Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Childhood Fears and Ominous Dolls

During Conversation Group with the Russians this week, the topic was something along the lines of fears and anxiety. One of the questions pertained to what you most feared as a child. A couple people from my group said America, most of the men said nothing of course because they are not and have never been scared of anything because of course they are Russian men for example, several of the women said of being fat women, and one man veered off into an off topic story that went nowhere about his cousin. While they were talking and I was mindlessly correcting their grammar, pronunciations, and adding the necessary articles, I was thinking back to what I was most scared of as a child. Sure I had nightmares of the Spit Monsters (imaginary horrible things), but that would be too difficult to explain to them. Yeah, I was really scared the kid from the movie Pet Cemetery might be living under my bed and cut my Achilles tendon, but I wasn't sure if they had ever heard of that movie since it came out in the 80's when my mom took me to see it as a 6 year old at the drive-in theatre. I definitely didn't think they knew what a drive=in was, I don't know if you can borrow a metro car for that. So I told them about the incident with the dolls. I was convinced has a child that my dolls came to life after I went to bed and maybe had adventures of their own. This was a neutral subject for me. At the time I didn't think the dolls meant to cause me harm, but I also didn't think they wanted to play with me, them coming to life was just a matter of fact.

6 year olds are my mom's favorite. Old enough to still be gullible, smart enough to be aware, but not quite smart enough yet to flesh out bullshit.

When I was most likely around the age of 6, I found myself in my canopy bed sleeping one night, probably dreaming about hanging out with Lassie or Rush Limbaugh, I was very mature and easily influenced by my very Republican Grandmother back in those days. Whispering woke me up. I spent a period of time, eyes shut, trying to figure out what was going on. Spit monsters maybe? Bastards. One eye opened to see several of my dolls swaying side to side at the bottom of my bed. Holy shit. I thought you guys were supposed to instantly lose animation when child eyes found you. You guys SUCK at Red Light, Green Light. Then there were eight dolls swaying at the bottom of the bed. Then, the chanting began, "Robin, we are coming to get you, we're going to get you, we are going to KILL you!" I don't remember anything after that. I may have passed out from fear.

By the time I woke up from my fear coma the next morning, any thoughts of discussing this incident with anyone were out. I knew what I had to do. It was me, or it was them. This was 1988 Toy Story had not made its debut, but Child's Play starring Chucky the doll had. I knew those barbies and dolls meant business and had nothing good planned for me. I was 6, I just wanted to watch Lassie and listen to republican talk radio in peace like any normal 1st grader.

I packed up all impending threats in a large black hefty bag and snuck outside to the dumpster. I discussed this decision with no one for fear the dolls would overhear me and make a daylight exception. After all they already had the power to stay animated while being watched and let me in on their intentions for my demise. Who knows what these spawns of Matel were capable of.

Good thing it was trash day. This time, I win, suckers.

No one ever asked what happened to my dolls. My mom bought me new ones, and although I experienced a lot of anxiety, I enver experienced the night time animation again.

Many years later, at a booze filled family BBQ hosted at my house,  I heard my Aunt, my mom's younger sister, recount a story about one time when she and my mom had gotten high together, "and listen to what we did to Robin..." The HORROR!  I hadn't thought about this incident in years, once the offending dolls had been properly disposed of, it hadn't overtly crossed my mind again. Sure, I was a little cautious walking down the doll aisle at Toys'R'Us, sure I spent many restless anxiety filled nights sleeping with one eye open, but the memory had been washed around in my head and I didn't quite recall why dolls made me so nervous. Of course the retelling of the story from my Aunt's perspective brought it rushing back. They smoked some pot, snuck in to the gullible 6 year old's room, hid under the bed, while each of their hands held two dolls and mustering their best creepy doll voices, whispered the words of doom. My Mom piped in to the story to give a reason for the psychological torture of her then, only child, "it was payback from her tattling on me to mom about listening to Salt N' Pepa while driving her to school," fair enough, after the Seagull Incident, I don't know why this surprised me.  Oh the trauma.

The Russians in my class were fascinated by my story of child hood fears and had one very important question they were very impatient to ask at the conclusion, "you have canopy bed, for example?"


  1. "You have canopy bed?" Ha Ha! I love Russians.
    And holy cr*p, your mother totally needs to pay for your therapy.

  2. You have canopy bed? LOL!!!!!! I want to be Russian. And never be afraid of anything.

    I had porcelain dolls as a child. My grandma used to give them to me every Christmas because she was convinced I collected them, but I was TERRIFIED of them. I have no idea why she continued to gift me something that brought me nothing but fear.

  3. @Sara,I could go on for days about all the reasons my mom owes me therapy sessions. In the meantime, I think I will just stick to not having kids of my own. No need to pass on the crazy ;-)

    @Kyle, maybe the same reason my dad insisted on giving me clown dolls every year. For their own amusement.

  4. Hi,

    Very good blog you have here! Your efforts have been rewarded with a nomination at this year's eastern Europe expat blog comp!

    Look here: