Why I Like To Scare Kids, Especially My Own

19 months.

This past weekend my uncle Al bought Jack a toy Spiderman (hockey?) mask. While it was a bit too big for my son, it was still large enough to fit me.

So needless to say, I became Spiderman. But not the friendly neighborhood Spiderman who we all know and love.

No, instead, I was a creepy, henchman-style Spiderman who liked to slowly sneak up on my son from the other side of the room while he watched me lurk toward him the whole time.

Imagine being a 19 month-old toddler and seeing your dad wearing a Spiderman mask while saying your name through his teeth as he eventually grabs your leg and pretends to eat it.

Just for the record, Jack wasn’t terrified. He won’t need counseling for this. (At least, I don’t think so… yet.)

I could tell it was a thrill for him. He did like it, though he definitely had to remind himself that it wasn’t actually a crossbreed between Jason Voorhees and Spiderman.

Jack has always been a very mellow kid and sometimes I enjoy the challenge of finding new ways to get him to laugh through my idiotic behavior.

In case I’m managing to make myself seem psychologically unstable, allow me to make it worse by elaborating.

It’s not just my own kid I like to scare, it’s all kids.

When I walk into Jack’s daycare, I become “Mr. Teeth” to Jack’s friends. It’s the character who has no lips but who just chatters his teeth and waves.

After a couple of months of meeting Mr. Teeth, some of Jack’s friends have finally started doing it back when I walk in now.

To my one year-old niece, Calla, I am known as Uncle Possum. I make the most hideous face I can, and trust me, it’s unsightly, and I get right in her face to see if I can get a reaction.

What I love is she just stares right back at me as if to say, “You’re no big deal. I’m not afraid of you.”

To toddlers and babies, I am the equivalent to those monsters in the book Where The Wild Things Are. Friendly and harmless, yet still technically a monster.

Kids like to be surprised. So with my mildly scaring them, I help them test their limits and at the same time entertain them in a fresh new way.

So far, I have only made one kid cry because of my antics. And he cried for like 20 minutes… after I left the room and got out of sight.

It was bad.

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