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Rock Bottom

Nursing a beer.

We are proud to announce the arrival of the newest member of the Institute of Drinking Studies: Nathaniel Arthur Osborn. In true Osborn fashion, he is extraordinary in his own way, with his current claim to fame being that he was technically premature yet large for gestational age at seven pounds, five ounces. You will be happy to know that everything went well and I am feeling fine. I stuck out the labor process and did not retreat to the College Inn (it was after last call). For moral support, we had the Italian Representative and the Valkyrie early in the night, then the Oriental Representative and her husband.

The Oriental's husband played a crucial role, as he was our guardian angel, or "anesthesiologist." I can almost guarantee that I would not be here today had he not been on duty that night. This is because as things got uncomfortable for my wife and she gave me a couple of looks that would have sent a lesser man home in a basket, he got the world's greatest invention -- an "epidural" -- on board. I'd been getting those looks because in the throes of labor, my wife finally realized that she had married a man who would be about as responsible with her son as a wild spider monkey. Apparently my daughter has only made it this far because she is a girl and infinitely more mature and evolved than her old man.

Despite all the tension in the room, I made it out alive. And while childbirth involves lots of scary things like cords and placentas, I highly recommend it. There's absolutely nothing like it.

After a few days sequestered at home, I decided it was high time to get back out into society and take advantage of the fact that due to the wonders of breast-feeding, I still have a designated driver. So our newly expanded family joined the Mormon Representative and his family, including their new son, at the Rock Bottom at 9627 East County Line Road in Englewood. "This does not count as a bar," the Mormon assured me as we walked in. I'm glad we got that cleared up early, because we have been planning our sons' first major milestone (after they can hold up their own heads): going to their first bar.

And the Mormon was right. Rock Bottom is not a real bar; it's a brewery/bar/restaurant. As such, it plays a special role for families, who can go to one of the Rock Bottom bar/restaurants (the homegrown chain now stretches across much of the country) and find something for everyone. Kids get to run around and color nice kids' menus and drink fresh root beer until they develop seizures and diabetes. Parents get to enjoy a decent meal and good beer without being annoyed by stupid kid games or giant rodents. And as long as Mom is driving, Dad can enjoy a game with the other dads and tie one on without serious threat of losing custody.

Dad needs this, because with the arrival of each child, he is reminded that he must eventually grow up. He can barely stand all the discussion of diapers and feedings and sleep deprivation. He hears talk of projectile vomiting and so wishes it was in the context of his buddies and a beer bong. And while he's happy to participate and even enjoys all the baby-related things, occasionally he needs time away from the nursery. He needs to nurse a drink of his own. It's the guy version of going shopping or throwing a baby shower.

Our trip to Rock Bottom was a pleasant diversion and gave us the opportunity to show off our little man while assuring us that we were still fun. The Institute highly recommends that all expectant fathers locate their closest Rock Bottom or another suitable bar/restaurant. It's a critical part of prenatal preparation, like picking the best route to the hospital, packing a bag and choosing the outfit to bring your baby home in. Because when things settle down, you'll want to take your family out to celebrate and knock back a few. It's only fair: Mom shouldn't be the only one to get an epidural.

 
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