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Meredith Lopez

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Raising Hell

Posted: 07/29/09 06:16 PM ET

SPOILER ALERT! The following post assumes that everyone reading it has either already seen the movies mentioned, or has no plans to see them and doesn't care if I ruin the ending/twist at the end. Ok, then.

The problem with growing up in America and being so bombarded with pop culture is that I am far too sensitive and have a naturally overactive imagination. Add to that being a new mother, with all of the regular stress and anxieties that go along with that, and we wind up with the following sad equation:

Watching too many scary movies plus being too sensitive plus way too overactive imagination plus new motherhood equals some truly horrifying and insane fears. Observe.

Rosemary's Baby/The Omen/The Exorcist: I'm sure that most parents with small children, and babies in particular, think that their kids are possessed by demons at least once.

During Hell Week back in January, we mercilessly forced the Juban Princeling, against his will, to nap in his own crib, which he was under the impression was lined with acid-tipped broken glass and run amok with angry, rabid feral cats. That's the only explanation I have for his reaction, many times a day, to being put into his crib -- the same one he was sleeping in every night without a problem -- to nap. I think at one point I actually checked his head for the mark of the beast and threw holy water at him, though I'm Jewish and I don't think saying a quick brucha over New York City tap water really makes it all that "holy."

After several days of Hell Week I found the Wikipedia entry for "changlings," and sent it to Husband, suggesting also that we might have to hire an exorcist for the baby. Since the Princeling refused to nap for nearly a week, he became lethargic, listless, glassy-eyed, and cranky all of the time -- and I was the same way. I felt pretty sure he was messing with my mind. Even though I don't actually believe in Satan or Hell, I knew that foul demonic work was at play here. Either my husband had tag-teamed Satan during the Princeling's conception and our baby was, in fact, the son of the devil, or else he was possessed by something.

Six months later and the Princeling sleeps just fine in his crib, thank you, but I'm not entirely convinced there isn't some pure concentrated evil going on here. The work of Satan is the only explanation I can come up with for the disgusting turn of events that has taken place within the contents of the Princeling's poopy diapers. Well, Satan, and maybe the recent move to chunkier stage 3 baby food.

The Ring: I don't think any movie has scared the funkytown out of me the way this movie has. When the American version was released my friends and I had the brilliant idea to watch the Japanese version first, and then see the American version in theatres that same week. It's been seven years, and although no one has sent, given, or shown me a creepy avant-garde video of running horses, a lady brushing her hair, and a back-lit ring, nor has anyone called to tell me I have seven days to live, I am still and forever convinced that some really pissed-off dead girl with a major chip on her shoulder is going to come out of my TV and give me the Evil Eye to death.

What does this have to do with the Princeling? Every night when I get up and walk across our apartment, past the living room with our big, flat-screen, potential portal to the evil otherworld, I wait for that little creep to come and get me. On the upside, that means I wouldn't have to get up at 4am every night just to replace a pacifier anymore.

The Blair Witch Project: This movie confirms all my ideas about the so-called "Great Outdoors," which can be summed up thusly: outside is bad. I'm the indoorsy type. I like air conditioning and electricity and plumbing. I like restaurants that deliver and cell phone signals.

Now that we are a family, Husband wants us to go camping some day. He saw Blair Witch, he should know what's up, but I have to keep reminding him -- outside is where evil lives. If we go camping we'll get lost, and then weird stick figures and rock formations will follow us around, and then we'll realize that we've been going in circles, and then we'll start disappearing one by one until I finally stumble, with the camcorder Husband got when he graduated from law school, upon an abandoned old house and get chased around and the last thing I see before I'm clunked over the head to my probable demise is the Princeling standing in the corner. No thank you.

Child's Play: Have you seen some of these toys for little ones these days? They have minds of their own! Before the Princeling was even born, someone gave us this robotic little doggie that, I'm not kidding, would turn itself on. Turn. Itself. On! It would be sitting on a pile of other baby crap we had yet to organize, no one would even be around it, and suddenly we'd hear it sing or say hello.

Even Husband is scared of this toy.

Poltergeist: One of my mother's favorite stories to tell about my brother, Mr. Funny, is the time when he was about a year old and she left him in the living room by himself and came back to find him on his hands and knees in front of the TV, which was off, laughing at nothing.

Is this genetic? Did my son inherit some sort of ability to communicate with the malevolent undead through television? And if so, how do we let him know that it is not okay to allow poltergeists into the house? And also, see above re: The Ring.

The Shining: The one and only time I've ever seen this movie was during the three semesters I spent in Colorado. They showed the film on campus. In February. The day after a major snowstorm. For a week I had nightmares of my father running around my dorm trying to kill me and my friends with an ax.

My husband gets bored easily. He works long hours at his job. What if winter comes and he finally loses it and I end up running up and down the streets of Park Slope with the Princeling in my arms to avoid being hacked to pieces by my homicidal Husband? It could happen!

 

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