Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Birthday List, Item #2: Change a Diaper

I should probably make it clear that while a lot of the items on The List are meant to be fun, others are exclusively designed to challenge my comfort zones. That's why when I decided to put my list together, I knew from the beginning that it was time to face my fears.

It was finally time to change a diaper.

Up until my sister made me an uncle last January, my sum total experience with babies primarily came through watching movies like "Raising Arizona" and "Three Men and a Baby." Whenever my friends would have kids, I would always give them a buffer zone of a few weeks before I'd bother them, and when I eventually did, I might be called on to hold the kid long enough for them to take a picture, but that was about it.

I have loved being an uncle, though. Aside from providing an endless assortment of smiles and expressions for Facebook, my niece is a constant source of perspective whenever I find myself getting too annoyed at whatever is bothering me that day, like the stock market, the dating scene, or the Jazz season going down in inexplicable flames.

At the same time, that perspective told me that the time would come when I wouldn't have the luxury of being an arm's-length uncle. When it's not your kid, it's easy to pass the baby on when it starts crying or smelling like something dangerous and unnatural. But I knew that wouldn't last forever, so I volunteered to take one for the team.

Out of respect for my readers, and especially the niece who will be able to read this one day, I won't go into detail about the experience itself. Let's just say I was happy to have my sister there to coach and take over when the train derailed briefly. Luckily, my niece still seemed to like me after it was all over, and that was all I was really worried about. We're still tight, at least until she inevitably grows hair and leaves me behind for all the cool kids. And who knows, maybe she'll respect my wisdom and advice a little more now that I've established myself as the power holder in the relationship. I mean, once you've wiped someone's bum, you're the boss, right?


(insert chorus of parents laughing all across the interwebs)

I guess I should enjoy being an arm's-length uncle while I can.