Parenting with both parents around much of the time is harder than you’d think. I would say it’s harder than I thought it would be, but what did I know, in those blissfully ignorant days before I had a child? Lots of theory was flying around back then. Some of it has been borne out in a way that makes me feel disturbingly self-satisfied. For example, I could never have done this thing surrounded by the exigencies of US culture. The objects, the expectations, the advice. Being in a foreign country where I could barely speak the language and had little idea of what was next, not having a car, not having the view remain consistent have, in fact, suited me. And I was committed to the idea that Adam and I would be in it together—he would be on site, an equal, a colleague. Which meant in practice that neither of us would have a job for awhile. And we worked it out, with help from our incredibly supportive families. The funny thing is, though, in some ways it’s actually much easier when it’s just me. (Or him.) Tallulah and I get in sync, we cooperate. With Adam and I present together, it’s essential that we be in utter harmony. Tallulah sees and seizes upon the most minor fissures in our relationship, in our mundane interactions, things we might be barely aware of, or believe that we’d successfully suppressed. She plays one off the other in a benign or malignant fashion, defending or, lately, peacekeeping, acting out, performing. Those average moments, teasing or cloaking some real grievance in joking terms—all duly noted. And they become the stuff of shame. And reason for punishment. Adam and I live now in such a way that we need to trust the other with our lives. This is the literal truth. But how insidious those small persistent failures become—the deep currents of the psyche, formed by my own parents/early experiences, now played again. It’s this complex, stratified space that I notice myself navigating—again, this is literal—on a daily basis when we’re both together. There’s no other room, no room to go to and shut the door. The space is fluid—I really have no need of metaphors—and the scudding clouds of the others’ moods are close enough to feel the vapor. By now we’ve gotten nearly as good at this as acrobats, but not yet perfect, and perfection is, in fact, required of us.