I take my role as an uncle seriously to the point that I never act serious around young Dylan, my baby niece. At this point, Dylan probably does not know who I am which is even more reason to make an impression. Plus, aside from tweeting vulgarities and goofing with my girlfriend, I’ve abandoned my passion of performing comedy, at least for the time being. For now it's enough that I make cracks at at the office and write a weekly blog that captures the same tone as an early episode of Scrubs. The limited time I see Dylan is when I can let go completely and try to make her laugh.
I was a little bummed that Dylan was asleep when I arrived. I forgot that Dylan goes to bed at 7pm. She can’t even stay up for Jeopardy. That did not stop me from presenting Dylan’s first Halloween costume to her parents, Ariel and Brian.
“That’s so cute.” Ariel beamed upon seeing the little ducky costume.
“We’ll need to dress Dylan up before we go the pumpkin patch,” I demanded.
Around the dinner table Brian shared that Dylan weighs 28lbs putting her in 98% percentile in size for her age. “You should see her polkies,” said my mom.
“Why does she weigh so much?” I asked.
“She has big appetite,” said Ariel who chewed her food loudly next to me.
“Ariel, if you chew any louder you are going to wake up Dylan.”
Dylan would wake up shrieking and crying well before 7am. I can’t blame her. No one likes to get up that early.
I jumped out of bed and ran into my parents room to greet Dylan who I saw cradled in my mom’s arms wearing polka dot pajamas. “Dylan,” I yelled. “Cool jammies!”
At breakfast I asked to sit next to Dylan. “Okay, but you have to feed her,” Ariel instructed.
I spoon fed her beef flavored baby food. “I’ve tried all her food,” said Brian. “It’s not that bad.”
I swallowed a tiny bit and gagged. “What did Dylan do to deserve this?”
Dylan seemed to like her baby food, but nothing compared to pizza crumbs. Sitting next to Dylan at lunch Ariel flicked the crumbs at my direction. I placed a crumb on my finger which Dylan lunged towards and pecked at like a piegeon. Crumb after crumb. One time she bit my finger not realizing there was no crumb. “That's just my finger,” I told Dylan.
With Dylan fixated on pizza crumbs Brian shot a thin device into Dylan's tiny nostrils to collect boogers. “Give her a break.” I said.
Dylan might be baby but she'll have to learn how to pick her nose.
Any uncle would want to accompany his niece on her first visit to the pumpkin patch. This was a special pumpkin patch with pumpkins big and small and even a bounce house. The patch was charging $6 per child to play in the bounce house. I was standing guard so the proprietor would not see the Steingarts sneaking Dylan into the bounce house. I watched dutifully as my dad played on his droid and Brian asked the proprietor about his trailer out back. My mom took my place on guard so I could crawl around for a moment next to Dylan. Just as quickly I bounced up to my feet guiding the tresspassers safely back to the patch.
A little girl no more than three approached Dylan near the exit. She turned to me. “I have a baby sister too.”
I walked over to her sister's stroller and looked inside. Dylan was cuter.
There was no way I was leaving without seeing Dylan in her Halloween costume. “We'll put it on tomorrow.” Ariel said.
When I heard Ariel's tip toeing down the stairs and Dylan shouting I knew what was coming. I spotted a tiny little duck unleashing her toothless smile while squirming in Ariel's arms. We all clapped and cheered and laughed and laughed some more. “Let me hold her,” I said as I lifted Dylan. Our eyes locked and I kissed her beek.
I wanted Dylan to have the last laugh. Later when everyone was upstairs I sat Dylan on the couch grabbed the remote control and began speaking into the remote as though it was a microphone.
“Who here is nervous for pre-k?” I asked Dylan who look bemused. “Hey, I don't blame you. You'll probably shit your pants!”
“It's not easy raising a baby. “ I continued as Dylan crawled towards a stuffed animal. “You're dad is losing his hair. Not because of you. Because he's married to your mother!”
“But seriously, you and me, we have a lot in common.” Dylan looked up. “We love to suck on breasts!”
I made Dylan smile as only an uncle could. And Dylan made me look forward to getting back on stage and telling these same jokes the next time I see her. I'll be waiting with open arms.