We are waiting for the kids to fall asleep so we can drink like civilized people: sitting on the corridor outside the cabin. The depths to which one sinks as a parent never cease to amaze. We could have just gone to bed at the same time as the children and listened to them not falling asleep. But we are on Holiday!
I have been forced by mental ill-health to impose limits on the way I live. I've replaced life in an office with freelance writing and voluntary work in prisons and hospitals supporting those with poor mental health: I am entirely the beneficiary, given the well known benefits of trying to help others.
Within weeks of joining the bank, I became aware of barriers to my progress that were simply not there for my male equivalents. Women weren't given a chance to prove themselves, men bonded in strip clubs, women were paid less than their male counterparts, sexist 'banter' ruled - and that was before I even noticed what was happening to the one other female executive in my department, who had just had a baby.
As someone who works with men and boys, these two descriptions of couvade, inspire and excite me. Our ancestors knew the importance of having the father bond with the baby as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. The reduction in testosterone shows how this is a biological and evolutionary imperative.
It was our own fault that we'd had beans for lunch. And supper. In fact it struck me that beans should never have become a campfire staple. As my son continued to sleep-fart it also struck me that essentially we were sleeping in a highly flammable bag filling up with methane next to an open fire. This not being the most relaxing of thoughts - I decided to get up and douse the fire.
As the world evolves, so humanity remains essentially emotionally the same. All of it crystallized in sharp relief within the hellish prison of childhood. I always said I'd never forget...and yet now I have children, I find myself getting annoyed because their drama doesn't meet my criteria for what merits hysterical crying and slammed doors.