Pure Guesswork: No Time to Sleep

I don’t mean to pile onto Mitt Romney, but one thing about him continues to confound me.


He doesn’t drink coffee. I understand that it’s a part of his faith, but religions have out-clauses for extenuating circumstances. Mitt had a high-powered, high-pressure job and five boys. Still, no caffeine.


I have one boy. Before Milo, I was never a coffee drinker; I didn’t last six months into his life before I became one. While the taste is still lost on me, I’d be useless without the stuff.


It’s not a complaint, just a necessity for survival. When Milo is awake, he’s relentless in his desire to open drawers, move furniture and clear off bookshelves. It’s a great thing, but it’s also exhausting, and 17 months later, I still feel like we don’t have our legs yet. 


It wouldn’t be so tiring, but when Milo’s asleep, he’s often not. He likes to wake up at 2:30 a.m. and stay awake for an hour and 20 minutes. I should be used to it, but 2:30 a.m. hurts big every time. I don’t feel guilty saying that this is not my favorite part of fatherhood, and it’s not something that I ever want to do again.


And yet, apparently I might because Jenny and I are thinking about having another child. It’s not wholly illogical, particularly if we want to hit the two-year age gap. We love being parents and we feel extremely lucky with Milo. The pregnancy was relatively uncomplicated, and Milo is hitting all of his developmental milestones. But beyond that, our decision involves little reason. 


I remain a capable freelance writer; Jenny is a skilled yoga instructor, and college tuition is approaching $21 million per semester. While we’re both healthy and agile enough to keep getting up from the floor, I’m 45, Jenny’s a little younger – and I did mention the tired thing, right?

Despite all of this, I’m still leaning toward the idea of a second child. I figure that a little more tired is negligible. I also realize that my reasoning could be completely flawed; forgive me – I’m running on a sleep deficit.


It’s easy to argue your way out of having one child, let alone two. Kids completely upend your life. But I don’t think that it would be bad for Milo to have someone to play with, fight with, compare notes with over how ridiculous his parents are. I also don’t think another child would be the worst thing for Jenny and me. In fact, everyone would probably be well served by sharing the attention, resources and worry with another little person. I say all of this as if a second child is a given. It’s far from that. If it doesn’t happen, we remain ridiculously fortunate. If it does, we’re more so.

Maybe coffee will taste decent by then.


Steve Calechman is a freelance writer and dad in Salem. Email him at

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19 May 2013

By Steve Calechman