Not everyone likes to admit it but . . . we’re almost ALL afraid of something.
Ghosts? Heights? Clowns? Ruining your credit? Scary comes in many forms, doesn’t it? To make you feel better about your fears, the Rockabye Baby team is here to share our own! Plus, we’re treating you to the kind of hysteria that will actually calm your nerves: a free download of “Hysteria” from Lullaby Renditions of Def Leppard.
What REALLY Scares You?
In last night’s bad dream it was the mafia. Any mafia. I often have bad dreams of them coming after me or my family, which is really absurd (I hope), as I don’t know what I’d possibly do to get mixed up in any organized crime syndicate.
Still, it’s been a recurring dream since I was young, probably from watching too many mafia-related films. But they’re so good! But scary. Note to self: Don’t let daughter watch Once Upon a Time in America, Untouchables, Godfather I–III, Goodfellas, ever. Or have any of her boyfriends make her watch them like Mama’s did. —First-Time Mommy
I am absolutely petrified of sharks. I respect them and I am even fascinated by them when I work up the courage to look at them for more than an eighth of a second, but they scare the hell out of me. I’m pretty sure my fear was sparked during the sunken ship scene in The Little Mermaid when Ariel and Flounder are being chased by that gigantic, toothy shark. All I know is that I want to pee my pants when I see one. — Ms. Rockabye
What I’m most terrified of are catastrophic natural disasters, which is a little unfortunate given that I’ve chosen to live in Los Angeles, a place where fires, earthquakes, mudslides and severe droughts are more likely than not. — Chrissy, lead web designer
I have an irrational fear of spiders mainly because I saw the movie Arachnophobia when I was way too young. For about a year after seeing that movie I had to check underneath the toilet for spiders every time before I went. To this day I still can’t stand the damn things. — Bill, sales rep
When I was little, I was completely terrified of ghosts. For me, they were real, they were everywhere, and they were never friendly. It would paralyze me at night (which is naturally when ghosts come out, right?). I think it stemmed from being so afraid of the dark because I didn’t know (or want to know) what scary things lived in the dark. This was the only true downside to having such a wild and vivid imagination I suppose.
Now my greatest fear is boring: I’m afraid of flying. I wish that I wasn’t because I love to travel more than anything. I think for me the fear comes from not being in control of anything. Once that plane takes off, I am in that pilot’s hands. At least I can have a Bloody Mary though. —Rockabye Grrl
What are you afraid of? Share below and you just might get a treat!
I was recently invited to attend a swanky event (so fancy, it was called a luncheon) at a Beverly Hills hotel, which promised to give awards to significant women in the city. Alas, I was not to be one of honorees, but I did receive a genuine invite, which I RSVPed to and soon received a bubbly confirmation from the publicist.
So I sweet-talked a friend into watching my little one, put on uncomfortable clothes and high heels, and drove across town in 100-degree heat. Valet was complimentary, and I felt pleased to be in the company of actual adult women as I entered the arrival queue at the check-in desk. (I work at home and have two young kids; dalliances outside in the adult world are always exciting.)
When I gave my name to the young attendant, she typed it into her iPad. “Oh,” she said, a note of concern in her voice. Then she looked up and said with a smile, “Would you mind just hanging back for a few minutes?”
“Excuse me?” I stepped back, thinking that maybe she needed more personal space or that perhaps she was about to move the table.
“Just hang back.” She replied cheerfully, like that was an instruction that makes sense.
“I’m sorry. I don’t understand.”
“We need to get some other people in first.”
“I got an invite. I RSVPed.” (I wasn’t defensive, just confused.)
“I know. If you could just come back in 20 minutes we’ll know then if we can accommodate you.”
It took me a moment to get it—I was on the B list. Or maybe even the C list. A crush of well-heeled women was behind me. I left the line, trying to retain some dignity as I fixed my Spanx, which thanks to the heat were creeping up in a most unpleasant manner. It can be cool to get kicked out of a party, but it is never cool to not be let into one.
I walked back into the lobby, where my confusion shifted from shame to getting pissed. Maybe I’m naïve, but when I’m invited to something, I assume that means I’m actually invited to it. Suddenly, the venue seemed intolerably cheesy and reeked of bad perfume. I’d come to celebrate the achievements of kick-ass women while kicking back a few glasses of mid-range Chardonnay. But no matter how good the gift bag might be, there was no getting over the breach in etiquette.
I took the woman’s advice, and I held back. I held way, way back and immediately left. Some cold-salmon-serving luncheon is not worth waiting for—which begs the question:
What is worth acknowledging your low-level status and hanging out anyway to see if the velvet ropes eventually part?
Because if I’m going to be a hanger-on, it’s going to be for more than lunch. So here’s my top list of events I’d “hang back” and wait for (hours, days even):
A dinner for Bill Clinton or Barack Obama where you get to shake hands with the president
Some of us here at Rockabye Baby come from places that have eerie, strange pasts . . . tales of devils, witches and ghosts haunting our hometowns. A few brave souls were gutsy enough to share the ghost stories and urban legends from where we’re from, including me. Read on if you dare . . .
The Jersey Devil
My hometown ghost story is an easy one that's fairly well known. I grew up in New Jersey, where for close to 300 years, New Jerseyans have passed down the story of the Jersey Devil (or Leeds Devil), a mythical beast that stalks the Pine Barrens. Legend has it that when "Mother Leeds," so named for her many children and her residence at Leeds Point, learned she was pregnant with her 13th child, she threw her hands up to the heavens in exasperation and exclaimed, "Let this one be a devil!"
And so he was.
The story is especially known by my family, since my grandfather worked at a restaurant for decades at the tip of Leeds Point. Each time we'd drive to eat dinner there, if we'd been acting up in the car on the way as kids, my dad would always threaten to take us to the Jersey Devil, and pretend he was veering towards Mother Leeds's old house. It never failed to get us to behave.
When I was in high school I played football. After my junior season was over we had a get together at the coach’s house, which wasn’t far from where the Blair Witch house was located. Being that it was late, a bunch of us decided to head over there to check it out. One of the other coaches came with us to make sure we stayed out of trouble. As about 10 to 15 of us headed inside, the coach secretly slipped away and snuck in the back entrance of the house.
As soon as there were way too many of us inside the pitch black house the coach yelled, “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!”
The result ended up being a whole team of rough ’n’ tough football players screaming like children while running into the forest — myself included.
—Bill, sales rep
Annie Mary Twente
I grew up in a rural town in southern Minnesota. Living there, it was a rite of passage for local teens to venture out onto the gravel roads south of town to find an old, “haunted” gravesite for the purpose of having the living sh*t scared out of themselves. The gravesite belonged to little Annie Mary Twente.
Annie Mary fell ill with “lung fever” (old slang for pneumonia) in the fall of 1886. Before Annie Mary was put to rest, she slipped into a coma, leading her family to believe that she had died. The Twentes, restless in their grief, were convinced someone had stolen their girl from her grave. The father persuaded a few of his neighbors to help him dig up his daughter. The poor child was found on her side in the coffin, her eyes wide open in terror, strands of her hair clasped in her fists, and scratch marks on the lid of the coffin. She had been buried alive. It’s believed that her spirit haunts the grounds.
Like I said, almost every generation went out to see what went on near the grave. My grandparents did it, my parents did it, and, of course, so did I. One freezing cold night in October my junior year of high school, five of us piled into my best friend Amanda’s white Oldsmobile, aka “The Beast.” We headed out (another friend driving because Amanda was too scared), weaving south down the gravel roads that led there, all of us nervous with excitement (and petrified (though we didn’t want to show it)).
Almost as soon as we arrived the headlights flickered on and off. We screamed bloody murder, but then my friend driving started cackling so we knew it was just her pulling one on us. So we dared her to roll closer to the grave. We parked. Shut the engine off, sat in the dark and heard nothing. Nothing for a looooong time. Then suddenly, there was something on the roof, scratching. It got louder and louder. We all screamed, fired up the engine and kicked it into reverse to get the hell out of there.
Apparently, two nights before we headed to where Annie Mary was buried, someone had tried to break in. Guess she wasn’t too keen on visitors after that.
What lends more to a scary scene in film than music? Some of the most bizarre, frightful sounds in cinema (specifically sci-fi and horror) can be attributed directly to a number of spooky instruments. From the peculiar Beam Blaster to the theatrical Ondes Martenot — the list of freaky noisemakers goes on and on. Two of our favorite, fearsome instruments are the Waterphone and the Theremin.
They even look a little scary, right?
The Waterphone (also known as the oceanharp) produces haunting, ethereal sounds with its varied spokes and metal base (the spokes remind us a bit of frightening playground pangs and chimes and the base of the melodies of whale tones); basically perfect for eerie, goose bump–inducing additions to movie score, right? The underwater warble of the Waterphone has created the mood for movies such as Poltergeist, The Matrix and Star Trek, and TV shows such as The X Files, as you can hear below.
The instrument may actually have an “aquatic” name for more than one reason, too. In addition to being named after its inventor, Richard Waters, the handle of the contraption is filled with water, affecting the tones created.
The otherworldly wail of the Theremin became an almost ubiquitous, signature sound for sci-fi TV shows and films by the mid 1940s, including The Lost Weekend and Spellbound. ’90s films Ed Wood and Batman Forever also received the Theremin touch, the unnerving moan that makes your skin crawl.
One of the Theremin’s most interesting characteristics (that itself seems a bit supernatural) is that it’s played literally by waving your arms around. One or two metal antennas are mounted on the instrument and the musician’s hands control the pitch and volume of the produced sound without actually touching the instrument. And it’s not just movies where you can hear the Theremin! Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page famously brought a Theremin out on tour to extend the instrumental solos of tunes like “Whole Lotta Love” and “No Quarter.”
But if you want to be spooked, try this fan’s Theremin track set to the opening of 1955’s Dementure:
Scared out of your wits just thinking about the ghostly sounds of the Theremin and the Waterphone? Don’t worry, we’ve got a little something that’ll calm you right down . . .
Is there anything more creative than a child’s imagination? Case in point: this amusing yarn written by our own art director, Hannah, when she was a kid.
Thursday December 7th
The sea faring captain
This man is call-
ed captain long
faced he doesn’t
work any more
becaus he had
a wooden leg. E-
very day he goes to the pub to have
a booz and he
goes to find a
girl friend. and
he gets sent out.
Note the “pub” mention. She’s originally from England! The inspiration for her wooden leg–wearing former captain protagonist who is looking for the ladies . . . not even Hannah knows where that came from: “I can’t even imagine what was going on in my 7- or 8-year-old brain!”
What stories did you write as a child?
Now it’s time to share your childhood stories (or secrets, even better!) with us to enter our giveaway. Post yours (or one from the child in your life) below and/or feel free to share a link to a photo from your collection in the comments below, or post it to our Facebook page or Tweet it to us by Tuesday, Oct. 21st, at 12 pm PST, to be entered in our random giveaway for one (1) CD of your choice from our 2014 releases: P!nk, The Clash, David Bowie, Good Baby Bad Baby, Maroon 5, Bruce Springsteen, and Eminem. Three (3) winners will be selected! For bonus entries, tweet, share and pin from this post!
Boy, did we ever stir it up with last month’s post about whether or not it was okay for the word “fat” to be included in a preschool lesson. (See all the blog comments and Facebook discussion.) Some said First-Time Mommy was right to be concerned, others said she was being overly sensitive and even censoring her kid.
Whatever your take on the matter, I think we can all agree that we live in a weight-obsessed culture, one where “fat” people get treated differently than thin ones. Kids—even ones as young as three- and four-year-olds—can already understand the pejorative connotations of this other F word. Even if they aren’t quite sure what “fat” means, they know it’s bad.
As someone who grew up close to someone with an eating disorder, I don’t want my daughters suffering the same fate. I watched a young woman waste away, riddled with self-hatred and a totally distorted view of her body that took years of therapy to heal. And I don’t want your sons or daughters or friends or anyone for that matter to have to go through that sh*t. But the message to be impossibly thin is all around them—and being fat, in our culture, means an association with being lazy or even evil.
Here’s a general rule I’ve learned the hard way to use around my kids: Don’t say anything around them you don’t want them to repeat. Because children are whip-smart, they hear everything, and are really good at whipping out the perfect word at the perfect moment for maximum parental embarrassment. And it’s not the curse words I’ve uttered that I’m ashamed of—it’s the time I asked my husband if a pair of jeans I had on made me look fat. My four-year-old was in the room and though I haven’t seen evidence of damage done (she hasn’t repeated the word in a degrading way), every time I think about it I wince. Because not only was it a total parental fail in promoting a healthy body image, it also contradicts everything I believe in, which is to treat people (including yourself!) respectfully. I used a word in a way that I definitely don’t want her to repeat.
Until we can stop putting a moral value on obesity and using the word “fat” to degrade and diminish people, I’m going to watch how the F word gets used in my house. That means first off censoring my own damn mouth—and then secondly, patrolling its use in books, movies, and magazines (just as I skip over the words “stupid,” “ugly,” and “hate” in stories, I’m skipping over “fat” unless it refers to cutting meat).
Words have power. As a parent, it’s my job to use them in a manner that empowers my kids and to teach them to love bodies of any shape and size. That means being careful—and sensitive—about the use of the F word. It’s not being oversensitive; it’s doing what we can to counter the way words are used to damage us.
A musical pioneer and peacemaker, John Lennon’s influence over music and society is undeniable. To commemorate his birthday and the great messages he shared with us, here are just a few of the things he taught me . . .
Three Things I Learned from John Lennon
1. Imagine! John Lennon once said, “Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.” As if this line isn’t thought-provoking enough, his colorful, imaginative lyrics in songs like “I Am the Walrus” and his reflective musings in “Imagine” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” reinforce his message. Imagination is a powerful, world-changing tool. Use yours.
2. Money isn’t everything. The Beatles hit it big while they were all in their early twenties; so fame and fortune came fast. But they learned very early on that, in life, having fortune and nice material things wasn’t the main goal; there was still a void to be filled. Pursue happiness, not money.
3. Give peace a chance. Lennon had a penchant for promoting peace and changing negative social issues.His political activism at the height of the Vietnam War protest movement made him an unofficial leader of the crusade to spread his message of peace. His song “Give Peace A Chance” holds a simple message (and a modest request); one that we still need to take time to listen to today.
What has John Lennon taught you?
Share the lessons you’ve learned from John! Post them in the comments below by Tuesday, October 14, at 12 pm PST, to be entered in our random giveaway for one (1) copy of Lullaby Renditions of The Beatles and one (1) copy of More Lullaby Renditions of The Beatles. Two (2) winners will be selected! For bonus entries, tweet, share and pin from this post!
Does your baby think they were born to run? If your little Boss isn’t tired and wants to prove it all night, tuck them in with these blissful versions of Bruce Springsteen’s classic rock anthems. We promise there will be lots of sleeping in the dark.