Thursday, June 13, 2002

My Little Drunk Friend

Soo likes to call it parenting, but what this reminds me of most is watching a friend who has massive potential go on binge after binge. You see him for the first time and he’s ecstatic, laughing, happy to see you, but he’s moody, one thing goes wrong and he’s throwing his bottle at you (he keeps bottles stashed all over the house, grabs them, sucks them dry and flings them to the ground in disgust). He’s continuously bumping into walls, you have to watch him every second for fear he’ll do some damage to himself when alone. A few minutes of silence will go by and panic sets in, you rush off into the other room and find him rolling around on the floor making goo goo eyes at the cat. It’s like he’s perpetually stoned, he’ll dig through the trash to find random bits of food. When he’s hungry and it seems like he’s always hungry (or at least always putting something into his mouth) he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants. And then, at times, he shows amazing promise. He’ll open the door, walk outside take a look at the sunshine, and smile like it’s the first day of the rest of his life and he’ll turn things around and amount to something great some day. Then, in an instant, he’ll start saying, “bottle, bottle,” and will be inconsolable until he gets one, thrusting it into his mouth and drinking greedily as if he’ll never drink again.
Soo has found a contract gig here on the island doing the high-tech marketing voodoo that Soo do so well. That leaves me at home as the nanny, the full-time parent, the mentor, food feeder, diaper changer, putter to sleeper, the sober friend of a pathetically intoxicated 30-pound staggering ball of terror. His favorite game is Sit on the Cat. He enjoys eating soup and rice with his hands and then running his fingers through his hair. If you leave the seat up the toilet becomes his own self-service baptismal font. Every dog belongs to him. In short, he’s like every other toddler on the planet.
I’m still trying to find a job. It’s not like there’s any future in daycare for a 35-year old former PR guy. Even if I could convince some desperate couple to hand over their child to me, I honestly don’t think I’d be able to give it the same love and attention I give to Nathan, which, occasionally, ain’t even all that much. Yesterday I sat down here for two minutes to check my email, during which time he had gotten into the bag of peanuts we feed the birds and had been crushing them with his heel to get the nut out. Evidence of this (broken shells, slobbered on peanuts, and paper thin brown peanut coverings attached to his socks) littered the room (not to mention his person) and I stood there attempting to recall exactly how many times in books, classes, and in conversations with more diligent parents the word “peanut” had been used in conjunction with the words “choking hazard.” It’s one thing to perform the Heimlich maneuver on your own child, but how do you explain that bruised solar plexus to someone who has paid you money to take care of their kid. “Well, you see, ma’am I was just taking a quick scan of HotJobs to see if there was anything I could do that paid better than watching your little angel. I know, I know, he’s the most important thing in the world to you and I should be glued to his every move, but if I have to spend another month pulling his hands out of his own feces I will go bonkers.” Of course, removing Nate poo from his cute little fingers is nothing short of paradise.
I’m sure something will turn up. And, in the meanwhile, I’ve got my little drunk buddy to hang out with, I mean “parent.”

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