3 years old

  • Risky Risk Taking

    I like taking risks.  If something is potentially precarious – it interests me.  Not that my middle name is danger or anything, it is actually Olga, but my point is that testing boundaries is something I want to do.

    The Munch is naturally more cautious than I am.  Maybe that is because she is 3, and doesn’t have anything to prove, but I also think her disposition is more reserved.  In many ways I respect people who take a more restrained approach to life, but I also think there is something to be said about jumping off into the abyss without a parachute… it might hurt when you land.

    The most important thing you can do in life is fail.  Then you know you can deal with it.  Yeah it might suck to try really hard at something and not succeed, but once you get through the disappointment it is easier to try again. The key is not becoming disheartened when things don’t go your way, or fail continuously because you keep making the same mistakes.

    Yet because The Munch is innately more careful, it makes me want to push her outside her comfort zone.  Maybe push is too strong a word.  How about aggressively shove? I feel like when I encourage the daring side of Munch, it shows her the potential that lies beneath her carefulness.  It is always really rewarding to see the expression on her face when The Munch surprises herself with what she can do.

    Not that The Munch is doing backflips off mountains or anything – but check out the risks she is taking in her architecture!!


    April 15, 2014 • 3 years old, Behavior, Parenting, Playing • Views: 1819

  • Raising a Revolutionary

    I recently launched a podcast called “The Overshare Show.” As you may have noticed, I tend to overshare my shit. Not literally.  I keep my feces to myself – I am not a chimpanzee. I mean I share the thoughts that go on in my skull.

    I recently released a podcast with Billy “Upski” Wimsatt, who is a long-time organizer and writer. (Every time I say the phrase “long-time” I think of the song “me so horney,” so that just happened.)

    Billy wrote a book called “No More Prisons” which I read when I was 20 and it changed my life – not in a cliched way. His book actually changed the way I think about the world.

    Before reading Billy’s book, I didn’t ask a lot of questions and more often than not, believed what adults told me to believe. Not much critical thinking. It never occurred to me that history was slanted or the news was corrupt. It feels so crazy and naïve to admit that now. If I could travel back in time, I would shake myself like a British nanny.

    For the past 14 years of my life, I have questioned information nearly to the point of insanity. I sometimes wish I could have a more trusting relationship to the systems that govern us. That would be a way more peaceful existence than the inner turmoil which currently plagues me.

    I interviewed Billy because he is a new dad and I was curious to explore the idea of parenting as a form of activism.  Since becoming a mother, I often fall short when it comes to educating myself about what’s going on in the world both because shit is so goddamn depressing and the concept of free time is a distant memory. I don’t mean my time on earth, well I do, but I really mean the actual time I have to do activist work.

    That is obviously an excuse. I could make time to volunteer. Considering that all the Arctic ice will be gone in the NEXT TWO FUCKING YEARS, maybe I should go up there RIGHT FUCKING NOW with ice trays. We are at a moment in human evolution where we are standing on the edge, not of glory but doom.

    If the next generation does survive despite the environmental annihilation, the methods with which  future generations are raised will have to be exponentially more intentional. Am I being dramatic for thinking that? Do I get an Oscar if I am?

    One of our primary responsibilities as parents is being conscious of the values we share with our children. Everyone has different priorities, but raising The Munch to have a revolutionary spirit is on the top of my list. Not necessarily so she takes up arms for combat, but so she doesn’t accept injustice. I hope The Munch challenges systems and infrastructure which she sees as oppressive. I pray that her moral code will be colored by love as it informs her behavior towards others and this planet we all call home. To me a revolutionary is one who demands true righteousness and equality. Not in a hokey, hippie way while wearing hemp necklaces and taking bong hits. In a way that is more evolved than I have ever been.

    Check out the podcast HERE!  http://overshareshow.com/episode/raising-a-revolutionary.html



  • Why Twerking Is Here to Stay

    I was minding my own business this morning.  Going through my Facebook feed like a normal person.  Scrolling down the page as I dived further into my own self-loathing.  And I saw a link to a video that caught my attention.  “Russian Girl Twerks Better (Go Home Miley Cyrus You’re Drunk).”

    I thought to my self “Hey, maybe what I need right now is to see a Russian girl twerk. That ought to wake me up, because this tea just aint doing it!”

    For one minute and thirty seconds I watched as this woman’s derrière bounded around  the room in a rhythmic fashion, and it was almost like a meditation.  The rest of her body was comparably still against the bouncing ball of her rump.  It had a calming effect. I felt at peace.  And then one thought scurried through my mind like a tumbleweed.  “I bet this girl is not a virgin.”

    Besides the metrical nature of twerking, it is also quite effectively simulating how the practitioner would have sex.  Her throbbing movements are easily imagined in a bedroom setting.  Of course men are attracted to this style of dance, as they can easily envision their pelvis underneath hers.

    There is effort and skill in the pulsing pubic undulations that the twerker administers.  It reminds the observer of how when you first start sleeping with someone, they put a lot of effort in – before the love-making gets lazy and redundant.  The twerker is the visual manifestation of sexing like you care.  So of course women are going to continue to twerk…. because the pulsations are a beautiful mating dance.


    April 9, 2014 • 3 years old, Current Events, Musings • Views: 4350

  • The East German Spy

    What motivates you to do the right thing? Is it the integrity of your own moral compass?  Are you totally consistent with the values you espouse, and what you do in your private life? Or does accountability and having someone observe your actions inspire more honorable behavior than when you are alone?

    I like to think of myself as having consistent ethics.  I am to be a considerate thoughtful person who cares about others and the planet I exist on.  But… sometimes I get lazy. I try to take the easy way out, even when I know I am being kind of a dick.  Yet lucky for me, The Munch is an East German spy, and will tell on me if I ever stray from being a thoughtful human being.

    That is the thing about children.  They don’t see the gray areas of life.  Once you do something one way, they believe that is the way it has to be.  As much as I want to have a clear code of conduct that I expose The Munch to, sometimes she catches me in a weak moment.

    Example 1: Munch and I went grocery shopping.  After we walked across the entire parking lot, I unloaded our food into the car and gingerly pushed the cart out of my way.

    Munch: Mamma, aren’t you going to put the cart back?

    Toni: Ummm I did Munch.  I am putting back over here in the parking lot.

    Munch: But that is not where it goes!  The cart goes over there! All the way over there.  Back where the other carts are Mom.  You see!?  All the way wayyyy over there.  That is where you have to bring it!

    Toni: Thanks dude….

    Example 2: I was cleaning up the kitchen and felt too languid to wash out a glass jar – so I put it in the recycling bin even though it was dirty.

    Munch: Mamma, what are you doing?

    Toni: I am putting this jar in the recycling.

    Munch: No Mom! It has tomato sauce on it!

    Toni: I know, but I left it out for too long and now the sauce is crusty and I have to find a special sponge to scrub it off.

    Munch: But you have to wash it!

    Toni: Sigh… Munch they will wash it at the recycling center.

    Munch: But Mamma! You have to wash it here! So it is not messy!!

    Toni: Fine.


    April 8, 2014 • 3 years old, Behavior, Family Drama, Musings, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 1814

  • Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

    The most potent motivating force to get someone to do what you want is appealing to their ego.  It is a fail-safe strategy of manipulation – one that takes years of mastery to cultivate the proper nuanced approach.  Yet somehow, my 3-year old has already conquered this meticulous skill.

    Being around my kid is kind of like hanging out with a drunken college girl.  She is ceaselessly needy and has absurd requests.  As such, a lot of her demands I refute – because they are not only illogical, but also take extreme effort on my part.  Call me crazy, but sometimes you just want to hang out and not have to catch someone who is falling backwards off a 10-foot ladder.

    Despite my best efforts to dissuade annoying requests by appealing to The Munch’s sense of rationale, she has combatted my exertions with targeted, insidious, flattery.

    For example:

    Munch: Mamma, will you lift me high up onto the seesaw?

    Toni: Dude, that makes no sense.  Let me just push it down, and you can climb on yourself.

    Munch: But I want to get on the high part.  Where it is way way way way high up there!

    Toni: Yeah, but the second I put you up there, your weight is just going to push it down because those are the laws of physics.  That is how a seesaw works.  Your desire for me to put you up on the high one, rather than just climbing on the low one, is totally counter productive.

    Munch: But Mamma, you are so strong.  You have these big strong arms and can just lift me up there so easy.

    Toni: Well, in that case.


  • Maybe I Just Need Lower Expectations of You

    Lately I have been fantasizing about how emotionally satisfying it would feel to throw my child… while she was still in the air of course. I don’t want to her to hit the ground.  I just want to toss her out into the ether, so she floats away like the ever-expanding universe.

    Here is the problem with parenting for me right now.  The Munch has the capacity to be so insanely sweet and cute it is unbelievable.  For example, the other day she said to me, “Mamma, when we hug, my heart goes into your body, and your heart comes into my body.  Your heart is in my chest, and mine is in yours, so I will love you forever and ever.” I mean is that not the most endearing thing you have ever heard?

    Yet at the same time, she also can be the biggest dick! It was one thing when she was a toddler and I had really low expectations.  Yet now The Munch is more of a kid, and I keep thinking that we are past certain stages of behavior. At times she exhibits such compassion, empathy, and kindness that I naively believe that this is just who she is now.  A semi-reasonable being that understands the need for compromise.  So when The Munch is a selfish asshole it makes me feel like “What the fuck! We are back here again!?”

    Her crappy attitude shocks me back into the reality that raising kids can blow.  The Munch’s outbursts are also more extreme then in the past.  She is trying on all sorts of new ways to express her discontent, including stomping her feet while giving me the stink eye.  I don’t know where she gets the foot stomping death look, but it is insanely annoying.  She is also more physically aggressive, pushy, and grabby when she is pissed, which is about as cute as a hemorrhoid on a baboon’s ass.

    I am trying out some new strategies in an attempt to inspire a less prickish side of her personality.  Most recently I have been thinking that having real discussions are a way to go.  You see, The Munch seems to be operating with a lot of assumptions about the world that I feel like are creating an entitled perspective.  I get the sense that she believes I do things for her because I owe it to her.

    Munch: Mamma put on my Cinderella dress before I eat breakfast!!

    Toni: Munch, that is no way tot talk to your mamma.  If you want me to help you, it is important to ask for things nicely.


    Toni: Listen. I actually don’t have to help you put on your Cinderella dress at all.  Nor do I have to make your breakfast.

    Munch: Yes you DO have to do that!

    Toni: No I don’t.  I make the choice to do things that will make you happy.  I make the choice cook you breakfast. I make the choice to look out for your needs.  I don’t have to do any of those things.

    Munch: YES YOU DO.

    Toni: I really don’t.  I do stuff for you because I love and care about you.  I want you to be happy.  But I don’t have to do any of it.  I choose to.

    That idea kind of blew her mind.  She was quiet for a moment and thought about the reality of what I said.  I don’t know if she can fully comprehend it, but at least a seed was planted.

    Then later she was having a total freak out because she wanted chips and hummus and I didn’t have any.  I offered her alternatives, but nothing was good enough.  She finally acquiesced to chips and pesto, but then didn’t like the way I presented it.  She had wanted me to put the pesto in a bowl, and not spread it on the chips.  SO I was like “hey kid, it is all going to be the same once your chew it and its in your stomach!!!”

    Toni: Munch, you can’t always have everything exactly they way you want it.

    Munch: But I wanted the pesto in the bowl so I could dip it!

    Toni: You didn’t tell me that, so I didn’t know that was what you wanted. I did the best I could, making you something I thought you would like.

    Munch: But I want it in the bowl!!

    Toni: It is not going to happen today.  You can either have what I made you, or you can have nothing.

    Then of course she yelled and screamed and cried… When she finally calmed down I tried to explain that her particularity about food comes off as really ungrateful for all the bounty in her life.

    Toni: Munch, do you know that there are little children all over the world who go to bed hungry.

    Munch: Well why don’t their mommies s give them food?

    Toni: Because their mommies don’t have enough money to buy food.

    Munch: Well we have money.  We should buy them food.

    Toni: Yes we should.  That is a good idea.  But is also important to acknowledge how lucky you are.  You have food everyday.  And it may not be exactly what you want all the time, but you are never hungry and there is always something for you.

    Munch: You are really lucky too mom.

    Toni: You are right, I am.


  • Girlie Guns

    It turns out that boys aren’t the only ones being marketed to in order to propagate ideas of violence and war.  Now your little girls can get in on the action of mocking murder!  Hooray!

    In this NYT article, it discusses how there is a huge financial opportunity to capitalize on by creating faux deadly toys for girls – that sparkle of course.  You know how bitches love bedazzling things.  Thanks to movies like The Hunger Games and Divergent, girls are now interested in mimicking warriors with pink weaponry.

    “Toy makers have begun marketing a more aggressive line of playthings and weaponry for girls — inspired by a succession of female warrior heroes like Katniss, the Black Widow of “The Avengers,” Merida of “Brave,” and now, Tris of the book and new movie “Divergent” — even as the industry still clings to every shade of pink.

    Zing’s Air Huntress bows and sling shots (Slogan: Ready. Aim. Girl Power!) account for more than a quarter of the company’s sales in a little over a year on the market. A pump-action “cheetah shooter” from the Marshmallow Fun Company is bathed in pale pink with darker spots and fires mini-marshmallows.”

    For sure! Nothing says “girl power” like pretending to kill!

    I haven’t seen the Hunger Games, but maybe these toy manufacturers are missing the message. I always thought it was a commentary about the Orwellian state of Big Government, not a call to arms for our youth.

    Call me a pussy pacifist hippy, but maybe we don’t need to encourage war, violence, and murder with either gender?  Sure it is normal for kids to feel aggression.  We all have rage inside of us – just ask the steering wheels in our cars.  It is fine to need outlets to express anger, but why does that mean simulating battle?  Why go through these extreme measures to glorify one of the most barbaric ways we treat each other?  War isn’t a game, it is an accepted form of mutual mass murder between nations

    Can’t we start developing peaceful toys so we can instead promote a world that is I don’t know… PEACEFUL?? Like a super fun Gandhi staff, or a Martin Luther King dream kit?



    March 26, 2014 • 3 years old, Behavior, Education, Parenting, Playing • Views: 2724

  • Am I an enabler, or as compassionate as a Buddhist Monk?

    Kids can have serious control issues. At times, being around The Munch is like living with Mussolini.  Yet I am sure in The Munch’s world, she feels like I am the dictator. Children are constantly being told what they can and cannot do, so when they feel a sense of autonomy, it can become an obsession.  Or at least that is how I am rationalizing my child’s compulsive behavior.

    There are many ways where The Munch displays her domineering ways, but it manifests most clearly in her appearance.  She’s hyper opinionated about what she wears, down to every possible accessory. There is nothing on The Munch’s body that she doesn’t vet first.

    At first I was like “wow, this is fucking annoying.”  Mainly because Munch insists on wearing the same thing everyday.  You would  think that would be convenient, but it is also pretty gross.  Not to mention I get sick of seeing her in the same outfit day after day, because it creates this time warp in my head.  I have no sense of time passing because every memory in the last 3 months The Munch is wearing the same fucking thing.  Yet it was too much a battle of the wills to make her wear what I wanted her to.  So now my strategy is to buy two of everything (whenever possible) and allow whatever phase she is in to play itself out.  It’s too stressful trying to fight about something as ultimately unimportant as clothes. I figure as long as the egg stains are from today (or at most yesterday) all is okay. The problem is, however, not everything Munch wears she can put on herself the way she likes it.  Which means that her fixation becomes my problem.  Case in point: the hair “clippy.”

    The Munch likes to wear a barrette to keep her hair out of her eyes.  This is reasonable enough, yet she likes her “clippy” situated in a very particular way. Said “clippy” has to be snug enough where it doesn’t lift off her scalp when she touches it. The “clippy” also has to be “tight” –never “floppy.”  If the “clippy” is “scrumbled” in any way, it then has to be repositioned by me… no matter what I am doing.

    Many activities “mess up” the “clippy,” such as jumping on the bed, playing on the couch, running, biking, dancing, crying, walking, drawing, sitting quietly reading a book, watching a video on the computer, and being exposed to air. Sometimes I can put on the “clippy,” and it will have to be immediately reapplied because it got “droopy” in the moment between my fingers clasping the “clippy” and when they moved back to what I was doing.

    There are days when I cannot count the number of times I have to clip the god damn “clippy” in The Munch’s goddamn hair – and that is not because I am bad at math.  Yet even though this is an interruption in my life, it is also not that big of a deal.  It takes about 4 seconds.  All of which is to say it’s hard for me to say no to her endless demands.  So here is my question.  Am I enabling her neurotic behavior by helping The Munch, or am I being compassionate because I too know what it is like when your hair is just not right?



    March 24, 2014 • 3 years old, Behavior, Family Drama, Parenting, Toddler Thoughts • Views: 2380

  • The Classic Grocery Store Meltdown

    One of the most embarrassing things that can happen when you are a parent is your kid having a total fucking breakdown at the grocery store.  I know this because I have been witness to many a meltdowns, and totally judged the shit out of the mom or dad whose child was screaming and pounding the floor.  I was like “those parent’s suck and that kid needs to get a grip” as I perused the cereal aisle.

    Yet eventually, you are that parent.  You are the one everyone is looking at, thinking that your child is a monster.  The more I try to be calm and reasonable, the more my kid loses her mind because she can’t get what she wants.  At home this happens all the time, and I can wait out the tantrum – but in a store I have to accept the fact that my parenting is on display for everyone to criticize.

    The longer it goes on, the longer both you and your kid look like assholes.  So what do you do? Do you give in to save face? Or stick with the “no you can’t have that” rationale because you don’t want to buy your child crap just because they want it.

    Recently I experienced this humiliation for the first time, and it was all over Welch’s grape juice.  What Welch’s was doing at this organic hippy coop is beyond me, but The Munch really wanted to buy some.  Yeah, okay… you are probably thinking, “what the hell is the big deal about grape juice?” – but to me there is so much that pains me to purchase a product like that.  Yet trying to explain my logic to The Munch while she publicly wept was pretty much a lesson in futility.

    Toni: No Munch, we can’t get that kind of juice.  We can get a different kind instead.


    Toni: Dude, we really can’t.  I will buy you this grape juice instead.


    Toni: Listen, that grape juice has GMOs.  It is made with high fructose corn syrup.  I just can’t support that company.


    Toni: There is no way we are supporting that company. Listen, I will get you grape juice.  I have no problem with you drinking grape juice – just not that brand.


    Toni: Munch, it isn’t even juice.  It is like 10% juice – if that. It is grape essence flavored with chemicals and environmental suffering.


    Toni: You can’t ask me to buy this.  We can’t spend our money supporting this company.  It is giant food conglomerates like Welch’s that are annihilating the planet with their monoculture approaches to farming… and don’t even get me started on the pesticides. Don’t you care about the bees? Listen, I know you want this kind of grape juice, but Mamma will never buy it.  I am doing this for you… so our food system is not totally corrupted and there is a slight chance of human survival.  Don’t you want to have a future that isn’t a nuclear waste land ruled by robots?


    Toni: So does this one Munch.  The nice organic one that is 7 times more expensive also tastes super yummy…