Real Answers to All of My Ridiculous Parenting Questions

Although my moula search rages on, many of my questions about parenthood remain unanswered.  To stay on top of things, I’ve decided to go right to the source.

For the next few weeks – or until I run out of willing participants – I’ll be conducting a series of interviews with dads.  They have kindly agreed to answer all of my ridiculous questions about my quest to become the perfect father to the perfect PGA tour golfer.

First up in the series is Ryan. Ryan is a dad of a Parker, a rambunctious 3 year-old boy.  This is Parker:

And this is Ryan:

Despite the photos, Ryan’s a great dad and a source of inspiration to me.  Here he is at the exact moment when Parker was born:

I know Ryan will advise me well because he’s been one of my best friends since sixth grade.  Well, except for the brief period of time when I got the same Bo Jackson Nikes that he had, and he stopped talking to me for months because of it.  They were some pretty sweet kicks.  

Thankfully, we moved on from that treacherous time, and Ryan remains a great friend and a source of invaluable information.  He even manages to take it in stride that I took his now wife to the Junior Prom (note: she’s smiling in the picture, but right afterwards she said, “don’t you dare touch my midsection again, I don’t care what the photographer says”):

But enough about our troubled past.  Let’s get to the interview.

Rob Complains:  

Ryan, thanks for joining “Rob Complains About Things” for the inaugural interview in the new “Interview with a Dad series.”  It means so much to me that you agreed to do this.

Ryan:

You never really said that, and I’m going to call you out on that.  I’d also like to point out that because you never said that, you’re also making up this entire answer right now.  Who do you think you are?  Tyler Durden?  No one’s going to trust the rest of this interview.

Rob Complains:

Well this is off to a great start.  Stop being such a dick.  Also, spoiler alert?  You just ruined Fight Club for someone.  

Ryan:

. . .

Rob Complains:

First and most important question: How much can I blog about becoming a parent without it becoming as annoying as the yoga posts

Ryan:

It’s almost impossible for you to become more annoying, so fire away.

Rob Complains:

This is proving to be far less useful of an exercise than I’d imagined.  Nevertheless,  let’s move on to the good stuff.  

What really happens when the water breaks?  Does the water literally flood out of the vagina?  

Ryan: 

The wife’s water didn’t break in front of me.  Ahead of time I was told to expect something along the lines of this:

or

For us, the doctor broke it himself.  Although I didn’t want to look, I did get a picture of the needle he used:

But I didn’t actually see any water because I was shielding my eyes so I didn’t faint from the needle.  But you should probably stand back and wear rubbers (the kind for your feet – you’re too late for the other kind) so your socks don’t get wet.

Rob Complains:  

Speaking of passing out, What are the chances that I go down in the delivery room?  I’ve heard stories, and I’m convinced I’m a fainter.  Other than the 18 foot needle to break the water, what should I be worried about?  

For reference, I typically pass out when (a) I have two or more viles of blood drawn, (b)  people I like experience pain in front of me, or (c)  I drink more than three beers.  

What are my chances?

Ryan:

I have no doubt that you’ll pass out.  The official odds haven’t come out yet, but here’s a breakdown of the high risk moments when you’re likely to conk out:

High risk moment # 1:  When Anne says, “um, I think I’m in labor.”

High risk moment #2:  When you first catch a whiff of the hospital, particularly the maternity ward.  If you want to get a taste of the maternity ward’s smell, do the following:  Go to the kitchen and broil a steak, then throw some baby powder and poop on it (they sell organic at Whole Foods).  BOOM!  That’s what the maternity ward smells like.

If you make it through those you should be okay.  That is, as long as Anne lets you leave every two hours for your three meals and six snacks.  It’s got to be hard to maintain the 18000 calories you eat a day.

Those are the two most likely moments for passing out.  BUT, you should not venture south of the equator at any point no matter what.  Trust me on this.  

You’re not out of the clear after the delivery, however.  I’ve got you at 50-50 that you pass out when cutting the cord.  Practice by using a pair of safety scissors to cut through a raw sausage.  If you can handle that, you’ll be okay.

I don’t think you should drink four beers during the delivery.  Anne’s cool, but she’s not that cool.

Rob Complains:  

I just threw up at the mere mention of “baby powder.”  I’m toast.  

You mentioned that I should not go south of the equator.  Where exactly should I stand during the delivery?  Do I actually have to help or am I just there to give witness to the miracles of science and pain medication?  For some reason, all I can think about is the movie City Slickers, specifically the scene in which Billy Crystal delivers the baby cows.  I don’t want to get my arm wet.

Ryan:

This is simple.  Stand by her head. They may ask you to hold a leg, and maybe you could try that.  The only thing I can compare this too is when my drunken uncle asked me to “hold this M-80″ at his last Fourth of July show. Can anything good come from that?

Besides, you’re paying to have a nurse deal with the messy stuff.  If you hired a guy to clean your septic tank out and he said “hey pal, hold this hose for me” would you do it.  Let the doctor be Billy Crystal, but  if he gets his whole arm wet, prepare for a life-long relationship with your therapist to work that out.  

That said, having seen pics of you as a kid, there’s a decent shot you’ll actually be the proud parent of a baby cow (Sorry Anne – the genes are strong in that atrocious husband of yours). 

Rob Complains:

How scary is the ride home from the hospital when you have a baby with you and you’re in charge of its entire life from that point on?  Because that seems like the kind of thing I might  fuck up.  One time, I almost got a puppy but said “no thanks” at the last minute and handed it back to the cashier and ran out without saying goodbye.  

Ryan:

It is by far the most terrifying thing I ever did in my life.  I’m pretty sure I cried.  I also dabbed his back with a little crazy glue before putting him in the seat to leave the hospital just to make sure he stay put.  You’ll figure it out eventually, but the first time you drive a car with your eyes glued on the back seat is quite difficult.

Rob Complains:

What do you think of the name Polynomial Pollak?  Too nerdy?

Ryan:

I have no idea what Polynomial Pollak means.  Is that an SAT word.  If so, ask Jeremy or Dan or some other smart kid we went to high school with.  If I remember correctly, they actually took your dad’s SAT class while we played Leisure Suit Larry on your parents Commodore 64.

Rob Complains:   

What about Jackson?  Can we name our kid Jackson?

Ryan:

Absolutely.  I’m the guy who wanted to name my kid Kane.  I even submitted an email to ESPN’s hockey host to see if he approved (which he did).  The wife did not.

Rob Complains:

You didn’t get that one, did you?  Jackson.  Like Jackson Pollak

Ryan:

I still don’t get it.

Rob Complains:

Does this help?

Ryan:

Is that Parker’s art project?

Rob Complains:  

So… you don’t think it’s important to teach your kid about art then?

Ryan:

Yes.  Parker knows all about Art.  Art Monk, Art Howe, etc.

Rob Complains:  

Should I run red lights on the drive to the hospital? Seems like I should.

Ryan:

Absolutely, but can’t you just take a cab.  That way you can sprint to it and yell “TO THE HOSPITAL!!! THIS WOMAN IS IN LABOR!!! NO RED LIGHTS OR THIS KID IS COMING OUT IN YOUR UNSCOTCHGUARDED BACK SEAT.”  (when you become a dad, you’ll become obsessed with Purell, Scotch Guard, and sitting on the toilet pretending to poop so you get a little quite time).

Rob Complains:  

I don’t need to pretend, and it’s not quiet in there.

Ryan:

Do your kid a favor and delete that last line.  You sicken me.

Rob Complains:

Moving on.  Is it true that kids sometimes wake up before 9am?

Ryan:

For the most part.  For the first 3 months I was able to use the whole “you get him, I have to go to work today and need the sleep” trick.  You, my friend, will likely have limited use of this.  You could try putting the kid to sleep later, but then you have no time to yourself at night.  It’s a double-edged sword, they go to bed early, then they get up early.  Your life is over.

Rob Complains:  

I work, asshole.

Ryan:

Whatever.

Rob Complains:

On that note, let’s wrap this up.  What’s the one piece of advice you wish you’d received when you first got a kid?

Ryan:

Jeez, that’s almost impossible to answer.

Let’s start with an easy one:  I wish someone had told me that it’s okay to find your kid mildly annoying at times.  Oh wait, someone did tell me that.  It was your dad.  Boom roasted.

Next, resist the urge to share every picture of your kid.  People will dig it at first – or at least pretend they do – but after the 72nd picture day in a row – or maybe day 3 for that matter – they really don’t give a shit that your kid had a SpaghettiO for the first time.

You should be forewarned that at some point you’ll honestly believe that your kid will become famous or a professional athlete.  This feeling may last 15 seconds or, judging by some parents we know, up to 18 years.  It’s scary when you find yourself thinking that, but it will happen.

Finally, get ready for random, stupid kid’s songs to pop into your head all the time.  So I guess I wish someone had told me to never let the kid know about tv.

Rob Complains:  

Except to watch the Masters, right?  It’s a tradition unlike any other ™.  

Ryan:

Poor kid.

Rob Complains:

Thanks, Ryan.  That concludes today’s interview, and based on your shitty responses, it probably concludes this interview series.

But in all seriousness, thanks for doing this, and thanks for reminding me that I can still have a life and a sense of humor in a few months.  Here’s a picture of you that will hopefully keep Child Services off your back after they read this:

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8 thoughts on “Real Answers to All of My Ridiculous Parenting Questions

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