Confession: I Made My Kid Sleep With Me Because I Was Scared

Horror movieI know what you’re probably thinking. I can just imagine the snarls and shaking of the heads. I swear, in the whole scope of things, I really am a responsible mother who puts Tween Girl’s needs and safety in front of my own. But she sure came in handy one dark night a few weeks ago.

Let it be said that I have no business — none whatsoever — watching a horror movie. I know from back in the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street days when I was a kid that I cannot handle scary flicks. If I even saw a commercial that flashed a whiff of Jason or Freddy, I was up through the night, listening to every crack or creak our little apartment would make. I was so much of a punk that I had nightmares about one of my mom’s Parliament Funkadelic album covers. I’d sleep with the covers over my head with a little teepee of space propped up so I could peek out and make sure nothing was coming to get me ...

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With all of that anti-toughness on my track record, anybody with even a little piece of common sense would stay far, far away from anything even remotely scary. Not me. Nope. I’m always walking a fine line between thrillers and reasoning that I can step on over into horror. They look so interesting, what with all the shrieking music and quick-flashing cinematography and all. I ultimately succumbed to the lure, against my better judgment, when I plunked down on the sofa and watched The Exorcism of Emily Rose by myself. As it was turning dusk.

Just in case things got hectic and I had to make a quick escape, I kept the remote in my hand and my finger on the ‘back’ button so that, if need be, I could flash to something way less hair-raising, like the Food Network. Turns out I couldn’t even make it through the whole movie. She spazzed out one too many times for my liking and I had to bail. So shook was I after I stopped watching that I had to resort to the good ol’ Cartoon Network to try and balance out my trauma with a little lighthearted animated humor.

Naturally, I called The Girl into the living room to come hang out with me for a while. I convinced her to play a few rounds of Slam — I even let her win so she wouldn’t get discouraged and want to schlep her defeated rear end back to her room — and as time went on, I felt that familiar dread creeping in, like when I first watched the premiere of “Thriller” and then had to get ready for bed. Yeah, didn’t get much sleep that night.

And it would’ve turned out pretty much the same way on this particular evening if I hadn’t called out into the bedroom next door: “Skyyyyyyy?" I whined. "Wanna come sleep with me?” It was a rare treat for her because she’s always asking and getting shut down, so she burned rubber getting into my room. I'm not quite sure what I thought she could protect me against. Poor Emily Rose was sleeping in a house full of folks and managed to get possessed so that — and the blaring lights overhead, which were left on all night, thank you very much — wasn't going to do much against the wages of evil. Still, I felt more at peace that she was there.

Should it have been the other way around? Of course. And there have been plenty of times when I scooted over to one side of my bed because some thought, some creak, some shape on the wall sent her into a tizzy. Problem is, she’s 12. I’m ... not. We both have overactive imaginations, another little trait I passed on to my child who, by the way, has never seen “Thriller” because we know better. So it doesn't take much to get either one of us shook.

My name is Janelle and I'm a recovering wannabe horror movie fan. I'm proud to report that I haven't used Miss Thing's presence to soothe my harried soul since that day. Darn you, Emily Rose. And darn me for tuning in. Halloween season is coming up and every network will be playing something compelling. But I'll stick to It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Am I the only person who’s ever used her kid for reasons other than noble parenting?



Image via jerine/Flickr

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