter • Views: 1948

  • Is It Okay That I Want To Punch Suri Cruise in the Face?

    In my heart, I know it is not right to fantasize about dropkicking a child. I am well aware of the possibility that there might be something seriously wrong with me. It is not that I can’t stand Suri as a human being, because I don’t know her, it is what she represents that I detest.

    It is like Suri is the iconic embodiment for excessive American consumerism. There is nothing discreet about the fact she has already spent more in her few years on the planet than most people in their entire lives. If Suri Cruise is not the human manifestation of the misdistribution of wealth, then I don’t know what is.

    Maybe it is her million-dollar shoe collection? Or the fact that every picture I see of her she is shopping? Maybe it is because she is being so overtly conditioned into the stereotypical girl adorned with lipstick, heels, and the perfect polka-dot dress. Or the fact that she dresses better than me? Maybe I am totally reading into something I know nothing about, but I feel this moral vacancy shining off the pages of Star Magazine, mocking my contempt. I am not saying any of this is rational, and there is great potential that I am just jealous of her, but something about the way she is presented makes me want to barf.

    What am I doing reading trashy magazines you may wonder? Maybe it is a morbid fascination with those whose lives look infinitely funner than mine? Maybe it is the same thing that makes me think everyone on Facebook is happier than me and has a better time on vacations? Something about me wants to compare my life to pictures, and those pictures of Suri haunt my very moral fabric.

    Mind you, is not just because she is rich and has glamorous parents. I love Shiloh. I think all those like Brangie Brats are actually quite endearing. I would let The Munch play with them. But not with Suri my friends. Not with Suri. She probably would punch The Munch in the face for having such a bitch of a mom and then not let her try on her Louis Vuitton purse.

    But all judgment aside, the compassionate part of me feels for little Suri. She looks like she has never climbed a tree, or played in a puddle, or eaten her own boogers. There are hardly any pictures of her smiling. Maybe deep down in her Suri soul, she knows that her parents are wack for socializing her to look like such a little shit. Its not Suri’s fault. Maybe we should start a campaign to free Suri and let Brangie adopt her so she can live her bliss and feed her humanity!

    PS According to my Mom, Kourtney and Scott should stay together, because the Kardashians really suck ;o)

    February 2, 2011 • 4th month, Mommy Mind, Musings • Views: 2963

  • I Cannot Listen To The News

    I care about the world. I care about politics, the environment, social issues…I used to be an informed person. Not informed like read the New York Times everyday… more like watch John Stewart/Stephen Colbert type of gal. So fine, I didn’t have vast in depth knowledge about current events, but I knew enough about what was going on to have adult conversations. I even had opinions.

    Now, every time I try to educate myself with world happenings, I start to have an anxiety attack. All I can think is how the world is going to hell in a hand basket and my little girl is going to have to suffer through it. I literally start dry heaving and going into convulsions when I hear the news.

    I borrowed a car I didn’t know very well yesterday, and the radio was on NPR. I couldn’t change the channel because I was too spacey to figure out how to work the radio, plus it was dark out. Point being, I could not turn the damn thing off! As the announcer went on and on about toxic sludge, war, the economy, shootings, Egypt, I just about had an aneurism thinking about the world I had just birthed a child into. It was a 7-minute drive, but by the time I returned the car my eyeballs ached from an explosion of tears.

    When I was just a lone person, I knew the world was full of suffering. This is not a surprise to me, but I was the only one who had to deal with it. If I was fucked, so be it. But now that I have this little peanut to love, the thought of anything bad happening to her makes me feel overwhelmed with sorrow. I don’t want her to have to experience environmental devastation. Or a World War. Or no more animals save rats and cockroaches. Or the apocalypse of 2012! I just want her to have a beautiful life, and not grow up in a post-catastrophic world like The Terminator.

    Not that I am preaching ignorance, but right now, I feel like I have to maintain a naïve perspective that the world is an okay place. That humanity is going to prioritize its children rather than corporate interests and violence. That we are going to figure out how to work with the environment rather than against it. That Jersey Shore will continue for the next 30 years and Snookie will live forever.

    I guess once I have time again to start doing something besides staring at my baby all day, I better figure out what I can do to make sure of it!

    You would think the Munch looks worried about her future here right? Actually I had just told her a joke….
    Me: How Many hipsters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    The Munch: How many?
    Me: Oh its this obscure number you have probably never heard of
    The Munch: I already heard that joke partying with the MGMT in 2007

    February 1, 2011 • 4th month, Mommy Mind, Musings • Views: 2467

  • Girlfriend Type of Girl

    You know those girls who are like “I just get along with guys better. I don’t have a lot of girl friends…?” Well, I am not one of those girls. I love my girlfriends and want to put them all in a hot air balloon and sail away with them. Female relationships are super important to my mental merriment.

    Since I moved from NYC to New Hampsha, I had to leave a lot of my best friends behind. This of course pained my soul, not only because I will miss them, but also I want them to be a part of my baby’s life. I want her to have a harem of aunties… a coven of godmothers. I would love for her to have women in her life that she can turn to for advice when she wants to punch me in the face. I really feel like intergenerational relationships are so important, because as much as I don’t want to say it, you can’t always talk to your mom about everything. Especially when you want to talk about how much your mom sucks.

    Lucky for me, my closest friends have made such an effort to come visit me in the cuntree and get to know The Munch. It is so amazing to watch them love her, cuddle her, and make her laugh. (You know, just because your friends with someone, doesn’t mean they are automatically going to like your kid. There are some kids you just don’t like. Even though they are just kids, they are still people, and you just don’t like everyone. So thank the universe so far everyone seems to genuinely get along with Munchee).

    January 29, 2011 • 4th month, Mommy Mind, Musings • Views: 2510

  • Babies Live For The Moment

    As adults, we are often plagued by the idea of time. The past torments us with all the things we could have done differently, and the future terrifies us with all the things that could go wrong. I feel like all my talents of imagining I was a mermaid as a child, has been transformed into imagining all the things in my past/future that did/could give me anxiety.

    Your rational mind knows there is nothing you can do to change the past, and the future is undetermined so why fret? But how many fights have you gotten into with someone because of something they did months ago holding onto resentment like a lollipop? Or how many times do you find yourself freaking out about something that hasn’t even happened?

    I guess our emotional selves are really attached to this idea of past and future because our lives are so dictated by the collective time we all try to keep. Our concern with time is what keeps people organized, which benefits society as a whole. It would be kind of hard to get anything accomplished if everyone had the attitude “I will get there when the moment moves me to come.” Although an amazing way to live if we all lived in a commune, not so good for Day Traders.

    So I get it. I get why we have time as a way of keeping order for humanity, but as an individual human the concept of time can be quite daunting. I feel like it has an effect on our psyches. That is why vacations are so lovely. Not only because you are not working… but because it is a time in life when it doesn’t matter what time it is.

    But babies don’t give a care what time it is! Like our pets who we envy for their simple lives, they have no concept of time. All they have is the now… the present moment. Babies are like miniature Buddhas. Maybe that is why they think peekaboo is so damn funny? Because really… where the hell did you just go… and where the fuck did you just come from?

    Doesn’t She
    a) Look super blissed out and Buddha like?
    B) Look super hilarious that her arms hardly reach over her head?! Imagine if your arms were still that short!

    January 28, 2011 • 4th month, baby brain, Mommy Mind, Musings • Views: 3284

  • Extreme Parenting

    I would like to think of myself as a person who pushes boundaries. I like a physical challenge. I wouldn’t say I am a freebase jumping off a building type of girl… but I am definitely someone who would jump go cliff jumping, or swim across a lake, or climb a mountain in the dead of winter. I like to do things that others might think is intense, but I don’t do things that people think is outright crazy.

    Despite my propensity to test limits, since having a baby, the line has become a lot lower. The risk/reward factor has drastically decreased, because no adrenalin rush is worthy of putting The Munch in danger.

    So my when my friend sent me that picture of a mom tossing her baby over a ravine my first reaction was “what the fuck is wrong with her!?” All I could see was potential horror, making my stomach turn inside out like socks out of the dryer.

    Part of me thinks it is beautiful that these parents are hiking with their baby and exposing him/her to their passion of nature. But couldn’t you take the bunny trail? You don’t have to totally compromise yourself, but like it or not a baby does change your life. Can’t you tone it down a bit?

    It was similar to how I felt when I saw the “baby swinging yoga video.” When I first came across the title in an email I was all “awwwwww, this will probably be cute… baby swinging yoga.” But when I clicked on the video and saw a burly woman fluctuating a baby around like a nun chuck, all I could think was “what the fuck is that bitch thinking?” Do whatever potential benefits outweigh the risk of tossing your baby accidentally? I mean it is a human, not a purse you are swinging!
    (Check out the video… if you can’t make it through, go to the end and see how the baby reacts)
    Swinging Baby Yoga

    The video left such a strange taste in my mouth I had to eat a brownie. Okay fine… I just wanted a brownie. Part of me felt like that chick was insane, but part of me thought the baby did not seem to mind. There was a rhythm to the whole experience that I think provoked some sort of trance. Even though I thought Brunhilda looked like she could have flung the kid off into oblivion, or at least dislocate a shoulder, they baby seemed malleable and pretty much going with the flow. Not that it had a choice.

    And maybe that is my problem. Not that these people are seriously extreme with their childrearing techniques, but the baby’s have no say in any of it. But my baby doesn’t have a choice either when I put her in a car to go grocery shopping… and maybe that just as life threatening?

    I then got an article interviewing the “baby swinger” who pretty much had a totally different cultural view on what she did. She said that she has been swinging babies for decades, and swung the shit out of her two daughters who know can communicate with dolphins and translate Sanskrit in their sleep.

    Children Who Survived \"Swinging Baby Yoga\"

    I guess at the end of the day it is hard to judge another person’s parenting. Maybe it is all about intention? If you fully believe what you are doing is the best thing for you baby, then maybe it is? But if your actions are veiled with your own selfish agenda, then maybe it is time to prioritize your baby over yourself? At least until they are old enough to tell you if they think you are totally nuts.

    January 27, 2011 • 4th month, Mommy Mind, Musings, Parenting • Views: 4515