Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.
In honor of Halloween I’m promulgating my long held theory on parenting informed by monster movies. When I was young and single I was King Kong. The King of all Monsters. Nobody messed with Kong. Nobody. Until…I fell in love. And then down goes Kong.
I’m sure you can relate. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. I’m sure this path happened similarly for many of you. Let’s walk along the Monster Movie timeline of parenting.
Birth of baby. You are The Fly.
You are an unsuspecting victim who dabbled with powers far beyond your comprehension and changes have come upon you unbidden. You’re not yourself anymore. You don’t know what you are. But it’s not pretty.
1-3 mos. –You are a Vampire
– You’ve been cursed to walk the night and it seems that this may go on for eternity. As a nocturnal creature with red bloodshot eyes you frighten all who come in contact with you. As the sun rises, you curse it and only wish for sleep, peaceful sleep.
3-6 mos. - Frankenstein
6 mos. to 1 yr. - You are a Ghost.
To everyone who knew you pre-baby you have disappeared. Nobody ever sees the ghost you have become and they even start suspecting you don’t exist at all. And when you do show up among old friends they scream, gasp, and question you. You begin to feel unconnected to them and slowly beging fading away…forever.
1 -2 yrs. You are Quasimodo
– You walk around the house hunched over trying to protect your newly walking child from every corner in the house until you’re permanently deformed. (This is especially bad for the first child and almost non-existent by the fifth when you say things like, “Hey, how else will she learn not to walk into walls?)
2-4 yrs. You are Jekyll and Hyde
– You have a split personality. You are the authoritarian figure of a lunatic asylum at home and somehow you’re supposed to not instinctively tell people to drink their drink all gone at business lunches.
5-12 yrs. – You are the Wicked Witch of the West
– You are the scourge of your young girl who seeks only to escape your clutches. You pester her and chase after her but all she wants to do is hang out with her friends who she calls weird names like Scarecrow and Tin Man. You are surrounded by monkeys who fly around crazily and no matter how many times you give them jobs to do they just mess it up.
12 -15 yrs. - You are Hal 9000 from A Space Oddysey 2001
–You’re trying to patiently and logically explain everything you do to uncooperative and out of control humans. The little humans who once thought you were great now can’t stand the sound of your voice, think you’re crazy and are trying to shut you off.
15-18 yrs. – You are the Invisible Man.
18 yrs. – You are Annie Wilkes.
–The person you love is trying to leave you. Oh no, Mr. Man. We won’t be having any of that. You’re staying right here. Don’t even think about getting in that Cockadoodie car and leaving. I go out of my way for you! I do everything to try and make you happy. I feed you, I clean you, I dress you, and what thanks do I get? You think you can just leave now?!
25 yrs.- You are the Mummy.