Monday, June 4, 2012

Striking fear into the hearts of many

Today I made an executive decision to transition my baby, my Thing 2 who is now two years old, to his new and wonderful "big boy bed"! I filled his tiny adorable head with excitement surrounding this change as I felt my own anxiety about him falling over the edge of his crib as he reached for a book melt away. I did not achieve my goal. Instead, I started out excited and he was anxious. Then he was sad. Then he was scared. Then I think he was really really pissed (I am checking under his pillow tomorrow for a Voodoo doll with my hair on it). Then we were both exhausted and delirious. Then he finally passed out and I folded three loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen, watered the plants, packed a bag for tomorrow and wrapped Thing 1's birthday present (and wrote this post). Tonight was merely another example of change with all the best intentions that was very poorly received. Parenting fail #346. My kids will either be well-prepared for the curve balls that life throws or they will have a lot to blame me for in therapy. I'll hope for the first...

Tonight, as I listened to Thing 2 shriek out of terror (and anger and willfulness?) for well over an hour, I was reminded of my own childhood and the dark times that it held.

I have one specific memory that haunts me to this very day. Just stirring up the thought makes my eyelids sweat and the hair on my neck stand up. Just like all nightmarish occurrences in B rated Horror flicks set in Iowa, it happened after dusk on the farm.

Every night in my childhood there was a requirement called "barn chores". The idea of walking into a quiet barnyard to give the animals their evening meal seems like it should be a soul-restorative, soothing activity. For the most part, it was. I would take turns with my sister doing these chores. The path from the back door of the house to the barn was about 200 feet, and when you were headed toward the barnyard in your Carhartt jacket and work boots, you never walked the path alone. Always faithful was my dog, Bobbie Sue. She was directly at my heels for the walk out to the circle of buildings that held hay, grain, horses, 156 inbred line bred, half feral barn cats and a variety of small birds and rodents that those cats stalked to the death. She was consistently behind me for every step I took during the chore process. She was steadfast and true. She was my pal. True Blue Bobbie Sue.

The air was always thick with the sweet smell of the Midwest at night. That dewy air clinging to my face and filling my lungs often was refreshing as a conclusion to some long days of schoolwork, sports and teenage drama. The horses were serene once tied in their stalls, and would munch their grain with contentment. The friendlier cats would weave themselves between my legs, hoping for a plate of scraps from the house, and my loyal dog was ever present at my heels.

Once the corral was cleaned and the horses had finished their dinner, it was time to turn them into the paddock for the night. It had also gotten dark during this time. In Iowa it doesn't just transition to nighttime, it gets pitch ass black; so black that you cannot even see your own hand in front of your face. When all the horses were loose for the evening and the halters and lead ropes were hung on the proper pegs, I would close up the barn. When I flipped the wall switch to turn out the lights, that is when the reality of the sticky tar black darkness would set in.....

I would slide the big metal doors closed and start my short trek back to the house. My unreliable, good for nothing canine companion was always mysteriously vanished for this part of the journey. All alone, I would jam my hands in my pockets and attempt to casually saunter back to the old white farmhouse. It glowed like a beacon in the night, with the twin upstairs windows glaring at me like a pair of knowing, warning eyes. I would will myself to walk slowly, as if I was going to enjoy the still, creepy, cursed black night. I would hear a rustle in the grass and instantly I would feel a clammy wetness spring to life in my pores, yet I would force myself to calmly walk as if I heard nothing. Then something else would move behind me, causing me to clench my jaw, my arse cheeks and my fists. As I dug my fingernails into my own palms, I would feel myself start to lose control and my stride would quicken. More noise would follow and I would swear that the gentle rustling turned to heavy footsteps, most likely belonging to a giant, grotesque man with one eye, more hair on his back than on his head, and a mouthful of rotten teeth. He probably had huge gnarly hands, to match the sound of his gargantuan boots, and I was absolutely certain that he was carrying an axe which he intended to throw into my back, or maybe an anvil which he would use to bash in my skull..... or a scythe with which to whack off all my limbs. By this time, my brow was soaked and I was not just speed walking with clenched cheeks, but I was all out mothereffing sprinting. Somehow, probably because of my stellar luck and extreme speed, I would reach the storm door just in time, just before the hatchet fell, and I would lock the bleepity bleeping kitchen door behind me.



Whew. Those cats must have been eating some giant dammed rodents to make that kind of noise.


So.... with that, I hope that Thing 2 adjusts to his big boy bed with sweet dreams and some new found big boy power.  I also hope that I can sleep tonight after digging through my own nightmarish childhood. I didn't even tell you about the clowns....

Peace, Love and Don't Let Your Kids Watch Horror Flicks At Slumber Parties,
Johi




20 comments:

  1. Congrats for getting your youngest into a big boy bed! I suggest wine until he gets used to it. Bottles and bottles of wine.
    When I was younger, we had the basement. It was completely underground, and thus pitch black when all the lights were out. Of course the only way to turn on the lights in the unfinished basement was one by one with pull strings. My mom would invariably send us down there to play (our toys were down there). When my brother and I decided that we had finished playing/were about to body slam each other into the floor if we were around each other anymore, we fought over who would have to stay and pull the last light string. We were sure there were monsters/evil men hiding behind the mountain of boxes my father insisted we keep in case we ever moved again. Whoever was unlucky that day had to pull the string and then run as fast as humanly possible up the stairs lest who/whatever was there got us. Whoever didn't have to would have already reached the top of the stairs before the light was turned off. I hated that basement.

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    1. He is adjusting very well to his bed! Yay! I ended up attaching his crib bumper to his new bed. (yes, I'm one of those horrible people that still uses a crib bumper). It is full of adorbale woodland critters and I think that they helped him accept the change and SUBMIT TO ME! muahahaha! Just kidding. He's a little rock star.
      WHYYYYYY were your toys in the dungeon? OMG, how awful for you and your brother. I'm so sorry.
      In my house, my mom was the box, bag, everything, saver. I so get that.

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  2. Maybe you should tell this story to Thing 2 for his bedtime story. I bet he will forget all about his fear of big boy beds at that point! ;)

    I used to imagine that there was a creepy man that waited outside of my house at night, behind the trees, and if I didn't completely and totally close all 3 of my window curtains in my room, he would be able to peek in, see when I finally fell asleep and then . . . I don't know, do something horrible. Maybe my imagaination wasn't quite as developed as young Johi's. But still, it would be horrible! And those curtains HAD TO BE closed!!

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    1. I still do that. Especially when Brock is gone at night. I probably should always have big dogs around.... not to mention my attack Ninja cat.

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  3. Clowns too? Yikes!

    My parents lived in the woods, so it's weird that I never freaked out about someone chasing me in them.

    I was always afraid of someone hiding under my bed. If I had a nightmare, I couldn't get out of bed because the scary person might grab my feet.

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    1. Oh yeah, the people that live under the bed. I know all about those fuckers. They grab you and slice your Achilles tendon, rendering you immobile. They are the same a-holes that hide under your car (and also the reason that I wear boots as often as I do.)

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  4. Don't tell anyone, but I STILL get the creepy feeling at the base of my spine crawling up my back when I am walking up to my front door in the dark. SOMETHING is following me. SOMETHING is going to dive at my back with claws and teeth. Somehow, I always make it indoors in time, and slam- er. Shut the door in time.

    Apparently, this is a common occurrence, even for adults. Check out www.xkcd.com

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    1. I wrote this and then I was perusing your blog and found your post on Signal Mountain. We must have been either separated at birth or tortured by the same horror films in our youth.

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  5. Spoooky! You have a career in writing ghost stories waiting for you!

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    1. I would take any career in writing at this point! Doesn't anyone else see that this is clearly what I am here to do? And then doesn't that person want to offer me a million dollars to do what I am here to do? Then I can buy ALL OF MY FRIENDS and FAMILY little samplers with happy birdies (made by the one and only Cotton Floozy)telling you that "Your poop smells nice". It just makes sense.

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  6. You have a career in writing period! :) You had me hooked, line and sinker! LOL! We had a scary basement....those dang old, unfinished basements....ugh! I prayed we never had a tornado because.....that's where we were going. Mom kept her canned garden veggies and our deep freeze full of meat down there. My job seemed to always go down and get a jar of green beans....WTH? Send the 8-year-old down, who was petrified of everything dark, damp, and doomy. The steps going down were old, wooden, open, so you know, someone hiding under could grab my ankle as I walked down. And, of course, the jar of green beans were at the far end of the basement...double ugh! Carefully stalk over, trying not to look around too much....grab a jar of beans, praying a big hairy spider is not sitting behind the jar....hurry back to the steps, trying not to drop the jar....climb the creepy stairs and quickly trek down the short hall to the basement door....thinking, yes, like everyone else, there was something/one behind me.....then praying no one locked that door from the outside! Whew! I made it! Until the next trek....Haha! Funny thing is...in 5th grade, mom and dad let me have a Halloween party down there....it seemed appropriate! Your sister came to that; she was the only one that didn't dress in costume, though, and I remember your mom called my mom and was so concerned because I had invited boys, too, and mom assured her everything would be fine; she let her come! I think we all had fun!

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    1. I love your spooky basement story. I'm pretty sure that almost every person in our high school had a basement like that. And of course my mom was worried about boys being at a party. LMAO!

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  7. This is exactly why I slept in my parents' bed until high school.

    Wait, what?


    ps. You seriously need to write a book. Period.

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    1. I may have peed my pants a little when I read your comment. Just sayin'...
      Thanks for the support from all of you on the book thangy. I'm hiking up that trail this weekend. Picture yourself coming to the book signing (where I am wearing my green suit) and together we can make it happen! Go Funny Bitches!
      *Off to go create inspirational posters with kittens on them*

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  8. Oh hell lady you crack me up!! I'm not laughing with you but at you...I too grew up (and still reside) in the midwest and have had similar instances with that damned boogie man! He's freaky!

    Thanx a lot...hubby is still not home. Now I'm totally going to have nightmares, too!!

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    1. I'm sorry! I have a feeling that you can get all Chuck Norris on any boogie man. You are raising FIVE BOYS, I know you are packing some mad skillz....
      I hope your man gets home soon. xoxo

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  9. i don't think adding clowns to the mix could have made this any scarier/funnier. ;)

    You crack me the fuck up.

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    1. And you do the same to me.
      And, for the record: Clowns make EVERYTHING scarier.

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  10. My hubs just said last night we should get a big girl bed for Ms. E... she was 2 last month. I was like... "Why? She can't climb out of her crib." He says, "Well, maybe she gets a big girl bed when she goes potty on the potty". Me, "So like in 6 months or a year, maybe?" Him, "Um, yep, I guess." Me, "Ok, well I guess I'd rather spend the money on something else right now, and besides, where are we going to put it, in the basement? And besides, she can't get out of the crib yet, plus she loves her crib. Sooooooooooo... great idea, sweetie!"

    I grew up in Northern MN, and our dog lived in a kennel along the far side (the woods side, of course) of the house. So at bedtime (it was always dark) we'd (my brother or I, for some reason usually me?) be bringing food out and putting him in his kennel for the night, and inevitably, I would start to think of Vincent Price and Thriller, and I'd all but RUN THE HELL around the house to get back to the door absolutely sure some kind of zombie would be coming with.

    I'm so with you, woman.

    Dark and outside = just a little bit scary.

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    1. Ha! Well, I must say that the transition to the big boy bed was worth two days of trouble. We stayed in our friend's cabin over the weekend and he slept like a champ in the regular bed. No pack-n-play= no screaming ALL NIGHT LONG. I'm so glad that we made that transition- just because he did not travel well before!

      At least fear with us equals exercise? Right?

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