Today, during the game I was playing with a group of 25 4th graders, someone softly said, "is that a spider?" And I had to exercise serious self-control to not run out of the little reading area, tossing papers and pens as I went. I slid to the side and said, "is it?" And they said no, it was just a piece of fluff floating down. Which it was. I said, "well... you got me!"
Also today, my daughter mentioned (I posted this on Facebook, so if you are my FB friend, apologies for the repetition!) that she thinks mascots are scary. She said, "I have mascot-a-phobia." and proceeded to compare the various costumed characters that have visited her school and tell me which one is the scariest.
This reminded me of the time when I was either 8 or 11 (I don't remember) and my dad, who was then the movie critic at the local paper (hence my other blog www.filmcriticsdaughter.blogspot.com) took me and my siblings to see the latest Star Wars movie at the special preview showing. I was 5 when the first one came out and it scared me. I cried a lot. Well... I cried a lot anyway, but that movie made me cry, too. Cry in fear.
But when the next one came out, I was 8 and 11 for the last one. I want to say this incident happened at the Empire Strikes Back sneak preview, but it was probably The Return of the Jedi.
There we were, standing in a long line outside a theater, and up walked people wearing costumes like the characters from the movie. On seeing Darth Vader, I'm sure I started backing up closer to the building or behind my sister. But Vader isn't the reason for the story. He walked past me without so much as a glance.
No. It wasn't Vader. It was CHEWBACCA! He was huge-- I was very short for my age until about 7th grade, so I'm sure he seemed even bigger than he actually was, but he was ENORMOUS and hairy and I couldn't see the man in the costume (I hate masks) and I was terrified! And did he walk on by me? Without a glance? Ohohoho no. He walked up to me and bent over to talk to me!
I believe I either squealed or screamed and ran to hide behind my dad.
After which, my dear, loving dad (no, really, he was. Normally.) said, "Oh, honey, stop it. He's not going to hurt you!" And still to this day he teases me about that.
Which is why I think I must have been 11, because a tiny 8-year old afraid of a giant in a wookie costume is much less tease-worthy than an 11-year old.
Still. He should have known I wasn't up to battling a wookie.
So the moral, parents, is this. Don't take your daughter to a movie where huge hairy creatures might attack her while standing in line and then expect her to not be afraid! She will be. It's terrifying.