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

Men – The Answer To All Your Concerns About Pregnancy Is Here.

Everyone knows that pregnancy can be an anxious and trying time for women.  For years, savvy people have created profitable ideas for helping women navigate the process.

A wise person once said that behind every heterosexual, pregnant, egg-donor-free, “traditionally”-married, monogamous woman is a man.  As one of those men, I can assure you that we can use just as much help as our counterparts.  That’s why today, I’m thrilled to announce the greatest business idea I’ve ever created.

Introducing:  THE MOULA

Continue reading

Operation 80 to Baby.

Although it would have been hilarious for me, a lot of people would have been angry if last week’s big announcement was an elaborate April Fool’s prank.  Thankfully it wasn’t.  Neither is the sympathy weight I’ve been packing on.  That’s why yesterday, when I re-entered the world after a nice baby-free vacation, Anne and I launched our latest project.  Operation 80 to Baby.

Operation 80 to Baby is an elaborate workout program that I developed to make sure that my future kid does not have a morbidly obese dad.  Here’s how it works.

Step one:  Make a chart.

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Anne’s participating as well, but she’s stuck on step one.  Her chart has to be all pretty.  Mine is purely functional.  I used construction paper and a blue pen.

Step 2:  Write 80 numbers on the chart, one for each day that you plan to work out.  I chose 80 because the baby is due in about 20 weeks.  If I can work out an average of 4 days per week every week until the baby’s supposed to arrive, then I will have successfully created a habit that won’t go away post baby.  When I was moping around saying to Anne, “Blah blah I’m so lazy Blah Blah,” she reminded me that it will probably be easier to start now and continue than it will be to restart from nothing in a few months.  Point taken.

Step 3:  Every time you work out, cross one of the numbers off.  I like to do this in order, but you really don’t have to.  Anne’s still trying to figure out what she should put on her chart.  This morning she thought that taping 80 little pictures of babies would be “fun.”  I told her it was creepy.  But she didn’t hear me.  So she won’t get mad that I said that until right now when she reads this.

WARNING – BLATANT PRODUCT PLUG ABOUT TO HAPPEN – WARNING:  

For my first work out, I did a little yoga at home.  Recently, YogaJack, a company that has developed a line of yoga products specifically targeted to manly men like myself, was kind enough to send me one of their mats to review.

mat1_1024x1024

As a man (and a particularly sweaty and chubby one), I can say that I’ve put this thing through the ringer.  My initial impression was that I wanted it to be a little stickier.  The more I use it, however, the better it gets.  Apparently yoga mats have a weird sheen on them at the beginning that wears off over time.  This one was no exception.

I don’t know what makes a yoga mat manly (but why would I?  I don’t even know what makes a man manly), but here’s why I like this mat:

  1. It’s long. 
  2. It’s thick.
  3. It feels good in my hands.

Uh.  Hm.  Jeez.  That really didn’t come out right, did it?

I do know one thing that made it manly.  The mat clearly has a top and bottom.  When I used it, I correctly placed the mat so that the “top” was facing up and the “bottom” was touching the dirty floor.  Anne tried the mat, and she had it upside down.  Women, right???

Final note, before I started using the YogaJack mat, I had a lululemon mat.  In all fairness, this mat was “stickier” than the YogaJack mat, but it smelled like a plastic fart, which is not a smell that is nice when your face is literally pressed against the mat.  I’ll take care of making a mat smell like death in my own time, I don’t need it to start out that way.  But not only does the lululemon mat smell like fart, it also sounds like fart if it gets wet and your skin touches it at all.  So basically, if you use the lululemon mat, everyone will just think you’re ripping away, and they’ll believe it too because it will smell like that.

Step 4:  Share your plan with the internet.  Let them hold you accountable when you slack off.  When you see me, if it looks like I’ve gained 80 lbs of sympathy weight, remember that’s not how the plan works.  Feel free to poke my belly.  If I laugh like a doughboy, the plan’s not working.

Step 5:  six-pack abs.

And that’s it.  If you’re interested in a personalized plan for yourself, please email me.  How much would you guess such a plan would cost?  10,000 dollars?  One million dollars?  No dollars?  Oh no, you can have a plan of your own for just $199.99.  That’s right.  For just $199.99, a mildly successful blogger will create a plan exclusively for you.  You can pick the color of the construction paper and the color of the pen to match all of your fitness needs.  But wait, there’s more.

I couldn’t think of anything to offer for the more part, so forget I said it, okay?

With just a little bit of work, this could be you in 80 days:

A drawing by Rob Pollak - 80 day workout plan for fathers to be

 

The top 10 times my dad got mad at me: Number 10 – The Watermelon

In honor of Valentine’s Day, and in celebration of true love, I thought today would be a good day to share a few stories. Reader Ryan Driscoll asked, “Rob: When did your dad get the most mad at you?”

Great question, Ryan! Thankfully my dad never got as mad at me as he was at you when you stole a Chicken McNugget from my little sister. But there were certainly times when I did things to bring the ire of my father (aka the Gentle Giant).

(I don’t want to gloss over details, so I think these will work best as a top ten list over ten posts. Or this will be the only one I ever do. Who knows?)

10) The Watermelon

Each time my mom opened the stove to check on her honey mustard chicken, I watched the waves of heat ripple through the air and land on my ten-year old brow.

“It’s like a sauna in here,” I said, not having any idea what a sauna was.

My mom laughed. Nailed it. But things took a turn for the serious when she changed course. “Can you set the table, Sweetie?” she asked.

“Fine,” I said. But only because setting the table was my only responsibility in the world.

I opened the drawer to grab the utensils, but it was empty, so “setting the table” became “empty the dishwasher and set the table.” What bullshit. I thought through my options. I could try to trick my sister into emptying the dishwasher.

As if she was watching the inside of my brain, my mom moved first.
“Laura? Laura? Can you come down here and help with the chicken?” Before I could react, Laura was standing next to me, basting the chicken. I didn’t know the word “smug” at that time, but if I had, I probably would have said, “why don’t you wipe that smug smile off your face, you little bitch.”

I opened the dishwasher and, with the surgical precision that I learned from playing Operation, extracted exactly five plates, five knives, five forks, and five glasses.

“Robert,” my mom said, somehow stretching my first name into seven syllables.

“What?”

“You know.”

Before I could fight back, I heard the front door fling open. My dad stood there momentarily. He looked scary in his cutoff jean shorts and nothing else. Sweat raced down his face as he slammed the door shut and moved to his runner’s stretch. Of all the days for the air conditioning to conk out, this day was probably the worst.

Without a word, my mom somehow alerted him about my attempts to shirk my responsibility and manipulate my sister. He caught my eye and I knew I was done for. I grabbed the rest of the knives out of the dishwasher to try to regain some credibility.

“Where the fuck’s the air conditioner guy?” he said. “I’m gonna shower.”

“Hi dad, I missed you today.” I took a shot.

“Hey Bruiser.” He called me that during baseball games. I was in the clear.

“You want to help me set the table?”

He patted me on the head and caught eyes with my mom.

“I’m going to shower,” he said again.

He grabbed a paper towel from the table to wipe the sweat from his face and stomach. Instantly, it reappeared. He wiped again, then reached for one of the knives that I had laid out in my piles of five. He inspected it, scrutinizing each speck of water that the dishwasher left behind.

He pointed the tip of the knife towards my face and said, “I gotta shower. Just set the table.”

So I did. A few minutes later, we were sitting in silence eating the hot chicken in our hot kitchen as the stove radiated hot heat across our hot house.

“It’s like a sauna in here,” I said again. But this time, no one laughed.

My mom didn’t laugh because she was realizing I inherited my dad’s ability to run any joke in the ground. My dad didn’t laugh because he only laughed at jokes on the Honeymooners. My older sister didn’t laugh because she was 13 and hated everyone in the family. My little sister didn’t laugh because she didn’t understand jokes.

We finished eating. I refused to clear the table because I had set it. Rules are rules. I leaned back in my chair and watched my sisters do the dirty work.

As they cleared, my mom looked my way and asked, “Robert, can you get the watermelon out of the fridge?”

“Fine,” I said. Apparently I had earned nothing by setting the table. I took 30 seconds to march the 8 steps from the dining room table to the refrigerator. My insolence was rewarded with a blast of cold air from the fridge.

A lone yellow tupperware container sat on the top shelf, covered only by an ill-fitting sheath of plastic. The plastic cover made the hundreds of equally sized cubes of watermelon visible to the whole family. Each cube promising a brief reprieve from the hot.

I walked back towards the table. With each step, the watermelon juice sloshed back and forth in the tupperware. It reminded me of melted Jolly Ranchers. I could feel it sticking to my fingers through the plastic.

My dad said, “hurry up.”

So I started to scurry. But my mind was focused on imaging how many watermelon squares I could fit into my mouth at one time.

“You’re so annoying,” Lindsey said.

Laura smiled at me. That stupid smug smile.

“Come on, Robert.” My dad repeated.

I looked up to shut him up, but as I did, I caught my foot on the tile of the kitchen floor. The tupperware leapt from my hands and floated delicately towards the floor. It landed precisely on the flat bottom part, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

But a second later, the tupperware bounced back into the air and flipped itself upside down. Watermelon juice rushed onto the floor and filled the tiny crevices between the tile. Watermelon pits cracked off the ground, and then binded with the juice to become irremovable from the floor. Those perfect cubes splattered onto the ground and spread from room to room.

My dad exploded. “Oh great, Robert! Bring on the ants! Why didn’t you just call a parade of ants? You could be the grand marshal! Wouldn’t that be nice? If you could be the grand marshal of an ant parade?”

I froze.

“Get some paper towel already! Start cleaning it up already.”

But I couldn’t move.

I just stood there and watched as he got up out of his chair and did it himself. Glaring at me the whole time.

I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted some watermelon.