Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Ain't Afraid of No Monsters!

I must confess, I worry a bit about  monsters. Probably not unexpected from a girl who is wishing for fairies to come clean her house and blaming gremlins for that empty orange juice jug.

 My monster issues run deep. When I was a child, we lived in an old (some might say creepy) house. To get to the front door, you had to climb up stone steps, and then travel down a long dark path surrounded by bushes on one side and the house on the other. But this was not an average house which would have a normal wall.. Instead it was set high and built into a granite rock. The basement was partially above ground and exited into the latticed covered underside of the porch. The bushes and the lattice created a dark tunnel like feeling. I often ran up the path afraid of what might be lurking behind either side. In fact, one night there was an eerie hissing sound as a I returned home, but that is a story for another day.

The huge porch wrapped around three sides of the house.  If my bedroom window was open, you could step out on the roof , then walk along the roof to the back of the house and climb down into the yard. Our house did not have central air and in the summer my mother would open all the windows wide in an attempt to keep us cool. No matter how hot it was I would take all my stuffed animals and pile them around my neck, then carefully hide under a sheet. If a vampire came through that window, he would get a mouth full of stuffing instead of my nice young neck. I was a monster avoidance expert at 7.

My stuffed animal days are long gone, but if I am out alone when there is a full moon, I've rushed to my car, jumped in and hit the automatic lock button. I've checked under beds and in closets. Vampire, werewolves, psycho killers wearing masks, you never know what might be lurking. And let's not even discuss zombies. I am NOT a zombie lover.

So, it is not surprising that the following conversation was heard in my house as I tried to convince to get my son to go into his room alone at night.

Me - "I've added more night lights, so you don't need to be afraid of the dark."
Son- "I'm not afraid of the dark. It's the monsters. Especially the z -z-z-z- ombies."

Ugh. Zombies. What could I say? I could relate. He probably got the monster gene from me! In attempt to get my son to stay in his bed alone, we checked under beds, in closets and behind the curtains together, but it wasn't working. I often ended up spending part of the night in his room.

I was despairing of ever sleeping in my own bed again when a friend suggested I get monster spray. A wanna be overachiever, I had plans of making custom monster spray with elaborate packaging. Being a procrastinator a couple of weeks passed and the bottles were not complete. Then I ordered some lovely products from Rinse Bath & Body Co. My order came with a lovely bottle of peppermint spray. It smelled lovely but I was not really sure what to do with it.

A few nights later, my son was worrying about going into his room and I remember the spray. I explained that in addition to keeping away mice and other pests, the scent of peppermint worked great on monsters. His face lit up. He grabbed the bottle and ran off to spray the house. He didn't miss a room and gave special attentions to closets, beds and windows. That first night he still wasn't totally comfortable sleeping alone in his room at night, but he no longer called and asked for someone to escort him to his room. I take my victories where I can. That night he slept with the spray on his night stand, just in case a monster was hiding some place he didn't spray. And it has remained there ever since.

My son's prized possessions- a new Skylander figure and  "monster" spray

We are on day 7 of the spray now. It is working great. (Well, once I got my son to understand that monster spray keeps monsters away for 30 days. We did have some excessive spraying going on.) There are no monsters in the house.  My son feels in control and as an added bonus my house smells minty fresh. I wonder if the folks at Rinse are aware of the extra magic powers of their spray. This could be a new marketing plan for them! I'll report back in a few weeks to follow up on how it is working.

If you need monster spray, here are three easy ways to buy or make it

  • Buy the Peppermint spray that I did or something similar. You can find scented spray at many bath and body store. If you are not going to replace the label, make sure you explain why peppermint works. My son like having a logical reason for why the spray worked. For younger children, generic "monster spray" may work better.
  • Buy a product like Febreze. Replace the label. Make sure you pick a scent you like. You will be smelling it a lot!
  • Buy an empty bottle. Create a "monster spray" label. Mix water with your favorite essential oil. (Some people recommend lavender for its calming properties. I prefer the peppermint)

Any other ideas of how to help children with their fear of monsters? Was there something that worked for you as a child? And now confession time, am I the only adult who looks at the dark and wonders what could be out there in the dark in the trees?


  1. OMG Cindy, I love this story. I have to say that while I might would have been scared of your home, I would have loved seeing it.:)

    I'm not scared of vampires or zombies (of course if any of you are reading this I do have the highest respect for you), but I can't watch any scary movies. They stay with me forever. I saw the first Jason movie and to this day I'm not comfortable outside alone once it's dark.

    1. Thanks Vicki. I'll try to find some pictures. It was a great house to grow up in, but it was old and definitely could have been creepy. When you went into the basement part of the wall was the granite rock and there was a passage way that ended as if they couldn't dig any further.

      I am with you on scary movies. I still remember scenes from horror movies watched as a child.

  2. I think we are going to have to try this at our house. My 7 yr old girl has a terrible time staying in her bed at night ... this may be the ticket! Thanks, Cindy!!

    For us, I think it just stems from watching "Monsters, Inc" repeatedly since she was 12 months old. It's such a great movie, it's worth it. :)

    1. Let me know how it works. And I love "Monsters, Inc." It is one of my favorite Pixar films. For my son, it was the Plants versus Zombies game. He went on vacation with a family member and played it a few times. Came home and didn't sleep for days!

  3. Maggie was always afraid that wolves were going to climb up the side of the house and sneak in her window. We convinced her that the dogs wouldn't let the wolves in. Mickey... oh Mickey. What can I say? My boy is the monster ; ) He spent today playing zombies versus minsters with his friends and preschool. At Halloween he asked our priest 1. Is God dead? Why do we drink his blood?; and 2. If Jesus drinks blood and lives forever, is he a vampire?

    1. I've tried to convince them the dog is our protector, but they won't believe me. Then again she is only 20 pounds. LOL on Mickey. It's always the small ones you need to watch out for.