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Monday, 12 March 2012

5. Things That Go Bump!

In the interest of keeping mental tabs on where my girls are in their psyche and what they are being exposed to on television, the radio and printed material, I often attempt to watch, listen and read whatever it is they are into at any given time.  This normally works quite well as we giggle over television plots, sing along to singers barely half my age and discuss storylines, often bemoaning a writer’s lack-of-speed in releasing the next installment of a favourite book series. 

With two of my three daughters under the age of 10 and one just on the brink of 'teenager-dom', you would assume that most of it would be quite tame and PG-rated.  It is with this expectation I chanced upon a new series of books that Faith, my nearly-teenager and my eldest, had started devouring: Skulduggery Pleasant. 

The Skulduggery Pleasant series is written by Irish author AND award-nominated screen writer and centers around Skulduggery Pleasant, a wise-cracking skeleton detective, his spunky 12-year-old-sidekick Stephanie.  The first book is tame enough, chronicling their meeting, the developing relationship and their subsequent journey to save the world and stop an uprising of all sorts of dark underworld characters.  (Breathe) And I DO mean UNDER the world, scary-spooky-soul-devouring characters.  Did I mention the skeleton?

I should point out at this juncture that I am the world’s BIGGEST scardy cat.  Pre-Matt, in my single days, I would put off being in a darkened room by taking on a night job.  When it finally came time to face the inevitable ‘turn-off-the lights’ moment, I always had some sort of soft music going on in the background as I drifted off.. to drown out any sort of scarey noises.. ie the ones that happen in the dead of the night!  Simply put, George Benson and Luther Vandross ‘held’ my hand to silence the pitter-patter of my pounding chicken heart from fear during those long nights!

Fast-forward to my late 20s and pre-baby days (before I was too permanently exhausted to worry about anything that went “bump”!), in the middle of our very cozy 400-something square foot studio, whenever Matt traveled overseas for work, I would put off going to sleep by baking brownies - which would subsequently follow Matt to work when he came back!.  Let’s just say, his colleagues loved it whenever he traveled!

Getting to the point, simply put, if you opened the dictionary and looked under “CHICKENSHIT”, you would find a picture of me, hiding behind some sort of security blanket, with a look of sheer terror pasted on my face.  You get the picture.

Getting back to my tale of terror, I survived THAT first book without so much of a cold sweat and greedily started devouring the second book, “Skulduggery Pleasant – Playing With Fire”.   The scare factor suddenly revved up a few notches as a parade of monsters and dark characters rear their ugly heads; including “Grotesquery” (which refuses to die), a psychopathic assassin (with a grudge), a blood thirsty-syringe-carrying vampire AND an army of super spiders!  I shudder at the memory!

Did it occur to me to put down the book at any point?  Yes.  But I thought if I just worked through it, I would become desensitized at some point.  Did my plan work?  No.  Let’s just say, that night, I tossed and turned and jumped at every noise. 

Next morning, I tell Faith I’m not so sure about her reading these books as they are quite dark and scarey.  She asks why.  I tell her about the scarey characters and the spiders.  And then she reacts in the only way she knows how.  She bursts out laughing!  “Spiders?!?  Are you serious mom!”  “Yes!” I protest.  “They were very hairy and scary!  And there’s a WHOLE ARMY of them!”

Faith tries again.  “Mom, I really want to keep reading these books.  I find them interesting and quite funny.”  “Okay.”  I warn.  “But if you get nightmares, don’t say I didn’t warn you!”  Faith then smiles her beautiful smile with a “Oh Mom!  You are so funny!  Just as well I’ve got Daddy’s genes and am more of a daredevil like him!”    With that, she gives me a hug and book under her arm, walks to her room, with a chuckle.

As I watch my taller-than-me-nearly-teenager walk away, I cannot help but smile at at the way Faith handled that exchange.  Just as well she’s got Matt’s genes!


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