Creepy little thoughts

On April 26, 2013 by Eden M. Kennedy

I don’t ever really think about my archives because once I get something off my chest I’m usually done with it. But the other day I was thinking about the post I wrote when my son told me he liked to hurt dogs. Those were the days! When I could admit difficult parenting moments and get the almost-full support of the Internet. I got some anonymous comments from what we used to call “concern trolls” who were worried that Jackson would grow up to be a serial killer, one of whom suggested I take him to an abused animal shelter and show him what it looks like for dogs to be horribly mistreated, which — would they even let a four-year-old into a place like that? If I had explained to them that he liked to pinch his dog’s ears, would they have said, “Oh, by all means, let’s show him some bait dogs that have been starved half to death so that you can teach him that grown ups can be far more cruel than he’d ever imagined, because we want to make sure he feels just as helpless and traumatized as these puppies.”

I am so glad I don’t blog about my kid anymore.

Rita read that post and ended up including it in her parenting anthology, Sleep Is For The Weak. Knowing what I know now, that Jackson was going through a phase that’s weirdly normal for a lot of kids, and that he was not on his way to becoming a sociopath, I am tempted to delete that post because it could end up embarrassing him when he’s older. I am also tempted to rewrite it because I come off as fairly desperate to reassure myself that he was just kidding. He wasn’t, of course. I simply had no idea how to handle what he was telling me.

Fortunately, the Internet can smell insecurity on you. Then they pinch your ears until you cry! Who’s the sociopath now, Internet?

What made that post necessary for me then and the reason I’m leaving it up for now are the comments that said, Oh yeah, I used to do that as a kid but I grew out of it, and, Thank you for writing this because my kid is doing the same thing and I am freaking out.

Now, I’m not an expert in anything, but — okay, would you like to know what irony is? My dog was just sitting in the living room barking at nothing and I said, “Oh my God, Peewee, I am going to fucking kill you if you don’t shut up!” and then I took two chew toys and I dangled them over his head to get him to follow me into the bedroom, and then I threw them on the floor and ran out of the room and closed the door. He is now trapped in a squeaky, quilt-filled prison.

People used to ask me and Alice if we were going to do a sequel to Let’s Panic About Babies!, something that would take you from toddlerhood through teenagers, but since neither of us knew anything about parenting a teenager the idea never got out of the gate. I still have no idea how to parent a teenager. It has occasionally occurred to me that I wouldn’t mind swaddling Jackson, who is now eleven, but only because I think it might make it more of a challenge for him to play Grand Theft Auto IV.

Swaddled, by Oslo Davis


I’ve also felt guilty for drawing a mustache on one of his baby pictures and putting it into Let’s Panic!

creepy baby

He said it was okay that I did this — and please believe me when I tell you that I asked for his permission at least a dozen times before the book went to print — but then when the book came out he was all, I don’t like that you did that! and I was all, Goddamnit I asked you a hundred* times!

I just looked into the bedroom and Peewee was lying on the bed with his head on my pillow, snoring. HE’S NOT DEAD AND I DID NOT KILL HIM, EVEN THOUGH IT SEEMED LIKE A GREAT IDEA TWENTY MINUTES AGO. But now I have another idea.


swaddled dog

Excuse me while I go register

Rita is doing a giveaway because it’s the fifth anniversary of Sleep Is For The Weak and the second anniversary of Let’s Panic About Babies! Alice is doing one here, and I am doing it, too, because that seems to be what I do these days, give away books in exchange for you leaving your life story in the comments! It’s in honor of Mother’s Day, which is coming up pretty soon. If you would like to win a parenting double whammy of Sleep and Panic, leave a comment telling us the thing that worried everyone most about you when you were a kid, and how you grew up to be okay anyway. I mean, yes: unless you’re dead we won’t really know how it all works out, maybe the urge to put beans up your nose will return when you’re 73 and make fools of us all. But if you feel relatively sure you’re in the clear, psychologically and spiritually.

UPDATE: Our winner is frequent commenter and long-time Fussy supporter DGM. Thanks to each of you who spilled out a small portion of your guts in contribution to this post.



25 Responses to “Creepy little thoughts”

  • My mother thought I was developmentally delayed because I would put the shapes in my plastic shape sorter in holes other than the “correct” ones. Turns out I was gifted and was bored doing it the “correct” way and was trying to see where else they would fit. Sometimes there’s a fine line between challenged and gifted.

  • Back when you first posted that story, I wanted to comment with a quote from an essay I once read. It was by some poet (or maybe poetry critic? Philosopher?) and talked about how, when he was a kid, he’d told a teacher that he wanted to step on babies’ heads. Or maybe he wrote that in a school assignment. Either way, he conveyed that to his teacher, and she was just sort of like, “Eh, everyone has thoughts like that sometimes.”

    Anyway, I didn’t post it, because I couldn’t remember the poet’s name, or the title of the essay, or even what the ultimate point of it was, but I think it was something like everyone’s soul is a little dark and creepy, and good writing helps you poke around in there, fearlessly and without judgement, so that you can get at the really good stuff.

    As for me, I was one of those precocious, delightful children who read all the time and was kind to animals, and grew up to be kind of creepy.

  • Once during recess, maybe first grade?, the girls and I were playing house, and I remember telling everyone who they were going to be (mommy, daddy, etc.), then offering that I was going to be the crazed minister coming to town to warn them about god and satan and the world ending. I remember blank stares.

  • I love this post. Probably the thing that worried people about me was that I didn’t speak up for my needs. Which, to be honest, is still a struggle for me at times. But I’m no doormat, either. So, somewhere in the range of normal, maybe?

  • I was a terror – an absolute terror – every morning growing up. My parents would wake me up for school and I would spend at least an hour screaming and crying. They’d drop me off at before school care (usually with a family member) and I’d still pound on the floor and cry. I just hated waking up. In my teens I was eventually diagnosed with a thyroid problem and some medication, plus maturing, has made it possible for me to roll out of bed every morning without too much of a fuss (though I wouldn’t ask my husband for his opinion on this). I even make it to work on time every day. So, success!

  • I used to sleep walk pretty intensely. Tried to go the bathroom in garbage cans, wandered around as a wee one in a problematic way. I think there were fears for what this might mean if i continued to do it as an adult (I don’t) or if I wandered out of the house (never went that far).

  • I would loudly tell my mom in public places that I wanted to “go live with a white family”. I would also be very bossy and pick on any kid who showed signs of weakness. Now I’m better and just troll the internet. Just kidding. I don’t troll the internet. I’m nice to all the people.

  • Ha! I don’t remember having read that entry before. When my (16-year old now) son was that age there was a famous incident when he tried to convince an older woman we knew that bananas were blue – she had held one up and asked him what color it was. Blue, he said. She grew more and more concerned about him as he continued to insist upon this – finally she left, probably thinking he was colorblind, whereupon he turned to my wife and whispered “Lellow.” So yeah, merry little pranksters, those boys can be.

  • I was such a skinny child that my mom was worried about me…until I hit puberty. No worries, Mom!

  • At about 6 months old I started holding my breath until I passed out. My parents, who adopted me when I was 2 days old, were terrified. I was tested for all sorts of things from heart problems to epilepsy. Diagnosis? I was pissed off because I didn’t get my way and was torturing my parents for daring to deny me the toy/food/dangerous object that I wanted. They were told to just let me pass out, which caused much embarrassment and nasty looks from strangers who had no clue what was going on. I finally stopped when I was 4.

    Sorry mom!

  • I had to share a room with my sister, who is two years older and totally different from me. We’d get into some heinous fights, like when she dared walk on my side of the room, and I would scratch her arms up with my awesomely strong fingernails. My mom would make me clip my nails all the time, but I’d still manage to break skin because my nails were healthy and strong, man. Turns out, my sister and I are really good friends now and I don’t think I’ve scratched her since that time she deliberately busted my Donny Osmond album. (I did punch her in the nose when we were in high school, but only because she kept trying to change the radio station from the backseat when I was sitting shotgun and therefore had Radio Control privileges.) Surprisingly, I turned out to be a pretty chill adult.

  • These are most of the best comments I’ve ever seen in my life.

  • My mom was pretty sure there was something wrong with me (autistic? sociopath? who knows what she was thinking.) when I was a baby, because I didn’t cry much and I didn’t want to be held. She was apparently just used to the ways of my more demanding older brother, because even though I still don’t cry much or want to be touched, all (most?) mental faculties are accounted for. Just a good, strong introvert.

  • Okay – this is embarrassing, but I wet the bed until I was 16. No childhood trauma, abusive family, etc (that people think brings on bed wetting) I just slept very deeply. I’m a perfectly happy, non-bed wetting functioning 39 year old. :)

  • My kindergarten teacher was concerned about me, because I would rather sit and read than play with other kids. “It’s not natural,” she said. (Granted I was PAINFULLY shy) My mom (also a teacher) just laughed at her and said that she HOPED I was that “problematic” all my life! My mom rules! (And my 5 year old is a little nerd too!)

  • I think my stories are too awful to tell. About this, I have no funny stories.

    But I am very glad you kept the story up. The internet is making it so hard to do that these days.

  • I asked my kindergarten teacher to go to the bathroom, emphasizing the urgency with bug-eyes. She was 110 and clearly could not make out the thrust of my eyeballs from their sockets or the added raised eyebrows for extra emphasis. As she replied negatively, she took the tissue paper out of her sleeve to dap the oozing sore on her temple which must have been her brain juice leaking because decreasing intelligence is the only reason someone would not notice the complete panic in a 5 year old’s need to go to the bathroom NOW. I gritted my teeth and watched the clock move five ticks to the left. Slowly, I felt the inability to hold my toes in the curled position any longer. Why I didn’t get up and run to the loo is a question I ponder to this day. Instead the warm liquid filled my socks and the dripping from my tiny plastic chair was only hushed by the submerged carpet. Of course, the bell rings at this very moment and my teacher, nearing her forced retirement gave me permission to proceed to the little girl’s room. In the cold, giant stall I wrung out my skirt followed by the even more humbling task of wringing out my undies. Tucking my undies in my pocket, (Thank you, Lord, for letting me wear the skirt with pockets!) I washed my hands. The following period of Recess was spent with my fanny on the bare, pebbly sidewalk in hopes of fanning my skirt out so it would be allowed to dry quicker. And I much preferred a pebble imprinted posterior to sitting on a chilly pee-soaked skirts with before mentioned pockets. I clutched my Smurfy lunchbox in my lap, edible interior exchanged for soggy Smurfette Underoos, knowing if I could just make it past the bus ride home I would be safe and tomorrow would be new day with a clean dry surface that I had another chance at not peeing all over.
    So many things for adults to worry about with the petite version of my former self, but I stand before you (behind the guise of this computer screen) a full fledged adult able to hold my bladder and pee in a toilet without the need of anyone’s permission. All along knowing, it is only I who can dampen my day! Take that adults wery of pants-pee-ers and doggie-squeezers!

  • i don’t think anyone worried about this but i had about 20 different imaginary friends. the best one was a dog who liked to exercise, named “sweatband”.
    the worst one was this scary old lady who made me do bad things because i was terrified of her. her name was “banana”.

    i was also afraid of the concept of gravity until i was about 10.

  • When I was in 1st grade I used to tell the other kids horrible lies about anything and everything. Like my grandma was eaten by a shark while trying to swim from her home in Finland to visit my uncle in Sweden. Or that I saw my neighbor murder his cat with a brownie. I didn’t really want to do it, but I always ended up catching myself in the middle of some story – and thought it would be too weird to just stop and say no that didn’t happen. A “concerned” teacher cornered me on the playground once and asked why I did it and try to reassure me that I didn’t have to pretend to be anyone but me, because everyone liked me as I was. I didn’t doubt that, I just liked to make stuff up – and lady, thats just how I was! I managed to convince her I was just testing out the new language skills I’d learned having moved to NY and learned to speak English pretty much 6 months before all the stories began. Now the only stories I tell are to my son at bedtime.

  • My first grade teacher called my parents in for a conference to tell them that I was terrible at A) Using scissors and B) Blowing my nose. Never mind that I was reading chapter books–the cutting and nose blowing were going to ruin my life. Today, I’m happy to report that I can evacuate my nose and operate scissors like a pro! (Though I hope those aren’t actual professions; that would be sad, mainly because they would probably pay more than my writing job).

  • I was that kid who told all the other kids Santa Claus wan’t real.

    I know better now.

    • My son did that, and hooooo boy were the parents of the kids who cried about it PISSED. When his kindergarten teacher told me, she added, “I have no idea where he got that idea.”

      I was all, “Uh, … I told him.”

      She looked at me horrified and scolded, “But he’s so YOUNG!”

  • My mom said I was a perfect kid for almost 5 years. One day when she was pregnant with my brother, I had a tantrum in the middle of Sears. I screamed, “I hate your baby and I’m going to kick it til it dies!!”

    She recently told me she thought about leaving me there.

    My brother is now in his 30′s. I’m not saying I never kicked him, just not when he was an infant. And never enough to kill him.

  • I lied about a lot of stupid stuff…and I’m pretty sure people knew it, and I’m sure they worried that’d I’d be a sociopath. I am not. And I very, very rarely lie as an adult. Thank god, cause that shit would be hard to keep up with!

  • I was super nervous about everything. Eating a soft boiled egg one day at a hotel we were staying in, I used approximately 17 napkins wiping egg yolk off of the plate that the egg holder sat on. Now I eat my eggs with abandon (but not soft boiled).