Saul Schachter lives in Sea Cliff.

As a bonding experience, I decided to go to the movies with my 5-year-old niece, Jenny, for the first time. She wanted to see "Ramona and Beezus." I preferred a Swedish thriller.

We were at an impasse.

Reluctantly - and to keep peace in the family - I gave in (I could see the thriller on my own and Jenny, I reasoned, would probably have had a tough time with the subtitles).

We went to the Glen Cove 6 and had a good time, but I'm just not used to little, little kids. I'm 54, single, no children. Jenny, daughter of my sister, Marjie, and brother-in-law, Rick, is the only grandchild and niece in the family.

I'm more comfortable with older ones. For over 30 years, I've taught seventh-graders. I like them a lot. I can reason with them. They get my jokes. They can tie their own shoelaces.

My problems with the way-under-13 set, I guess, began during my childhood. When I was 5 and Marjie was 3, we were playing at a friend's house. I fell out of a tree and lay on the ground writhing in pain. "Go to Mommy and Daddy!" I cried to Marjie. And, off she went.

I waited . . . and I waited. Perhaps I should have directed her to "Bring BACK Mommy and Daddy!" for I lay there a long time. When it started getting dark and I gave up hoping a search party would find me, I struggled to my feet and staggered home. Walked in the front door and, to my dismay, discovered no one knew I was missing.

Marjie had forgotten to tell my parents. (Turns out I had a broken wrist. It healed faster than my psyche).

I've since forgiven my sister and want to be of assistance to her and Rick. But, I'm all thumbs around Jenny. She doesn't seem to care about the Yankees and has little interest in politics. But, I have noticed Jenny likes to draw. And, she helps her parents - always offering to carry the dishes to the sink. When she sees a crying child, she offers gentle support. Jenny, I can see, is turning out nicely - and I'd like to be there to help keep her on track.

So, maybe Jenny and I can duplicate the nice day we had. I wonder if there will be a "Ramona and Beezus" sequel. Perhaps Jenny would like to go with me.

And, this time, I'll pay.

DON'T MISS THIS LIMITED-TIME OFFER1 5 months for only $1Save on Unlimited Digital Access