These passages – and the funny nicknames – have become a running joke between my wife and I since we read A Moveable Feast.
Hemingway on balancing work and childcare:
So the next morning, I woke early, boiled the rubber nipples and the bottle, made the formula, finished the bottling, gave Mr. Bumby a bottle and worked on the dining room table before anyone but he, F. Puss the cat, and I were awake. The two of them were quiet and good company and I worked better than I had ever done.
Hemingway on finding a good babysitter:
It was wrong to take a baby to a cafe in the winter though; even a baby that never cried and watched everything that happened and was never bored. There were no baby-sitters then and Bumby would stay happy in his tall cage bed with his big, loving cat named F. Puss. There were people who said that it was dangerous to leave a cat with a baby. The most ignorant and prejudiced said the cat would suck a baby’s breath and kill him. Others said that a cat would lie on a baby and the cat’s weight would smother him. F. Puss lay beside Bumby in the tall cage bed and watched the door with his big yellow eyes, and would let no one come near him while we were out…There was no need for baby-sitters. F. Puss was the babysitter.
What is almost more remarkable to me than leaving a baby alone in a Paris apartment is being able to write – and write well – while taking care of a baby.