Oh, The Horror!

My older daughter is twelve years old and she’s one of the biggest Walking Dead fans you’ll ever meet.

Yes, you read that right. Doom watches The Walking Dead.

Her fascination with fear began about a year ago or so, after she had seen a part of some random horror movie during a sleepover at her friend’s house. My initial reaction was a visceral one; I was pissed because up until that point my husband and I had always been so careful to filter everything that our children watched on TV. Any film that had a rating beyond PG had to be screened by us first, no exceptions.

I was raised that way, myself – I wasn’t even allowed to watch MTV when I was a kid. I was eleven years old when Dirty Dancing came out, and I remember being completely livid because my younger cousin was allowed to watch it when I wasn’t. She knew all the songs and all the dances and everything. Life was so fucking unfair.

Nobody puts Baby in the corner. Except for my parents.

Nobody puts Baby in the corner. Except for my parents.

Stewing about the de-innocence of my little girl’s psyche, I thought about it a little more and began to consider just how many movies I watched while I was far from my parents’ sight when I was around her age. One of my best friends and I built a tradition that lasted for years:  we’d rent cheesy horror flicks from Blockbuster – something I never did at home – every single time I stayed overnight at her house. Her pantry was also full of name brand snacks like Oreos and Twinkies, which were also something I never got at home.

I loved being at her house. It felt like heaven to this poor, sheltered girl.

So when my husband and I were faced with the sudden and inevitable dilemma of worrying about what kinds of things Doom might see when she was somewhere beyond our watchful eyes, our first thought was to ban sleepovers. Forever. In fact, she would just stay at home always. Better safe than sorry, that’s what I sometimes say. She’d thank us later when we finally unlocked her bedroom door on her 21st birthday and not one minute before.

Good thing she likes the color orange.

Good thing she likes the color orange.

When Doom’s fascination with the horror genre didn’t dissipate – nay, it only intensified from there – we came up with a plan. Why not let her view some horror movies with our guidance? If a situation on screen became too scary for her while she was watching a movie with us, she’d be comfortable enough to admit it and say “I don’t want to watch this anymore,” and turn it off, which is something she probably wouldn’t do at a friend’s house, lest she be labeled a chicken and clucked at by her classmates at every opportunity henceforth. Additionally, if watching horror movies was something that she got to do at home on a regular basis, the activity would no longer be taboo, a novelty sought after during sleepovers spent away from her overbearing parental units. It’s only fun and exciting when you’re not allowed to do it, right?

And so we began the Journey Of A Thousand Horror Films, together. Well, I have to admit it’s been mostly a father-daughter event since our younger daughter, Destruction, has no desire to watch anything scarier than Glee and she can’t be left alone for longer than a few minutes, even with all the lights turned on. I hang with the littler one while the bigger one gets her fright on just about every weekend. They started out with benign horror flicks like Poltergeist and worked their way to The Ring, and a bunch of other movies whose names are not coming to mind. Cheesy, bloody horror films, mostly – with a few mildly disturbing flicks mixed in here and there. Doom has asked to stop watching a movie on occasion; if I remember correctly one was A Haunting in Connecticut and it was because a character started to creep down the stairs into a pitch dark basement, and Doom is well aware that one should never, ever do that.

Because shit like this lives down there, that’s why!

Because shit like this lives down there, that’s why!

Some time later, once she had gotten over her vexation with the hapless victim who ventured into the basement in the first place, she went back and watched the film in its entirety. But it was her call.

It’s always her call.

While we feel she’s old enough to know what she can and cannot handle, we have vetoed movies due to content, explaining to her when something is more emotionally or psychologically disturbing than it is jumpy-scary-fun. We still screen things first so we can make helpful suggestions like “Why don’t you watch something fun like Final Destination 22 instead of Proxy?”

And she’s cool with that.

Which is good – for her, at least. Proxy is one film I could have lived the rest of my life without seeing. Sometimes the job of Movie Screener sucks major ass.

 

 

 

*This post was syndicated on BLUNTmoms in December, 2014

Advertisements

Strike.

I am done.

Done. Done. Done.

I should have created a category called Shit My Kids DON’T Do.

So I got up this morning, came downstairs to make myself a cup of coffee and took notice of the ever-expanding mess on the kitchen counters. Every single (and previously clean) surface was covered in one or more of the following: food bits, napkins, utensils, dirty dishes, dirty dishtowels, packages of non-refrigerated food, miscellaneous shit from other parts of the house.

Not one ounce of it was mine. In fact, every dish and utensil that I used yesterday went straight into The Dishwasher:  a magical box that can be found near The Sink Of Misery & Despair, located beneath The Countertop Of Woe.

I swear I fucking own Schrödinger’s Dishwasher. One cannot know whether the dishes inside are dirty or clean, therefore – according to the quantum principle of superposition – until the moment that the box is opened the dishes are both dirty and clean. He or she who opens the door to clean dishes must unfortunately be the one to put them all away, so it’s apparently in everyone’s best interests to just never open it to find out. Even if the kitchen counters begin to resemble something from an episode of Hoarders.

And they do, at this very moment. I contemplated taking photos, but it’s fucking embarrassing. The living room is not much better. The producers at TLC would look at my house right now and be like NOPE. On a normal day, my house is as clean as I can possibly keep it. This means that I dust and vacuum every other day (at the very least). I also wipe down the bathrooms several times between proper weekly cleanings. I declutter all surfaces, repeatedly, throughout any given day. Like the inner workings of an atomic clock, I perpetuate these mundane and ceaseless undertakings because if I don’t, my house will turn into shit in less than an instant. The cherry on top? I’ll clean everything downstairs, go upstairs to work at my computer for a while, and come back downstairs not one hour later to find that all of my housework has been completely – and rudely – undone.

No more.

This morning, I surveyed my surroundings. I took a deep breath. I brewed my coffee. And while I listened to the soothing percolation of the machine, I hung these throughout the communal areas of the downstairs:

strikesign

 

And five minutes later when one of the kids took one down, crumpled it up and threw it in the trash, I put it back:

crumpledsign

And then I hung this:

finesign

I let her off with a warning. This time.

I’m not kidding. My ass (and my dishpan hands) are on strike – indefinitely. Oh, I’ll still do laundry, and the dusting/vacuuming around everyone’s shit, but I’m not doing anything more than that. I’ll get back to cooking once I have an acceptable area in which to do so.

I was planning on making sirloin tips tonight, but we’ll see how it goes. Might be a PB&J Wrapped In A Paper Towel kind of evening.

Saturday Bloody Saturday

My older daughter, Doom, is eleven and very recently began the long walk down the red brick road that leads to Womanhood. Because of this, I have started inking a teeny tiny, itty bitty, wee little spot on the calendar to mark the dates upon which she encounters the Red Sea so that I can chart her journey’s progress and keep track of when she might be approaching it once again.

In less descriptive terms, my kid’s on the rag. Also, apparently the road to Womanhood is just a big circle.

I intended to add what would be another minuscule dot beside the 5th of March, when I noticed that my younger daughter took it upon herself to clarify, in gruesome detail for all the world to see, exactly what happened to her older sister on the 1st:

DripDrip

Well played, little sister. Well played.