My Daughter is Monsters

My two-month-old daughter has more in common with Hollywood movie monsters than she does with humans. Oh, she puts on a good show; she acts like a real angel when the grandparents are around. She even smiles at times. It’s all those other times it seems like I’ve spoken some forbidden verbiage and summoned her from hell.

I haven’t seen any evidence to disprove that I have a monster baby. She might even be multiple monsters, all swaddled into one, the human embodiment of Iced Earth’s Horror Show. I haven’t started packing garlic and wolfsbane in the diaper bag just yet, but I’m getting more and more anxious each day once the sun goes down. They don’t call it the witching hour for nothin’.

I’ve seen the signs, and I fear what she might become.

Black and white photo of baby in the style of an old horror movie poster: "She wakes at midnight... a monstrous transformation... she is... THE BABY."

Werewolf

Sundown brings out the beast within. Somewhere between 6 and 8 PM, my daughter becomes filled with lycanthropic frustration. Feeding, changing, rocking, singing – nothing will quell her animalistic fury except to howl inconsolably to her new lunar deity.

I’ve even noticed a patch of hair on her back that is darker than usual, so I’ve started sleeping with the silverware. I doubt it’s real silver, but it makes me feel better.

Vampire

My daughter’s vampiric streak began long before crawling out of the womb, so why stop now? I don’t really understand the logistics of having contracted such a thing while in utero. Maybe it’s hereditary. Either way, the longer she goes without a nap the greater her terrible power grows. She feeds on the living, draining us of sleep and patience.

Make no mistake – my daughter’s not one of those noble vamps, decked out in puffy Elizabethan sleeves, asking politely if she can be let in to share a carafe of dubiously colored wine. No, she’s one of those haggard, blood-starved killers, a real 16th-century bodice-ripper, who would sooner shred apart your corset with her jaw-knives than let that milk go a single more minute not inside her body. My daughter attacks my wife’s mammaries with all the subtlety of a Harlequin romance novel.

Mummy

Somewhere in my family’s history, we must have contracted a curse. How else can I explain our string of nightly misfortunes? At night, the diapers become as wet as the Nile River, followed by raining frogs and boiling seas. I’ve begun tearing through all the junk drawers in the apartment, looking for scarab-shaped amulets.

Swaddling my daughter in the tight confines of a blanket lined with holy hieroglyphics seals away these apocalyptic phenomena, for at least an hour if we’re lucky. But it only delays the inevitable. She will rise again, as she’s done before… eons ago…

Creature from the Black Lagoon

I don’t know much about the Creature from the Black Lagoon. I’ve never seen the movie, and don’t really know the mythology. But I bet the CftBL must smell an awful lot like dirty diapers. For context, a “Black Lagoon” is what you get when you decide to risk ignoring a 2 AM fart, only to find that once day breaks it’s encroached beyond the boundaries of the absorbing pads.

Yes, yes, poop jokes and all. Hilarious! But seriously, I try not to let her diapers get this bad. I’m afraid if I let them go long enough, they’ll crawl from the diaper pail, kidnap women, and take them back to their swampy lair.

Frankenstein’s Monster

My daughter isn’t stitched together from dead bodies. Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s quite the opposite – I think she’s cuter than I could have dreamed, and all her flesh is 100% living (as far as I know). But bringing her into the world surely must have been a sin against God and all creation, for she’s having her vengeance upon us now. I can hear her cursing my name, even though she was fed just two minutes ago.

As much as I would like to flee to some antarctic wasteland every time she’s caught the colic, that’s just not very dadly of me. She’s my creation; I have a responsibility to make sure she eventually knows love, or whatever it was ‘ol Victor was supposed to do. I’ll pay for the wedding, but I won’t be stitching her up a lover.

More Monster Than Man

A monster daughter is trouble for the whole village. But all monsters have a human side, and it’s up to us to help them get in touch with it. Maybe it’s pointless; I hear she’ll become even more monstrous as time goes on. So I guess I’m putting in my dues now, building up my tolerance.

This is one of those things I get to throw in her face when she summons little demons of her own, right?

Decrepit Birth: The Day I Became a Dad

7 AM. My wife lies atop a raised platform, like a human sacrifice. I watch helplessly as her hands claw at her altar, her head raised to the sky as she unleashes a ragged scream.

The birthing process is just about the most brutal thing there is. More brutal than the album art for Cannibal Corpse’s entire discography. Because as grotesque as Tomb of the Mutilated or Butchered at Birth are to look at, it’s another thing entirely to see it happening right in front of you.

The gruesome album cover for Cannibal Corpse's "Butchered at Birth."
If the birthing room looks like this, just turn around slowly and leave.

7:09 AM. Blood and other wretched fluids are gushing out in torrents from her nether regions, pooling in pus-colored puddles on the floor. Amid her anguished cries, I somehow come to the grim realization: “I did this.”

Birth has all the gruesome aesthetic qualities the public generally associates with metal music: all blood and gore and growls. But no one talks about the emotional brutality involved, and how that affects a guy whose taste in extreme music should, by some strange logic, prepare him for this kind of thing.

7:13 AM. A swarm of mask-wearing women in powdery blue robes push me aside. They crowd around my wailing wife. I know the moment’s close; I can taste it hanging in the air. I hardly realize it, but I’m holding my breath.

Except metal doesn’t celebrate the mushy stuff the way other popular music does. Metal ballads usually don’t go the “luv u 4ever” route, and if does it does so at arm’s length, veiled by virtuoso guitar solos and high-pitched vocals.

7:14 AM. My wife screams in a way I only hear in my worst nightmares.

Metal simply didn’t prepare me for this.

7:15 AM. Then, from the blood and goop and assorted viscera, something emerges. A quivering, squalling mound of flesh the color of a week-old bruise is slapped against my wife’s chest. As I crane in for a closer look, it hits me: this is my baby.

It’s a collaborative effort, the creation of a child. Like making an album, maybe. I mean, you get a similar feeling of gratification at the end of it, right? Except my contributions in the nine months since have been minimal. I’ve input the equivalent of hitting the record button, that most basic of creationary functions, and left the majority of work to my wife. And now I know it’s my turn to reciprocate.

Minutes later. She’s slimy; she’s crying. She looks kind of otherworldly. Someone has severed her umbilical cord – it might have been me, but I’m not quite sure. It’s all happened so fast. It isn’t until I’m sitting down after the whole ordeal, cradling my newborn daughter in my arms, that I’m able to collect my thoughts. “I did this,” I remember. “I helped make this happen.”

Okay, so I may be cranking up the experience to an 11, but that’s artistic license for you. It works for Alice Cooper, doesn’t it? Just dial this blog post down to 6 or 7 maybe, and you’ve still got some pretty honest source material.

Still, there’s no other way to slice it – birth is brutal, man. I may not have been actually having the baby, but I got the experience. I bought my ticket and the goddamn t-shirt. And it’s a shirt I’ll be repping for the rest of my life.

A picture of a grim metalhead, looking surprised at holding his newborn.
That moment when you realize you’ve brought into the world a Daughter of Northern Darkness.

Life as a Mostly Metal Dad

Being a dad and being metal doesn’t seem like the most natural fit. I can’t think of a single metal song that captures the feeling of fatherhood. Like, as soon as James Hetfield pens a song about how much he loves his kids, Metallica’s probably run their course. Not to say that he couldn’t, it’s just not what I’d expect a Full Metal Father to do.

Sometimes I can think back to that exact moment I saw the wrinkled, purple blob that was my kid and I just start tearing up. Not very metal. Maybe if I were more than “Mostly Metal” I’d be able to keep it together. Then again, I never could commit to much more than that. I took too good of care of my black band shirts and hair; my jeans never had any rips. So this normal-ish dad thing might work out just fine.

Maybe it’ll be the same for you. If you too end up all misty-eyed at the birth of your child, you might be Mostly Metal, like me. Which means we’ve got a lot to look forward to, and we may need each other to get through the dark times.

So come on back to this blog; at the very least we can trade mixtapes. So long as we both know it’s okay to cry.

I’ll bring the tissues.