I thought about it, and I realized that everyone gave them advice. They were overloaded with advice from everyone they talked to, and certainly didn’t need any tips from me.
And then I thought about the fact that nobody gave me advice four years ago, before my first nephew was born.
To be fair, being an uncle certainly isn’t as hard as being a mother or father, but there are definitely some shocking truths that new uncles will need to face, and a little heads-up would have been nice.
So as a service to any guys out there with a sister who is expecting a baby, here are some things that you can expect when your sisters are expecting:
1) Expect to be enlightened as to all the crazy shit that happens during the birthing process, as recounted to you in a war-story-like fashion.
I know that I italicized the words “crazy shit,” but I just wanted to just make sure that you really let those words sink in. Especially the second.
I’ll leave it at that, but it might behoove you to reread this first tip, and realize that I am speaking literally.
2) Expect to hear about your sister’s nipples.
This is a fairly easy one to deal with, as long as you are prepared for it.
If you happen to go to the hospital when the baby is born, a handful of nurses will be in and out of the hospital room. One of these nurses is a lactation specialist. She is your enemy and you will want to leave the room while she is there.
She has no regard whatsoever for your feelings, even after your sister introduces you as the baby’s uncle and more importantly, her brother.
The lactation nurse will actually pretty much ignore you completely, unfairly focusing all of her attention on your sister and the baby.
She will openly talk about your sister’s nipples, alongside words such as “suck” and “tweak,” and will be so engrossed in your sister’s nipples and boobs in general that she won’t even notice you clearing your throat in an effort to get her to realize how socially unacceptable she is being.
Just try to take yourself out of the situation and see your sister as a mother and not your sister.
And remember: Everyone has nipples. Even you.
3) Expect for your eyes to have to constantly dodge the sight of your sister’s boobs.
This one is related to the previous tip, but it is a little bit trickier.
You will be quite amazed as to how often babies eat. The reason you will notice how often they eat is because they eat from your sister’s boobs.
When babies are not eating, they are most likely sleeping.
But here is the important note:
THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOUR SISTER’S BOOB IS NOT OUT IN THE OPEN.
You see, even when the baby is not eating, your sister’s boobs will still be producing tons of milk, and that stuff has got to go somewhere. So she pumps it out into bottles for later consumption by your niece or nephew.
In these scenarios, your sister will probably cover herself with a blanket for your sake, especially at first.
But sisters sometimes forget, or don’t care if their brother sees their boob -- even if you care, like, a whole lot.
So the strategy I employ is to never look at my sister, at any time whatsoever. If she is sitting next to me on the couch, I typically put my hood from my hoodie over my head to act as peripheral blinders. And God forbid she actually engages me in direct conversation, I carefully turn my head while squinting. I slowly open my eyes to ensure that the if I do happen to see her boob, it is only at 20-30% opacity.
4) Expect to hear about poop.
Every ten minutes or so, your sister and brother-in-law will ask each other, “Did somebody go poopie?”
They will ask this question in a patronizing tone that makes you hope to God that they are talking about the baby. They will then incessantly check the diaper.
Their twitching eagerness to check the diaper might remind you of coke addicts. “Did somebody go poopie?” translates to “Is it time for another bump?”
Upon seeing the poop, they will say “oooh wow” in an utterly surprised manner, as if seeing that their baby pooped is an unexpected achievement and not what they were checking the diaper for in the first place. “Somebody did go poopie!” they will exclaim proudly.
You can also expect conversations about poop to be commonplace. Expect to hear the same poop stories about how the baby was being changed and how poop shot out like a rocket across the room. Mentally prepare yourself to hear constant descriptions as to the current pooping patterns of the baby. These descriptions include, but are not limited to: the size of the poop, color of the poop, smell of the poop, consistency of the poop, and frequency of the poop.
5) Expect a new living/breathing human being to love you.
This one is pretty crazy.
Quite honestly, babies are pretty boring for the first month or two. They really do nothing except for eat, sleep, poop, and cry.
You never realize how many firsts there are in a human life. The baby will grab your finger with its hand and you will realize that it has never done that before. The baby will smile at you and you will realize that you have never seen that before. The baby will laugh and you will realize that you have never heard that before.
Especially in these moments, expect strange feelings in your throat as it wells up and you grow a deeper love for this baby, child, little person.
And eventually there will be a walking and talking tiny human who will tell you that they love you. When you come to visit, they might yell "Uncle Mike!" and tell you that they missed you. And they might even think of you when they make art projects in school during Thanksgiving depicting things for which they are thankful:
|I'm thankful for you too, buddy.|