Thanks a Lot

For reasons too complicated to go into, I have been entrusted with the care of my wife’s sister’s six-year-old daughter for the last 11 or 12 days. She is a not-so-bad young lady, much easier to deal with in fact than when she was three or four, but the task is doing me in. She is at her most energetic exactly when I am at my weakest — the hours from 7a to 10a.

I hate mornings… well, only when I find myself awake then. One of the great quotes of all time comes from the excellent book Act One, by Moss Hart: “Early risers are conceited in the morning and stupid in the afternoon.”

I have been known to say that if I was hired for, say, $1500/day to eat ice cream and hang out with, oh, Uma Thurman, I wouldn’t take the job if it involved getting up before 10a. So this having to arise way too early for no money (no ice cream, either, and obviously no Uma) — combined with the fact that I am now spending much of my time at art class, music class, gymnastic class, surrounded by three- to six-year-olds this month when most every small child in the region is stricken with wintertime diseases — has literally almost flattened me.

Only a few more days to go, though, so I was starting to think I might make it through alive. Today, however, my niece said that she had a surprise for me. “What’s that?”

“Well,” she said, “I’m about to go back home, but my invisible playmate Ceci likes it here, so she’s decided to stay. You have to take care of her for the next few weeks.”

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