Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Things Daddies Do...

For those of you who thought I was joking...

That's right, after waiting patiently for 20 years for the right material for a tattoo, I finally decided it was time for an early mid-life crisis and what better subject matter than M&M? Featured above on my rippling, muscular arm is (obviously) a baby boxer squaring off against the trials and tumults of premature birth. I didn't want to have two babies because it would look like they were fighting each other, rather than the incorporeal foe of PDAs, IVHs, bradys, retinopathy, infection, and the multitude other challenges early babies face.

The lone baby pictured is meant to represent both Milo and Madeline. Although the baby looks male (like Milo), the baby has blond hair and a little hemangioma on the forehead (like Maddy). Notice the little "DAD" tattoo on the baby's arm -- that's meant to represent the fact that they are stuck with me ;). I asked Elaine if she wanted me to have "MOM" instead, but she demurred. I like to think that the baby's pudge represents the ample gift of life that Elaine continues to offer by way of breast feeding. The twins names appear above in a font meant to hearken back to boxing posters from the 1930's -- back when boxers had grit. The tag "little fighters" was a very common phrase used by many of the parents and health care staff at Alta Bates to describe the resiliency of the preemies in the ICU.

So there you have it. I tried to pack in as much meaning as I could without it getting too busy. It's big, it's colorful, and it's meant to be: that fact represents the impact the babies and their journey has had on me and Elaine too. (Any bigger and I'd risk running afoul of the Coast Guard tattoo policy.)

Thanks to Jean at Sacred Rose Tattoo in Berkeley (birth place of the twins) who patiently helped me to bring the whole idea to fruition.


Jean said...

omg! madeline and milo are cute! i love the pics of them sucking on each other's heads.

btw, is milo named for the descendents?

- jean chen

rstiles said...

Hey Jean,

Thanks! Good catch regarding the Descendents -- one of our favorite bands. ;)


Krista said...

Rob--super sweet. Brought a few wee tears to my eyes.

--Krista and Molly

Sarah V said...


Sarah, Matthew, and Auden

Heather said...

You little shit! I can NOT believe you did not call me and give me a heads up about this!!!!LOL!

However, in all fairness you did tell me you were thinking about doing this and it looks great. It is awesome that there is so much symbolisim in it. I think it is a touching tribute! Very sweet and touching.

anthea said...

i'm with auntie heather!! LOL.

and heather, he was at our house and didn't show us--some of his biggest fans!!

it is completely wonderful, although i might have gone ahead and snuck in "mom" despite miss e's demuring :)

big hugs all around,

rstiles said...

No, no Anthea, I wouldn't hold out on you! I didn't get inked until the 25th (Wed.). If I had the tattoo then, I would have sported a tank top to your house, and maybe even put on a mullet wig to complete the look. :)

Heath - I'm pretty sure I told you about it.

Well, half the fun is the surprise I guess.


Janet said...

You did it! You really, really did it!
What a great way to laud the birth of M&M and the journey you have all begun together.
BTW:you have a great wife!
Xs and Os to my M&M.
Auntie Janet

anthea said...

ok, stiles . . . we need some new content :)

thinking of you guys; holding you close to our hearts.

come see us again soon!

a, j, l & c