For the first month of her (our) pregnancy, Eva’s flat was populated entirely with paper and dried-out mugs of chocolate milkshake (Chocomel). It was so thick with this mess that I thought she had even done away with clothes and cutlery.

Well, the last bit is an exaggeration. She was of course dressed and had knives, but the flat was untidy. And I did not do much to change that; I regard untidiness as a form of entropy. I argue that one can create something nice and tidy, but it is essentially a statistically unlikely configuration (energy) and thus tidiness moves away from it and not towards it (it cools down; heat does not move from a colder body to a hotter body).

This domestic arrangement did not become a problem (the energy of the system didn’t change) until oestradiol levels increased and the feeling of being sick really became apparent (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12681864b for the evidence). The emetic effect was quite strong for Eva, and reached the point at which the idea of going into a supermarket was enough to upset her. She wanted the rubbish to be taken out three times a week, no cooking happened at all, crisps were banned. ‘Animal smells’ were not countenanced and so I was only allowed into the flat if I showered twice a day. The liquid had changed state into a gas and he increases in energy increased the pressure. The energy of the system was at its highest so far.

After another few weeks, it was clear the sickness feeling had stopped getting worse, however even things like the smell of a bought pizza in the oven would still have been too much. I was taking the rubbish out twice a week by this time and only had to wear a space suit at night. We were on the crest of the sickness. The matter of the system was undergoing a change of state, from gas to ionic plasma.

Then, quite unexpectedly, a taste for a brand of cherry-and-apple juice emerged at about 18 weeks. We drank about five litres a week between us, for a month or so. This then merged into a craving for Chocomel (4.5 L/week, not shared by me) and once again the flat was populated with the mugs that had been common at the beginning of the process. None of these was left around long enough for them to develop their own ecosystem, however, as none of them were to be found at all.

All the paper disappeared too. I was surprised about these changes, because Eva was having significant back problems by this time, to the point that turning over in bed was visibly uncomfortable for her. And yet the flat was tidy. So, I asked her about it, gently. There then proceeded a dictum about yuckiness, the flat needing to be tidy, that I was a disgusting man who did not understand etc. I said that I thought it was nice that she had reached the ‘nesting’ stage.

A pair of hazel eyes fixed me, as only they can. “I am not nesting” she said, without a trace of a Dutch accent. I smiled to myself and turned back to what I was doing. I made a mental note to do more cleaning, as I thought it made more sense for me to do it than she. However, a couple of weeks later in a Monday evening, I came back from work to find her, Hoover in hand, attacking the bed. I said thatI’d hoovered over the weekend and said she did not need to. “The problem is the dust. When you are back at work I am going to clean three times a week”

I reminded her that she was not nesting. She agreed, but the Hoover still came quite close to my face. I made another mental note to remember the energy of the system was enough to make it a plasma.