Simone and Pearl and the Power Cosmic!, part 4: The Princess Affair.

28 Jan



For the past few months, Simone has obsessed over princesses and the accompanying accoutrements. Her favorite outfit is violet “up-shoes” (heels with faux opal baubles); a Disney princess lavender dress; and an amaranth hooded cowl that fastens in the front. When she’s dolled up, she clomps around the apartment like some fairy tale runaway dipped in amethyst.

She only wants to wear purple. For Christmas she asked Santa for “maybe purple jackets and purple sparkly boots and purple dresses . . . anything purple really.”

Her other mode is nakedness. At random times during the day she’ll shed all her clothes and sit by the heating vent. She vacillates between the princess and the pauper. I’m not crazy about either extreme.

Her favorite books are Cinderella and the Knuffle Bunny books. She looks for signs of princesses everywhere. She’s also made a habit out of leafing through a Spider-man guidebook I have. She’s (mostly) her father’s daughter.

She’s taken to playing games and building “princess and candy” castles with the pastel-colored legos. Yesterday Pearl kept trying to destroy what Simone was building and she said to Beth, “Mama, this is ridiculous.”

Her favorite game is a princess matching game. She understands the rules, but wants to collect all the purple princesses anyway, despite whose turn.

Her favorite movie is My Fair Lady. She wants us to fast forward to the dresses. She likes Oklahoma, too, but feels like there isn’t enough dancing. The Music Man has been making the rounds as well, but this too gets the fast-forward treatment. She has little patience for romance, longing or slow songs.

Her favorite musician is Elizabeth Mitchell, a folk singer Beth discovered who makes records for children. In-between I’ve returned to rotation Neil Young’s Live at Massey Hall, Neko Case’s Middle Cyclone and some mix cds I made years ago. Simone has mostly stopped turning the music off when loses interest. Pearl, however, has taken up the gauntlet, now that she can reach the buttons.


The princess thing is complicated. I want her to pursue the things she likes, but I don’t want her to fall into a clichéd (and hackneyed and potentially damaging) cultural trap. When she was a baby, we dressed her in blue and black and brown. My favorite outfits for her made her look like a ninja, or an assassin. We roughhouse. We goof off. We watch football. (This isn’t true.) We hunt. (This isn’t true either.) Beth bought her blocks and worker’s tools, and yet here we are. Surrounded by gaudy purple finery and a mindset somewhere between Audrey Hepburn and Honey Boo Boo.

Perhaps the cultural programming is inescapable.

This morning she said to me, “Daddy, when I get married? Maybe I have to kiss somebody?” I said she didn’t need to get married for a long time, after she had figured out what she wanted to do with her life and succeeded in various things. She ignored all of this, saying, “I think I have to kiss somebody.”

She remains a spitfire nutcase. She’s adopted a new horse-inspired gallop, where she trots along at great speed and clamor.


Pearl is ten months old. She has eight teeth, all in the front. Her hair remains thin, her eyes large and multi-colored. She looks like some glinty-eyed old man in miniature. She’s mischievous, too. She loves to knock cds out of the case and then look at Beth and me, waiting for us to run over and say no. She sometimes crawls away, as if engaged in a game of chase.

She makes hilarious faces when Simone snatches a toy away, or hugs her too tight. She bares her teeth and scrunches up her nose. Or she’ll glare at the adults in the room with a sign of immense indignation as if to say, why are you letting this happen to me?

Pearl took a step yesterday and often scoots along furniture. She’s poised to be just as destructive as her sister.

She and Simone now share a room. They seem to like it, although Simone gets up a few times each night and in her peripatetic wanderings often awakens Pearl. They both get up around 6, Simone usually earlier, so finding time to write has become an even bigger challenge.

I’ve been editing and rewriting my latest manuscript and it’s good[1]. I had a not-so-brief session of fear and trembling, considering scrapping the fiction thing once and for all. But I persevered—although the angst and worry and existential despair gets harder to overcome as I get older, not easier. The idea of quitting instills panic attacks, shortness of breath, cosmic rage. So I continue.

And now it’s time to re-gird my loins for the submission process.

[1] This is why I’ve been posting less frequently.


One Response to “Simone and Pearl and the Power Cosmic!, part 4: The Princess Affair.”

  1. Keith Rhea January 28, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    Simone sounds like a very normal little girl. It may be in their DNA. My favorite story is when Donald Cox was growing up, there were NO toy guns for him to play with. They came to Houma for Christmas and there was a toy box in the den near the fire place. I was sitting on the couch. Donald, went immediately to the box, started diggin and pulled out a gun and pointed it at me and started saying Bang, Bang, Bang. I couldn’t resist, I stood up, staggering, clutching the imaginery gunshot wounds, screaming I’ve been shot and I’m dying, and collapsing on he floor, I am talking Academy Award stuff. I open one eye to see the expression of his parents which was total shock. How can you explain that? You can’t.

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