How (Not) To be an Uncle
With great power comes great responsibility. The responsibility to fuck children's lives up, the way only Timmy Mowafi knows how.
I used to hate it when parents would come up to me and show me pictures of their baby. No.1) I am basically still a child and it's weird. No.2) No, that isn't the cutest baby in the world, I am sorry. Your baby looks like a badly drawn alien. As all babies do.
Recently one friend's older sister was telling me about her baby boy.
"He's got a new sound that he does," she said, looking tired and pale. "He just sits there and goes NYUP NYUP NYUP. For hours and hours. He was making it ALL last night. NYUP NYUP NYUP," she smiled, weakly in a 'what can you do?' Kind of way. I tried to sympathise.
"He sounds like a dick," I said.
She just looked at me.
"But he does!"' I said to my friend, as he silently collected my things.
When the news broke out that my sister had given birth to a little girl called Maya, all I kept hearing was, "YOU an UNCLE?! Paahh! God have mercy on that child, ooh deaar, you crazy uncles, you! Can't imagine what bad influences you craaazy uncles will be on her! You crazy Mowafis you!"
I would return a humble smile and mumble something agreeable but secretly, I was thinking: What the fuck? I can't be that bad, what do they think I'm going to do? Sacrifice her in a cult ceremony to the Gods? Teach her how to smoke? Okay, well I only did that ONCE so far, and frankly she wasn't very good at it; couldn't inhale or anything.
So, with these prejudices in place, I set out to become the Best Uncle Ever. If there was a League of Uncles, I would be top. And in my head there is, and it consists of my two brothers and, for some reason, actor Ashraf Hamdi. I will be top of this league and win the trophy of Favorite Uncle. The cool uncle she'll run to when she's older for advice on technical singularity and augmented reality, or whatever the kids will be into by then.
It's been 6 months now, and I can safely say I am the Best Uncle Ever. Okay, as the youngest in my family, I may get a little attention jealousy. I mean, I walk around like, ALL the time. It's like, my thing; I'm always walking and I NEVER get praise for it. Apart from that I'm the Best Uncle Ever.
I play with her all the time. I'm already at an advantage in the League of Uncles as I have colourful Murakami flower tattoos on my arm. This is Maya's favourite toy and, as such, shields me from mother's daily lectures on how haram I am.
I teach her the important lessons in life by taking away all her flash Fisher Price toys so that, when I give her one of my dirty socks to play with, she really appreciates that sock; too many options will leave her spoiled and bored. Then I take the sock further away every time she gets attached to it; she needs to learn to embrace change and work harder for her goals.
I selflessly take her for walks when my sister is busy so she can get fresh air and I can teach her how to be a wing(wo)man. If she's going to have guy friends when she's older, then it is important that she learns not to be a cockblock. Actually, she is the best wing(wo)man I ever had which is why, by the time she reads this, I will probably be married to a Victoria's Secret model. So thank you Maya.
I recently started helping out with feeding her as well and the most amazing thing happened the other day. She was eating one of her baby biscuits and started to offer ME some! I realised she'd been sat there for 6 months being fed by us and she probably came to a stark realisation: Shit, how are all these people eating?! Shit, shit! I need to give them something to eat, quickly.
I put up pictures of her on Facebook all the time so I can show off to everyone how cute my little niece is. Just ignore the name of the album: 'Exploiting our Niece so Bitches Like Us.'
I read to Maya in my downtime. Actually, she just dribbles while I educate myself through her children's books. I learned to love myself through Mirror Me! and Ten in the Bed basically explained to me what Tolstoy's War and Peace couldn't about the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society with bigger words and more pictures of teddy bears.
When a baby wants something, they have no regard for anyone else, they just get it. So when my sister and brother-in-law are too tired and Maya demands to be put to bed, I step up to the plate with one of my original lullabies: Youuu are as cute as Colnel Gadafiiiii, lalalala, you are as cute as Ahmed Ahmedinajad, lalalala, you are as cute as Joseph Stalin, lalalala, you are as cute as the guy Forrest Whitaker played in The Last King of Scotland, lalalala....and so on.
I guess, overall, Maya has taught me just as much about myself as I, with all my wisdom, have taught her about the world. Someone once told me that being a baby is like being on mushrooms, constantly fascinated by the world around you, and I too need to learn to have the same wonder and sensibilities. Or at least find some shrooms.
Just as I write this, and she's plopped next to me, I turn to her and she stares into my eyes. I look into her massively wide, pearly blues and I'm mesmerised by the absolute and ultimate wisdom and imagination that hide behind them. Without any conditioned distraction telling her how the world works; she already knows it without all our bullshit. She is absolute truth, she was probably Ghandi in a past life and I see the universe within her. She IS the cutest baby in the world. Then she does a huge poop and I pass her off to my sister.
If she doesn't have the manners to learn my name after 6 months, after hanging out with her like, every day, the least she could do is not defecate all over me.