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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I’d Like You To Meet An Old Friend: Awkward High School Me

I just found an old VHS tape with some extremely awkward video of a tv show my friend Matt and I made in high school. If you have some time and want to have a good laugh at my expense, you might enjoy these.

Unfortunately, I still haven’t blossomed out of my awkward stage.  Enjoy: Continue reading

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

An Interview with me about running


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My friends at Hot Bird Running asked me to be the featured runner in their weekly “Interview with a runner” series.   Apparently every other runner in the world was too busy, so I agreed to do the interview.  If you found me through the Hot Birds, then check out my facebook page while you’re here.

Please note – this is not a humble brag.  It’s a 100% blatant brag tinged with self-deprecating humor.

If you enjoy the things that I do here (like hysterical commentary, hilarious stick figure drawings, and hackneyed charts and graphs), then you will like this interview.

Here’s a sneak preview:

A pie chart showing the reasons why I run by Rob Pollak.  Reasons Include:  So I won't be fat, too lazy to learn other exercises, to not die, to feel superior to fat people, jared from subway said i should, to gawk at fit pretty people, to eat more, ran once but have OCD so couldn't stop

I promise that if you click the link you won’t be disappointed.  Or you’ll be mildly disappointed.  Or completely disappointed.  How should I know what kind of shitty mood you’re in today.

Please note that I linked to the interview about 50 times.  But if you’re a moron and missed those embedded links, here’s a more obvious version, idiot:

http://www.hotbirdrunning.com/blog/2013/3/21/interview-with-a-runner.html

Rob Pollak: American Hero

Although I’m not usually one to draw attention to my own accomplishments, last night I had a moment so life-defining and heroic, that I had no choice.  I had to tell you about how I single-handedly saved New York with the help of three others.

It was 9:00 pm and almost a foot of snow had piled up on the roads.  For many people, the conditions were treacherous, but I learned how to drive a storm when I lived in the tundra of Central New York.  In Central, NY, it’s not appropriate to even wipe the snow off the front windshield until it has piled up to at least 14 inches.

But in New York City, which Central New Yorkers refer to as “the South,” things are different.  The mayor holds a full press conference at the sight of a little kid with a sno cone.  And if we get three inches (god forbid), schools shut down for a week and Whole Foods sells out of bread and water.  But not English muffins or fizzy water.  Who can afford such lavishness in the face of our own demise?

Last night the roads were bad.  Not “we need to plow” bad, but bad enough that a number of inexperienced snow drivers spun out like crazy and freaked out when they had to go up a hill.  I had a good laugh at these people.

By Rob Pollak By Rob Pollak

At least until I hit the spot where the Bronx River Parkway merges onto the Cross County Parkway.  Things had been moving steadily at 15 miles below the posted speed limit up to that point.  But as I approached the merge, traffic halted.  A slight incline in the road caused a few drivers to freak the fuck out, stop, and then rev their tires as fast as they could while not moving.  This created a doubly bad result:  They didn’t move and they turned the drivable snow into a slush-ice combination.

At first, cars sputtered and then figured it out.  But one dickwad in a van started spinning like crazy.  And then he spun some more and some more until he was basically stopped.

All the while, I was sitting in my toasty car listening to a book on tape. My current selection is Willful Blindness:  Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril, a book about, well, exactly what the title says it’s about.  Anyway, right before the insane snow drive, I listened to a chapter discussing the ways people conform to expectations when in a group setting and don’t help others out if a lot of people are around.

With that in mind, I’m sitting there watching these cars literally spinning their wheels (I bet that’s where the term comes from!!), and everyone else is sitting in the car thinking “man, I hope a plow comes.”  But, I was not going to sit around and be willfully blind to accepting that my night was ruined.  I flung open the door and started sprinting past all the cars in front of me.  Five cars to be exact.

Note – it’s hard to sprint in a foot of snow while wearing sneakers.  I almost fell and busted my face/ass.  That’s probably why most people sit in the car.

Anyway, I finally get to the van and start pushing.  Less than a minute later, three other good citizens were by my side pushing the car with me.  If I hadn’t run out there and started pushing, science says that no one would have.  Because we conform to the pressures of society that say it’s embarrassing to get out of the car and go out in the snow.  We may even make the problem worse.  Then everyone will be mad at us.

By rob pollak

Then we pushed three or four more cars up the hill.  Per usual, I was very sweaty.  But I got back in my car and climbed up that hill with no problems of my own.  Thank you Hamilton College for actually teaching me one thing:  how to drive in the snow.

And that’s how I saved America.

Epilogue:  Three of the four cars that I pushed up the hill were in accidents or stuck again on the other side of the hill.  But at that point, I was moving.  So fuck ’em.