Saturday, May 22, 2004

Adventures in Babysitting

I was waiting in front of Senor's parents' apartment building when my cell phone rang. It was Senor and he was calling from across the street. "Ang is busy shopping for baby food. Come on over for a second," he said, and I crossed the street and saw him standing there with a big grey stroller.

"Watch Jodd for a second. I'll be right back," and as quickly as he said that he disappeared into the crowded Midtown NYC street.

"Oh shit," I thought to myself, "This is my first babysitting gig."

And I freaked out. Well, not completely, but for thirty seconds or so, I realized... I wasn't prepared for that moment in life. Jodd was fast asleep (a shocker considering 55th and 6th Avenues is one of the loudest intersections in the world) and I ran through the possible doom that could happen. What if he wakes up and can't fall back asleep? What if he shits himself? And... what if I lose the kid?

I wasn't prepared for that sort of major responsibility. I couldn't even figure out how to stand correctly. Do I lean on the carriage? Do I hover over him? The sidewalk swarmed with pedestrians, tourists, workers, New Yorkers, and it was me and Jodd hanging out. I was an emotional mess. And my first gig lasted only three minutes. Senor reappeared and I quickly gave the stroller back to him. I've traded bonds on Wall Street. I watched the horrible images on 9.11 on Channel 1 here in NYC on that fateful day. I played in some fairly big poker tournaments in the last few months... the sort of gut wrenching affair that makes you lose your hair by the fistful for those who are unable to stomach pressure. And yeah, none of those moments were as stressful as having to watch a six-month-old baby... for three minutes.

You'll never know how you'll react, until it happens to you. And I covered up my minor freak out very well. I even laughed several hours later when Senor said, "You're great with Jodd. And I'm shocked. I'm pretty sure you don't spend a lot of time with kids, especially babies. It's not like you have nephews or young cousins."

He was right. Jodd the first real baby I hung out with. The only kids I was used to watching were drunken NYU freshmen chicks in bars scattered around the Village. And nobody told me about baby drool, and the ridiculous amounts that babies can produce in a short time... which was all over the place; on his lips, on his mouth, on his chin, underneath his chin, on his neck, on his hands, on the remote control, and all over my fingers.

Jodd's a big baby for a 6.5 month old kid. He's 20 pounds now. Wow. He's growing fast. With no teeth and big round eyes, he and I even shared the same bald spot on the top of our heads. A few times he put his tiny hand up to my face. Once he grabbed my lip and started twisting. The second time, he lathered the right side of my face with a decent sized coating of baby drool. I hadn't shaved in a day or so, and Jodd normally was afraid of facial hair. Senor was surprised he didn't start crying. I guess I have this connection with children. I respect their souls. I get along with them very well. He tried to head butt me a few times and smiled every time I did a "clicking" sound.

We took Jodd for a walk in Central Park, and I think it was Ang's first trip there as well.

"When was the last time you hung out here?" Senor asked as he picked Jodd up and put him on his shoulders.

"A few weeks ago, I dropped acid with Haley and we got lost."

Senor might be the only person with a baby on his shoulders that I could say that without being judged. He laughed.

We wandered over to the Sheep Meadow, where Senor had told Ang people have sex sometimes on the weekends. After a quick survey, Ang was a little disappointed.

"I don't see anyone doing it," she said in a mixture of Thai and English. Senor laughed again.

"It's the middle of the afternoon!" he exclaimed.

I took some decent video footage of Jodd... for the archives. I presented Ang a videotape of the Best of Jodd's Bris, something I shot six months earlier in Providence. Next time I see them, I'll splice up the footage and rework a soundtrack.

Jodd's a good kid. This is his first multi-city roadtrip. Me and his old man did a bunch of those in the last decade, and on Sunday... I'll take my first journey with Jodd when we got to Philly. I told Senor I was going to tutor Jodd on how to play winning poker. Teach them while they are young. I wonder if they have Super System in big print for babies?

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