This happened at our dinner table this week.
The twelve-year-old wandered off. (Usually not a cause for concern – usually she would be in search of more water, or a condiment, or the bathroom.)
After a few minutes I said, “Where’s Samantha?”
Not in the kitchen. No one was sure where she had gone.
Shortly after this, she came back in the front door and sat back down at the table.
“Where did you go?” (Unspoken but implied: In the middle of dinner? Without saying anything?)
“I thought I heard a noise outside.”
“And you went to check on it alone? Without telling anyone where you were going?”
Dad: “You haven’t watched enough horror movies. You should NEVER go check out the noise alone.”
At this point, I was playing for drama – haha, she made the classic horror movie mistake. Then she said:
“It sounded like a zombie scream.”
Me (now not so much playing): “AND YOU WENT TO CHECK ON IT ALONE???”
Samantha: [embarassed giggle] “Yes?”
“You heard a zombie scream, didn’t tell anyone, went OUTSIDE to check on it, and left the door unlocked for them to come get the rest of us?!”
You can see where this is going. This is very nearly the actual transcript of our conversation, edited for length, clarity, and face-palms.
Clearly we have failed, among many other things, to impress on our children the importance of always behaving as if you are staring in a horror movie. Just in case, you know, you actually are.
Because while investigating strange happenings on your own makes for an interesting story, my goal is to keep all my kids’ brains intact for as long as possible.
Which is why maybe I won’t be “rotting their brains” by showing them any horror movies any time soon. But maybe it is time they read Frankenstein and Dracula. Or maybe at least Coraline.