Interlude: Pearl and creepy nursery rhymes

10 Sep


Pearl vociferously shakes her head and yells, “No! No!” when either Beth or I sing her any of the nursery rhymes that brush up against death, harm, disease, etcetera. She gets angry at “Rockabye Baby.” She wags her finger at “Ring Around the Rosies.” She slaps the page at “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring.” (The old man in the song has bludgeoned himself to death; and, I’m pretty certain, the reason he hits his head on the bed is because he’s blotto on cheap tokay.) It’s as if she can sense the historical malevolence in the songs. The first time she did it, I kept trying different songs that touch on similar material. And she always got angry at the songs that were about death, but she let me sing the silly nonsensical songs without interruption. I experimented for a while. It felt like The Shining; she interrupted every song that had some scary antecedent.


I love when my children do creepy things. I know this makes me weird. Simone used to wake up each morning and say that a strange man had been in her room. One time, she must have been only 16 months old, she hid behind a chopping block in our kitchen. I couldn’t find her anywhere and was getting anxious. She would giggle when I started to leave the room, then stop when I returned. And, she still roams the house at night. On more times than I can count, I’ve been scared by the silhouette of a wild-haired little crazy thing standing in the dark shadows.




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