Toddler Thoughts
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  • A Little Real and a Lot Pretend

    Yesterday The Munch had a really high fever.  I think fevers are kind of freaky.  I find it terrifying that your body is boiling from the inside, yet you are freezing on the outside.  It is like an evil paradox from another dimension of torment.  If I were ever in a hard-core metal band I would call it The Freaky Fevers and have a girl bassist, and a kangaroo on the keys.  Just saying.

    I knew I was in for a night of suffering with my sick Munchee – not just hers, but mine as well.  I could tell when I put her to bed that The Munch was going to be up all night.  She was just such a sweaty mess that there was no way she was going to sleep peacefully.

    She woke up about 3 times between 8:30 and 11.  I would have to rock her back to sleep, holding her close to my chest, which was a lot like cuddling a warm squid.  Eventually I would get her back in her own bed, but she would wake up again calling for me.  At around 1:30 I couldn’t take getting up anymore, so I brought her into my bed.

    Sleeping with a toddler is a lot like sleeping with the enemy.  They kick, steal all the covers, and will only lie in the middle of the bed so you have about 6 inches for yourself.  Plus she was blistering hot and I was worried about her.  It was hard not to feel consumed by anxiety and feeling calm about the fact that she was on fire… and not in a fun Alicia Keys kind of way.  It would take me forever to fall asleep, and when I finally would, The Munch would wake up again crying because she felt like bear shit.  But strangely she had very refined manners in this state of intense illness.

    Munch: Mamma, please cuddle me.  I don’t feel well.

    Toni: Okay, would you like some water?

    Munch: No thank you Mamma.

    Toni: Do you want to lie on my tummy?

    Munch: Yes please Mamma.  Thank you.

    At one point at around 4:00 am she woke up very upset and confused.  I couldn’t console her, and she seemed really distraught.  I brought her back into her room to rock her, and after 20 minutes, finally brought her back into my bed.  Once The Munch realized she was in my room she started to panic, so I put her on my tummy yet again.  I had assumed her episode was because her fever got intense, but I guess something else had been going on.

    Munch: Mamma, what were those things?

    Toni: What?

    Munch: What were those black things in your room.  They were really scary.

    Toni: What black things?

    Munch: They were in your room and they scared me.  One was over there, and the other was close to us, by the bed.

    Toni: I didn’t see any black things. Where you dreaming? Did you have a nightmare?

    Munch: Where those things real, or pretend.

    Toni: They were pretend sweetie.  I think you were dreaming.

    Munch: They were really scary.  They scared me a lot. But they didn’t scare you.  I started to cry, and that scared them too.  But Mamma wasn’t scared.

    Toni: I am now.

    Munch: What?

    Toni: Nothing sweetie.  Don’t worry okay. They were just pretend.

    Munch: Those things scared Munchee a lot.

    Toni: You don’t have to be scared.  They were just pretend.

    Munch: They weren’t real?

    Toni: No, I promise

    Munch: Maybe they were a tiny bit real, but mostly pretend?  Like a little real, but a lot pretend?

    Toni: You are probably right.

    Yeah, so no way I was going to sleep after that! I felt like I was in the movie The Ring.  My child was seeing inter-dimensional demons that were going to eat my brain. What the hell were those black things in my room!

    a-little-real-a-lot-pretend-blog-(i)

  • Life is Pain, Sweetie

    I really like The Munch.  I think she is pretty badass.  But damn – she can also be quite the drama queen.

    Kids hurt themselves a fuck of a lot.  They don’t watch where they are going, are easily distracted, and are just about eye-level of all table corners.  They are going to injure themselves at LEAST once a day, and in The Munch’s case she makes an event out of every instance as if she were auditioning for role of Lady Macbeth.

    Here is my conundrum. I don’t want to deny The Munch of her pain.  I think saying “oh never mind… forget it… you are fine” is demoralizing because it is telling your child how to feel rather than listening to what is actually going on.  But as much as I want to honor her life experiences, and for The Munch to understand her mind, body, and spirit in all its complexities – I also don’t want her to be a total pussy.

    One major mistake I made recently was letting The Munch watch the iPad after a particularly bad fall.  She was just in such a state of personal chaos… and I was super hungry for lunch.  The problem is that now she asks for the iPad when she is in pain like some possessed post-modern Pavlovian dog.

    Munch: WAAAAHHHHAAAA MAMMA IT REALLY HURTS! I NEED TO WATCH A MOVIE!

    Toni: Munch, no you don’t need to watch a movie.  Would you like me to give you a hug though?

    Munch: NO MAMMA NO!! I NEED TO WATCH CURIOUS GEORGE!! WAHHHHAHHHHAAAHHHHHAHAA!

    Toni: Sweetie, that is not going to happen.  But I can give you a hug, or I can tell you a story about the little girl named Adelia who fell and hurt herself?

    Munch: NOOOOO! I NEED TO WATCH CURIOUS GEORGE BECAUSE I HURT MYSELF AND THAT WILL MAKE ME FEEL BETTER!! WAHHHHAHAAAAHHHA!

    Toni: Munch, I know one time that happened, and that watching a movie helped you to feel better.  But that was a special occasion. I am not going to let you watch Curious George every time you hurt yourself.  That would be setting you up for disaster.  For the rest of your life you will turn to TV as a distraction from you pain rather than facing it head on.  I don’t want to create bad habits like that.

    Munch: WAAHHHHAAAAA BUT I NEED TO WATCH CURIOUS GEORGE SO I CAN FEEL BETTER!!!

    Toni: Munch listen to me.  Do you know who else hurts themselves?

    Munch: Who?

    Toni: Your cousin Calvin – he hurts himself.  And so does your friend Amelia.  Remember how she broke her arm?  And your friend Julien – sometimes hurts himself too.

    Munch: WAHHHAAAAHHHA!

    Toni: You see Munch, everyone hurts themselves.  It is a part of the human condition.  Life is pain sweetie.  And the challenge of existence is how you deal with that pain.  So you have to remember you are going to hurt yourself a thousand more times in life, and it is important to cope with pain with grace and humility.  So not every time you hurt yourself you have to get into a state of hysterics.  It is important to not be controlled by your suffering, but realize it will pass in time.

    Munch: Can I look at pictures on your phone then?

    Toni: Sure.

    I think I made my point 😉

    life-is-pain-blog-(i)

     

  • Who Made Me?

    I think most parents have ideas about what they want for their kids.  It’s almost impossible to cultivate a human, dedicate your life them, and not have expectations. For example you might want them to be happy, successful, motivated, intelligent, a lawyer, a doctor, a businessperson, an intellectual, the president, an artist, a philanthropist, rich, famous, or not living in your basement at 40 – eating Bugles and masturbating.

    I think above all else I want The Munch to be a questioner.  As long as she questions herself, society, culture, spirituality, life, she will be okay.  The truth of existence is that no matter what path you chose, it will inevitably feel mundane, soulless, and oppressive at times.  I think that is just the nature of reality.  But as long as you don’t get bored of your own mind, and question ever aspect of your being, you will always be in a state of evolution.

    I try to encourage Munch to think about the deeper issues of the cosmos, but she doesn’t always show that much interest in talking about the concept of the multiverse, or how perhaps all of life is just one giant electron blinking in and out of reality in an eternal feedback loop.  She in fact often changes the subject.  But the other day when The Munch and I we were walking to the sandbox she did give me some hope….

    Munch: Mamma, who made me?

    Toni: What do you mean?

    Munch: Like who made me? How was I made?

    Toni: Well, I made you.  In my tummy.  With your daddy’s love juice.

    Munch: And you made these arms for me so I could swing on swings?

    Toni: Yup, I sure did.

    Munch: And you made me these legs so I could run so fast.

    Toni: Yes…

    Munch: So you made me so I could be your special little girl and you could love me so much?

    Toni: Exactly.

    The Munch is becoming quite the little philosopher.  I mean, considering she is only 3, I think we are well on our way!

    who-made-me-blog-(i)

  • Finding The Space for The Sweetness in Life

    It’s hard not to feel the pressure to rush through life.  Sometimes I feel like I am racing through existence.  Always in anticipation for the next thing I have to do, or obsessing about all the things I haven’t done yet.  Living in the moment is an idea I strive towards, but if I am trying to live in the moment am I actually living in the moment, or just thinking about living in the moment?

    The time I spend with The Munch I go in and out of being totally present, and totally consumed by distractions.  My mind will wander into the recesses of worries, anxieties, and stresses, but then she will say something adorable, or do something endearing, and suddenly I am pulled back into the space of valuing this fleeting time with her.  It’s as if my consciousness crashes against myself like waves against the sand, and it is the tide of my child that draws me back.

    Every once in a while, I am able to abandon my mind and exist only in my heart – entirely at peace because I am not consumed by thoughts, but instead washed over by emotion.   It is those times that rather than trying to conduct life, I am observing it.  Like watching a play, and appreciating that I don’t know how the story will unfold.

    It is when I am in this state that The Munch can also totally be at ease, because she doesn’t have to energetically feel the existential angst of my adult psyche.  And then her child mind will come up with things like this to say to me while we are picking blueberries.

    Munch: I love you Mamma so much.  You are so nice, you give me everything, and you are so good at sharing with me.

    sweetness-in-life-blog-(i)

  • The Story of My Heart

    Telling stories is a huge part of the human experience.  We are always talking to each other about our days – or texting/tweeting/facebooking/blogging/instagramming.  It is almost a compulsion.  If you are in a relationship the first thing you ask each other is “how was your day” and then you will discuss it no matter how mundane.  “Oh honey, my day was fine.  I sneezed a bunch of times in the morning, and then I was driving behind this asshole who was going really slow.  But I didn’t pass him or anything.  Because that would be dangerous.”

    We read books/magazines/blogs and watch plays/movies /TV/youtube/Hulu/Netflix that all tell stories about people’s lives.  They don’t even have to be true, or remotely realistic, and we will still crave hearing them.  It is obsession.

    The art of story telling extends way beyond entertainment.  I may want to read or watch something to pass the time because I am bored, but in every story there is always some meaning I can apply to my own life.

    I mean sometimes it’s a stretch.  Like with such brilliant films as “Sharknado” which is a sci-fi flick examining what would happen if a bunch of sharks got stuck in a tornado and were then were spit back onto the earth at rapid speeds to eat the humans below.  I am pretty sure I am not going to be in that situation, but if I challenge my mind, I can always find some lesson or person to relate to.

    So you better believe that as a parent I am telling stories to The Munch all freaking day. And making them up on the spot is harder than you think.  There has to be some moral, or lesson to help teach her to be less of an asshole – and it has to be compelling.  I have been exercising the fuck out my imagination trying to keep up with all this.

    But yesterday I asked her to tell me a story, and this is what she came up with.

    Munch:  Mamma tell me a story!

    Toni:  Munch I have told you like 10,000 stories today.  You tell me a story.

    Munch:  Okay.  Once upon a time, I was running so fast. And I ran right into your heart.

    Toni:  You ran into my heart?

    Munch:  Yeah, and then I broke it!

    Toni:  Oh no! You broke my heart! Then what did you do?

    Munch:  I got out my Munchee tools, and I fixed it!

    Toni:  Phew! So you fixed my heart with your Munchee tools?

    Munch:  Yeah! Because you didn’t really know how it worked.  But I fixed it, and now it’s all better!

    Tell me that is not fucking profound!

    story-of-my-heart

  • Slightly Psychotic

    No one wants to think their child is a sociopath.  You never hear parents at the park saying “you know I really love my little Timmy, but I think he might grow up to be a sadistic murderer.”  You love your child and you want to see the best in them.  But recently I have been thinking that The Munch has some serious pathology going on.

    The Munch has a cousin Calvin, who she loves, and is her best friend.  They play together all the time, and have a lot of fun.  There is a lot of laughing, jumping, running, and crying because they don’t want to share.  You know, the same thing you do with your buddies!

    So of course kids have issues sharing toys.  That is pretty normal behavior.  Just as when one kid is playing with a toy, it immediately makes it more seductive to the other.  It is called the “live toy” phenomenon.  The idea that simply by giving a toy attention, it is then going to be desired by the other child who sees how much fun that toy could be.  Even if said toy is a fucking dirty tennis ball.

    I see this being played out with The Munch and Calvin all the time.  But the other day things got kind of demented.  We were at the beach and The Munch had this watering can she was playing with, that Calvin then obviously became interested in.

    Munch: NO CALVIN! I want to play with the watering can!

    Toni: Munch, don’t be fresh.  Calvin can have a turn with the watering can too.

    Munch: But it’s my turn!

    Toni: Okay fine. You can play with it for a few more minutes but then its Calvin’s turn.

    During The Munch’s turn playing with the watering can, Calvin started to entertain himself with something different.  While his back was turned I watched Munch hide the watering can where Calvin couldn’t reach it, or find it – and then proceeded to dig in the sand with a shovel.

    You see she would rather not play with the watering can at all, and stow it away, rather than share it with her best friend.  Call me old fashioned, that sounds slightly psychotic to me.

    “I am taking this watering can, and I am out of here!”

    slightly-psychotic-blog

  • Let Me Help You!

    Everyone hates doing chores.  Washing dishes, doing laundry, folding clothes, cleaning bathrooms, picking up messes, are all incredibly boring activities.  Unless you are on meth or snorting cocaine -cleaning is never more fun than on an extreme stimulant.

    But of course these are modern-times, “first world,” absurd complaints.  I am fully aware that people walk miles to get only quasi-clean water, or don’t even have clothes to wash.  For me to bitch about this shit proves the insanity of the world and how it is impossible to have true perspective when there is such a vast discrepancy of not only wealth, but also basic resources like food water and shelter, which should be a human right.  But as I was saying… housework sucks cock.

    Recently The Munch has been wanting to “help me” with certain tasks – which theoretically is great.  I want Munch to be involved in the responsibility of keeping a clean house, so her volunteering to be of assistance is something you think I would appreciate.  But something that usually takes 5 minutes for me to do on my own now takes 4 times as long with The Munch’s “help.”

    Toni: Munch can you give Mamma some space I need to unload the dishwasher.

    Munch: I want to help you!

    Toni: Great, why don’t you pass me the dishes and I will put them away.

    Munch: Okay! Mamma, is this a fork?

    Toni: Yes it is, now hand it to me.

    Munch:  Wait a minute I want to show you something.

    Toni: Okay.

    Munch: If I take this fork and swing it around like this it’s like a plane.

    Toni: Yup it sure is, now give it to me.

    Munch:  Is it clean?

    Toni: Yes Munch its clean, it just came out of the dishwasher.

    Munch:  And the dishwasher was cleaning it?

    Toni: Yup.

    Munch: With soap?

    Toni: Yes Munch, with soap.

    Munch:  Did it make bubbles.

    Toni: I am sure it did.

    Munch:   But I can’t see the bubbles.

    Toni: Well Munch the bubbles were going when the dishwasher was on.

    Munch: But I can’t see the dishwasher on.

    Toni: That is because it was on at night when you were sleeping.

    Munch: But I want to see the bubbles!!

    Toni: Well you can’t see them anyway because the dishwasher door has to be closed.  Now can you pass me the fork?

    Munch: But I want to show you something.

    Toni: What Munch?

    Munch: If you shake it really fast like this it looks like its dancing!

    Toni:  Yeah it does, now give it to Mamma.

    Munch:  Okay.

    Toni: Can you pass me that plate now?

    Munch:   Wait I want to show you something….

    lemme-help-you-blog-(i)

     

  • Get Me!

    Kids love to be chased.  I think it taps into a primal memory of living in the wild and running from ravenous animals ready to devour your tender flesh.  That cellular recollection is implanted into our psyches, and The Munch seems to crave the unique rush of being chased.  Because even if there is no real danger, that feeling of running away from something running after you still provides a blast of adrenalin.  And if you don’t believe me, next time someone is walking up the stairs in front of you, start chasing them.  I guarantee they will run faster away from you and giggle like a schoolgirl!

    Every time The Munch and I are outside, which is a fuck of a lot, she wants me to chase her around.  So I do what any normal person would do.  I run after her at a moderate pace and eventually catch up… But I let her think she is running fast enough so I can’t actually get her.  I do this because I am a good human.  I am not going to run my fastest after my 3-year old so I catch her in a few feet.  That would be psychotic.

    But I guess The Munch started to really believe that I could actually only run as fast as I was displaying to her.

    Munch: “Get me Mamma! Get me!”

    Toni: “Okay… I am going to get you.  I am coming to get you.”

    Munch: “You can’t run very fast can you Mamma?”

    Toni: “What? Are you kidding me?”

    Munch: “You run really slow.  You can’t run fast at all can you?

    Toni: “Listen Missy. I am an athlete.  I ran a marathon when I was 18.  Not only can I run fast, but I can run a hell of a lot faster than you!”

    Munch: “I don’t think you can.”

    So what did I do? I could have choked down my pride and continue to act like she was faster than me to maintain this façade of “chasing” so she could enjoy the rest of her childhood.  There is no reason for me to feel competitive because of a 3-year olds taunts.  I could have been the bigger person.  Or I could run fast as fuck and let The Munch know just how fast I am compared to her.  Because fuck you kid… nobody tells me I am not fast and I will crush you in a race.

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    July 8, 2013 • 3 years old, Behavior, Parenting, Playing, Toddler Thoughts • Views: 2278

  • Maybe My Kid Should Start Smoking

    So this whole weaning thing has been wayyyyyyyyy dramatic today.  I knew this was going to be the case, which was why I have avoided it for so long.  I feel as if I am seriously detoxing The Munch.  Like she has been addicted to my tit juice and now she is in a state of total withdrawal.

    When kids breastfeed oxytocin is released, which is considered the bonding hormone, or the “love” chemicals of our brain.  So literally your baby gets high as fuck on love.  No wonder The Munch is so attached to the process! It is like nursing reboots her operating system and she is shot up with the love drug.

    So taking that away from her is somewhat traumatizing.  Not only for the ritual that she has become accustomed to, but also because The Munch’s body chemistry is used to that love boost.  So to take that away from her is this serious crash to her eco system.  Beyond the fact that it makes her feel comforted, The Munch is having to adjust to a life of total sobriety.

    Munch spent most of the morning asking for to do “nana” and I kept trying to distract her with cake, lollipops, and letting her watch Mickey Mouse Club House.  I was letting her indulge in every decadence I usually keep her away from, but by the time it was 2pm she had 60 grams of sugar surging through her veins and her eyes were bleeding from staring at the computer screen for 2 hours.

    It was exactly naptime, which is the key time she would usually breastfeed to fall asleep, and that is where everything fell apart.

    Today was the second full day without “nana” and I endured one of the hardest parenting moments of my life.  Unlike if a guy were crying in my face because he wanted to suck on my boobs, I actually cared about Munch was going through.  Obviously breastfeeding a toddler is not just about nutrition or their immune systems, but there is a huge emotional component as well.  She wept as if she were in a genuine state of mourning.  The expression on her face was so tormented I couldn’t help but cry too.  There was something so pure and primal about her distress.  The Munch was in a genuine state of suffering, and I felt like nothing could console her.  She was grieving that she had to leave behind this very important part of her existence.  I tried to rationalize with Munch, but I was useless through my tears as I watched this creature I love sob with such passion.  So I held her and let her weep thinking that if she were every going to move forward, it would only be through confronting her pain completely.

    Munch: “Please Mamma, please!!! I want to do nana! PLEASE!”

    Toni: “Munch, Mamma’s nanas don’t work anymore.  They only work for 3 years, and now that you are 3, they don’t work!”

    Munch: “But please Mamma! Just one side!! Please!!!!!!!!!”

    Toni: “Munch, I can’t.  The nana gnomes came on your birthday and took my nanas away, and now they don’t work anymore.  The nana gnomes brought them to the new babies being born so they can have nana.”

    Munch: “But Mamma please!! I really want to do nana!! Please Mamma PLEASE!”

    Toni: “But listen Munch, the nana gnomes have planed a really big surprise for you. To celebrate the end of nana.  Tomorrow there are going to be fireworks in the sky just for you!  The are like giant fairies that explode in the sky!! And it is all for you! Because they are so happy that you don’t do nana anymore!”

    Munch: “But Mamma I really really really want to do nana! Please! And I want you to wear a dress.”

    Toni: “You want me to wear a dress?”

    Munch: “A pink dress and tights. And I really want to do nana!!” PLEASE MAMMA PLEASE!!

    This went on for a while.  Finally, after I thought my heart was going to crumble, The Munch decided she would eat some cake instead.  So I let her have her 3rd piece of the day, and then strapped her to my back to take a walk so she could sleep.  As she slept my friend Gita and I saw a bald eagle.

    Gita: “Maybe it is a sign that you are doing the right thing with Munch.”

    Toni: “Maybe it is a sign that America is becoming extinct since tomorrow is the 4th!”

    The afternoon with Munch was peaceful.  I am hoping that our moment was her final lamentation of what was, and she has moved on.  That she had fully face her sorrow in order to truly let go.  Of course Munch will probably be in her 20s and still think that fireworks are for the celebration of her no longer doing nana, but I am thinking that is okay.

    I wish I could have gotten my hands on some Kiddy Klonopin for The Munch, or maybe I should have gotten her into smoking to make this transition easier.

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