Officially the youngest baby I've ever taken care of - and for the longest period of time, too. My friend Sivan babysits for this family who live on West End Avenue and 100th St and she called me to ask if I could sub in for her on Saturday night. This was odd to me because New York parents have high standards and tend to want to carefully vet everyone who will be setting foot in their house or spending time with their children. Babysitting at home I'm used to showing up on the day on a friend's recommendation - you know and trust one mid-Hants local village girl, why wouldn't you the next one? (Thanks Ellie:D) So I was a little surprised but very pleased, I talked to mum Yael on the phone and she informed me that her kids (9, 6 and 2 months) were very easy going and the oldest would be at a friend's anyway.
I arrived at 6.30pm last night (half an hour early for some introductions, etc) and met Yael, son Yahli and Yahli's friend Leia who was sleeping over. Baby Ari I met a little later as he was sleeping when I arrived.
Yahli and Leira were a dream, they are both only 6 but they are really good friends and it was very sweet how they played together without a single bicker, no competition, no bad manners. And worked together to help me figure out the TV so they could watch their pre-planned sleepover film - worst member of my generation, I should be kicked out. AND they both ate all their rice and meatballs without complaining or being picky about how much they got or the amount of sauce, AND they got into their PJs without any resistance, brushed their teeth, everything - honestly those two needed a babysitter only because it's frowned upon to leave 6 year olds home alone. But, fact of the day, not illegal. I just looked it up.
Baby Ari was a different matter. First off, what a cute baby. Also, what a chilled out baby who seemed to have no problem with the fact that I was neither a member of his family or Sivan. He had to be fed just before the parents left so he was awake and hanging out with us in the living room during dinner. And Yahli and Leia were happy in front of their movie so I took Ari into the bedroom to see how he felt about falling asleep. The answer was...indecisive. Yael has an exercise ball that comes in very handy as a bouncing tool - instead of walking around and bouncing causing untold stress to the knees, sit on exercise ball holding baby and just go nuts. So I'm bouncing, humming the tune of 'Spandex' from my friend Joseph's show (of which more later) Ari's nodding off. Naturally as soon as he was absolutely out and I went to put him down he woke up - didn't wake up and cry, but woke up. And so it went on, for a good long while - he was pretty happy most of the time so he was alright being left in bed to just chill and be interested in the ceiling so that I could clear up the kitchen etc. But now and then I'd hear very distressed little yells and have to go and repeat the whole cycle for a looong time - when he did start crying he was pretty determined about it. He did go back to sleep for a few hours and woke up again just before mum and dad got home so I'd just given him a bottle and he had zonked out completely this time when they arrived - he stayed zonked whilst being passed around from me to Yael to her husband back to Yael - pheeew.
Not gonna lie - it's a little scary when a two-month old who you've just met is crying for a fairly long period of time. I was texting Sivan and she was asking how it was going. I told her Ari was awake, again, and she said 'yeah it's a little scary when he won't stop crying'. Always good to have an empathetic cheerleader in these situations. Luckily none of Ari's crying was the red-faced screaming oh-my-gosh-this-baby-is-going-to-explode kind, he had a sort of 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off pattern going.
He was asleep when the parents came home and Yael said Leia's mum wanted me to babysit for her oldest daughter on Friday. So, I call that a successful night. Loving the relaxed and warm style of the Upper West Side Hebrew parents contingent. I really hope I can work for this family again sometime when Sivan can't make it. If I babysat twice a week for the minimum I'm likely to make in one session I could pay 85% of my rent. Meaning that a decent proportion of my AMDA store earnings would be free to be saved for other things like say new dance shoes (I officially do not have a single good pair) or a great leotard or...dundundunnnn...a real mattress! DREAM BIG
This is Joseph Spitale. He and I were together in class every single semester at AMDA. We have cooked meals together with other friends, salsa danced together, partied together, rehearsed together, sang together and last weekend we shopped together.
He is currently appearing as 'Yuri' and a couple of smaller roles + ensemble in the off-Broadway show Spandex the Musical. I went with Joris to see it yesterday afternoon - comp ticket thank you very much - and had a great time.
Spandex is set in the time and place of legwarmers, giant mobile phones and most importantly aerobics. There is a story, although this is one of those shows where you're having so much fun watching the crazy energetic aerobicise-style choreography, tumbling, twirling and funny characters that you don't mind too much about the plot. However there's one involving a pair of former gymnasts, the one who won bronze 10 years ago has built an aerobics empire and never lets anyone forget that he won bronze (main antagonist) and the other fell from the balance beam disgracing herself and ending her career, she is now his best aerobics instructor (main protagonist). There are also an ex-Israeli army pair, one of which is Joseph's role Yuri, who decide to use their army training to come to the USA and capitalise on the booming fitness market. This resulted in my favourite production number featuring all the men in the cast and led by Joseph and his fellow Israeli character doing a very well-choreographed number with tumbling, stunts, press-ups and rifle twirling. The third storyline is about a mother who decided to take her life back by joining an aerobics class at 'Bronze Bodies' and ends up competing and winning at the Crystal Light national aerobics championship women's solo events. Cos y'know, that's a thing.
As I said, storylines - fairly inconsequential when there are so many fabulous 80s workout outfits to marvel at. I have to give my main snaps to the ensemble all of whom had a small role and a character name but other than that not much story, but each one of them had fleshed out their character to the point where sometimes I was more interested in them than the main storyline. Stellar turns by all in the vocals and dance department and by mostly all in the comedy department, some (Joseph included) to the point where me and Joris garnered a few looks from other audience members because we couldn't stop giggling.
I hope Spandex can do well on it's off-Broadway stint, iron out the kinks and be moved to a bigger space because they had to fit all these fun production numbers and set pieces featuring swathes of turquoise spandex fabric encircling the entire cast onto a very small stage. I am very proud to have seen my friend in such a fun show and also very impressed with how buff he got - Joey's very slight, he's taller than me but he's always been annoyingly skinnier (there's a reason he played a deer in our drama showcase) but he has been working hard and has packed on some serious guns.
After seeing a show filled with super-fit people singing WHILST doing full aerobics routines, naturally all Joris and I could think about was going to Magnolia and mainlining cake.
I have been given the gift of a free day that I didn't expect to be free - yipee! What to do, what to do. Drink coffee, ponder some more