Simone and Pearl and the Power Cosmic!, part 3.

6 Nov


Simone is three. She’s had two parties, three happy birthday songs, too much homemade birthday cake and a month-long trickle of presents. She’s happy. Tonight she’s running around naked, carrying a tray of pretend food, saying, “I’m going to make breakfast!”

She’s as mischievous as ever. Her favorite joke is to turn her rump upwards and say, “Look at my butt!” Or, “Daddy, you’re a big poopy face.”[1]

For Halloween she was a pirate. She was all business. She ran ahead of her neighborhood friends and raked in the candy. She had a little curved sword but discarded it so she could focus on the job at hand.

Her favorite movie remains Meet Me in St. Louis. She mouths along with the songs. Shrek and The Little Mermaid appear to be distant memories. We’re in the era of Vincent Minnelli musicals, which is fine by me. She got An American in Paris for her birthday. We already watched the first half.

We still go to the library together. I browse, she browses. She only picks books with purple spines. This last week she checked out a history of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, as well as some Manga comic titled Kobato and some faux urban erotica.[2]

They love her there. I used to go every day, and when she was first born I would often zip over there with her. The staff there has watched her grow up. One of the security guards refers to Simone as her goddaughter. It’s great.

Beth has Simone in art and music class at the Old Town. Simone’s taken to playing guitar standing up.


Pearl is seven months old—a sweet, crawling almost walking little cherub who turns into a feral creature in the middle of the night. She rarely sleeps more than two hours straight, leaving Beth and me to shuffle through our days like zombies. I haven’t weathered the sleeplessness too well. I’m grouchy. I’m touchy. I’m defensive. I’m moody. I brood. I obsess. I harbor. I try not to take it out on the students at work, but sometimes I overreact.

Last week a student said to me, “Mr. Beard? You look . . . really, really, really tired.”

“Thanks,” I said.

“And your hair? It looks a little . . . weird.”


“Maybe you need a haircut?”

And all of this in front of 30 third graders.

And here, as a non-sequitur, are two anecdotes from the same day.

At lunch, I saw a six-year old in the office.

“Hi, Mr. Beard,” he said, smiling.

“What’s up, buddy,” I said.

“Oh, I just peed my pants.”

“You didn’t have to tell me that,” I said. “Are you okay?”

“Oh, yeah, I’m fine. You know.”

I didn’t know, and I got out of there fast. An hour later a student came into the library and yelled, “No one come near me! I’m covered in cockroaches!” The fourth graders sitting on the carpet began to flee. Took me close to five minutes to get everyone calm.

The job. It’s a strange mixture of importance and indignity.

[1] She doesn’t get this stuff from me.

[2] When she wasn’t looking, I put this back on the shelf.


One Response to “Simone and Pearl and the Power Cosmic!, part 3.”

  1. elyse martin November 6, 2012 at 3:05 am #

    You are a really good writer.

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