MaxBarry.com
fear my vigilantes

Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Thu 31
Jul
2008

House of Cuteness & Horror

Max A lot of parenting is like this: your gorgeous almost-three-year old daughter hops toward you, shouting, “Look, Daddy! Big jumps!” and you think: I hope she doesn’t trip and impale herself on that tree branch.

I don’t think I’m especially paranoid, but when I’m playing with Fin, I get flashes of her horrifically injuring herself about every ten minutes. When she actually does hurt herself, I’m mostly just relieved, because it’s so much better than it was in my head.

It’s a little weird to have your life filled with interlocking moments of joy and abject terror. They don’t mention that in the parenting books.

The other way parenting is like a horror show is how you periodically stumble past dolls arranged as crime scenes. Maybe it’s just me, but when I see something like this, I can’t help but think multi-vehicle pile-up:

Bodies strewn across floorboards following head-on baby smash

And this strikes me not so much as “laundry day for Miffy” as “Hostel 3”:

Miffy awaits punishment

And I’m sorry, I know Baby Puss got wet in the bath and needed to be dried, but there is no way to look at this and not see a baby on a hook:

Baby drying on hook. Not real baby. Doll baby.

But then you see this and forget all about it.

Breakfast goes better with goggles

By the way, sorry for that long break between blogs. What the hell was I doing? I don’t even know.

Comments

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Machine Man subscriber Danni (#357)

Location: England
Quote: "Eagerly awaiting the European Tour."
Posted: 3344 days ago

Were you being a dad, by any chance? Fin is growing up so cute (and has more hair than my 4 1/2 year old daughter :P).

Oh- those worries are perfectly normal, but the thinking crime scene for some dolls on the floor is slightly weird :)

Machine Man subscriber Bushra (#36)

Location: Fremont, California
Quote: "www.caffeinatedmuslim.com"
Posted: 3344 days ago

The first picture reminds me of my nephew's stuffed Elmo. He would leave it lying around in the most awkward positions, leading to an "Abandoned Elmo" series of pics that I compiled. I'm just glad a child's playthings don't have feelings.

And picture of fake baby on hook = Awesome. It's so wrong.

Thomas (#1221)

Location: Germany
Quote: "One more, and I'm going to consider you my penpal."
Posted: 3344 days ago

She's 3?!!

What the hell was _I_ doing??

Machine Man subscriber Jeff (#787)

Location: Cleveland, OH
Quote: "Give a man a match and he'll stay warm for the rest of the day; Set a man on fire and he'll stay warm for the rest of his life."
Posted: 3344 days ago

What about when your child is playing by themselves and then all of a sudden there is the horrific screaming and wailing!? Some of the scariest things pass through my mind as I’m running to find out what’s wrong. But there’s no greater sense of relief, and frustration, when you find out that all she did was drop a book on her toe. Being a parent is a very scary thing. (If you’re doing it right!)

Yubi Shines (#1664)

Location: Canada
Quote: "HOPE RIDES ALONE!"
Posted: 3344 days ago

You should read mom_almighty's blog on livejournal. She documents alphabet block crime scenes. The tragedy, the drama!

My own long-suffering pink bunny gets strung up by its ears on washing day. Animal abuse gets hammered in real early for kids...

NRM (#2294)

Posted: 3344 days ago

You should check out the book The House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski if you want to experience a truly horrifying house and a great book.

Yenzo (#829)

Location: Secret underwater pyramid base in the Pacific
Quote: "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe (Carl Sagan)"
Posted: 3344 days ago

The crucial point about fear is that it is always, *always* worse than the actual thing you're afraid of.

Think about it: When you're afraid, you always think in extremes ("What if everything goes terribly wrong?"), while in reality bad things, as well as good ones, tend not to be extreme, but average. That's why they call it extreme and average.

One uncomfortable consequence of this is that the really bad things usually happen unexpected. Because if you had expected them, you'd have been afraid and, by consequence, they wouldn't have been as bad as you imagined.

Yenzo out.

Stephanie (#2098)

Location: United States
Quote: "Going crazy. Care to join me?"
Posted: 3344 days ago

Even scarier than the horrific scream and wail is the dead silence. Talk about your horror movie moments. Your busy, suddenly you realize you have not heard your precious angel in a couple of minutes. As you walk to see the cause of the silence your mind thinks the worse. Chances are you'll walk in on a scene from your own personal horror movie, i.e. Play-Doh being ground into the carpet, the discovery of being able to turn on the faucet, or the tearing out of book pages. Ya, silence is not golden with a two year old.

Nate (#1064)

Location: Bowling Green, KY
Quote: "Once more into the breach, dear friends...."
Posted: 3344 days ago

That's adorable. I can only imagine the chuckles you and Fin will have years from now, looking back on those pictures...
"What was I doing back then?"
"Honestly? I think you were playing."
"You're not sure?"
"...No, but you were cute, so it's okay."
Loved it. Glad to see you're well!

Erin (#1296)

Location: Chandler AZ
Posted: 3344 days ago

LOL!!! I am so totally with that mindset. My daughter is 10 now and I still think that way!! I'll catch myself saying things like "Don't run! You might fall!" and then thinking I'm crazy. Telling a kid not to run??

As an aside, I can't believe Fin is almost 3. I remember when you announced that you were going to be a dad! It doesn't seem that long ago.

Jennifer Gniadecki (#3308)

Location: Chicago-ish
Quote: "Happier than you and dragging you along for the ride"
Posted: 3344 days ago

This morning I was watching Sesame Street with the kids and they did a Law and Order spoof.

My first thought was, "I hope it's not SVU."

Linnea1928 (#2654)

Location: Rosemount, MN
Posted: 3344 days ago

hahaha! What have you been doing, Max? But as always I appreciate the update and subsequent giggles.

Jeffrey (#2286)

Location: Right here
Quote: "Mathematics is a powerful language. Just look at how mathematicians destroyed the housing market."
Posted: 3344 days ago

Wow she's growing up fast. Or maybe the past three years went by really fast. Either way hilarious post!

Machine Man subscriber Lance Mertz (#3541)

Location: Seattle
Quote: "It wasn't me, I wasn't there and did nothing."
Posted: 3343 days ago

I have a question. Where is you wife? You never write about her. Did you just grow that little munchkin in the garden or steal her from her true parents. Could it be that you are banned from writing about her? Is she an ugly, terrible troll or so hot you don't want us to know about her? Come on, cough it up, Max!

Lottie (#3093)

Location: Sheffield, UK
Posted: 3343 days ago

oh man, she looks a lot like you...

The amount of pink in these photos is unreal. Damn 3 year old girls...

Mark Tran (#3249)

Location: Canada
Quote: "If you lived here, You'd be home."
Posted: 3343 days ago

I'm really curious as to why that random squeegee thing was in the first picture. Err, in Canada, a "squeegee" is the thing you use to clean windows and such. I dunno if Aussie's use that term or not.

Hi (#2614)

Location: California
Quote: "I like to verb words."
Posted: 3343 days ago

Bunny!

LiteraryMinded (#3647)

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "literaryminded.blogspot.com"
Posted: 3343 days ago

I know where you were :-) Enjoyed your sessions at the Byron Bay Writers' Festival and am currently reading 'Company'. I'm writing fiction based on consumerism for my thesis so I've been wanting to read your books for a while. Enjoying it!
Love the demented doll pics,
Angela (aka LiteraryMinded)

Machine Man subscriber Max

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "I'm my number one fan!"
Posted: 3343 days ago

Mark Tran wrote:
> I'm really curious as to why that random squeegee thing
> was in the first picture.

That's a squeegee. I was going to mention it--it's there because Fin really likes squeegeeing things--but then I thought squeegee was probably an Australian word and it was all too hard.

LiteraryMinded wrote:
> I know where you were

Yes! I was being a bald, pale satirist with something about me. Oh yes, I Google myself, don't think I don't.

Jamie (#111)

Location: Auckland
Quote: "Anyone still spelling "internet" with a capital "I" is probably struggling with the complexities of their new-fangled electric typewriter."
Posted: 3343 days ago

She's so cute!
My twin girls have cups just like that, and they pull the bloody straws out all the time. Any helpful tips Max?

Jonathan (#3649)

Location: USA
Posted: 3343 days ago

These pictures remind me of the time I walked into our bathroom and found fifteen naked barbies floating in our bathtub.

Tim (#3178)

Posted: 3342 days ago

As a father of two-year-old twin girls, one of the most stomach churning noises I'm aware of is the sound of a little forehead thunking off of the driveway or sidewalk. They're not yet adept at catching themselves when they stumble and, man, no body part--particularly one attached to a small child--should be any way involved in that sound.

When I actually witness them falling or otherwise meeting with disaster, I always experience that irrational moment of thinking "it only just happened. I should somehow be able to reverse this by sheer force of will." It's sort of like realizing you've just locked your keys in your car--except significantly worse.

One of the things that sucks about being a parent is realizing that a not only unavoidable but esssential part of growing up is getting hurt in an endless variety of ways.

Ashley (#3650)

Location: Asheville, NC
Quote: "One of the indictments of civilizations is that happiness and intelligence are so rarely found in the same person."
Posted: 3342 days ago

As far as the crime scenes with dolls, it's actually somehow worse with transformers and robot toys... that come apart. So there isn't just the image of a doll laying there, broken and brutalized, but the added horror of limbs that have come off and been tossed about as well.

I'm not a mother, but my nephews have instilled the utter panic of motherhood into me. Usually I ascribe to the theory of "oh they're sturdy, they'll be fine", but I have had more than a few heart stopping episodes when suddenly heart wrenching sobbing comes from another room.

jessica (#3063)

Location: austin, tx
Quote: "You can't start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart."
Posted: 3342 days ago

What a cutie pie!!! The goggles on the forehead are a must when drinking all beverages. Absolutely adorable!

Michael Ricksand (#2212)

Location: Terra
Quote: "You do not have a right to be stupid."
Posted: 3334 days ago

Awww... what an adorable little girl!

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