But What About the Baby (Sitter)?!

By Kristen Bealer

"But, Mu-o-o-om!"

Daria flinched at Quinn's high-pitched voice, but smirked slightly. The damage to her ears was worth it. Quinn was stuck in Family Court, and Daria had a front row seat.

"No 'buts,' Quinn," their mother interrupted. "Do you have any idea how much it will cost to replace your father's computer?"

"It's not like I did it on purpose!"

Daria interjected, "So you accidentally downloaded seventy-three MP3s--along with half a dozen viruses?" My first summer vacation in Lawndale is off to a fantastic start.

"Quiet, Daria," Helen snapped. "Quinn, what were you thinking?"

Quinn took a deep breath, and the rest of the Morgendorffers braced themselves. "Well, you guys are always saying that I should spend less on clothes and makeup and music and stuff, and I found out about this site where you can get free songs online and I figured that way I wouldn't be spending so much on music even though I'd still be buying clothes and makeup, because I couldn't find any sites that gave those away for free, but I would still be spending less so I thought you guys would be happy that I was finding ways to cut back."

She paused to inhale, and Helen cut in. "When his computer crashed, your father lost many important files for several of his major clients--"

"And my poker game! I had a straight flush, but the whole damn screen went haywire before I could play it!"

"It's not a big deal!" Quinn insisted desperately. "I had Stacy ask one of the geeky guys at school, and she said he said there are programs that can fix Dad's computer!"

"It's too late for that," Helen replied with a sigh. "Your father became frustrated when the computer stopped working and, well..." She gave Jake a brief glare before finishing, "...there was an incident."

"You mean the window-related incident where the computer barely missed hitting Mr. Whiskers, the neighbor's cat?" Daria asked. And thanks to Quinn, Mom's forgotten all about her plans to get me involved in any summer projects.

"That's enough," Helen replied, still looking at her younger daughter. "Quinn, why were you even using his computer in the first place? You have your own laptop."

Quinn shrank into her seat. "I did use my computer at first, but, um, there was an incident?"

Helen's eyes narrowed. "Do you mean you crashed your computer, yet you kept downloading music on your father's computer?"

"Why let a little thing like total computer failure keep you from getting the latest Boys R Guys single?" Daria commented with a smile. I can't wait to tell Jane that I'm off the hook.

"You're not helping, Daria," Quinn snapped.

"What makes you think I'm trying to help?"

Helen was pacing the living room. "Quinn," she finally said. "You are grounded for the next two weeks. You will not leave this house unless supervised by myself or your father. Is that understood?"

Quinn gasped. "You can't do that! I have dates scheduled!"

"Then you'll have to either cancel them or bring us with you."

Daria raised an eyebrow. "You guys could double date." A free summer and Quinn's stuck at home for the beginning of it?

"What about my Fashion Club meetings?"

"You will not leave this house. That's final."

Quinn stalled as she tried to think of a loophole. "Oh, I know! I have a bunch of baby-sitting jobs lined up and I can't cancel those! It would be, uh, irresponsible!" Helen hesitated, and Quinn pressed her advantage. "None of my friends could cover for me with this short notice. So maybe we could make this like a promotion period and I promise it won't happen again."

"That's 'probation,'" Daria corrected. "And considering there aren't any computers left in the house for you to break, it won't be hard to keep that promise." No way is she getting off that easy. Hello, perfect summer!

Helen turned to look curiously at her older daughter. "Daria," she said slowly, "what are your plans for this summer?"

"Dammit." Dammit.

"Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O! And on his farm he had..."

"Chemical-free fertilizer!" Tad Gupty called out. He continued singing along with his sister, Tricia, "E-I-E-I-O!"

Daria sighed and watched the kids sing. Only two days had passed since Helen had insisted that she cover Quinn's baby-sitting jobs. Daria had argued that she was punishing her for Quinn's behavior, but Helen had given her a choice between baby-sitting and a summer job at Cluster Burger. Daria was beginning to think the phrase "Do you want fries with that?" might have a nice ring to it, after all.

"...E-I-E-I-O! And on his farm he had..."

Tricia chimed in this time with, "Equipment powered by biodiesel fuel!" before they finished, "E-I-E-I-O!"

Before the kids could start verse seventeen, Daria interrupted. "Would you guys like to play 'cemetery' now?"

Two serious faces turned to her. "Mom says that game is disrespectful to the dead," Tad informed her.

"Plus it gave Tad nightmares," Tricia added with a smirk.

"Did not!" Tad yelled. They stuck their tongues out at each other, then looked immediately guilty as they realized they weren't acting like the proper, well-behaved children their parents expected them to be. For a second, I almost believed they were real kids, Daria thought.

Daria sat on Jane's bed that night, tiredly watching her friend paint. An image was forming on the canvas of a harried-looking Daria in a giant shoe, surrounded by hordes of rioting children.

"'There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,'" Daria quoted. "Isn't Mother Goose a little juvenile for your usual style?"

Without pausing in her brushstrokes, Jane answered, "Like you have room to talk. I'm not the one who's going to be changing diapers."

Daria groaned and fell back on the bed. "I forgot about that. I'm sitting for the Philips' six-month-old tomorrow." She stared at the ceiling. "I don't suppose you'd be willing--"

Jane gave a short, sharp laugh as she painted one kid trying to strangle Daria with a shoelace. "Not a chance! I wiped enough baby butts when Summer's youngest was in diapers. You're on your own there."

"It's good to know I can count on my true friends to bail on me when I need them." Daria sighed. "But that reminds me; I am going to need a ride to some of these jobs. Both the Philips and the Hanlons live on the other side of Lawndale. The jobs are all during the day, so my parents can't help." She paused, then continued nervously, "Think Trent might be able to help?"

"Sure." Jane turned toward the doorway. "Hey, Trent! Come here, Daria wants you!"

Feeling her cheeks burn, Daria mumbled, "Keep it up, and maybe some of those dirty diapers will end up under your pillow."

Trent poked his head into Jane's room. "What's up?"

Daria sat up quickly, hoping her blush had faded. "I was, uh, wondering if maybe you could give me a ride--I mean, if you would take me--that is, drive me! If you wouldn't mind driving me to a few," she cringed as she finished, "baby-sitting jobs over the next week or so."

"Very smooth," Jane muttered under her breath.

"Diaper bed," Daria replied in the same tone.

"Sure," Trent replied with a shrug. "Just wake me up when you need to leave, okay?"

Daria nodded. As he turned to leave, she asked, "Oh, and I can chip in gas money if you want. I don't want to freeload."

As soon as Trent was out of hearing, Jane raised an eyebrow and commented, "I'm sure you can think of some way to pay him back. If you know what I mean."

Daria fidgeted as she looked at him, lying on his back in front of her. "Look," she began with a shaking voice. "I just want you to know that this is my first time. I realize you've probably had a lot of experience with this kind of thing, so I want you to be understanding if I'm a little nervous or awkward." Leaning forward, she pleaded, "Just...please be gentle, okay?"

Looking back up at her, Jonathan Philip gurgled and kicked his feet as Daria began to pull on the adhesive strips that held his diaper in place. She tried to peel them away, but they wouldn't cooperate. Growling slightly under her breath, she tore them away. Jonathan's happy gurgling stopped, and he looked at her with an expression Daria was sure was contempt. She groaned as the smell hit her, then reached for the wipes.

"Just think about something else," she told herself. Unfortunately, the first thing that came to mind was the ride over to the Philips' house earlier that day with Trent. Daria tossed a used wipe in the garbage and grabbed another as she cringed at the memory. Aside from directions to the house, she'd said no more than seven words the entire time, and that included "hi" and "thanks."

"Hold still, dammit!" she grumbled as Jonathan kicked her hand for the third time. "This is hard enough as it is!"

"Thank God Trent's so oblivious," she muttered as she tossed the soiled diaper in the garbage and pulled out a new one. "But I really have to get it together around him."

She picked up the baby powder and turned it to shake it onto Jonathan, only to flinch as a white cloud puffed all over her clothes. "There's no way this is worth six dollars an hour."

She tried to lift Jonathan and slide the diaper under him at the same time. "At least I'm not breaking out in hives around him anymore," she said, still thinking about Trent. "But it would be nice if I could sound like a normal human being whenever he's in the room with me."

After some fumbling, Daria finally got the diaper under Jonathan and began to fasten it in place. Just as she finished, she looked closer and realized she'd put it on him backwards. She let out an exasperated sigh and began pulling the strips loose again.

"Of course, Jane's not doing me any favors," she reasoned. "Maybe if she'd stop teasing me in front of him, I'd stop stammering like an idiot."

Having mangled the diaper beyond repair, she pulled out a fresh one and began struggling to get it on Jonathan. He was clearly bored with lying on the changing table and had gotten even more fidgety. "Please," Daria begged. "Just hold on a few more minutes, okay?"

Shaking her head, she continued, "Who am I kidding? I don't need help to make a fool of myself in front of Trent. At least Jane's jokes fill in the silences while I stand there gaping at him."

She finally stuck the last adhesive strip in place and lifted Jonathan off of the table. The diaper immediately began to slip down, and Daria saw that she had put it on too loose. Laying the squirming infant back down, she began to wonder if the Philips had enough diapers to get through the rest of the afternoon.

"Bye, Trent," Daria said as she got out of the car. She was trying to make her voice sound as normal as possible. "Thanks for the ride." She frowned slightly as the last word came out nearly as a squeak. Waving and turning away to hide the blush she knew was growing, she walked quickly up the sidewalk to her front door as Trent drove off.

"I've officially humiliated myself in front of two different guys today, and it isn't even five o'clock yet," she said as she opened the door. "Now all I need is--"

"Oh, hi!" Quinn stood up immediately from her seat on the couch and stepped toward her sister. "I'm so glad you're home!"

Raising an eyebrow, Daria asked, "'Glad'? Quinn, it's me. Daria."

Quinn waved a hand dismissively. "What do our petty rivalries matter now, in my time of suffering?" she asked in a trembling voice.

Daria took half a step back and said, "What suffering? You stayed home and watched TV while I had to change a baby's diaper." She scowled slightly. "Many times."

"Oh, Daria," Quinn replied with a melodramatic sigh. "You just don't understand what enforced isolation is like!"

"No, but I do know how fun voluntary isolation can be. And on that note...." Daria began to walk upstairs.

"Wait!" Quinn begged. "Why not stay and spend some time with me? We could watch a movie or play Monopoly or, uh, put together a puzzle!"

Daria stopped on the stairs and looked back at her sister. "Right. And then we can talk about boys while you give me a makeover." Seeing Quinn's eyes light up, she quickly added, "No, thanks. I'm going to go up to my room, and when I come out again I hope you'll be back to nor--back to being yourself."

As Daria closed her bedroom door behind her, she heard Quinn shout up to her, "If you're going anywhere later on, could you take a message to the outside world for me?"

Daria stared out the window as Trent's car continued on its way to the Hanlon house. She had figured out that as long as she kept her eyes off Trent, she wouldn't blush. Therefore, she'd spent most of the ride staring at the window, the glove compartment, and her own hands.

"Everything okay?" Trent asked. "You're really quiet."

"Yeah," she replied. "I was just, uh, thinking."


They rode on in silence for another minute or so before Daria couldn't stand it anymore. I have to say something! Unfortunately, she decided to blurt out the first thing that came to mind. "Do you know how hard it is to change a baby's diaper?"

She closed her eyes and grimaced the moment the words left her mouth, but Trent only said, "It's not too bad. It just takes practice."

Daria opened her eyes and turned to stare at Trent in surprise before realization hit. "Summer was never really a hands-on mother, was she?"

"Nah. I didn't mind, though. I like kids."

For just a moment, Daria wondered what kind of father Trent would be. She immediately crushed the images it brought up and turned back to stare at the dashboard.

After several more silent minutes passed, Trent asked, "Daria, are you sure you're okay?"

Looking up from the dashboard at last, she replied, "Yeah, sorry. Didn't mean to get quiet again."

"Oh." He glanced outside. "It's just, uh, is this the wrong house or something?"

Daria followed his gaze and realized that the car had been stopped outside the Hanlons' house for almost a full minute. She quickly opened the door and stepped outside, feeling the familiar warmth on her cheeks.

Just before she shut the door, she remembered to thank him. She called over her shoulder, "Tranks, Thent." Gasping in horror, she slammed the door and walked briskly up to the house without looking back. I think I'm actually getting dumber every minute I spend around him, she thought. If this keeps up, I'll be twirling my hair and joining the cheerleading squad within the week.

Katherine Hanlon looked at Daria curiously. "Is Quinn really your sister?"

Daria sighed. "Yeah. And no, I don't know why her hair is so much bouncier than mine."

"Oh." Katherine looked disappointed, but then asked, "So you're into hair and clothes and stuff, too?"

Blinking in surprise at the disdain in the twelve-year-old's voice, Daria replied, "Actually, no. I'm the boring, brainy one."


"Um..." Well, that sure came out of left field. "...what?"

"Can you help me with a project I'm working on?"

Daria glanced over at Katherine's younger sister, Julia, who was still engrossed in the figure skating show playing on the television. "Sure. What's the project?"

"I'm making a magnet. Hold on, I've got all of the stuff in my room. I'll go get it and you can help me put it together."

As Katherine placed a box of supplies on the floor, Daria said, "So is this a summer school assignment?"

The younger girl looked at Daria in confusion, then shook her head. "It's not for school. I just wanted to learn how magnets worked, and I found this experiment in a book at the library." Daria just stared at her in shock as Katherine pulled out an iron nail. "Okay, so first we need to take the copper wire and..."

They had finished making the magnet and were testing it with paper clips when Katherine suddenly grew thoughtful. "Can I ask your advice on something?"

"Sure. As long as it's not about nail polish or halter tops."

Katherine giggled quietly and said, "No, it's about, uh, this guy at school."

Oh, no. "I'm not really--"

She continued, "He's just really cool and he's cute, too, but--"

Daria interrupted gently, "But you're always too shy to talk to him?"

After a moment of surprise, Katherine burst out laughing. "Yeah, right. I'm not a little kid or anything." Several unkind remarks flitted through Daria's mind, but she kept them to herself. "I can talk to him," Katherine continued, "It's just that I think my best friend likes him, too. What should I do?"

Daria sighed and shrugged. "I really don't know. I can't even imagine being in that kind of situation, myself." Katherine looked disappointed, so she added, "But you could always ask Quinn. If there's one thing she knows anything about, it's guys. And there is only one thing she knows anything about."

Katherine cracked a smile but didn't say anything else. Daria turned sadly back to the magnet. "Not a little kid." Maybe I should ask her for advice.

By the time Mr. and Mrs. Hanlon arrived home, Katherine was explaining how the magnet worked to Julia. As Daria was heading out the door, Katherine stopped her. "Hey, Daria?"


"I just wanted to tell you before you left..." She gave her a smile. "You are so much smarter than Quinn!"

"Um, thanks," Daria mumbled, pleased but embarrassed. "You're pretty smart, too."

The smile widened into a grin, and Katherine glanced outside to where Trent was waiting in his car. She looked back at Daria, then at Trent again. "Ohhh," was all she said.

Daria sighed. "I'm that obvious?" Katherine just shrugged and gave her a sympathetic look.

As she walked outside, Daria thought, Maybe baby-sitting isn't all bad. It could even become tolerable--except for those damn diapers.

"The trick is to slide out the old diaper and slide the new one in a smooth motion," Jane explained, "like this." She undid the diaper, removed it, and placed a new one in its place in about as much time as it took to explain.

"Right," Daria said. "And while I'm holding the kid's legs up with my third hand, what should I do with my fourth hand?"

"Come on," Jane protested. "It really isn't that hard. Just try it."

Daria rolled her eyes. "First of all, this is stupid. Second, this--" she indicated the large plastic doll, "--is nothing like changing a real baby's diaper. Real babies actually move and cry and stink." She crossed her arms. "And third, this is stupid."

"Don't complain. You're not the one who bought a pack of diapers at Drugs N' Stuff this morning. If I weren't a total non-entity at Lawndale High, I'd be worried about the rumors when school starts again."

"I'm touched that you put your spotless reputation on the line for my sake."

Jane nudged Daria with her elbow. "Stop stalling and change that diaper." Smirking at her sour look, she added, "Come on, if Quinn can do this..."

"Somehow I have a hard time imagining Quinn going within ten feet of a clean diaper, let alone a dirty one."

"Well, Jonathan's a guy. Maybe she bats her eyes and talks him into changing it himself."

Daria groaned and reached for the diaper. She tugged ineffectually at the adhesive strips, then yanked harder on them. The doll flew off of the table and hit the nearby wall headfirst before landing on the floor.

Jane picked the doll up and examined the large dent on its head. "I don't think you get paid if you bludgeon the child to death. Clean diaper or not."

"See?" Daria asked, frustrated. "I can't even manage a trial run. What am I supposed to do the next time I have to change a real, living infant?"

"Make sure he wears a helmet?" Jane suggested cheerfully.

Daria shut the living room door behind her as she entered the house and leaned against it with her eyes closed. After a moment, she opened them again in confusion. Do I smell...cookies?

She walked into the kitchen to see her sister pulling a baking tray out of the oven. "Hi," Quinn said over her shoulder as she began lifting each cookie onto a cooling rack.

"Uh, hi," Daria replied as she stared around the kitchen. In addition to the cookies, she saw several tall stacks of magazines, a half-finished but clumsily knitted scarf, a couple of Jake's model airplane kits, and her harmonica. She picked the harmonica up as she shot Quinn a curious look.

"Oh, hope you don't mind," Quinn explained. "I thought I'd try to learn to play it. I found it downstairs in one of Mom and Dad's 'junk' boxes while I was getting my Waif back issues out of storage." She waved a hand at the magazines. "I'm cataloging them."

"I...see." Daria picked up a cookie and took a bite, then spit it almost immediately into the sink. "What's in these?" she demanded.

"You know, cookie stuff," Quinn said, sounding offended. She indicated the counter behind her. "Sugar, butter, cinnamon, and whatever else the recipe said."

Daria glanced at the ingredients spread out on the counter, then did a double take at what Quinn had clearly mistaken for the cinnamon: garlic powder. Well, that's what happens when you go out of your way to avoid reading anything. Taking a can of soda out of the fridge to clear the taste out of her mouth, she added, "Hey, I was wondering. How long did it take you to learn to change Jonathan's diapers?"

Quinn wrinkled her nose as she flipped through one of the magazine stacks. "Eww, Daria, think about who you're talking to! I always just have Joey or Jeffy or Jarvis do it."

Before Daria could respond, a distant buzz sounded. "Was that the dryer?" she asked.

"Yup. Sounds like the last load is done."

"You're doing chores? Voluntarily?"

"Gawd, Daria," Quinn said. "I've got to do something to keep me sane while I'm stuck in the house."

As Quinn left the kitchen, Daria muttered, "Looks to me like you're doing everything to keep yourself sane. And I don't think it's working."

Lying on his back on the changing table once again, Jonathan eyed Daria with a nervous expression on his face. Standing in front of him with a diaper in her hand, Daria eyed him back with a terrified expression on her face.

At last she broke the silence. "Look, this is the last time I'm going to be baby-sitting you, and your parents will be home sometime in the next half hour. That means I won't ever change your diaper again, assuming you can hold it for thirty minutes." She cocked her head. "God, I hope you can hold it for thirty minutes."

She reached slowly for the diaper, then froze when she heard a car drive up. They're home early! She picked Jonathan up and headed for a nearby window. I made it! She looked outside to see Trent's car. Dammit!

Daria turned back and put Jonathan back on the changing table. Trent had to pick today to show up early. I thought for sure I was off the hook. She began to undo the diaper, but as usual it refused to budge. It didn't help that her hands were shaking after seeing Trent. Her anxiety over changing another diaper was now compounded by anxiety over the thought of another awkward car ride with her crush.

"Argh!" Just as she was about to look for a pair of scissors, a thought struck her. She tried to dismiss it, but her conversation with Quinn earlier in the week kept replaying itself in her mind. Her decision made, she carried Jonathan toward the front door.

If Trent was surprised to see Daria walking over to his car with an infant, he didn't show it. Instead, he stepped out of the car and said, "Hey."

"Hi, Trent." She sighed. Ask. Just ask. His name may not start with a "J" but he's all I've got. "Listen, would you do me a favor?"

"Um," he said with a sideways glance at Jonathan. "Okay. What do you need?"

She held the baby out to him. "Would you change his diaper for me?"

Riding in the car half an hour later was just as awkward as usual, but for very different reasons. Daria tried hard to stifle a laugh as Trent sat next to her with his window rolled all the way down. Lips pressed together, he stared straight ahead and drove faster than usual. Finally, they arrived at the Lane home and Trent bolted out of the car. Daria got out more slowly, stopping to pull the keys out of the ignition and shut his door before she followed him into the house.

Jane was peering out of her doorway toward Trent's room when Daria came up the stairs. "I've never seen him move that fast before," Jane remarked. "What, exactly, did you do to my brother?" Then she added, with a sly smile, "Or do I want to know?"

"I didn't do anything," Daria replied as the door to Trent's room opened.

Trent emerged, wearing a new shirt and an angry look on his face, then saw Jane's curious expression. "I don't want to talk about it," was all he said as he turned toward the stairs.

"Oh, no you don't!" Jane grabbed Trent by the arm and pulled him into her room. Daria followed, amused, and took a seat on the bed. "Okay," Jane demanded, "now one of you needs to start talking."

Trent stuck his hands in his pockets and sighed. "Fine. Daria asked me to help her change this kid's diaper--"

"Help or change it for her?" Jane interjected. With a sidelong glance at Daria, she added, "Taking a page from Quinn's book, I see."

Daria only kept her small smile. "You just said the words 'Quinn' and 'book' in the same sentence. There's something fundamentally wrong with that."

"Don't change the subject," Jane insisted. "Trent was changing the diaper..."

Trent nodded. "So what's-his-name--"

"Jonathan," Daria supplied.

"Right, him, he was on the changing table and I was standing in front of him. I had just taken the dirty diaper off him and was about to give it to Daria."

"Who was standing a safe distance away," Daria commented.

"Yeah, no kidding," Trent grumbled, but the corners of his mouth were starting to twitch upward.

"Then what?" Jane asked, still impatient.

"Then...aw, jeez, Janey. Do I have to say it?"

Daria stood up. "Trent forgot that people seated in the first few rows will get wet."

"No way!" Jane burst out.

"Let's just say Jonathan was firing for both accuracy and distance."

Trent groaned and walked out of the room as Jane doubled over, laughing. Daria joined in after a moment, and finally explained, "You should have seen him. Trent was completely speechless."

Jane finally caught her breath. "Hey, that reminds me. I notice you finally managed to speak and be within ten feet of Trent at the same time just now. Exactly what happened to the Daria Morgendorffer I once knew?"

Daria smirked. "Yeah, it's a strange thing. Once you watch a baby pee on someone, suddenly they aren't nearly as intimidating."

With an arched eyebrow and a mock-disappointed tone, Jane asked, "So does that mean my days of dirty jokes are over?"

Before Daria could reply, Trent stepped back into the doorway. "I'll be taking a shower if anyone wants me." The combination of his words and Jane's suggestive wink flustered Daria into silence. When she watched Trent pull his t-shirt off as he walked toward the bathroom, she groaned as her face skipped pink and went straight to bright red.

Jane crowed with delight. "Aaaand she's back!"

The next morning, Daria came down the stairs to see Quinn awake and in the kitchen. Jake and Helen had already left for work.

"Quinn?" Daria asked. "What are you doing?"

Quinn was sitting at the table, staring off into space. "I can't do it," she said quietly. Slowly, she turned her head to look at Daria. "There is just no freaking way I'm going to last another day trapped in the house alone." She drew in a ragged breath. "If I don't make it until Mom and Dad come home, tell them I love them, that I'm sorry for everything, and to not let Sandi have my new suede boots with the pointy toes."

Dropping her head onto her arms, folded on the table in front of her, Quinn released a melodramatic sigh. "Go on, Daria," she said. "Leave me in my solitaire."


The younger girl's head jerked up with an expression of delight. "You'll stay with me? Oh, Daria, that's great! Thank you so--"

"Quinn." Daria's voice was firm as she interrupted. "I just thought you might want to know that it's been two weeks. You're not grounded anymore."

"Omigod!" Quinn cried, jumping up from the table. She raced to grab her shoes and then headed straight for the front door.

Daria followed behind her and smirked. "So we aren't going to be spending the day together?"

Quinn rolled her eyes as she opened the front door. "Ugh, no. When Mom and Dad get home, tell them I'll be back..." She glanced at the clock and shrugged. "...Whenever." With that, she slammed the door behind her.

With a small shrug, Daria headed back to the kitchen to find breakfast. All in all, not so bad, she reflected. I'm a little less tongue-tied around Trent, I've made some significant deposits to my Montana Cabin Fund, and I still have the rest of the summer free.

As she reached for the refrigerator handle, she stopped at the note stuck to the door. Normally anything on the fridge door was quickly lost among the mess of other papers, but this one had been written in black marker and underlined several times: "Pick One!" Underneath was a list of summer activities, including a fifty-hour-a-week internship at Helen's firm, Change Your Tune Music Camp for Anti-Social Teens, and candy striping at Cedars of Lawndale Hospital.

Daria groaned. At least I'm still two for three, she thought as she continued to skim through the list. She saw that one had been circled and took a closer look.

"Blissful Babies Nanny Service," it read. "Changing diapers is our specialty!"

Immediately Daria snatched the paper off the fridge and tore it in half before dropping it into a nearby garbage can. After a moment, she pulled the paper scraps back out again and shoved them into the garbage disposal, flicking on the switch with an angry swipe.

"Mom would have better luck talking me into that music camp," she muttered as she opened the fridge to find something to eat.

Thanks to Rlobinske and Mr Orange for beta reading.