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Zombies, Ghosts and Toddlers - The Terror Trifecta
September is my favorite time of the year. The weather is cooler, draft cider is flowing, and my beloved shows are finally, finally coming back to TV.
Two of the returning shows I’ve been hotly anticipating are American Horror Story and Walking Dead because I love me anything creepy. In fact, I’m not the only one – Entertainment Weekly recently reported on the current influx of terror TV. Not Toddlers & Tiaras/Big Ang/The Kardashians what-is-America-coming-too? terror, but more ghosts-and-zombies terror.
While Walking Dead petrifies me, it’s no comparison to living with kids under the age of six. In fact, my kids often place me in scenes from the scary movies of my childhood – any of which could send me to the asylum in this season’s American Horror Story. To illustrate:
The Sixth Sense – When both of my kids turned three, they began to "communicate" with the spirit world – or else they’re taking this imaginary friend stuff one step too far. When we first moved to Edwardsville and drove through the historic LeClaire neighborhood, MJ would cover her ears and talk about all the voices in her head. Unfortunately, the voices weren’t from anyone cool like Tupac or Elvis, so I could never properly exploit her gift, and after a few months, she no longer got her Haley Joel Osment on.
But recently, KT has begun pointing at random corners of our kitchen and asking, “Who’s that guy?” Mr. P, the optimist, insists it’s a random guardian angel to watch over our house. Me, being a pessimist, insists it’s a sassy ghost, who 1) makes me feel incredibly self-conscious knowing he’s watching me clip my toenails, and 2) gets all judgey when he spies me sneaking two, ok three, Snickers while watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
The Shining – No sound scares me more than my three-year-old riding her Big Wheel. It doesn’t matter if I’m outside on the hottest day of the year, that redrum, redrum, redrum clack of the plastic wheels sends shivers down my spine and immediately transports to The Overlook Hotel in the dead of winter. The illusion made even more real by my two girls standing side-by-side on the sidewalk, urging “Come play with us, Mommy” in a synchronized monotone while staring me down with their Precious Moment eyes.
While living in a haunted hotel and suffering from cabin fever sounds horrible, the one benefit would be having my own bartender ghost mixing me an old-timey cocktail when I had writer’s block.
The Ring – Every parent has experienced this frightening scenario – you’re sleeping soundly in the middle of the night only to flip over in bed and find a small child standing over you, silently staring you down. No matter how sweet and precious and beautiful your child was when you put her to bed, in the dark of night, to your sleep-deprived eyes, she is Samara and she just climbed out of the TV to terrorize you.
After hearing her mother screech “Oh, s***!” and “Fight or flight! Fight or flight!” every time she snuck in our room, MJ finally got the hint she should verbalize her presence if she wanted to crawl in bed with us.
Poltergeist – Ok – that thing I said about the sound of Big Wheels? Scratch that. Baby monitor static is a billion times scarier. First, I’ve seen Poltergeist enough to know that static is a kid magnet and holds them captive in TV sets. Second, static picks up weird EVP noises. That voice you hear? It’s not your baby’s sweet little babblings – it’s the possessed rumblings of her blinking eye baby dolls, plotting to take you out in your sleep.
In fact, when MJ was just a few months old and I was an exhausted new mom, I heard her crying through the monitor. I checked on her once, twice, three times, and each time I did, she was sleeping soundly though the monitor continued wailing. Finally, sleep-deprived me sobbed to my husband, “We have a ghost. A ghost baby. And I think it’s stuck in some third dimension looking for me.”
“I’m pretty sure the monitor’s just picking up the neighbor’s monitor.”
So while I wait for the return of AMC’s Walking Dead on October 14 and FX’s American Horror Story on October 17, I have my own little spooky characters to parent. If you think I’m crazy, I’ll leave you with this – if kids aren’t creepy, why do they keep showing up in Stephen King movies? Watch Children of the Corn, Firestarter and Pet Semetary, and you’ll see what I mean.
By Nicole Plegge, Lifestyle Blogger for SmartParenting