I have recently returned from the UK, where I spent an amazing fortnight in the company of my charming nephew Buddy and niece Rosie (equally as cute).
It was a fantastic experience and that instilled in my mind two very important realizations. First, I am too young to have kids of my own. Second, and on a more serious note, it resurrected from the dark recesses of my mind a fact I once learned when I studied psychology: Women have a cognitive ability that men just do not have.
Women are adept at performing two tasks at the same time, whilst men, unfortunately, can only be trusted to do one thing. OK, cue all obvious jokes about men’s probable inability to do one thing well. The reason, I learned, is because during the millennia that helped shape our mental processes, women would be required to simultaneously work and supervise children, meaning they needed to develop this skill.
It was during my babysitting stint with Buddy – a highly developed 11-month-old who loves to climb and fall off everything – that I realized just how key this skill is. If my eye would wonder, to say the computer screen to check my email, Bud would scale at the stairs at an alarming speed. I soon discovered that what I presumed would be a day of fun for “Uncle Essey” turned into a nerve-wracking ordeal. I had to watch him constantly, for everything became a potential hazard. Add into that the need for feedings, walks and the highly toxic nappy changes, and the result was me finishing the day in a state of total and utter exhaustion, pondering whether vasectomies were free under the National Health Service.