On August 14 at 6:07 a.m., my golf career officially came to an end. That’s when Anne and I welcomed our son, Owen Michael, into the world.
For the nine months leading up to that momentous occasion, I ended every night by whispering into Anne’s belly. “I can’t wait to meet you,” I’d say. “But please, oh please, pretty please, don’t come on August 14th. That’s the day when daddy gets to play a really nice golf course.”
Kids. You know? They never listen. 1 week ago, I didn’t think anything in the world could be better than playing a beautiful exclusive country club for free on a cool summer morning. (sorry Anne). But then I saw this for the first time:
And in that one moment, when I looked into my son’s eyes for the first time, I could feel my life changing forever. I felt a sense of purpose, of pride, of protection, of parenthood. And then, I had the most amazing realization: If I hurried, I could still make my tee time.
EXCLUSIVE: My First Interview
To commemorate the birth of my first child, a masculine child, I’m bringing back my “Interview with a Dad” series to answer all your pressing questions. My first subject, Ryan, is back. But this time, he’s the one asking the questions. Here’s what Ryan had to say for himself.
Ryan: Congratulations, Rob! I’m so happy for you.
Rob: I wrote that part.
Ryan: I know, but the rest will be the things that I really asked you. So let’s get to the questions.
Ryan: Biggest surprise so far?
Rob: I never thought anything in the world could prevent me from responding to emails at the precise moment I received them. Even if someone were to chop off my hands, I could just get one of those straw microphones to dictate my responses. So I was quite surprised that having a new baby somehow prevented me from responding.
I was also surprised by how much my kid sucks, and even moreso by the power of his sucking. One of the books we have suggested that the dad put his finger in the kid’s mouth to soothe him when he cries. I tried that, and the next thing I knew, I was pulling my shoulder out of his throat.
Actually, there was one other thing that was the quite surprising. After the onset of labor, when I was blitzing through the house grabbing every last thing we could ever need, Anne decided that she should take a quick shower and blow dry her hair. I was in full on panic mode, and Anne decided to clean herself up and make herself beautiful for the hospital. At least it worked – her hair looked fucking amazing until a little but of her vomit got caught in it.
Ryan: One thing that happened from the water breaking to the birth that you wish you could take back?
Rob: Nothing. But I imagine that I’ll say something in this blog post that I’ll need to take back. Maybe the vomit comment. Or the sucking thing. She’ll probably think I mean that he sucks, like “Man, what a jerk. That guy totally sucks.” When what I really meant was :
Ryan: What’s the meanest thing Anne said to you during that same period?
Rob: I’ve spent the last three hours thinking of a good response to this question. And believe me, I love taking shots at Anne. But she was amazing throughout the whole process. I mean, I guess if I had to pick something that was kind of mean, it would be the moment when she said, “Rob, I wish I never married you. I hate you and I hate your face and I hope that you burn in the pits of hell for ever and ever. Oh, and I hope that when you arrive in hell, you find this waiting for you:”
Ryan: Did you cry at any point during that?
Rob: No. You did a great job of preparing me for what to expect during labor. I’m basically a pro at this parenting thing:
Ryan: On a scale of Jodie saying yes to going to the junior prom to getting your socks wet on a log flume, how excited were you to see balls?
Rob: Good idea to reference two things that no one who reads my blog will understand. For the uninformed, I went to the junior prom with Ryan’s now wife. She loved me at the time. I also once got my socks wet at Great Adventure. I was pissed because my moron friends thought it would be a good idea to ride the log flume at the end of the day. I told them, right off the bat, that it would be stupid to ride the log flume because then we would be wet for the whole ride home. No one likes being wet and cold, including my son, who cries every time he has a cold wet diaper. That’s my boy!
So to answer your question, I was very excited to see the balls. I was especially happy when the doctor said, “it’s definitely a boy.” One of my biggest fears about not finding out was that the data would be inconclusive at the time of birth.
Ryan: What’s the first thing you said to Owen?
Rob: Wow, I wish I remembered this. I think I said, “Hi Owen! You have daddy’s hair!”
Ryan: have you been mad at him yet?
Rob: I mean, he did make me miss that tee time. Also, every day when I get home, we go through the same routine. I hold him for a few minutes and we have a blissful moment of love. Then he pees on my shirt. Then I change him. Then he immediately pees again. Then I change him. Then he starts crying. I sway and make idiotic noises to soothe him, but nothing works. Then he shits on me. Then I change him. Then I finally sit down and he gets this big smile on his face. I’m pretty sure it’s his way of saying, “that was fun, right pop?” Then he shits on me again. Then I change him. Then I hand him to Anne and he doesn’t go to the bathroom again until she hands him back to me. It’s not that I’m mad at him, but I know he’s doing it just to fuck with me.
Ryan: Has he been mad at you?
Rob: I think I crushed one of his balls once when I was changing his diaper. He didn’t like that very much.
Ryan: What’s the best thing about him so far?
Rob: When he falls asleep on my chest and snuggles in extra close while we watch golf together.
Ryan: what’s the worst?
Rob: That he can’t talk yet. The hardest thing so far is that I know he’s trying to communicate with me, but I don’t understand. Just try to imagine how mad Anne would get if we had this conversation:
Anne: Rob, I’m cold. Can you please turn the AC off.
Rob: Um…. Do you want to take your sweater off?
Anne: No, I’m cold. Please turn the AC off.
Rob: Milk? Do you want some milk? If so, I’ll go get your mom and have her bring it to you.
Anne: Is it fucking cold in here, or is it just me?
Rob: [sticks finger in her mouth] Is that what you want?
Anne: The AC. Off. Turn it off now.
Rob: [smells Anne’s ass] Did you poop?
Anne: This is really pissing me off.
Rob: [pulls Anne’s underwear aside and peeks] Any pee in there?
Anne: if you don’t turn the AC off right now, I will murder you.
Rob: Let me get your mom. I think it’s her turn.
Anne: I don’t want my mom! I’m just cold, you asshole.
[Anne takes the baby, Rob walks out of the room decides its cold, turns the AC off because he’s cold]
Anne: Thank you.
Rob: See, I knew you just wanted your mom.
That’s what it’s like when Owen cries. I have no clue what he wants, but I know he’s trying to tell me. It’s so stressful to not be able to give him exactly what he wants at that exact moment to make the crying stop.
Ryan: What’s the nicest thing someone said to you after the birth?
Rob: “He looks just like Anne.”
Ryan: What’s the best advice you’ve gotten since the birth?
Rob: “Whatever you do, don’t blog about your child. Respect his privacy and let him decide on his own whether his images or stories should enter into the public domain.”
Ryan: Did you stay in the north end zone?
Rob: Nope. I saw everything. The hospital didn’t do much in the way of delineating the end zones. I didn’t have much choice in the matter. And, frankly, I’m glad I got to witness everything. It’s unlike anything I’d ever seen before. I have a whole new love and respect for Anne, and think I’m not forbidden from ever getting mad at her again. When the delivery was finished, Anne said to the doctor, “things really seemed to get easier when you started sawing me open.” As a witness to everything, I can assure you there was no saw.
I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be married to such an amazing woman. One who can endure 16 hours of pain, stress, and sawing, deliver the most amazing baby of all time, and remain so god damn beautiful throughout. I think all women can learn a valuable lesson from this: Even when you’re in the throes of labor, there’s always time for a quick blowout.