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How Having a Toddler Is Like a Scary Movie

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Halloween is around the corner and scary movie watching is in full-effect. Adults and teens everywhere are flocking to theaters or huddled up on their couches with one eye open, ready to be scared. For parents of toddlers, we can get the same thrills and emotions from simply living in the same house as a toddler. In fact, life with a toddler includes most of the same characteristics that are crucial to the making of a really good scary movie. Here’s how having a toddler is pretty much just like a scary movie.

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1. They can create a very eerie atmosphere.

Scary movies are all about setting the mood with an eerie, tense atmosphere. Whether it’s mist, fog, dark shadows across the wall or the presence of menacing props laid about, there is always that chill in the air that has you on edge, knowing that something horrific is about to happen. Toddlers are just as good at creating that hair-raising tension at home. Nothing is as eerie as walking down the hallway following that odd silence, a trail of your baking supplies (which include food coloring!) and the lid to the Nutella jar, and bracing yourself for the horror you are bound to find when you turn the corner into your 2-year-old’s room…

2. There are loud noises.

Loud bangs and the sound of heavy objects crashing to the floor breaking relative silence happen frequently when you have a toddler. And they are jarring and terrifying every time, just as they are in scary movies. You get chills up your spine because not only do you wonder “what the hell did they just break?” but you may also have to have a quick wardrobe change because those sounds are really startling, and you have weak pelvic floor muscles these days, man.

3. There are lots of graphic scenes.

The sight of blood and gore in horror flicks is pretty gross, but have you ever seen a potty training toilet that has been abandoned mid-movement or sat too far forward on? It’s so grotesque. You have to look away.

4. People are hiding.

Many times, it’s the parent who is hiding, either in the closet or the bathroom.

You don’t even have to watch one scary movie to know that there will be lots of scenes where someone, either the victim or the killer, is hiding. Well, there’s plenty of hiding that goes on in a house with a toddler. Sometimes it’s the toddler, who is hiding behind the pantry door over and over again. Sometimes it’s that one really annoying toy that giggles or plays a bootleg version of “Gangnam Style” every time you press the hand that we have forced into hiding. But oftentimes, it’s the parent who is hiding, either in the closet or the bathroom, so she can just have a few damn minutes to herself.

5. There is screaming.

The blood-curdling screams that the victims in a scary movie let off right before they are violently bludgeoned or chainsawed or knifed have nothing on my toddler’s “You took my yogurt away from me before I was done!” scream.

6. There are often strange noises in the distance.

Like the sound of a 23-month-old grunting behind the couch.

7. There is usually some form of torture.

Horror flicks like to include scenes where the killer inflicts physical and psychological torture on the victim. Let’s be honest, getting a toddler to go to sleep and/or being subjected to more than one episode of “Calliou” can be pretty tortuous, both psychologically and physically.

8. Toddlers are good at surprises.

In the movies, it’s usually the screech of a cat or the knock on the door by a neighbor, a so-called “pop out” which makes you jump and gets your adrenaline pumping. Scary movies love a good surprise, something you don’t see coming. Well how about when my toddler hurled into the frozen cod fillets at Ralph’s a few months ago? I did not see that coming.

9. They know how to create suspense.

Scary movies love to create in its viewers the anxiety of waiting for something to happen, the stress of knowing that doom is right around the corner. It’s that sweaty palm experience when you hear the foreboding sound of footsteps coming closer to the victim, or the surly, little footsteps of a toddler coming closer to the other side of the bathroom door, signaling you to wrap it up in there, moms.

10. There is plenty of mystery.

There’s always a mystery to be solved — like figuring out why your cellphone is wet.

You can’t have a scary movie without the element of mystery. Same goes for life with a toddler. There’s always a mystery to be solved — like figuring out why your cellphone is wet, where your daughter got the gum she’s chewing and where that smell of poop is coming from.

11. It’s not for the timid.

Just like watching a scary movie, raising a toddler is not for the timid or weak stomached. As a parent, you must at times go through a gamut of some thrilling and unpleasant emotions including panic, alarm and tension and come out smiling on the other side.

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12. We love them!

Scary movies kill at the box office. People love them. And they have a huge return on investment. Just like toddlers. As much as they sometimes make us shriek back in horror and make our blood pressure spike, we can’t get enough of our adorable toddlers. They make our hearts race. Yep, we love the thrill and the excitement that comes with raising our little monsters.

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