One of the toughest things about being a parent, especially one that hasn't entirely grown up himself, is keeping a straight face. This evening, Syd thought it would be fun to run around in my work shoes. So while I studied, I could hear “clop, clop, clop....b...clop, clop, clop....b!” (“b”, if you recall, is the unpronounceable symbol used by five-year-olds to shatter the ear drums of adults.)


Anyway, she sounded like a deranged horse. After three or four laps followed by a warm-down that sounded like it involved jumping jacks and an elaborate homage to Shirley Temple, I had had enough and I turned around to tell her so, my teeth clenched in full parental snarl. Syd, who knows full well how easily I'm swayed out of “stern talking to” mode, had countered by putting on one of Liza's bras. When she saw me looking, she donned her most dangerous smile and struck a pose.


Sometimes, I can fight the urge to laugh in the name of discipline but not as often as I should. After all, you have to appreciate the effort put forth to entertain your parents. This time, I didn't even try to hold it back. My clenched teeth didn't stand a chance and I burst out. She joined me in a hearty guffaw and continued her journey: clop, clop, clop....b...clop, clop, clop...


What can I guy do? Clearly studying was out of the question so I did the next best thing, of course. I donned a pair of Liza's high heels and the ugliest hat I could find and I joined her.