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Wards Against Monsters

My love of horror was destined from the moment my mom saw six-year-old me sneak-watching a horror film with from the hallway. “Deborah! You’re not supposed to be watching this! Go back to bed.”

Was I not supposed to watch films where people grew eyeballs on their bodies, or was the prohibition even broader than that? My mom wouldn’t tell me, so I was left to puzzle over this myself, until the next time my mom caught me in the act.

“Deborah! I told you you’re not supposed to watch this!”

“What’s ‘this’?”

“Scary stuff. Things that will give you nightmares.”

Now that I’m a parent, I understand the translation for this was:
Things that will cause you to steal away what little time to I have to myself every day!

At the time, though, what I took from this was that:

  • Adults watch horror movies
  • Kids do not watch horror movies
  • Watching horror movies makes kids more adult-like
  • I needed to find a better hiding spot for watching horror with my mom

At five and thirty-two years of age alike, then, it’s true that telling me not to do something is the best way to drive me crazy figuring out ways to do it. Most of the time this hasn’t been an issue where my horror-partaking habits are concerned, but a few nights ago, I finally faced a situation where I hid under my covers wishing I’d spent that time watching Care Bears videos instead.

My son, Li’l D, used to awaken in the middle of the night, let out a single foghorn-style cry, and return to sleep. It’s been the better—and I do mean better!—part of a year since he last did that, so I’ve enjoyed months of uninterrupted nights of sleep.  My partner, Ba.D., and I were thus startled to awaken to Li’l D’s screams a few nights ago.

“You want to go check on him?” I asked Ba.D., who dutifully rose from bed and went to check on our 21-month-old.

Over the baby monitor, I heard the creak of the nursery door opening. A couple of seconds later, my son—who does not call his daddy “Ba.D”—cried out, “Bad!”

Ba.D. soothed the little one for several minutes, then returned to bed and said, “You know, I’m going to check for . . . bugs. And mice. After he goes back to sleep.”

Naturally, I replied, “Why the hell do I watch horror movies again?”

Ba.D., also himself a horror aficionado, exclaimed he’d been thinking exactly the same thing. What on earth could prompt our little boy to point at his door, shaking and tearful, and proclaimsomething bad?

Ask me this question at 1 p.m. and the answer will be something like, “Bugs. Mice. A nightmare. A scary thought. Missing his mommy. Missing his daddy. Wanting to see the grammas. Stuff like that.”

Ask me the same thing at 1.a.m. and you’ll find my list looks a little more like:

  • Bogeymen
  • Demons
  • Ogres
  • Trolls
  • One of those fast-moving spider-monsters from Cloverfield (never mind its delay in chomping Li’l D)
  • Miscellaneous baby-stealing monsters

As I considered which variety of beastie was intent on stealing my baby, Ba.D. dozed off. Li’l D, mellow again, babbled sweetly to his teddy bears. I tweeted:

When I like horror: daytime. When I wish I did not like horror: nighttime. Esp. when baby awakens screaming & says, “Bad!”

I followed this closely with:

What does not seem plausible to me at 1pm seems likely at 1am #WTBMLPrainbowpower

The next evening, I read from Rick Yancey’s The Curse of the Wendigo while I walked my dog. The reading was enjoyable and I gave no thought whatsoever to the previous night’s misadventures. Daylight abounded, after all!

But when I flicked off my nightstand lamp a couple of hours later, I noticed the places where the blinds were parted. I wondered what beady manner of beastly eyes might be peering at me through those cracks. Just that quickly, I found myself wide awake, terrified and wondering where I could get protective spells placed on baby blankets.

Obviously I don’t really believe such things are either useful or necessary. But if you know someone? I’m, um, doing a research piece on wards against monsters. You should totally hook me up.

For the research.

This was among posts accidentally deleted from this blog.
Reposted 6/24/15


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