10 Things That Scared the Crap Out of Me Cleaning My Daughter's Room
|Every kid has a Tardis in their room, right?|
The Doll Graveyard: I hate dolls. Blame it on growing up with a brother whose favorite horror movie was Dollie Dearest but man I hate dolls. They're empty plastic vessels just waiting for Satan to fill them with his evil. That's why I felt it was a perfectly justifiable response to scream and flee the room when I flipped her mattress and discovered the dismembered remains of a dozen Barbies she had shoved under the bed to be trapped against the metal grid work of the frame. Each plastic eye seemed to blame me for allowing them into the hands of a callous mistress who cared nothing for their broken forms.
The Mysterious Lights: You pick up a lot of swag in this gig, and one of the things that made it home with me was a microphone toy sent by the Barnum and Bailey Circus that I gave to my daughter. She was mildly interested in it for a couple of days, and then stashed it in the closet. Little did I know it had a setting on it that reacted to sound by sending out a strobe effect. So as I'm moving and hauling stuff in her room, I keep seeing this unearthly flashing coming out from under her door until I finally gathered up the courage to make sure that those aliens from the last season of American Horror Story hadn't set up shop in the same place I hang her nightgowns.
The Calls Are Coming From Inside the House: Did you know just how popular toy cell phones are? Or how advanced they've gotten? My God, some of them are more interesting than conversations I've had with actual real people. Like the singing toys I mentioned earlier, they're easy to accidentally set off, and in my case one of the ones my daughter has sounds exactly like my mother. I thought I was going crazy hearing her repeatedly saying, "Hello" and "That's wonderful," and more ominously, "Goodbye... I love you." Between that and the toy stethoscope I was basically living an asylum movie soundtrack.
The Reminder of Your Impending Loneliness: Kids outgrow their clothes so fast, and about three times a year we take outfits that no longer fit to a donation center. We hadn't done it for a while, so I decided to systematically sort through piles of laundry until only things she could actually wear were left.
I came across her little rainbow sundress while doing it... I love that thing. It's been practically a shirt for over a year now, but I just couldn't bring myself to get rid of it. Whenever I picture her in my head, that's the outfit that she's wearing.
That's the scariest part of cleaning a kid's room. It's messy because you don't have time to do it a little each day, and that time is so precious and ends so very, very quickly. Three hours of jumping at weird things, and at the end of it the thing that terrified me more than anything else was the fear that sooner than I think this won't be necessary anymore. That my time with her is running out while I do other things.
That night while she was sleeping I took out the rainbow dress and lay it on top of her for a moment to rewind a couple of years. Then I kissed her and hid it back in a drawer. We all have to face our fears eventually.