ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: Parenting 101

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Parenting 101

This being the season of giving (although I do not recall being given a Tivo just yet), I thought I'd give back to the general public in the only way I know how...by giving unsolicited advice in areas of medicine and/or life that I am wholly unqualified to give advice in. With that as a primer, I thought it'd be appropriate to delve into the tricky task of parenting, how to act, what to say, which babies are really just ugly, etc. Seeing as this is a massive topic that would take volumes to cover in its entirety, I thought that, for now, I'd focus on the immediate newborn period, based on my time working in the newborn nursery during my pediatrics rotation and offer up a few tips to carry you through to the new year:

1. Remain Calm. Something remarkable happens to many parents at that moment the baby is delivered, something wholly separate from the heartwarming issues regarding deliveries that I've explored in the past (see exhibit A...and then try to resist me). What I'm referring to is the sudden drop in IQ that occurs to even the brightest of parents when the baby arrives, and whereas only minutes before the prospective father, laden with enough degrees to make even the biggest dork cringe with envy, could be seen calmly reciting lamaze instructions while formulating mathematical equations inside his head, he is soon found saying after the baby has delivered such gems as:

"His arms keep moving. Is that normal?"
"She's crying. Do babies cry?"

Of course, having yet to have a baby I in no way feel like I have the right to judge anyone in this position, but I must say that after hearing these same moronic comments from countless parents for the last twelve weeks I'm pretty close to jabbing a speculum through my eye.

So in summary, yes, that is normal. And yes, you are retarded.

2. It's All In The Name. This is not a statement about people who choose peculiar names for their children, seeing as I am not exactly in a position to judge given my rather...umm...ethnic first and middle names (my first name, spanning a whopping seven letters, even has a 'Z' in the middle). So three cheers for all the Darcquan's, La Fawnda's (I guess that qualifies as a not-so-obscure movie reference), and Zzyzzx's out there. This is not about them. This about all the parents out there who have the chutzpah to pick out from among the vast landscape of potential names a small subset that are almost guaranteed to send that kid straight to the NICU with some sort of awful disease. Yep, this is a warning to all the future Miracle's, Destiny's, Hope's, and Prayer's out there: if you ever find yourself in the hospital for reasons utterly out of your control, it's only because your parents had the balls to dare God, Allah, Buddah, or the stunningly efficient forces of natural selection into screwing you over purely on principle. Quite frankly, I've never seen so many Miracles in the NICU! Did I seriously just write that? I need a vacation.

3. Make Believe. This applies to those of you who, unlike the parents discussed in part 1, have trouble maintaining consciousness after a baby has come into their lives. Congratulations, it's a boy! Excuse me, sir? It's a boy. A bo - hey, are you awake? Seriously people, it can't be that hard to at least pretend like you care and fake some interest, at least for our sake. I couldn't believe the first time I was denied after offering a father the chance to cut the cord, not out of fear or disgust but simply because "Uhhh it's cool man, I don't really care". Look, if that's your attitude, then maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't be making babies in the first place. Just a hunch. In fact, the only thing worse than apathy is antipathy, as you get parent who, only moments after delivery and responding to comments overheard that include things like "The baby seems lethargic, a little out of it, but I guess he's happy..." with (I swear this actually happened):

"He damn well better be happy, he's got more than $100 worth of crack running through his veins right now!"

Good grief.

Well, I hope this has been helpful, but who am I kidding? Anyways, I've just begun my vacation, and will be enjoying some serious down time as I try to figure out what to do with my life and take care of other small tasks, so I don't know when I'll be around to ramble on and on about nothing of significant importance over the next few days. Happy holidays and happy new years, and if anyone sees a drunk fool who vaguely resembles Matthew Perry running up and down the Las Vegas strip on New Year's, please say hello (see I didn't even bother with the pathetic solicitations for Jewish women this ti-oh, wait, I guess that counts).


Blogger penny_panda said...

Seasons Greetings from a huge fan at the bottom of the world (New Zealand - home of Peter Jackson, the All Blacks and Pavlova, Im picking you will know atleast one of those things)

Love your blog and check it regularly and am ruing hte fact that i am not jewish - though if it was good enough for Charlotte on Sex and the City to convert....


6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Hannakah! And now I'm off to Las Vegas. Oh right. I'm not Jewish. :)

Hilarious post, as always...


6:50 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

I swear, sometimes it seems like people should have to pass some sort of test before they are allowed to have children (at least a psych exam might be most helpful)! Your post made me laugh out loud. Keep up the good work!

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post. Have fun with your downtime.

My husband is a NICU doc, and he concurs on the names meant to send a baby to his care.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Have fun in Vegas.

And, I hope when you do a rotation in child psych you'll devote a post to all the parents who drop their kids off and tell the psych docs to fix the kids - and how painfully aware you become that the parents are the problem and the kid is normal...

8:29 PM  
Blogger Motherkitty said...

As a mother of two, I can attest to the fact that the shock and awe of producing an actual human being makes blithering idiots of most of us at the time of birth. When my son was born, and the nurse brought him to me, I actually asked permission to touch him. I didn't trust myself at that moment to hold him. Later, I realized it was a huge "duh" moment.

On the issue of names, have you ever heard the story about the woman who, after enduring labor for a number of hours, decided to name her newborn girl Placenta because she heard the nurses talking about hers and thought it sounded pretty?

Enjoy your vac in LV. Don't gamble your life away but have fun. So, eat, drink, and be merry. Happy Chanukah and Happy New Year.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Margie the Pickle Princess said...

I got dumber when I had my son, but I asked questions like, "Is he supposed to be purple like that?" and, "why is he so stiff?" I was assured he was fine on both counts. Of course this reassuring was done by midwives who told me for three hours after delivery that the massive amounts of pain I was in was completely normal, right up until they shoved me into an amublance to have a surgeon repair the massive amounts of internal tearing to hopefully stop the large amounts of internal hemorrhaging that was occuring. By that time I was plenty dumb. And mostly in sleepy land. Ah, good times. Doctor good. Have fun on vacation!

8:46 PM  
Blogger missbhavens said...

Oh, the names. The Names. They can be bad. Usually they can be bad without the parents remotely realise the harm they are causing. Take Ms. Wang, for instance. Ms. Wang had a baby boy. Named him Richard. We all thought it was a cute old-fashioned name for a little Chinese baby...until we thought about it a little harder...

This kid had the potential to be saddled with not one but TWO penis slang terms:

Dick Wang.

I can't make this stuff up.

Enjoy Vegas.

9:35 PM  
Blogger An Enlightened Fellow said...

Excellent advice doctor. Enjoy your vacation.

Now, I'm not sure if this is universal, but my mother, who was an L&D nurse for many years, has told me that the nursing code for an ugly baby is "precious." So, if the nursing staff says, "Aw, what a precious baby!" then you know your baby is ugly.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Seasons Greetings to you Fake Doctor! May your New year be a healthy and happy one!
p.s. Remember your post when you have your own children :)and see how it compares.

1:21 AM  
Blogger K said...

Hahaha Missbhavens I know of worse - I had a friend of a friend named...

Harry Wang.

1:59 AM  
Blogger Jellyhead said...

You know, having a kid does weird things to you. And doctor parents are even WORSE than normal parents (no, not better - worse). So one day, after you've met that gorgeous smart Jewish woman, and persuaded her to bear your babies....you will hear yourself saying anxiously, " Do you think he/she's OK? I mean, don't you think he/she's a bit tachypneic?" and other things in this vein. When you have a perfectly fine, healthy baby.

I'm not kidding. One day you'll believe me.

In the meantime, enjoy your holiday!

4:25 AM  
Blogger Regina Rodriguez-Martin said...

I don't think people should have children. At all.

7:32 AM  
Blogger GB, RN said...

Have a great holiday!! Be careful as we all want to see you post again.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cutting the cord is your job; quit with the delegation!

Hospital birth is all about being meat on a conveyor line anyhow. Why pick one moment and decide it has some special significance? Cutting the cord ranks right up there with mopping up the spillage off the floor.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Emilian said...

When my first was born, now seven years ago, I remember checking his nappies by dipping in my finger, and being overjoyed and proud at seeing and smelling his poo. For a couple of months marital conversation was about the baby's poo for about 80% of the time, and we relished every bit of it (the conversation I mean). So yes, parenthood does strange things to one's intelligence and sound judgment.

Thanks for another fun post, and happy holidays!

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Missbhavens....Dick Wang...haha...

9:21 PM  
Blogger Twanna A. Hines | FUNKYBROWNCHICK.com said...

Hmmmm. So, Vegas, huh? I can't wait to read the, "You'll never believe this, but when I was in Vegas..." post.

Have a wonderful New Year!!! :)

10:44 PM  
Blogger MattHeatherEmma said...

At least you are not on my side of things...I have to teach the offspring of the intellectually challenged!
Enjoy your much needed break from all that is crazy in the field of medicine.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i had a girl in a college course named:



3:11 PM  
Blogger ArleneWKW said...

A 7 letter ethnic name with a "Z" in the middle? Hmmmmmmmm. After spending a silly amount of time with Google, the only name I came up with was Benzion. I'm imagining that your name is more common than that. Oh the challenge of it all.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

It still amazes me that we have to have a license to drive a car but not to bring lives into the world that we could single-handedly destroy.

That crack comment got to me. Glad I don't know who it is.

I have a student named "DestAny." (A is capitalized for emphasis only.) I wonder how edu-muh-cated HER parents are!
(they're not.)

Happy Hanukkah (or however you spell it), and here's hoping you get that TiVo.

7:41 PM  
Blogger greeneggsandtam said...

nice doc.
in the classroom, worse than the destinys and miracles are the a.j's, r.j's& t.j's. really, any two letter configuration children i can stuff in a sack. somebody should write a thesis on the slippery slope these parents are sending their children down. no teacher i know ever really wants to teach a riley.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harry Wang, Dick Wang- Those are funny.

I knew a guy whose name was pronounced "how deep".

8:59 PM  
Blogger Ilene said...

Richard Head. Skinny, tall, excrutiatingly pale British kid in Jr. High. We were all little bastards, but felt so bad for him no one made a peep.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Esin said...


here's to having an ethnic name that's often mispronounced/misspelled

11:22 PM  
Blogger lee said...

the thing about names-this is what gets me about it-a woman will carry a baby for 9 months and go through all that pain and then give the child a name such as ...taylor("tayla") or ashley ("ashleigh","ashlee") and think that they're being imaginative like no one has ever thought of using that name before and then the child ends up at school with a classroom full of other ashleys and taylors.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Ms. M said...

ha ha! In my NICU, we have had Miracle, Prayer, Charity, Luna and the occasional unusual conglomeration of syllables such as: Shevontae or Chaquanda

What I like best though, are the names that just don't go together, like "Billy-Jim Tsui" or "Peter Ravanarathan". In my grade 7 class of 60 people, there were 4 others with my first name... at least the chances of that for my future kids will be very, very low.

9:58 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hey Ezekial (or should I call you Zeek)...my first cardiac PICU patient was a newborn named Bob. Bobs aren't babies. They usually come out full grown, don't they? Combine my fear of taking care of such a sick baby for the first time and the way 'Bob' and baby do not go together, the whole day I was on the verge of hysterical laughter. I kept picturing a truck driver smoking cigarettes in his big rig.

1:04 AM  
Blogger FuriousTenesmus said...

I just stumbled upon this blog. Great stuff! Keep up the good work!

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for being so honest in your blog- truly a refreshing read each time. How you witness such... nonsense each day and continue in your doctoral pursuits is preplexing and also in an odd way inspiring.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

preplexing should have been perplexing - too rushed today!

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your given name is Kwanzaa?

5:22 PM  
Blogger "Jet" said...

Hi Med!! Great post! Yes parents do become retarded when becoming a parent... It's overwhelming in my defense...

To hear dude deny cutting the cord is sad as hell! I was in the operating room with my sister-in-law while she had a c-section and I cut the cord and watched the entire thing... You should check it out in my archives from October (11th or 12th I think).

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you!

8:47 PM  
Blogger Anika From Darwin said...

All the best for the new year doc!!!!

10:41 PM  
Blogger Anika From Darwin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:00 AM  
Blogger majamom said...

Hey MR MEdical SCHOOL**

My Blog will PROVE your " newborns are ugly," argument TO BE WRONG! =)
cmon bye and expand your Horizens


2:00 PM  
Blogger redhead83402 said...

Once again a brill post by one funny jewish dude! The fact that you are a doc on top of it all just adds icing to the cake! Not only that, but you provide constant *snags* for your readers... little ~entertainment denumout's (sp?)~ that keep the reader coming back for more! Bravo, doc, bravisssimo! ( Have you ever taken story-telling lessons from any one by the name of Shaherizad?)

4:23 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, gotta agree that 'maniac psycho's' blog is quite a surprising/disturbing addition to your list...

8:07 PM  
Blogger Admin said...

just to clarify, "maniac psycho" is a link to the same blog that's been at the top of that (somewhat arbitrary) list for a long time now, just that the writer, who's a) in my class, b) crazy, and c) the posterchild for what two years of medical school can do to people, decided he didn't want his last name on the internet, thus prompting the (rather appropriate, if you ask me) name change.
i stopped taking responsibility for the crazy shit that this guy says a long time ago, so read at your own peril...

9:39 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

cool, you do read the comments :)
thanks for the clarification. but, you wanna be associated with the junk he says? cuz that's how it is taken if you offer a link to it...it's like recommending it. you wouldn't want all the girls to stop swooning over you now would ya? (k, maybe i'm being a little dramatic ;) )hope you enjoyed vegas!

12:07 AM  
Blogger redhead83402 said...

I'm with michelle and anon on this one doc~ it does represent you in a somewhat *non-kosher* light...

on the other hand, I also note that one of the things that puts doctors under so much pressure is the constant high expectations of them. Now, you being a good Jewish boy, & a doctor, and a fantastic writer with tons of lady readers probably doesn't help that pressure any.

But it IS true... the links you add to your blog definitely do represent you, if for no other reason than that that is all we know of you. If the people who read you want to know more, they can't hook up and head out to the deli, or invite you along with a group of friends, or anything like that. They only have your blog content and the links you choose to add to that blog. So, if you include a snasty link or two on your blog roll, well .. that's likely what peope will think you enjoy. sorry,
hehe, there's some more pressure for yah! But you seem to do well under pressure... it will likely change you for the better, as other events seem to have.

1:39 AM  
Blogger neena said...

LOL DanjerusKurves -- Kwanzaa. How amusing.

My dad's a pediatrician and has his fair share of bizarre-name stories. "Blizz" and "Storm" are the names of twins he delivered at least 10-12 years ago when we had a major snow storm.

Hope you had a great holiday. Damn I wish I were Jewish sometimes!

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was cruising around some blogs from my fellow nursing friends, found one linked to your blog. I say way to go about half assing it through school, as did I and now I'm working as the lonely nurse on an Indian reserve (here in Canada, the politically correct way to say this is First Nations).
Good luck with OB/GYN rotations... I find the best way to get through gushed up parents is to tell them the story about how much cuter their baby is than the pumpkin head baby (there's ALWAYS one on every unit.)
The name i HATE the most is Trinity, I don't know why but when I used to teach swimming lessons the girls named Trinity always came from trashy moms who most likely had a trinity of men to choose from who the father was.

10:08 PM  
Blogger chelle said...

hey there, i'm a medical student in australia, and i LOVE your blog, it gives such a great perspective on things. keep writing!

4:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading Maniac Psycho's blog for some time now (thanks to the link on your website), and I actually quite like thim... Mainly because he's one crazy mother fucker.

If you can't handle it, don't read it.

4:12 PM  
Blogger clumsy-of-me said...

This was a funny post. Having just found out that my husband and I expecting, I will be mindful of the idiotic behavior of the people in this blog. And then probably commit each and every dumbass offense they did. The one thing I won't do is name our child something weird. My name is DanCee. Yes, capital C. Having spent 32 years spelling it out I will make sure that my kid doesn't have the same fate.

Hope Vegas was a blur of sin and debauchery that you can never discuss outside the city limits!

By the way, I love maniac psychos' blog. "Christian Nation" post, RIGHT ON! Again, this is a public forum, we all have choices, if you don't like it don't read it. Further more, I think it's unfair that you are being judged by the writings of another person. Apart from what we read here, we have no idea who these people are to you and what you offer to each other in the way of support in such a difficult undertaking. Your still the young, hot jewish doctor to me. I maried a sweet Jewish boy and I can definitely say "Jewish Boys Do It Better!"

10:41 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:39 PM  
Blogger missbhavens said...

Re: links and being "represented by them"

That's a great big giant load of doo-doo. I have loads of links on my vlog. They are there because they have caught my eye for whatever reason, not because I believe/stand by/endorse anything they have to say. They are just people like myself with opinions of their very own. If one only links to stuff exactly like their own, they're just denying themselves from learning new things.

If we all believed exactly the same stuff the world would be pitifully boring. A little less violent perhaps, but essentially boring.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Daphnewood said...

I still love the fact that weekly my husband has at least one kid named "Angle". In the afterbirth stupor, the parents misspelled "Angel" or maybe they never could spell it correctly. Either way, I feel for those kids.

1:11 PM  
Blogger The Red said...

Lovely baby names I have encountered in my hospital recently:
Precious (is that really code for ugly?)
Jazzlyn Cashon
Londyn Rylie

As always, Faker - my undying love and thanks for another smile :o)

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

did i miss something? or did you forget to ask for a jewish female? i think your slipping cause you got too excited about talking about poo... ill let it slide... this time....

8:08 PM  
Blogger Deb Sistrunk Nelson said...

I'm just reading this for the first time. I hope your new year got off to a good start.

You are a very gifted writer. You give good, practical advice and you have a marvelous sense of humor. Gosh, you've got the whole package!

I know some parents awaiting the birth of their first child. Perhaps I'll send this to them. :-)

Keep writing!

9:38 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Oh thank god, I thought I was the only one who HATED the delivery room.

1:47 AM  
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8:38 PM  

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