How to change a diaper

Video

My friends Dave and Kerry just had an amazing baby boy. Welcome to the world, Gavin!

Because I’m basically a parenting expert at this point, I created a short video to demonstrate proper diaper changing technique. If you need a brief refresher, then you might enjoy this video.

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Six Lessons from My First Six Months as a Parent

Rob Pollak blog on parenting

It’s been almost six months since Owen was born, and in that time, I’ve learned a lot about the world.  Lucky for you, I have a blog, so I can happily share these life lessons with you. To keep things simple, I have decided to leave out the obvious lessons, like “You won’t need an alarm clock anymore” or “Golf is something you used to do, Rob” or “use a wipe, not your hand” or “moms lose baby weight; dads find it.”  You know these things!

Lesson 1:  The minutes are long, but the months and years are short

At every first birthday party, the parents stand up and say, “Wow, this year really flew by.”  I’m sure that I will give that obligatory speech when my son hits one year.  But what does it really mean for time to fly by?  There are times when I look at my son and think, “Holy shit, he’s a little person.  It seems like just yesterday that I was getting weekly email updates from babycenter.com describing his size as about that of a kernel of corn.  So in some ways, yes, the time flies by.  But sometimes I am equally shocked about how long certain moments feel.  Like I bet you didn’t know that when a baby screams in your ear, you can sing the same verse of twinkle twinkle 14,221 times without the minute hand on the clock moving even once.  Then after giving it all you got and check to see if the baby’s asleep, you look down and see this looking up at you:

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I can sometimes hear him saying, “Nice try, dude.”  When the year is done and it feels as if it flew by, don’t forget about how excruciating some of those individual moments were.  There’s practically a life time in there.  Take one of those long moments to reward yourself for a job well done.  You (I) deserve it!

Lesson 2:  Holding a baby is an amazing lower back workout

There is probably some medical reason why it’s bad to arch your back just so in order to support the full weight of a small human being on your chest  But for now, I’m sticking with it.  In fact, there are a number of ways that a small child can be used like a medicine ball or kettle bell.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide which exercises lend themselves to the child as medicine ball approach, but here’s where I come out:

YES:

NO:

YES (Anne wants me to make it explicitly clear that she says this is clearly a no):

NO:

Maybe:

Definitely NO:

Lesson 3:  If you’re going to use Habanero Tabasco Sauce, wash your hands before you put your contact lenses in your eyes.

This one has nothing to do with parenting, but it’s a valuable lesson nonetheless.  You would also think that it’s the kind of lesson I’d only need to learn once.  Not so!  I once read that it takes 21 times to create a habit.  So let’s just say that I’m well on my way to making washing my hands after Tobasco a lifelong habit.  About 1/7th of the way there to be exact.

Lesson 4:  Getting out of changing a diaper is an art.

Getting out of changing a diaper is a subtle skill, and I am lucky to be married to a beautiful, kind, caring, considerate, intelligent, gracious, tolerant woman who has mastered it.

Here is Anne preparing to diaper bomb me.

Here is Anne preparing to diaper bomb me.

Now don’t get me wrong, Anne changes a shitload of diapers.  Literally.  (Get it?) (Because the diapers are sometimes filled with shit) (You get it) (It was bad.  I know).  But, she still manages to be an expert at the diaper bomb, i.e., handing a fully loaded baby over to get out of changing the diaper, but couching it in terms of love, with some sweet saying like, “Ohhhh, do you want to do some daddy hugs??” which makes me feel so great!  Well played, Anne.  Well played.

How to tell if that diaper is dirty from rob pollak, robcomplains.com

[A brief note to my female readers:  Please refrain from your inevitable comments about breast feeding, giving birth, the physical demands of pregnancy, blah blah blah.  I get it.  Anne does not deserve to be the butt of my jokes.  Well, she can get her own blog, damnit.  Because when she hands me our child in the name of love, but actually intended for me to have to touch shit with my bare hands, then I get to blog about that.  Also, this never happened.  Most of you know that, I’m sure.  Anne is a saint.  (But just to be conservative, I just purchased Annecomplains.com and AnneComplainsAboutRob.com.  Suck it, Anne!!]

Lesson 5:  When it comes to parenting, most people are completely insane.

The other day a friend posted an article on facebook about rear facing car seats.  First of all, who cares what other people do?  Second of all, I freaking read the article and all the comments.  Third of all, the comments were the most amazing thing I’ve read in my life.  Here’s a summary of the comments:

Person 1:  A friend of mine recently switched the seat to front facing because her daughter was screaming so much that it caused her to get in 250 accidents.  When we switched to forward facing, she never had an accident again and the kid went on to the Nobel Prize for Car Seat Safety.  Do you think this is okay?

Person 2:  @P1 – If your kid is less than 15 and is facing forward, you are a terrible person.  I hope you rot in hell.

Person 1:  @P2 – Oh really?  Well you can’t argue with results and my friend’s Nobel Laureate daughter is so much safer now.

Person 2:  @P1 – She might be safe now, but if you hit a pothole, her head will probably pop off.  #RearCarSeats4Life #YouMurderousBitch

Person 1:  @P2 – You probably realized it by now, but my friend is really me.  I lied to you because I was embarrassed.  Sorry I lied on the Internet.

Person 2:  @P1 – I am calling child protective services.  You’re a whore.

Person 1:  @P2 – I hope your kid can sit forward facing in High School, assface.

Let’s put this in some perspective.  When people argue about child rearing on the Internet, logic goes out the window.  It’s completely acceptable to use the small sample size of 1 child as a valid defense to an argument.  If someone says, “it’s bad to give an infant alcohol,” another person thinks it’s okay to respond with, “yeah, but we gave my son a little vodka in his bottle every day until he was 3 and he became a neurosurgeon.”  Just because it worked for A kid, doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do.  As Wayne Campbell once said upon receiving a gun rack for his birthday, “I don’t even own a gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack.”

Seriously, go read the comments.  I am obsessed:  http://csftl.org/rear-facing-car-seat-myths-busted/

Lesson 6:  Blogging is Hard with a Kid.  When in Doubt, Just Show Pictures.

I’m trying my best!

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The post is over, how does that make us feel?IMG_1630

Parenting: 8 ways that it’s just like pledging a fraternity or sorority

As a new parent, I have heard some iteration of the following advice about 15 million times:

“Parenthood is unlike anything you’ve done before.  You’ll never truly understand until you’ve been through it.”

As someone with literally zero experience with the logistics of parenthood (e.g., changing diapers, cleaning spit up out the little crevice between the underarm and the chest, or wiping projectile diarrhea off the ceiling), I was concerned.

Once I got started, however, I realized it all seemed so familiar.  I wondered to myself, “Rob, how can you be so calm in the face of all these new experiences?  Where did your parenting prowess come from?  What in your life made you such an expert at parenting?”

And then it hit me:  The late night wake ups, the incessant crying, the bodily fluids everywhere, the nagging sense that there was something else I should be doing, the disconnection with the outside world.

Being a new parent is exactly the same as pledging a fraternity or sorority.

How parenthood is like pledging a fraternity - drawing by Rob Pollak

If you’re a new parent, just imagine yourself as a pledge of Delta Alpha Delta (D.A.D.) or Mu Omega Mu (M.O.M.).  Don’t panic, it will all be familiar.

You lose all control over your own time.

My first night as a pledge, I awoke to my phone at 3am.  I answered.

“Yello?” I said.

“Who’s this?”

“Pollak.”

“Pollak, you fuck.  I need you to bring me a pack of cigarettes and a yoo-hoo.”

For the next few months, I had no control over my schedule.  At any given hour, I could be forced against my will (on a completely voluntary basis, of course) to go searching for a taco, to bring a case of beer to someone camping in the woods in a nearby state, to walk miles just to be yelled at for not going fast enough, or to hold a match while reciting–in alphabetical order–the names of people long deceased.

Now, as a parent, I feel the same sense of uselessness when I shut my eyes.  The second I enter REM sleep, a whimper will sneak its way out of the bassinet, a stream of pee will make a triumphant escape from the diaper, a bombastic fart will echo across the room, foul-smelling poo will makes its presence known.  And just like that–bleary eyed and hallucinating–I get out of bed and figure out how to make it stop.

New moms

You get drenched with bodily fluids. 

Before becoming parents, everyone insists that they will not end up covered in human feces, but at some point it’s bound to happen.

New parents tend to go on and on about the time they aimed their kid at the Diaper Genie while the kid let loose a barrage of machine gun style diarrhea that obliterated the walls.  Not surprisingly, pledging can also include odd rituals that involve feasting on bodily fluids and super soakers of urine.

Don’t believe me?  A quick google search of fraternity hazing and bodily fluids brings back a mind-boggling smattering of hazing ideas that can keep young men occupied for years to come.  I’m guessing you’ve never had a vomlet before, have you?

New dads

You can’t go anywhere without telling everyone exactly where you will be and when you’ll be back.

Similar to the loss of control over time, new parents and pledges both lose the ability to disappear from the face of the earth.  No more sneaking out for a quick nine after work, or  over to your girlfriend’s dorm room for a quiet afternoon.  You now have to account to the other pledges for your whereabouts.  Some societies even make you travel in packs at all time.

With a new kid, you no longer can just get up and go.  Everything becomes a process.  I once got caught in a long checkout line at CostCo and Anne texted me 74 times.

[Anne didn’t really text me 74 times.  I completely made that up.  I normally assume that this kind of joke is clear, but Anne is in an interesting hormonal place because she recently gave birth.  She might rip my head off, screaming “I never fucking texted you when you were at Costcooooooooooooooo.]

[For the record, Anne’s not in an interesting hormonal place right now.  I dramatized that as well for another joke.  She’s very loving and caring and is an excellent mother].

You stick a finger in someone else’s asshole.

With a baby, it’s to wipe or apply ointment.  With a fraternity, it’s to do the The Elephant Walk.

You have to wear ridiculous outfits.

During pledging, you may have to dress in certain colors or costumes.  It’s not surprising to see pledges dressed in drag or even running around campus in the nude.  Likewise, new parents must wear Baby Bjorns, Bert and Ernie shirts, and often force the newborn to dress in similarly ridiculous costumes.  Anne wants our baby to be Oatmeal for Halloween.

You constantly clean up after someone else.

One of the best things about being a baby or a sophomore in a fraternity is that you don’t have to lift a finger.  Whenever there’s vomit on the floor, just cry or pick up the phone to call mommy, daddy, or that pledge to clean up your mess.

You are forced to listen to terrible songs on repeat all day.

I’ve heard stories of pledges sitting in a room blindfolded listening to Journey on repeat for 20 straight hours.  It doesn’t sound half bad now that I’m rocking out to the Bubble Guppies theme song for 93 straight hours.

To make matters worse, I only know the lyrics to one song.  So my poor baby has to listen to me sing the first verse of twinkle twinkle little star until he can’t take it anymore and pretends to go to sleep so I’ll shut up.

Every once in a while when all hope is lost, something wonderful happens.

Both parenting and pledging have moments that are pretty damn hard.  Maybe you even question whether you can hack it.  It’s in those moments–the ones that often come at 4:30 in the morning–when you awake to another in a long line of stressful activities.

But this time, instead of the usual hazing or, well, hazing, you get a surprise keg party or a sweet little smile.  Then, BOOM.  You’re sucked back in because, in the back of your head, you think that even the worst moments might be one huge mindfuck on the way to a happy ending.