What? Is it time again? Already? But, I just wrote a blog a few days ago. It can’t be time again. I have no thoughts, nothing to write about. I’m sleepy, real sleepy. Can I just go and take a nap? The baby is crying again. Baby? I just got her to sleep. Baby? Oh yeah, the noise maker in the swing with colic. What day is it anyway? Is it time for me to go to work? Saturday? Good, then I can sleep in. No, the baby is crying, and someone needs to check on her. But, I just laid her down. Isn’t it Allie’s turn to check on her? Okay, but I really need some coffee. Maybe I can hold her in one arm and feed her, and type with the other. Yeah, that should work at least until she needs to be burped or she spits up. Fun!! Hey, I’m only a week and a half late in writing. I feel lucky that I made it at all.
Amid the business of everyday life, we threw a stick in the spokes that help keep things running smooth. We had thought that it was time for us to exit the foster parenting stage of life and maybe try something else. What it would be, we had no idea. Then, back in November, the day before Thanksgiving, we were asked if we could take a short-term placement. She was tiny, but extremely healthy, and we would only have her for about two weeks. It took about two minutes to fall in love with that two-day old and we were sad to see her go. Including our own natural children, this was the first baby we have ever had that never spit-up. She had a great snuggly personality and only cried when she was hungry. Even then, she gave a few minutes of grunts and groans to say, “hey guys, get things ready cause I’m waking up.” If she got no response, then she would cry.
Over Christmas, our house was empty of babies. That was an unusual feeling, which hadn’t happened for several years. That emptiness was short lived when we received call for another little girl, this one a thirty-three-week preemie. She was eating every two to three hours, so as normal, Suzanne and I took turns feeding her. I often take the late, late night feeding and the early morning feeding. This gives Suzanne time to get some rest since she has the all-day duty. I usually catch a nap or two and drink large cups of coffee. This little miss is usually awake sporadically from ten at night to around six in the morning. She also feels that she has to right to be held all night. We know this because when we lay her down to sleep she wakes up and screams until she is picked up again. She may scream an hour or until she tires out. Right now we both stay tired. In order to stay awake, Suzanne drinks a caffeinated cola. Cola hurts my stomach so in order for me to make it, I drink coffee. Coffee, Coffee, Coffee, such a magical potion. This helps me get to work on time and stay awake while teaching a hundred middle schoolers. Sometimes I drink it for no particular reason.
Only within the past ten years have I become a coffee addict. During my twenty years of serving in the Air Force, I seldom drank more than a cup a month. I often made fun of the guys carrying a half full coffee cup with a large brown stain on the front of their dress shirts. They were true coffee drinkers. Most were office jocks with ranks of E-5 (Technical Sergeant) through E-8 (Senior Master Sergeant). What I didn’t realize was that these were the experienced airmen who were often called in for night shift problems and had to work until the issues were resolved. Then they had to also work their day shift. I, later in my career, found out about those long duty days.
Fast forward fourteen years after retirement and our new calling, Foster Parenting. I find that I am called in for night time problem more and more (it’s that experience thing). The second child that was placed in our care (ten years ago) was the major reason for my coffee addiction. I’ll call her Little Miss M. Miss M didn’t sleep except in short bursts. She had the worst case of colic I’ve ever come across, plus milk allergies. This was complicated by a doctor who said, “All babies have gas and eventually, she will get used to the formula”. What a nut job.
Anyway, working as a middle school teacher, I couldn’t just take the day or multiple days off, so I tried coffee. The kick was just what I needed to keep awake after an almost sleepless night. After about two and a half months my attempts at drinking coffee had turned into an everyday thing, whether we have a child in our home or not. Addicted, probably. I’ve thought about giving up drinking coffee (not seriously), but every time I do, we get another phone call, “Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Stack. Would you be ready to take another baby?” Looks like it is time for a little more experience.
***John E. Stack is the author of Cody’s Almost Trip to the Zoo, Cody’s Rescue Adventure at the Zoo, and Olivia’s Sweet Adventure.