How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

The Parent Muse

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Artists, writers and musicians have, since time immemorial, relied on the help of many muses. I consider myself newly-minted member of the parenting arts. A childrearing creative. Parenting performer.

My wife has been that muse for a long time now, going on 12 years, but I have to admit that I now have a new muse in my life. Sorry, honey…

When I’m down and out at 3am, this one lifts me up. When I can’t go on any further, there they are. It’s as though they truly understand me. It’s almost as if… they complete me.

I’m talking about CAFFEINE.

Someone stole my face & put it on an energy drink. Weird? Nope.

Sweet, sweet relief. You’re there for me, dear muse, when I’m writing these insipid posts at 4am. You embrace me in your energetic arms when I have to listen to Hakuna Matata, again, after two hours of it on repeat as I take my son to school. You’re there for me when I have to take out the trash and pay the bills after a mind-altering six hours of staring into the abyss that is my computer screen.

And you never talk back. Never give me trouble (except for my bowels, if rarely). You are a single source of inspiration, effervescence and personality so rich in history and character that kings waged war over you and men carry you on their backs through mountains to this very day. Sure, you have a storied past, what with your connections to drug dealers and burdensome geopolitical problems, but who doesn’t. I certainly do.

You lessen pain, protect against liver cirrhosis, lower my risk of diabetes, protect me from gout (which we all know is a tough one), and those contributions are just for my meat popsicle of a body.

No, you are a special one, my sweet nectar.

But I must admit, I never swigged a whole cup of coffee until my son was born. Sure I had my dalliances with Jolt Cola and the like, but never something this monogamous. You are the one. Parenting, economics, lifestyle — they all lay me bare. I give myself over to you and your gentle caress of my nerve cells.

I’m a fiend for you, caffeine. A caffiend.

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31 Comments

31 Responses to “The Parent Muse”

  1. Steve says:

    Jolt! I was working in a general store when this stuff hit the shelves, so had full-on, free access to it. As I recall, the original slogan was “All the caffeine and twice the sugar”. Or the other way around. Or maybe it said “One step away from Night Train”.

  2. My kid hasn’t been born yet and I’m mainlining caffeine any way I can! Oh and Jolt was “All the real sugar and twice the caffeine.” God bless ‘em.

  3. Dena says:

    Never was much for caffeine before kids either, but now… YES. And not so much for the energy boost as the positive attitude shift it seems to bring, lol!

    A whole new discovery of sweet, sweet euphoria! :D

    Pure magic! <3

  4. Laurie says:

    BEST thing ever! Best part of my day, true bliss!

  5. Brock says:

    This is fantastic. You have put my feelings into words.

    I proudly am a caffeind as well.

    haha thanks for the laugh.

  6. Charlie,
    you could turn this post into lyrics for an epic power ballad dedicated to sweet, sweet caffeine.
    My 1st tantalizing dance with a real dose of caffeine was in high school. NITRO Cola had it’s way with me and turned me into a man. I loved every minute of it.
    Well…besides the taste. NITRO was awful. But, its packaging was designed by a rock star. It came in a clear glass long-neck bottle. The cola itself was an amber color and looked like beer.
    So it was a soda w/ double the caffeine that gave the appearance of drinking beer. How they didn’t completely corner the 13-19 year old market, I’ll never know.
    Maybe tasting like a Coke that someone pissed in had something to do with it.

  7. Sarah says:

    Nice Fifth Element reference! :)

    • charlie says:

      I used a Fifth Element reference??? It must be so ingrained in me that it has become part of my writing and speech. Which one?

      • Sarah says:

        The meat popsicle. That’s the only other place I’ve heard it anyway. :)

        • charlie says:

          OMIGOD, you’re right! See? I’ve only seen it 12350896273450982364509826345 times!

          • Sarah says:

            hahahahaha! That’s about 3 times more than I’ve seen it. I think my husband might have you beat, though. :) And by the way, thanks for pointing out the good things about caffeine–now I can still hold on to the delusion that soda isn’t bad for me.

  8. Brian says:

    I used to sit and enjoy coffee for the flavor while relaxing reading a paper. Now after kids, I slam it while eating on the run and loading kids into the car!

    Brian

  9. Ryan H. says:

    Great post, my kid hasn’t arrived yet, and I already have what I think is a perfectly healthy coffee addiction going!
    And while I don’t think we have Jolt Cola here in Australia, I have already started stocking up on cans of V energy drink to get me through the day for those first few months!

    Think I’ll go have a coffee now…

    Loving the website, keep up the good work!

  10. Karen says:

    I had to quit caffiene full test due to the heart. :( I used to dissolve caffiene pills in Jolt soda when I was in college plus working sometimes long hours. The past couple months of low caff to no caff has been interesting to day the least.

  11. YES. I rarely drink a full cup at anyone time since kids. Hard surfaces around the house are graveyards for half-cups of abandoned coffee, but cold, hot, flavored, or straight to the brain double espresso……caffeine addicts unite!

  12. Frank says:

    You know it’s a post by Charlie if it has a picture of himself in it.

    • charlie says:

      It’s such a flattering photo and all.

      • Frank says:

        Not enough to get you any actual acting work. You’d think you might be able to put the narcissistic self promotion to the side, since this is a website about fathers and kids, not failed actors. But whatever makes you feel better about yourself!

    • Morgan N says:

      Yes – He does it for all the female readers!! Thanks Charlie (for being both easy on the eyes and funny)!!

  13. tallulah says:

    Tut. If Charlie looked like a troll you could understand he wouldn’t be so brazen as to stick his mug all over HIS blog (how rude); but he doesn’t therefore the only TROLL around here is you Frank. Do one. :)

  14. Annie says:

    I can recall the taste of Jolt to this day. I actually never really drank caffeine until I joined the military. I had my first drink of coffee in tech school. I was getting maybe 4 hours of stress filled sleep. I quickly was up to two full pots of coffee prior to noon. (I was still falling asleep) After I got out of the military I could not stop my addiction. Which was now up to 2 pots of coffee and two diet Dr. Peppers a day. When I got pregnant I was too sick to have it and it was off limits anyways. I am proud to say I am at 1 pot and 1 diet Dr Pepper a day now. So I have cut it in half!

    I find it odd Frank that you complain when a blogger posts pictures of themselves on their own blog. If Charlie was going to everyone else’s blog and posting his pictures on them THEN I would start to question him. The fact that both writers post pictures of themselves on their own blog to illustrate a point is what we all like to call BLOGGING.

  15. Re: Frank

    Methinketh the troll complaineth too loudly.

  16. Jarrod says:

    If you’re looking to cut back on caffeine after that initial shock of a child joining your life, take a vitamin b12 with lunch. Works nicely. I was about 6 cups a day for the first 6 months and now down to just a morning coffee.

    But tO relate to the story…. Has anyone else pushed a candy bearing child aside at the convience store to speed yo the consumption of the greatest work partner ever? Hmmm cumbies 99cent large coffee

  17. My issue is that I have sleep apnea and my CPAP is approaching the end of working life. I have a sleep study coming up next week. It would be nice to slash my coffee budget!

  18. Rhino says:

    I’d have a can of pop once in awhile, used an energy drink to party with but now a case of Monster Assault will disappear in days. I do force myself to quit for a week or so to refocus and lose the 10 pounds I drank to my less than superheroic gut.

  19. Luna says:

    HAHA. Very funny. :) Honestly. I like it.
    Although I think your wife should beat you up (in a nice way, but non the less) for the exchange you performed.

    ps-I don’t quite agree with caffeine being a muse. So far caffeine just beats the shit out of me, which immediately falls on the keyboard and infiltrates the computer. Eventually I get tired and my head hits the publish or send email button, which apparently happens too often, and I’m doomed.

    It’s a 50:50 % chance of writing or producing something worthwhile.
    But that’s just me and I’m not used to drugs.

    I found sleep deprivation to be extremely inspiring though. It makes me come up with fantastic and weird stories who would have never seen the light of day with this neurotic internal critic of mine.

  20. Sigh. I turned 31 and mysteriously, overnight, became super caffeine sensitive. BAM. Right when my baby became a toddler that had to be chased around. I still try to have a bit of coffee or tea each morning but it’s like 2 oz, and even then sometimes it makes me ill. But not having it makes me feel like I missed some kind of crucial morning ritual. And honestly, I like the taste! I’m a Portland coffee snob – I grind at home and use an Aeropress. :P

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