Thursday, May 24, 2007

Kicked Nuts and The Wonder Pets: My Life

When people find out that I babysit a kid (8 months old) twice a week they always go “aawwwwww!!” and imagine 8 hours of petting puppies and “I Love My Manny” bibs.  That’s a nice scenario but guess what? Doesn’t work that way.  I decided to do a running account of today, let you in on how it goes.

8:30am – I get to the house, open the door and there he is. Wide-eyed and energized, letting me know that he just woke from sleeping for 14 hours straight after having taken 2 three-hour naps yesterday, when his father was watching him. This kid refuses to take a nap for me. I don’t know why. It’s as if he thinks he’s going to miss something exciting. Which is kinda flattering, but kid, camon...we’ve known each other for 8 months now, the most exciting thing you’ve seen me do is coin the phrase “Jew York City.” Go to sleep, you’re not missing anything for fuck’s sake. Maybe he thinks he’s responsible for me earning his parents’ money, maybe he thinks I steal.  I don’t know.  But his father’s always like “yeah, he only slept for 3 hours for me today” and I’m like 3 hours?!?!?!?! The only thing he’ll do for me today for three hours is desperately try to poke me in the eye; MAYBE he’ll try to teach me ballroom dancing again, but probably not even. Fucking a. 

8:45am – after spending the last 15 minutes bubbling with baby-joy and smiling like a lunatic, the second the door shuts behind his father as he’s leaving for work the smile comes off his face and he slooooooooowly turns to me with a look that says “well, well, well....just us now.  Get ready to bust your ass for the next 8 hours, fucking jerkoff.” I’m not sure, but I think his head spun 3 times like Linda Blair. The reason I’m not sure is my eyes have teared up after he’s once again “accidentally” kicked one of my nuts with his heel.  It’s gonna be another banner day for The Manny.

8:50am – I change him. Like Judge Reinhold changing out the fries at the start of every shift in Fast Times, I change him whether her needs it or not.  I like to start with a fresh baby.  Nothing crazy, just a little piss. But luckily he has decided to spend the entire 2 minutes on the changing table screaming his tiny head off.  Because he still hasn’t figured out “okay, this will be painless and over soon, and then I will be clean of any piss/shit that is clinging to my body;” maybe because we’ve only done this drill oh, 88,000 times. Just like when he starts screaming cause he’s hungry; within seconds he sees that I have a bottle, that I am filling the bottle with Enfamil. Yet he still screams at the top of his lungs. Even though  1) he has never, ever witnessed anyone else getting the bottle to eat, so surely it’s for him  2) at no point in the entirety of his life has he screamed from hunger without being fed within 60 seconds. Literally.  But every time, everything’s a complete mystery. “OHMYGOD!!!!!  IM STARVING!! Am I ever going to eat again!?!?!?  Oh god oh god!!! What’s going to happen?!?!?! I don’t even have a job!!!”  Even though, like the changing, we’ve done this drill about 10 times a day every single day he’s been alive.  Kid MIGHT not be a genius.

9:00am – We watch a little tv. I stay away from tv for the kid, but Noggin has some cool stuff that’s supposed to be educational etc, so a few minutes here and there don’t hurt. I like to watch “Little Bear” with him; Little Bear teaches kids the importance of sharing, teamwork, using your imagination and being very nice in general.

9:03am – Fuck “Little Bear”, “Dawson’s Creek” is on. Oh goody, this is about the 4th episode in a row with Audrey’s “band” rocking out at the local bar. Gee.  A crappy 80’s cover band and the place is PACKED WALL TO WALL with people screaming, losing their minds. Are you kidding me?  “Wow, I came to the bar to drink and hang out with my friends; there’s a loud, shitty band that’s gonna play some Cyndi Lauper you say?  Fucking a, I am IN!!!” (breaks tequila bottle over head, leads pack of stage divers into action.) Have people that write movies and tv shows ever been to rock shows? Or...bars? Same with “Eddie & the Cruisers II.” At the end there’s a Battle of the Bands Contest (in Vancouver!) and they filled an ARENA with tens of thousands of people losing their minds because they’re getting a chance to spend money on tickets/overpriced soda to stand up and cheer bands no one has ever heard of singing songs nobody has ever heard. What the fuck. Who does this?  “School of Rock”, same beef. Battle of the Bands, THOUSANDS of people stuffed into a huge joint to watch “A Show with A Group of Bands Nobody Gives a Shit About.” And, if you remember correctly, this one was during the day. We’re supposed to believe thousands of people took a day off of work to watch...a Battle of the Bands.  Fucking christ. I, like most humans, have never paid to see a Battle of the Bands. My guess is that while one band is playing, the audience consists of....the other bands. Is there nothing left in this world to believe in - did you ever think you’d live long enough for “Dawson’s Creek” to lose it’s street cred?

10:30am – time for a bottle. Which used to mean I’d cradle him in my arm, stick the bottle in his mouth and he’d happily suck away. Now it means he sits up on my lap and spins his head around constantly, looking around all of a sudden extremely interested in everything else in the room. Yet screaming his head off cause I can’t seem to keep the bottle in his mouth while he’s doing this. Spinning his head around and kicking, flailing, and having no idea why he’s not eating. Hmm. Of course, he finally settles into a still position whenever he has landed into the single most uncomfortable position for my arm to be in for 10 seconds, much less the 15 minutes he’s gonna take to take his time eating. I’ve got my arm OVER top of his head, hand somehow holding onto the bottle with two fingers while his head is turned away at an 80-degree angle while leaning over and forward as far as he possibly can. Great. Luckily, just like during my first visit to a “bathhouse,” after a few minutes in this position I will black out.

11:00am – now I’ve got him in his little plastic chair/tray setup on the island in front of me. I can check my email/watch tv while he presses the 8,000 buttons that make the sound of a fucking doorbell. DING! DING! DING!  Every button, he’s got me thinking my gook food is at the door. This is when he also likes to “chat.” Which is a constant stream of “ahhhhh......ahhhhh......ahhhhhhh......ahhhhhh” over and over. Sounds like a broken record of a fucking Alzheimer’s patient trying to remember which channel "Matlock" is on. “ahhhhhahhhhhahhhhaahhaaaaaaaaah.” Jesus. I prefer the crying; at least then you know it’s just something that needs to be fixed and the crying will stop. And the loudness of his “talking” is in direct proportion to how badly you need to hear something else at that exact moment; be it your phone, the tv, whatever. “And so now we know, the killer of JFK was AHHHHHHHHHH AHHHHHHHHH AHHHHHHHH....thank you, and this information will never be repeated by another soul on Earth. Good night.” Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!!!!

11:30am – we’ve spent the last 20 minutes playing a game with his Curious George stuffed animal. A game whose rules are this: he will play with the thing for about 8 seconds before dropping it onto the floor, wherein I have to then pick it up, hand it back, take a few seconds to make sure he doesn’t drop it before looking away at the very second he lets it fall to the floor. We like to do this about 11,000 times in a row before calling it a game.  This teaches him sharing and teamwork and I learn that it’s amazing the shit you’ll put up with before you reach out, grab a baby by the throat and slam his head against a refrigerator while screaming “ENOUGH WITH DROPPING THE FUCKING MONKEY!!!! PLEASE STOP IT!!!  PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE!!!!”  Always learning.

11:35am – I just sneezed, which sends the boy into a body re-coiling crying jag that kicks off with the “oh, this you’re not gonna like” silent yell – eyes clamped tight, arms flailing, whole body instantly beet red, mouth about a foot wide open looking like Lucy Van Pelt, thing hanging from the roof of his mouth shaking, no sound coming out for about 15 seconds until the waterworks really start cranking and his shrieks of fright peel the paint off the walls. I don’t get this. Kid ain’t scared of nothing, you could wrap a king cobra around him and dangle him in front of a jet turbine, doesn’t faze him. Yet I sneeze and he goes crazy. Maybe he hates sneezing and anything that indicates sickness; maybe he’ll be a doctor?  Then again he spends a part of the day literally covered in shit so I guess he might also become the Roto-Rooter guy. Either way, I better get free check-ups from him.

11:36am – upon being picked up to be comforted after Sneezegate ’07, he promptly lands another one on my nuts. This kid’s smarter than I had thought.

11:55am – I just spent the last 5 minutes cleaning up broken glass from a glass he knocked off the island. But in true baby fashion, he did not touch the glass. When you’re with an infant, you hafta scan the area constantly to see what’s in the way of what. Cause he won’t reach out and knock the glass off the counter.  He will grab the remote and swing it so that it JUUUUUST grazes a book, which will then slide over into a pile of mail that knocks into the ball he won’t play with and THEN into the glass, making it fall over. The geometry of this shit is amazing; mixing a matrix with billiards.  You learn. Few weeks ago I scanned the area and said “that cookie sheet is gonna go if I don’t move it.”  Sure enough a chain of events happened, sending it crashing to the floor.  This is just like when you see a beautiful girl and your eyes meet, which leads to you talking and your hand JUUUUUUUUUST brushing her breast, making her smile, leading to you slightly brushing her hand so that it hits your hard-on, which you slyly taken out of your pants a second ago, causing you to jizz on her $400 leather skirt just as her 9-foot tall, maybe crazy boyfriend walks into the room, takes a pool cue and beats you senseless til you shit yourself.  Small links in a chain adding up is what I’m saying.

12:15pm – I’ve been cracking him up with videos of “The Wonder Pets” online; kid is laughing hysterically. It’s really great. I also know by now not to bother later on when some one comes in “hey, look at this, he’s gonna crack up!” cause that’s when all of a sudden instead of laughing on cue he just looks at you like you’re an idiot. “I swear...he was laughing...” Just like that singing and dancing frog on Bugs Bunny.  I believe this is what the phrase “oh, you little shit...” was invented for.

12:45pm – now the kid is tired, he needs a nap but he refuses to go to sleep. He is now screaming and crying to keep himself awake. Again, this is strange. You are keeping yourself awake for chocolates and strippers? Nope. You get to spend the time hearing yourself crying and screaming. Oh, joy.  We do a dance where I try and feed him, knock him out with milk, but every time he’s close to drifting off he reminds himself that it is his job to make my day as long and miserable as possible, and this pulls him through for another few minutes of crying. Finally I’m like fuck it and dump him in his Exi-saucer, a big plastic device that you can throw your kid on – he gets to push buttons that make animal sounds while you can take a break, maybe flip thru a magazine or rub one out to Lacey Chabert walking in on you and Jennifer Love Hewitt and demanding you “teach me how to be a woman too!  In the ass!!” Whatever. So I go back to the computer, checking my mail etc when all of a sudden I’m like you’s really quiet....and I go over and VOILA!  There he is...head down on the Exi-saucer, drool rolling out of his gaping mouth, snoring like a mf.  So it’s not that he didn’t wanna sleep, he didn’t want me to be the one to put him to sleep. His way of saying “you can’t fire me, I quit!!” Bastard.

12:46pm – I’m starving, so I gotta take advantage of his sleeping and eat as quick as possible. So I put together my salad. Get lettuce, rip it/put into bowl.  Slice tomatoes, slice cucumbers.  Some cheese, some tuna. Dash of ranch. After about 15 minutes, I have carefully constructed the perfect salad and am ready to eat.

1:01pm – BING!!!! Guess who’s eyes have just opened? Hooray!!! He half-smiles, looks at the salad I’m about to dig into and gives me that look that says “oh dear Manny, you could not possibly have thought I was going to let this happen, did you? Oh, no NO my friend!” and starts wailing. So I have to leave my salad sitting there and tend to him.  He calms down and lets me put him down into his chair/tray thing at the exact moment my salad is officially warm, soggy and disgusting. If I had a cap I would doff it. But I don’t, since when I was holding him he grabbed it and decided to let it drop at the exact moment we were walking past the single biggest pile of dogshit in the world. 

1:15pm – it’s a nice day, so let’s get in the stroller and take a spin. Luckily he happens to live on the single most dangerously unhealthy block in the world.  Industrial paint shops just stand in the middle of the street randomly spraying paint everywhere while the “meat” place hoses entrails across the sidewalk and the shop that manufactures agent orange likes to keep its doors open.  This kid is gonna have some freakish superpower due to this shit, or grow an extra hand. Oh, and the one-block stretch is also a shortcut for cars to barrel through at about 900 mph, thus shaving maybe 6 seconds off their drive had they stayed on Grand Ave. Congratulations fuckwad. I'll see you at the corner, when I literally stroll by.

1:20pm – within 5 minutes of strolling, he falls asleep. Comforted of course by the knowledge that even as he sleeps, I have to still work, pushing the goddam thing. Thanks.

2:30pm – back at the house. Of course he woke back up the second we got back, and is hungry. This time he is relatively still with the bottle, even laying back like when he was...well, young. I look down at him and you know what, it’s enough that I feed you every time you bitch and moan and that I literally wipe your ass; the least you could do while eating is not have your hands behind your head and eyes closed like you’re getting a fucking blowjob. Jesus christ.

3:00pm - play with an assortment of toys; all of which make clear that there are only three things that will ever, ever matter in later life: know your shapes, know your colors, and you damn for sure better know your barnyard animal sounds.  I don't know why these are so important; not once at a job interview have I been asked if I knew my colors or shapes. Animal noises, yes.  But that was a long time ago, back before Times Square cleaned up its act, if you know what I'm saying. And if you don't know what I'm saying, all I'm saying is next time you put on a wool sweater think of me in a sheep costume blowing dudes for a sawbuck.  And if you still don't know what I'm saying, then that's actually better for me. Summer of '94. Can never take that away from me.

3:10pm – I say the one thing I say to him for the 14,000th time today: “whaddya say there, lil buddy?”  Every day, all day. “whaddya say there, lil buddy?” Christ. Kid must be ready to hurl. Oh, goody. He just did. Again.

4:00pm - At 4:00 we like to watch "Wonder Pets"; the tales of Linny, Tuck and Ming Ming. No big whoop, just a coupla pets working together to save another baby animal who is in trouble and has called in on their soup-can phone.

Most of their dialogue is sung in a weird, operatic manner. Sing-songy, their sentences often end suddenly, jiltingly; you expect more words. Like when the train stops and you expect it to surge forward slightly, or when someone walks in on you about to jizz in the kitchen. And as "wonder"-ful as these guys are, they seem to get lucky a lot. A typical scene is the one we just saw: they're in their wonder-mobile, flying over Greece to find an injured inchworm and help him. To whit:

"Wow, Greece is huge! How are we EVER gonna find the worm??!!"
"There it is!"

Linny. Tuck. And Ming Ming too. We're Wonder Pets and we'll help you. Well we're not too big. and we're not too tough. But when we work together we got the right stuff. What's gonna work? TEAMwork!  Sigh. My fucking life.

4:35pm - his mother is home from work and I hand him off to her. After a whole day of literally busting my balls and driving me to craziness, now while his mother is holding him he turns to me with that perfect, overjoyed baby face, smiling/beaming at me with a look "oh hi, how long have you been here?!??" and he turns back into perfect, precious baby. His mother is in awe at how awesome/happy he is and wonders why I'm talking to myself.

"Ha ha ha! I win again! And clean this shit up, asshole!!!!"

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