I am not a fan of horror movies or scary things. I am still irrationally afraid of the dark, horror movies, basements…basically all the things children fear until they are about 15 or so. When I go to bed at night, if I’m the last person to go upstairs, I leave a strategic trail of lights turned on so that I’m never standing in the dark. I’m convinced that any time I go up- or downstairs in the dark, Michael Meyers is silently following me up the stairs. I have a zombie plan just in case, and have had serious discussions with my husband about what we will or won’t do when the world is taken over by zombies (or other monsters); i.e., no voluntary suicide, always stay with the kids, etc. It’s important to have these kinds of discussions ahead of time — just like the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expects the zombie apocalypse.
My crazy fears obviously leave me wide open for harassment, and have made me an easy target for my male friends (I hang out with dickheads). Spend enough time with me, and you will witness grown men jumping out of bushes in the dark, dudes standing outside my window and staring in at me, and guys sneaking up and shouting at me, all in the name of making me pee my pants. Which, FYI, isn’t that difficult after having two kids.C’mon, dude. Gross.
I guess my kids are in on the act too, because they have all these little habits that freak me out. They’re always doing scary things, or making me get up at night and help them. In the dark. Without lights on. While that girl from The Ring waits for me just outside the bathroom door. And I have to pretend like she’s not really there and that I’m not fighting the urge to panic-run back into my room and hide underneath my blanket (monsters cannot get you if you are completely underneath a blanket).
It’s a well-known fact that kids automatically have +1 in the scary category simply by virtue of being a kid. If you’re making a horror movie, and find yourself thinking, “This movie’s scary, but it just needs a little something extra…”, get yourself a creepy, precocious kid and cast him for a major role. See Pet Sematary, Children of the Corn, and Star Wars: Episode I.
Almost everything is scarier when kids are involved. Walking, talking, sleeping, eating out at restaurants, etc. My husband used to play this video game on our computer where you walk around and shoot monsters that jump out at you. Doom, I think. He could only play this game during the daytime, and only if I was home. Because the monsters jumping out at him were super scary? Nope. Because randomly, the video game would play the sound of a baby crying. Not show a scary baby; just the sound of the baby crying. When he heard that noise, he was DONE. Headphones were off, game over. It scared him too much. I should mention that my husband has watched almost every single horror movie ever made: foreign, domestic, old, new, it doesn’t matter. If they filmed it, he’s seen it. And that baby sound freaked him OUT.
Babies, dude. Scary shit.
Anyways, here’s the things my kids do that have always kind of freaked me out:
Sleeping with eyes half open: This is a newborn thing, mainly. They sleep all the time, but, like every other thing they do, they haven’t mastered the finer points, like CLOSING YOUR EYES. So they kind of half-ass it, closing them juuuuuuust enough to keep most of the light out, and still let you witness their eyeballs rolling around in their tiny sockets while they dream about ponies and rainbows. To make it even creepier, they do that weird smiling thing in their sleep, where their facial expressions change super fast. If you can think of anything creepier than a smiling baby with their eyes rolled back in their head, I’m all ears.
Walking/crawling: When babies first learn how to walk, it’s kind of unsettling. You get used to only seeing your baby move a certain way (either laying down, sitting or maybe crawling), all of which seem entirely normal and suited to babies. It’s when they start to do grown-up things with their baby bodies that things start to feel uncanny. I had a dream once that my baby (who was three months old at the time) just stood up and started walking around the house. A tiny baby walking is high on the creep-o-meter. Equally creeptastic: weird crawling techniques. For example, WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH THIS?!?!?!?
Seriously, if my kid started crawling like this, I’d call an old priest and a young priest, sprinkle some holy water on that kid, and start checking for strange birthmarks on the back of their head.
Talking/crying in the middle of the night: My kids are, as we all know, not the best sleepers in the world. Which means they wake up a LOT. Meaning, they do all manner of creepy things when all the lights are turned off and I think everyone is sleeping, including myself. Being convinced any number of monsters or ghouls are hanging out in your house at night and then suddenly hearing a kid yell, “MOMMY!!!!!” is stressful, to say the least. Not only does it startle me awake, but now I’m stressed that Freddy is now going to attack my kid, and I’ve got to get out there before he does, and then act cool in front of my kid so she doesn’t catch on to how cuckoo I really am. Also, when they talk crazy in their sleep (as Phaedra does; thanks for that gene, Rob), I have to wonder if I’m actually in the middle of a horror movie. Think about it: none of the people in horror movies ever think they are in a movie, do they? Did you ever see Wes Craven’s New Nightmare? If I ever meet Wes Craven, I’m punching him in the balls for making that movie.
Walking/moving in the middle of the night: Uggggggggghhhhh. This is the worst. If I’m downstairs, and one of them wakes up, I turn on every goddamn light I can on the way upstairs. I’ve been burned too many times before, expecting them to be in their bedroom or wherever I left them originally when they fell asleep, only to be suddenly accosted by a stray child lurking in the hallway or sitting in the middle of the floor. It’s like they’re trying to sneak up on me and scare me. You know what I always think of in this situation? Remember that movie The Others, and Nicole Kidman finds her kid playing on the floor underneath some lacy shawl thing, and when Kidman looks at her, the kid acts all creepy and moves weird, because surprise! it’s not really her daughter, even though the scary ghost kid says, “I AM your daughter!”? That scene always creeped me out to the max (so much that I’m not even going to Google it to find a link or picture of it right now for you. Take care of your own Googling on this one, folks; I’m not even going there). So when I find my kids hanging out in the dark, 100% of the time I suspect they are in fact devil babies and not my real children. True story.
Staring: Here’s another delightful habit my older daughter picked up and used on a regular basis with my husband for awhile: when she woke up in the middle of the night, and was old enough to know she could just get up out of bed and wander into our room, she would just stand next to our bed and stare at my husband until he woke up and noticed her. He doesn’t scare easy, and this one made him jump every single time. She’s like a ninja, that kid: if she did this when we happened to still be awake and just sitting in bed reading, she would all of a sudden come barreling into our room, silent, head down, no warning at all. Her room is next door to ours, so there was no other visual warning, either. Even worse was when she caught on that we weren’t exactly thrilled to see her when she showed up at 1:00 a.m., and tried making her go back to her own room. She knew if she came in, or if we saw her, we would take her back to her own bed. Her solution? She would stand outside the doorway and just peek her head in and watch us. I would be sitting in bed reading, and all of a sudden notice a small person’s eyes staring at me from the dark doorway. Creepy.
So, welcome to my evenings. It’s not enough that my kids force me to undergo sleep deprivation experiments, but they also do psychological research on how much they can scare me before I start throwing our TVs out the front door and urging them away from lights. Now that I look at the list, though, I’m realizing that I am, in fact, real crazy. Any normal behavior that a person conducts during the daytime scares the shit out of me if done at nighttime. Which should be just perfect once my kids crack this code and use this against me. Which they will. Because they’re evil.
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