My oldest daughter, Aubrey, is so much like me it’s scary. Not only does she look exactly like I did as a child, but she is my emotional clone as well. You begin to see yourself in a different light when you have another person emulating everything you do. But Aubrey’s behavior is starting to scare other members of the family, namely her little sisters. You’d be afraid of her too, if every time you walked out of the room she hid behind something and jumped out to scare you.
Aubrey hasn’t learned this particular behavior by watching me, yet somehow she has inherited this trait. I was notorious for constantly scaring my younger sister when we were growing up. Anytime we were walking upstairs to our bedroom and I was behind her, I would stomp my feet as hard as I could and scream like I was auditioning for a slasher movie. My sister, Blair, would scream and run up the stairs and I would collapse in laughter. She obviously knew it was me behind her, but it never failed to scare the mess out of her.
There were other times when Blair and I would be lying in our bedroom about to go to sleep and I would start talking in my “Children of the Corn” voice. (Quick side note to my parents: WHAT were you thinking letting us watch that movie?) Again, I always got a squeal and for some sick reason, it cracked me up.
Ah, how the tables have turned. Aubrey cannot help herself. Anytime she has more than a three second lead on one of her sisters walking into a room, she jumps behind a curtain, couch or chair and crouches, ready to jump out and scare them. My sister will be glad to hear, this is no longer funny to me. Aubrey’s even gotten me a few times, and there’s just never a good time of day to almost throw up because someone just jumped out of nowhere and grabbed you.
My husband and I have been strict with Aubrey about her stealthy, ninja-like behavior and the consequences have been swift and severe. We had to crack down hard because Emma, our 4-year-old, was getting to the point that she didn’t want to walk through the house by herself anymore, she was so scared that Aubrey would “get her.”
For the last few months, Aubrey has controlled herself. My toddler and preschooler have been free to roam the house at their leisure, and I was able to put off buying Depends for a few more years.
Last week Aubrey’s “gift” came in handy. I was lying on the couch with strep throat, barely conscious when I heard Emma walking through our living room with the hiccups muttering, “I meed someone to scare dese hiccups out of me.” I knew she had found Aubrey when I heard her say, “You. You are da one. Go hide.”
I heard the pitter patter of Aubrey’s feet as she ran into the kitchen.
“I can still see you!” Emma yelled. I assume that Aubrey tucked herself deeper into her hiding place because the next few seconds were total chaos.
Aubrey jumped out and screamed, “Aaaaagh!” as Emma walked around the corner and my husband walked in the house from work, totally clueless.
He yelled, “AUBREY!”
Aubrey yelled, “MOMMA!”
Sadie cried because everyone was yelling, and I cried because I had to get off the couch. Aubrey better watch her back over the next few years, because even though Emma was literally “asking for it,” had I not been Super Spy Mommy on the couch, Emma would have had the perfect set up to frame her sister.
I haven’t said it to Aubrey yet, maybe because the truth is still just beginning to sink in for me, personally. But we all know it’s coming. One day Aubrey is going to have one just like her and it’s going to scare the bejeezus out of her.
Robin Wiley O’Bryant is a syndicated humor columnist, author and speaker. She was born and raised in Jasper and now lives in Mississippi with her husband and three daughters. Read more online at www.robinschicks. com or e-mail Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org.