November 19, 2008

Strange Things Are Afoot At The Circle K

I realize Halloween has come and gone but there's some pretty scary stuff that's been happening around the Cactus Casa lately.

On Saturday, after getting dressed, Mia took a header down the stairs. I don't mean that she slipped and fell a couple of stairs. She started almost in the seated position, falling forward, ass over teakettle, then twisted somehow so that she was sliding feet-first down the stairs. She managed to clear the vast majority of the staircase that way. It was horrifying. Beth and I were both at the top of the stairs watching it happen. I was holding Owen. Neither of us could do a damn thing about it. I immediately ran down to where she'd landed with, I'm pretty sure, a look of horror on my face. She looked up at me and cheerfully said, "Daddy, I'm okay." Then began bawling.

Physically and emotionally, Mia was fine. She's talked about it a few times and mentioned that she's trying to be more careful when she's going up and down the stairs. Me? I'm less fine. I can't get the images of her falling down those stairs out of my head. It's like it's on some endless film loop being played over and over again by the crazy projectionist in my brain. I cringe every time and feel like someone with a really giant hand has wrapped that hand around my heart and started squeezing. I know, I know - it was only a little fall and she's fine, no harm done. But it was more than that. It was a reminder of what parenting, or at least part of it, is like. Letting your kids be free to make mistakes, to get hurt and not always being around or able to protect them.

Another scary thing is Polterbaby. Polterbaby is a doll that Mia acquired some time ago that scares the living crap out of us. Polterbaby is battery powered and springs to life at odd times, moving her head, squealing and cooing. We'll be sitting down for dinner, hear a really strange noise and realize that it's just Polterbaby in some other room. Owen loves Polterbaby so we've had her out and about a little bit more. Which is why I recently discovered that Polterbaby is even more evil than I'd previously guessed. She talks. Real English words buried amongst the cooing and whining. See and hear for yourself.

You hear that? Go into the light. This possessed little freak doll is urging us all into the afterlife. Or, you know, Ohio. I'm pretty sure if I played it backwards, we'd be subliminally urged to worship the devil, listen to Led Zeppelin or be a Republican . Some shit like that.

All of this - the discovery that the afterlife probably plays out in Ohio, the stairs incident, the possessed and possibly evil doll and the sign I drive past every day when I'm heading home from Monkeytown that flashes Leave nothing of value behind all are kinda freaking me out a little bit. Sure, there are worse places than Ohio (though nothing springs to mind), the stairs incident is behind us and all are well, the doll could be deactivated by pulling out the batteries (or could it?) and the sign then goes on to say, on a subsequent flashing screen, when you park your vehicle since its sitting outside the parking lot at Roosevelt Island, but makes you wonder.

So, what do you think? Do I have reason to be afraid? And what's scared you lately?

Posted by Chris at November 19, 2008 6:56 AM

My middle son got his license last Friday. Everytime he leaves now in his pick up I feel like I am holding my breath the entire time he is gone. I try not to text or call because I have forbidden him to use his cell while driving. And, I hate parents who hover when there is no value in the hovering. I also refuse to say "be careful" everytime he leaves because again, its a waste of breath and implies that I don't think he is careful.

The stairs? Until my boys would hit about 3 years old or so I did not let them walk down then the stairs. They went down on their bottoms in more of a sitting position. I would do it with them when they first learned and it was our house rule. It sounds funny now telling someone but it worked.

Posted by: Debbie at November 19, 2008 7:13 AM

pull the batteries out of that doll!!!

Posted by: me at November 19, 2008 7:14 AM

My comment courtesy of Chrissy Hynde and the Pretenders.

"I went back to ohio
But my city was gone
There was no train station
There was no downtown
South howard had disappeared
All my favorite places
My city had been pulled down
Reduced to parking spaces
A, o, way to go ohio"

Posted by: William at November 19, 2008 8:16 AM

No worse places than Ohio spring to mind? How about Utah? Or (shudder) Alaska?

Glad to hear Mia's OK!

Posted by: MichelleL at November 19, 2008 8:18 AM

Oh! Horrible to watch something happen to your kids and be unable to do anything. I'm glad she's okay.

Nothing new scaring me lately. I'm scared of everything I always have been, mostly that now I'm going to have an urge to watch "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" after reading the title of this post.

Posted by: Sarah at November 19, 2008 8:23 AM

We had a doll like that - we let the batteries wear out and are NOT replacing it. We have another animal that sings songs and plays Simon Says when you touch its various extremities, but it started singing in the middle of the night in my daughter's room, so is now sitting in the garage waiting for a trip to Goodwill.

Stair falls are scary. Glad Mia (and the rest of you) are ok.

Posted by: Ross at November 19, 2008 8:25 AM

Glad to hear that mia is okay. I think it's good not to hover and be a hellicopter parent. But it must be truly AWFUL to watch that happen to your baby and not be able to stop it while you are right there. Again I reiterate I am glad she's okay.

That doll is creepalicious! Burn it, play Zepplin while you do it and chant if you have too but get that demon thing out of your home.

Posted by: Deirdre at November 19, 2008 8:38 AM

The doll can't be trusted. Remove it's batteries immediately. Of course, I'm a wimp when it comes to clowns and scary dolls!

Posted by: diane at November 19, 2008 9:01 AM

That's the doll that was on the news a while back. They said it was saying "Islam is the light". A few days later, I walked past a couple of them in the department store and they scared the crap out of me.

Posted by: Karen at November 19, 2008 9:05 AM

being that I'm from Ohio...a place worse? DUH Michigan...Go Bucks

Posted by: Becky at November 19, 2008 9:16 AM

So all of this made me think of the book I recently read for my reading group "The Alchemist". A quick and easy read... not too new agey and overall ok.
The large overall theme of which is to follow your personal legend and (here is where it made me think of it) look for the omens. Look for the signs that will help guide you.

I'm just saying, dude, them's some freaky signs. I would get rid of the doll.

I'm glad Mia is ok... my stomack lurched when I read your post. Been there a time or two. It seriously sucks.

Posted by: varinia at November 19, 2008 9:19 AM

The doll's freaky, indeed.

Do you have to cross the Roosevelt Bridge everyday? Dear Lord in heaven, the thought of doing that scares me enough without actually having to do it. I've only ever seen it not heaving with backed-up traffic once at like 5 A.M. They need to start a ferry service or something as an alternative.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at November 19, 2008 9:19 AM

I am thinking you need to "misplace" Polterbaby. Hopefully Mia won't even notice. Funny, my cousin (named Mia) also used to have a Polterbaby that would come to life in the middle of the night. My aunt "misplaced" it soon after.

Posted by: Fraulein N at November 19, 2008 9:22 AM

oh my freak... remove doll from house immediately. OR... you could make your own mini-horror flick titled Polterbaby, score some cash and THEN remove doll from house.

Posted by: Holly at November 19, 2008 9:23 AM

Some freak woman tried to abduct my son last week...I have a feeling that will be with me for a while...

Posted by: shannon at November 19, 2008 9:28 AM

I have been meaning to blog about a couple incidents actually. One being my husband who hid behind a door to freak me out and usually that's fine but I was TOTALLY unsuspecting. But the other thing was this thing stirring in an old barbecue in our backyard and I started peeking in when a cat popped up right in my face and cared the crap out of me. My heart still races when I think about it; I am NOT a cat person.

Posted by: Claire at November 19, 2008 9:28 AM

My little guy (2) did a nosedive off a play structure - fell five feet and landed right on his nose. We were on a holiday out of state and I was absolutely sure he had broken it. Blood everywhere. Aack! But thankfully, when the air cleared and the blood was cleaned up, he didn't seem to be in an extraordinary amount of pain and he only ended up with a small bruise. But damn. It was scary.

Posted by: Shannon at November 19, 2008 9:37 AM

My little guy (2) did a nosedive off a play structure - fell five feet and landed right on his nose. We were on a holiday out of state and I was absolutely sure he had broken it. Blood everywhere. Aack! But thankfully, when the air cleared and the blood was cleaned up, he didn't seem to be in an extraordinary amount of pain and he only ended up with a small bruise. But damn. It was scary.

Posted by: Shannon at November 19, 2008 9:37 AM

Actually, Polterbaby reminds me of a Simpson's halloween episode where a talking Krusty the Clown doll is trying to kill Homer. Tech support finally shows up, takes a look, and states "Here's yer problem. You've the doll set to "evil"". He flips a switch on the back that sets it to "good", and the doll ends up bringing Homer food and giving him footrubs.

My point? Take a look and see if there's an Good/Evil switch on the back. Or, just get rid of the thing anyway.

Posted by: J at November 19, 2008 9:37 AM

Dude...that doll is definitely creepy. If you take the batteries out and it still works, don't write about it here...I'll get no sleep for weeks! ;-)

Falling down stairs is my worst fear. We have three steps up from our living room to the rest of our house and Leda has fallen down them three times. Luckily she's got a hard head! I cringe every time she's near steps...but the worst, playgrounds! I'm terrified for her around them!

I don't know what I'm going to be like when she starts to drive! Gulp!

The joys of parenthood!

Posted by: cyndy at November 19, 2008 9:45 AM

OMFG, that is the CREEPIEST thing I have ever seen. Get it out of your house!! Ack!!

Actually, I think I saw a story on the news recently about how these dolls (maybe not the exact same ones, but something similar) started spouting preachy religious stuff and they were pulled from the shelves. They were supposed to be saying things like, "Mama, I'm hungry" and instead were saying things like, "Satan will come for your soul." I'm paraphrasing of course, but uber creepy nonetheless.

Posted by: chatty cricket at November 19, 2008 9:47 AM

Dude, they are made of frikin' rubber until they hit 13. I found that the more worked up I get the worse they are. She seems to be fine. You just knocked 5 years off your life however.


Posted by: Knot at November 19, 2008 9:53 AM

Yeah, we had a few spills down the stairs. The worst (beside the one when Len was carrying a sleeping Heidi and fell over backwards and broke his back) would have to be the day Daniel learned how to crawl... only I didn't know he had learned how to crawl yet. I took him out of my bath and set him on a towel on my bedroom floor to dry and dress him. I nipped back into the bathroom for baby power and a diaper when I heard thunk-thunk-thunk-thunk!! I ran to the top of the stair to see my nekkid-chubby boy bouncing (in what seemed to be slow motion) down the stairs like a rubber chicken! I felt faint and honestly thought I was going to pass out...

A visit to ER, head-scans, much poking and prodding later he was declared fine... Belgian Dr said it was a good thing he had inherited his fathers thick Scottish scull.

Posted by: Amber at November 19, 2008 10:04 AM

ooof that doll is majorly creepy!

Posted by: Sue R at November 19, 2008 10:37 AM

I've been scared of stuffed anythings since I saw ET. No joke. My parents had to take me out of the theater. Hiding in those stuffed animals and then it moved? Yep. Freaked little Katie out, screaming bloody murder in the darkened theater. The doll from the movie Chuckie? Nope. My children will never have dolls. Never. They can kill you.

Posted by: k8 at November 19, 2008 10:40 AM

Throw that baby out! If it comes back, move. Far away. Or else youjust might end up in Ohio.

I still don't let Jake go down the stairs. I pick him up and carry him. It's a pain in the ass, but I have that same vision you have only mine ends much worse. I shouldn't tell you this, but I recently lost a life long friend to a stair fall. I'm way skittish lately.

We had a weird creepy demonic scare thing here a couple weeks ago. If it was me who was weirded out I wouldn't mention it, but it was my husband. Who is, you know, a man. The fact that he was creeped out so much and Jake was screaming some strange words and noises in his sleep and doors opened and closed almost made us check into the Holiday Inn. But things are better now.

Posted by: lora at November 19, 2008 10:55 AM

That doll would freak me out, too!

Posted by: Zandria at November 19, 2008 10:56 AM


I got a really bad case of the hiccups last night and The BFF thought she'd be helpful by scaring the living shit out of me. It worked but I was so scared I started crying.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at November 19, 2008 10:57 AM

For the love of all things good and holy TAKE THE BATTERIES OUT OF THAT THING!

Thank goodness Mia is ok.

What has scared me lately? That doll.

Posted by: jessica at November 19, 2008 11:02 AM

it does sound like it's saying "islam is the light"... but i have to agree with all the other doll/clown haters, regardless of what it says! yuck! you can just get rid of it and then tell mia it went to ohio.

but seriously, lola fell halfway down the stairs a week after her 1st birthday and we found her laying on the landing wearing only a pink tutu and holding up her bath soap like "i got it! i got it!" it was a week before i could get my heart-rate down. and this happened the day we went to look for baby gates and came home empty-handed because we didn't find any that "looked" the way i wanted them to. so talk about guilt! i'm glad mia's ok!

Posted by: kati at November 19, 2008 11:05 AM

I watched my cousin fall down wood stairs onto hardwood (carrying a cat, no less -- I kid you not!) many years ago, and I still remember that to this day. Such a helpless feeling. She was about 3 or 4 at the time. She's now 29 and has kids of her own, and she's totally fine! But still...

Posted by: Sandy at November 19, 2008 11:23 AM

I left the gate open at the bottom of the stairs with my oldest when she was just crawling. Suddenly realized she was out of the room, and ran over to the stairs just in time to see her bouncing down the stairs. She was sailing through the air and landed in my arms with enough force to make me very glad she did not hit the linoleum at the bottom. I feel an anxious flutter as I type this, and it was 7 years ago. There is a reason why our parents were jibbering nuts by the time we left the house; they were burned out, just as we will be. There is also a reason why grandparents are so happy. It is because it is now someones else's problem! ;)

Best advice I can give is to do the following:
1. Deep six the doll; the kids will forget, but the creepiness factor is not worth it. Your house is your sanctuary, and if it creeps you out then its got to go.
2. Do some breathing exercises ( meditation if you will ) and let go of the stress of Mia's fall. It will always be there if you go looking for it, but you need to let go of the moment.
3. Throw a quarter at the "Leave nothing of value behind" sign; f*** em; you wanna leave something behind, then do it.
4. You know that Ohio can be a beautiful, if not occasionally temperamental, place. If Ohio is where we go when we pass, it could be much worse. But seriously, stay out of Youngstown.

Best of luck!

Posted by: metawizard at November 19, 2008 11:34 AM

Well, we all know how Ohio can signal the Apocalypse. But Polterbaby! The end of the world is definitely coming!

Posted by: Heather at November 19, 2008 11:37 AM

Glad that Mia is ok! Those moments are so scary. My Little Dude rolled off my bed at 6 months old, and I was certain I had killed him. I think my heart stopped, until he started gurgling and laughing 2 seconds later. I agree with Knot; young kids seem to be made of rubber.

I had my very own Polterbaby as a girl. The brand was Baby Soft Sound, and she also cooed and cried and said "Ma-ma" like a real baby. It wasn't terribly creepy to me when I was 5. My great-grandma, with whom I grew up, kept the doll out of nostalgia, but didn't put any more batteries in it after I stopped playing with it at age 6. Still, when I would come home from college for a visit, or sometimes when she would be home alone at night and lonesome, the doll would randomly start working again (after 13+ years of no new batteries)! Very, very creepy. We still have the doll, mainly because I am afraid to throw it out and then wake up to find it in the bed next to me with a knife and a crazed look in its eye.

Thanks for the reminder, man- now I won't sleep at all tonight! ;)

Posted by: gabrielle at November 19, 2008 11:40 AM

The Strangers...that flick was just creepy. First movie in a long time to make me that jumpy.


Posted by: JackassJimmy at November 19, 2008 11:42 AM

When I was about 8 1/2 months pregnant and prone to freaking out about everything, a radio in our spare room suddenly started playing....really LOUDLY. As in, neighbors calling the cops on us loud. I was home alone at the time, went into the room to see what the heck had happened and the volume control was broken. Could not turn it down. Finally got enough composure to unplug it from the wall and you know what? Yes, you do. The radio continued to play. Stopped on its own about three minutes later. I have chalked it up to too much excess anxiety of the late stage pregnant variety. Creepy though. That was almost three years ago and I haven't plugged it back in yet.

Posted by: rebecca at November 19, 2008 11:49 AM

The Dictator fell down 4 stairs this morning - not too big of a deal. BUT when he was 9 months old (he was doing the stairs pretty early) he fell from the top right to the bottom. Scared the living shit out of me. I tried to throw myself down the stairs to catch him - but he hit the floor before I did. Luckily all we had was a little carpet burn.

Posted by: Sleepynita at November 19, 2008 11:56 AM

Since around 2 hours ago, the latest terrifying thing in my life was the ultrasound technician saying "Congratulations, you're having twins!", but that doesn't really count since it's also pretty awesome at the same time.

Posted by: (slightly) less cynical at November 19, 2008 12:33 PM

Polterbaby? Totally scary. We had one of those Play with me Elmo's that did that. He moved and talked when no one had played with it for months. And always at night.

Posted by: Issa at November 19, 2008 12:52 PM

If you ever read the William Gibson books about branding you'll probably think Im a copycat but I thought the Michelin man thing was funny too until they inverted the Burger King king guy - he fills me with a visceral horror so acute by breathing gets fast and my heart races even with the Tivo running full speed ahead.

That commercial with the talking baby is kind of creepy too. I would soooo accidentally lose that doll of Owen's!

Posted by: That Girl at November 19, 2008 12:59 PM

Polterbaby has got to go. I don't think I could sleep with that thing in my house!

Scary...well, the layoffs at my company this morning were pretty darn scary. Luckily, I still have a job, but I had a moment of panic at 9:07 am. Sort of. I'm more scared for the unlucky ones.

Posted by: bad penguin at November 19, 2008 1:12 PM

Do you know that if you burn an instrument of pure evil, something that channels wicked forces, that you merely TRAP that evil spirit right where you burned it, and it will leach onto you and haunt you for life?

Just a thought. Don't burn that doll, no matter how tempting an idea it may be.

Posted by: Mr Lady at November 19, 2008 1:23 PM

I'm so glad Mia is ok! Poor sweetie. I hate having stairs and have fallen down them a few times myself because of wearing socks

That doll sounds (and looks) like the one that is making a lot of controversy right now. Supposedly its saying "Islam is the light". And to be honest, it does sound like that. Its freaky no matter what its saying though.

Posted by: Mary at November 19, 2008 1:25 PM

That doll is straight from hell and cannot be trusted. Actually, I was really not creeped out or afraid of anything...until I read your post. :)

I'm glad Mia is okay, I've been there and done that and it is almost impossible to get out of your head.

Posted by: The Stiletto Mom at November 19, 2008 1:53 PM

That's nothing. I used to babysit for a little boy whose toys would start up - in another room - for no reason. Freaking house was haunted, for real. His mother would call from time to time in the evenings, scared out of her mind. Kid didn't seem to mind, though. I'll never forget the day that something was dropping a plastic cup onto the kitchen floor, repeatedly. Except there was no plastic cup, and no one in the kitchen.

That doll has got to go.

Posted by: bhd at November 19, 2008 2:35 PM

There is nothing more haunting than the image of your child getting hurt replaying on infinite loop in your head.

Posted by: statia at November 19, 2008 2:41 PM

my daughter has a toy cow that moos whenever it pleases. very disturbing

Posted by: peggy at November 19, 2008 3:47 PM

I'm definitely going to have creepy doll nightmares now, thankyouverymuch :P
I'm glad Mia is okay...that sounds really scary!

Posted by: Heather at November 19, 2008 4:31 PM

I think the whirring sound while she talks makes it even worse somehow.

And I know what you mean...there are no "little falls" when it comes to your own kids. I wake up in a cold sweat from time to time remembering my daughter's 1st bloody lip. The dream's always the same...she's sitting there with her back to me...the camera slowly zooms into her back. At the last minute she turns around and says" YOU DID THIS TO ME!!!!!!!" Terrible, I tell ya.

Posted by: matt at November 19, 2008 6:26 PM

I'd have to loose that doll. Gave me the creeps.

Worrying about my son's future. I'm beginning to think that things are never going to settle down and our battle with schools will be a constant issue.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at November 19, 2008 6:45 PM

I saw my first Circle K shops in Indonesia. Bizarre - they don't seem to exist outside of that country and the US.

And all I could think of what that line from Bill & Ted. I so wish I'd taken a photo but none of them had a phone booth outside.

Posted by: Mosh at November 19, 2008 8:03 PM

i remember about 15 years ago i was carrying abbie (who was bout 6 months at the time) into the house and i slipped outside on the cement steps and her head hit the stairs. i can still see and hear that whole scenario in my head-it doesn't go away. mia falling is like that-i hope the vision goes away, but at times when all is quiet i will remember the horrible sound/sight tucked away in my head and it makes me cringe like no other.

speaking of cringing-what the fuck is up with that doll baby? sheeiit. i'd toss that dollbaby right outside, but i bet if you did...a couple hours later you'd hear a knock at the door and it'll be polterbaby and chuckie wanting to take up space on your toyroom floor.

dude, yank the batteries.

Posted by: kimmyk at November 19, 2008 9:15 PM

i don't know if i've mentioned this or not. but my father is still traumatized over when i was mia's age and fell down the stairs just like that. i on the other hand, very vaguely remember it. so, im sure mia is fine. im agreeing with the other people about that doll, it is freaky man.

the last scary thing that happened to me, was last winter when taylor had some weird virus thing that was causing him excrutiating pain in his head.
we took him to the hospital and they didn't know what it was either. just that it wasn't an anyurism and probably not a tumor.
we ended up getting this naturopathic stuff and it worked almost immdediatly.
which i was very surprised about, because he was taking oxycodeine and that wasn't even working. it was terrifying though.

Posted by: cri at November 19, 2008 10:21 PM

I can relate, my youngest plummeted down the stairs awhile back and all I could do was stand there horror stricken watching her fall. Oh, and she has this stupid scooter that I hate. Every time she rides it when I am around. It all starts when she says "daddy watch this" and ends with a face plant on the sidewalk. Then she can't understand why I hate those words or that damn scooter!

Posted by: Jeff A at November 19, 2008 11:16 PM

Okay, that doll is freaky! Thankful that I have 2 boys and that the "My Buddy" doll isn't making a come back. However, my 2-year-old's imagination is working overtime and he often is fearful of monsters and such. All that is fine- but I can't take it when he starts referring to people that I personally cannot see (e.g. telling me some man is in our upstairs hallway-uh, not that I can see). I am just waiting for the day he looks at me with watery eyes and says "I see dead people".

Posted by: Jane in PA at November 19, 2008 11:32 PM

Holy crap. I'd suggest you throw that baby away in the nearest dumpster, but it would be even creepier when it ends up back on your daughter's bed the next night for no reason.

That thing creeps the hell out of me, and it's not even in my possession.

Ha. Ignore the pun.

Posted by: Jessa at November 20, 2008 9:32 PM

That thing is creepy.

Posted by: Zandor at November 20, 2008 10:39 PM

"Ted, don't be dead dude!"

Posted by: Amy at November 21, 2008 4:57 PM

WE had the same creepy baby doll and had to get rid of it because it completely freaked out our 5 year old. She calls them "Robot Babies" but not in an affectionate way because she loves robots just not robotic baby dolls. I should have known better than to buy it because we had to get rid of the Baby Alive doll that Santa brought 2 years ago for the same reason. The creepy, big eyed, big headed, fetal alcohol syndrome looking dolls that eat and crap. I've enjoyed my visit to your blog and laughed out loud reading several posts. And yes, my two children are trying to kill us with sleep deprivation.

Posted by: MaryLea at November 24, 2008 11:24 PM