Okay, so maybe Korean parents push their kids hard to succeed. We Filipino parents, we just take our kids bar-hopping. We be all ghetto like that...
The wife's away on business, so I figured Baby and I would chill with some old friends in the East Village. It was a rare reunion of "Team Chaos," the group of troopers that came all the way to the Philippines for our wedding three years ago. Though most of us all live nearby, it's not often that we all get together as a group. Matt the (jazz bassist) just moved here from Chicago, Anna (my groomsmaid) has always lived here in Manhattan, Dan ("Danimal the Animal") was visiting from Austin, and Bill (the hippie veterinarian) just moved downtown from upstate NY. My buddy Gil (Baby's godfather) joined us later on.
The reason we got together this Memorial Day was cuz Dan was here on business. But the real excuse for bringing Baby out is cuz I needed to prove to myself that I wasn't gonna be "that" kind of father, who moves out to the 'burbs, drives a minivan, and goes into social hibernation.
I'd brought Baby to bars before, but today was just one big "round the world" beerfest. Now that smoking is prohibited in most bars these days, I think more and more Americans are bringing their kids to the pub. Not that smoking has ever stopped people from doing so... When we were in grad school in the UK years ago, I remember always seeing kids, (even babies!) hanging with their parents in smoky pubs.
It was a great time, and uncle Dan's first time to meet Baby. It was just like our college days, except that instead of a drunk and stoned ferret, we had Baby in tow.
Highlights of the day:
- Baby took a monster dump. I took her down to the dingy, dark, men's room to change her, noxious piss and sticky beer all over the floor. Typical East-Village hole-in-the-wall bar. I laid the changing pad and Baby on the toilet's porcelain water tank. It was such a narrow space, I had to keep my knee on the edge to keep Baby from rolling off into the toilet. Bill took a peek over the stall to see if we were okay. He said that if my wife had seen this she'd have freaked.
- Bill, the Park Avenue vet, said that feeding Baby is like feeding the baby kittens at work.
- Anna, your typical chinoiserie-obsessed fashionista Manhattanite (she just got back from Thailand) took it upon herself to carry baby whilst sashaying down the street. Asian Baby as her newest fashion accessory. Anna's nickname for the day was Angelina.
- My sister had "borrowed" Baby's stroller. So I had no choice but to "Bjorn" it around town. It was a blessing, as I've just discovered how much easier it is to get around the crowded subway without a stroller. If I needed to put the baby down, the travel high chair came in handy. Some bar tables are so high that they can get top-heavy with that travel high chair on, so you gotta be careful where you put it.
- When Gil walked into one of the bars holding Baby, I tried to play it off like we were one of those "21st century families," but when people asked about her, he was quick to point out that I was the father and Mommy was in London. Oh well, being a straight dad in Manhattan might not be as fashionable, but it ain't so bad.
- You know you've got a great bartender when she not only can make a mean G&T, but she can also rock a crying baby to sleep.
- My obsessive-compulsive self tried real hard not to stop Baby from chewing on the edge of the sticky bar. The rationale is that she needs to lick all sorts of crap now, and if it doesn't kill her, it'll make her stronger.
- Oh, and I'm trying not to have a problem with strangers poking at her chubby cheeks. The rationale is that evolution made babies' cheeks chubby for a reason: so strangers would poke at 'em. The more strangers, the more immunity to disease.
- When trying not to be obsessive-compulsive, alcohol always helps.