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

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A surefire way to offend a room full of pregnant woman

I learned a valuable lesson recently.  When dealing with pregnant women, it’s sometimes best to keep certain thoughts to yourself, even when those thoughts may be factually accurate and supported by science.

Let me explain.  A few years ago, before I discovered yoga, I fancied myself something of a runner.  I was no Dean Karnazes, but my weekly mileage often soared into the double digits.  I envisioned a future filled with health and happiness, jogging strollers and Gu packs, spandex onesies and body glide.

All those dreams disappeared one cruel day at the TriBeCa Equinox.  Fresh off a sub-60 minute 10-K, I set out to become the world’s chubbiest sprinter by employing a training theory called “Speed Work.”  To do speed work, you supposedly just start at a nice warm up pace and then add periods of sprinting followed by a nice easy cool down.  I did my first speed work session on a treadmill.  I began with a nice warm up at 6.0 MPH and, when the time was right, cranked that puppy up to 6.2.  Whoa baby!  I had that thing  humming!   I loved speed work!

I’m a very logical person, so the next week when I tried speed work, I thought I should progress to see whether I’d improved.  Indeed I had.  I did my short warm up at 6.0 MPH and then steadily increased the speed to about 100000 MPH.  Here’s a video of what happened:

About half way into my last lap of speed work, I pounded my foot into the treadmill belt and screamed out in pain.  Fine, it was more of a yelp.  Or a whimper.  But holy hell did it hurt.  I limped off the treadmill and immediately consulted a medical professional, WebMD, where I learned that I definitely had either cancer or scoliosis.

Some more research and a trip to an actual doctor confirmed my worst fears.  I had something called Morton’s Neuroma, a thickening of the nerves between the third and fourth toes.  Anne still questions the existence of this condition.

Although I am prone to exaggerate things, I hope you’ll believe me when I describe the pain.  It felt like there was a little pebble in my shoe and every time I took a step, the pebble caused me a slight degree of discomfort.  On some mornings, the pain got so bad that I would take one, or maybe even two Tylenol.  On the worst day, I had to use extra strength gel capsules.

You might be asking yourself, “why is Rob talking about Morton’s Neuroma?  How does this relate to offending pregnant women?”  Good question, and believe me, I know exactly what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “why is this jackass trying to predict what I may be asking myself right now.  He doesn’t know me.  He doesn’t know anything about me.  I wish he’d just write about yoga again.  Or interview Ryan again.  That guy was funny.”

Well it turns out that studies have shown that Morton’s Neuroma may be as painful as childbirth (refer to the section on symptoms).  Lucy Waite, a well-established blog commenter over at the Angry Orthopod summed it up best.  She said, “[The] only comparison [to Morton’s Neuroma” is natural child-birth, which I did four times.”

A comparison of pain - Morton's Neuroma and Child Birth - Drawing by Rob Pollak

Who knows if the pain caused by Morton’s Neuroma actually is anything like child-birth.  Lucy Waite, that’s who.  But in case you don’t believe her, then let me give you some helpful advice:  If you ever find yourself in a hypnobirthing class where scared pregnant women are discussing their fears about pain, just keep your mouth shut.  I promise you that they will not feel comforted when you say, “Actually, I’ve had a Morton’s Neuroma, and according to studies conducted by researchers at KimsFoot.Com, it is supposedly just as painful as child-birth.  I didn’t think it was so bad, actually.  In fact, a little cortisone should clear it right up.”

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: Continue reading

The Final Word on Mayonnaise.

I fucking loathe you, mayonnaise. Just look at you. You repulse me. The way you can’t decide if you want to be yellow-y white or white-y yellow. That schloop noise you make when you’re suctioned out of your ugly container and the Thwlap of your fatness against a plastic bowl.

The way you congeal white, doughy wonder bread to muted pink bologna. Nothing that does that should exist in the world. Oh, and your egg salad. How dare you? Where do you get the nerve to call yourself a “salad?” Salad is clean, refreshing, crisp, beautiful, and healthy. But you mayonnaise, you’re just slippery, fat, unclean, and appalling. Just look at yourself. Seriously, take one second off from fattening the world and look in the mirror. Now imagine your most beautiful form. What did you come up with? Something like this?

is grossI mean, ew. I couldn’t come up with a less appetizing looking food if the only ingredients I had were ketchup and diarrhea. And that picture is the internet trying to make you and your egg salad look the best. Congratulations, that’s the best you’ll ever look. I may not be beautiful, but at least I can go to the gym and work on it. Yet, I can’t stop staring at your enormous gobs of yoke and white mushed together with clumps of mayonnaise.

I don’t even have to smell the egg-y cold fatness emanating from the plastic “jar” of Hellman’s to feel the vomit gurgle up through the lower regions of my esophagus. There it hangs, waiting for my brain to remind it that I’m just looking at a picture so that the vomit retreats. But it remains wary, waiting to eject should the egg salad attack my digestive system.

But it’s not the egg salad that bothers me the most. I know that egg salad is mayonnaise. I’ve learned that “aioli” is just a trick word you use to make yourself seem more exotic. I’ve discovered that spinach artichoke dip should really be called “choke on a tub of mayonnaise dip.”

It’s the way you infiltrate other seemingly normal foods that infuriates me the most. Take honey mustard for instance. What a nice name for a food. What a beautiful combination of sweet and spicy, of brown and yellowish brown, of condiment and dessert. Honey-mustard is almost un-fuck-up-able. Well, did you know that many delis add mayonnaise to this sweet concoction? I bet you didn’t because you’re a disgusting mayonnaise whore. But I did. Because I am a mayonnaise sleuth who can feel that slimy oil/eggyoke concoction sliding down my throat and settling into a lump on the pit of my stomach, where it sits, constantly reminding me that the world is out to get me.

Sure, I know what you’ll say, mayonnaise. You and your defenders will tell me that I should just chill out and deal with you. That I should wipe you off with a napkin, and my meal will be good as new. But we both know that doesn’t work. Because you’re more powerful than napkins or paper towels. Yes, I’ve used a Bounty quicker picker upper to remove poisonous poisons from the floor of my important. The kind that come with warnings that “one must wear gloves to avoid this poison burning through your skin and eviscerating your intestines.” But I wiped them right up with a little flick of the wrist. But you mayonnaise, you somehow turn paper towel into a translucent film of ick and wind up on my fingers where your remnants remain for days.

So fuck you mayonnaise. I hate your face.

Fuck you mayo - A cartoon by Rob Pollak

 

 

How do you know when to leave BigLaw?

It might be time to leave BigLaw if….

…although it’s 8 degrees outside, you stopped wearing a coat so you can pretend you’re heading down to the cafeteria when you’re actually going home for the night.

…you wear the same pants every day for a month, but it goes unnoticed because all your friends are sitting in their own offices with the doors closed.

…you’re the person on the elevator who says, “What is this, the local?”

How to know when to leave biglaw - a cartoon by Rob Pollak

…you’re jealous of people with two computer monitors because they can review documents and watch Hulu at the same time.

…rather than explain a mistake to a junior attorney, you redo the work yourself and never work with or speak to that attorney again.

…you have a speakerphone conversation with the person in the office next to you and can hear the echo of your own voice.

…the best part of your week is the free attorney lunch.  Yup, the one that gives you diarrhea.
When to quit big law - a cartoon by rob pollak
…you reprint a 100-page document because you added one comma to the first page.  Then you decide the comma’s unnecessary  so you call a legal assistant to change it for you.
…you invent an emergency project for yourself to avoid the summer associate event because you hate mingling with other humans.
…you finally realize that your bonus is arbitrarily determined by the financial performance of another law firm.
The economics of a law firm bonus - a cartoon by Rob Pollak