MetroDad was laid up in bed all of last week, semi-convinced that he had either contracted avian flu or got some rare disease from sitting on a dirty toilet seat in Hanoi. Thankfully, it appears he just had some sort of flu that he must have picked up on the plane. However, since he's still slowly recuperating, he asked me, MetroBro, to do a guest post. Here's a quick one on what I've learned from being an uncle...
1. BABIES DON'T BOUNCE
...They bruise! And then certain "grown-ups" get all pissy and spiteful about it.
2. SHOW AND PROVE
When trying to show your sensitive side to girls, a photo of your niece is as good as a puppy on a leash. True, a puppy on a leash draws more attention on the street. But then again, you can't take puppies into bars and strip clubs.
(I haven't tried the niece-on-a-leash thing yet.)
3. CARRY I.D. AT ALL TIMES
The eminent 16th-century French blogger ("frogger") Montaigne writes:
"Herodotus tells of a certain district of Libya where men lie with women indiscriminately, but where, once a child can toddle, it recognizes its own father out of the crowd, natural instincts guiding its first footsteps. There are frequent mistakes, I believe."
Oh, I believe too, frogger. Call me paranoid but I sometimes think the Peanut mistakes me for MetroDad. There are days when she sees me and I can tell she's thinking, "Hey, you're the guy who was here last weekend! We had a good time, didn't we? Gimme a hug, then we'll make the silly noises again." Other days her expression reads more like, "Wow, how did Da-da change his clothes and cut his hair so quickly?"
(She thinks we "all look alike," maybe? Racist!)
4. CARRY PHOTO I.D. AT ALL TIMES, AND CLEARLY STATE THE DATE AND TIME OF YOUR LAST VISIT
Sometimes it's as if she doesn't recognize me at all. It's actually like a little kick in the heart when she hits me with the "Who did you say you were again?" look. Hot tears prick the corners of my eyes. I go from pleading ("But I bought you your ExerSaucer, remember?") to threatening ("I bought you your fucking ExerSaucer!") to desperation ("I'll buy you a PlayStation this year, 'kay honey?").
Does this mean I'm not seeing her as often as I should? If it's been longer than a week, and I check in with MetroDad and ask what new words the Peanut has learned lately, he'll be sure to taunt me with something like: "The other day she said, 'Who's my uncle? I have an uncle?'"
5. TURD IS THE WORD
If you're not ready to have children of your own yet, but want to experience the thrill of feeling like a mature, responsible adult: Change a diaper.* It's such a rush. You get this buzz like you've suddenly gained five years in wisdom and bearing, but you can still sleep 'til 11 and smoke weed at noon.
*To get the full effect you have to change a brown gooshy diaper. A merely damp one doesn't count. You've got to feel like you're doing something major for the kid.
6. BEING AN UNCLE, V. 2.0
...Which leads us to the Big Question about being an uncle: "Doesn't this make you want to have kids of your own?" Well, no. Not yet. I'm good, for now. I get to come over, play with my adorable niece for a few hours, then go back to my self-centered, hedonistic, struggling-artist routine. Despite the fondest hopes of MetroGram and Gramps, being an uncle has NOT kicked my daddy-clock into overtime. But it has changed me. Listening to the Peanut form her first words, watching her take her first steps -- all this has made me wish for something I never knew I wanted before. I don't want to be a father. I want to be an uncle again!
Let's try for a boy this time!