Fatherhood Will Not Break Me


Calm down, the body of this post is not nearly as desperate as the headline reads. You see, I’ve never been a coffee drinker. Once, when I worked at the post office in the student union in college, I got a free coffee from the Starbucks next door on free coffee day. Until I was 24 or so, that was the only cup of coffee I’d ever had.


The reasons for my resistance are many. Throughout my school days, I was known as the kid who smelled like coffee. I had the parents who made it every morning, and we’re not talking Folgers. This stuff was heavily-scented and dug into the fibers of my clothes. It was inevitable, and despite my treatment plans–scented sprays in my locker, changing clothes right as I left the house–there was no cure. I left for college absolutely hating the smell of coffee or any of its spinoff drinks. And at that point in my life, I didn’t need the energy boost.

Then came college, where I embraced many other vices, but coffee never entered as an option. Keep in mind, these were the days when energy drinks were just starting to take hold, and I fought to keep my addictions to a minimum. Plus, I rarely scheduled a class earlier than 10 a.m., so I was usually well-rested and needed no morning caffeine. And what poor college kid would choose coffee over beer? Not this one.

So we were home free! I would never be a coffee drinker, I thought. I don’t have any urge to drink it; don’t like the taste, don’t want to spend the money, and don’t need another addiction. Three strikes. I made it a couple years working with 20 3- and 4-year olds every day with this mantra intact.

Nils after coffee

Gradually, though, coffee began to creep its way into my life. At first, it was a once-every-few-months treat, when I really needed a kick in the butt. A vanilla latte or whatever the person making the coffee run got me usually sent me spiraling out of control. As a rare energy-boost, this could work, I told myself. Each Christmas, I got more and more coffee gift cards from generous parents, so that relatively small amount of money got me through the year. But as any addiction works, coffee began to pull me in, though it walks a very thin line. I don’t like full-on coffee flavor, but a flavor shot–or whatever the lingo is–usually makes it too sweet for my tastes. But, the energy boost is undeniable, so the drinks never went unfinished. In the year leading up to Blanche being born, I probably had 15-20 coffee drinks of some type.

Then I had a baby. Blanche slept well in the hospital, but the routines there were so wacky, the sleeping arrangements so unfriendly and the coffee so available that I couldn’t help myself. We were there four nights and I probably had three cups of coffee. (I don’t remember nor do I really know the difference between coffee drinks so I just refer to all of them as coffee for simplicity.)

Since we’ve been home, though, several factors have pushed coffee to the forefront of my morning routine. First, both Kristie’s and my parents have been steady presences at our house, and all four are avid coffee drinkers. Each morning when I awoke, a huge pot stared right at me, and somebody was planning an imminent trip to the nearby coffee shop (A great one, Anodyne). At this point in my coffee-drinking life, I won’t turn down a cup if there is one available. Second, I have a baby now, a baby that needs to be fed and changed randomly during the night. I’m really trying to be available for Kristie for these things, and have been taking the 2 a.m. bottle shift so Kristie can get a handful of consecutive hours of sleep. It’s worked out great, but my body isn’t used to being forced to stay awake for a half hour in the middle of the night.

For all you breast-feeding advocates, these bottles are previously-pumped bottles of breast milk, not formula. For you formula junkies, I don’t choose sides. Just trying to keep everyone happy. This apparently is a deal-breaking issue for some.


This morning, night three of our nighttime feeding and changing routine, I woke up and wanted coffee. For just about the first time in my life. Coffee, it seems, has me in its grasp. But I promise you, Blanche, you will not break my resolve. I will not be a coffee fiend. I guess I’ll just have to be ok with having a 7 a.m. Diet Coke.


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6 Responses to “Fatherhood Will Not Break Me”

  1. Deb Says:

    Resolve is good – I resolved 20 years ago that when my children were grown and out of the house, I could then give up coffee – anyone think I was successful?

  2. Jennifer Says:

    Loved your comment about breast-feeding vs. formula. You are right – it is a dealbreaker for some people. Good for you on trying to stay neutral. Very funny writing! I am enjoying your blog and don’t worry – full nights of sleep are somewhere in your future!

  3. Nils Says:

    Glad you’re enjoying it! Good to hear from people I’m not related to…interestingly enough, Kristie has been battling illness and infection, so we’ve had to supplement breast milk with a bit of formula…good thing it’s not a dealbreaker here.

  4. Molly Says:

    Love the jumping photo. Cracked me up.

    And excellent, simple, real way to talk about the feeding debate. I couldn’t agree more. To each his own.

  5. Timi Says:

    I love your comment about BF-ing vs. bottle feeding. Being 6.5 months along that seems to be the main topic of conversation with strangers (oh, and vaccinations). It’s a rock and a hard place topic!

    Also, there’s nothing wrong with a 7AM Diet Coke. I miss them, oh, so.

  6. Adolfo Says:

    Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked
    hard on. Any suggestions?

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