Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Losing Credibility 1 Blown-Off B-sitting Gig at a Time

First off, here's a menacing snapshot of the subject of so much of yesterday's venting and k'vetching posts. It's Kade Emerson, my chubby-cheeked, three-year-old, motorcycle-worshipping middle child. He looks like a little rascal with that long metal sprinkler prong aimed directly at my lense. Today he is the polar opposite of the affliction he was yesterday. Hell on wheels and at the very top of my shit list.

Instead I'm the troublemaker sheepishly occupying the dog house for a change. Maybe I'm the one who deserves a useless time out because I completely spaced it that I committed to baby sit my neighbor's 17-month-old son, Logan, this morning. After spiking up Aiden's faux-hawk hairdo just-so like he likes it and carting him off to kindergarten I mustered the energy (thanks to a velvety Starbucks latte) to scamper around a sandy city park with his younger sibs, Solenne and Kade. The kids and I watched an ancient looking Asian man practice Tai Chi at the park when I should have been home dutifully watching Logan while his mom made her lush, gorgeous espresso hair even more espresso, gorgeous and lush at the salon.

Luckily I heard a strange poppy ring tone buzzing off in the distance just as Kade slithered down the firehouse style pole right onto his face. Apparently one of the kids felt the need to update my ringtone. Old school Beastie Boys' Intergalactic Planetary wasn't good enough for them. Thanks for letting me know, kids. When I answered it was Diane checking in to see if I was still on for babysitting. Since she's my next-door neighbor she can easily see whether or not my minivan (yeah, triple dented stereotypical minivan at that)is parked in my sidewalk chalk graffitied driveway.

What is it with toddlers and cell phones anyway? My two-year-old daughter already thinks she can't live without one. "I knee phone, mom." She whinges those four monosyllabic words at least half a dozen times a day (sometimes punctuating her plea with a bossy RIGHT NOW!) hoping that I'll give in and hand over my new Virgin pay-as-you go el cheapo phone. Who am I kidding? I always give in and give her the goods, after locking the keypad, or course. 'Can't have her calling the babysitter in the middle of the night again. Solenne has no clue just how uncool and low-fi mommy's phone is. No games. No pictures. No video. No frills. Just plain old calling capability, usually reserved for emergencies and driving directions. If I wasted away my minutes on idle chit-chat my penny-pinching husband would lose his shit, and then I'd lose my phone. Maybe when Solenne's an expensive, self-conscious tween she'll realize how boring mommy's coveted cell phone really is (and go on a hunger strike waiting for me to spring for a pricey pimped out cell of her own). In the meantime, she plays the field, cunningly angling with her massive sapphire eyes and suffocatingly cute curly pigtails to snag fancy flip phones from my neighbor Diane, her babysitter, Camille, and anyone else she can con in a hurry.

Back to my embarrassing misadventures in accidentally blowing off babysitting ... I recently flaked on another preplanned babysitting gig last month. This time it was with a different neighbor. In the weeks following "the incident" we both still can't figure out who really is at fault and thankfully have since moved on business as usual. Even if we did agree on who to point the finger at, we can't go back and fix what happened -- She showed up with her two kids so she could head off to a hard-earned contract job and found my ox blood red front door closed and locked. My house was empty and no one was home. While she frantically tried to locate a last-minute replacement sitter, I was oblivious to the whole debacle and busy slathering SPF 45 on the kids in a borrowed deluxe oceanfront condo 80 miles south of our neighborhood. I know I'm a disorganized, clutter bug nut sometimes, but I'm afraid I'm beginning to border on irresponsible. I want my friends, especially friends who are neighbors, to feel they can rely on me and that I'll always come through for them. I can't even imagine how pissed I'd be if I scored a rare writing gig at a newspaper and my babysitter was a no-show for my big day. Maybe scrawling pen notes in my palm just isn't cutting it anymore. Time to grow up and get a day planner.


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