Posted by: Kate | July 19, 2008

Mathematical Impossibility

Let T represent one toddler.

Let N represent the noise said toddler can create in a given space of time.

Let x represent some activity that elicits noise from said toddler.

Then, Tx=N, such that some activity of T results in a measurable output, N.

Now for the quandary.

When the number of toddlers is increased by a regular interval, and the activity is kept the same, the noise is predicted to increase by the same interval: 2Tx=2N.

However, in real-life demonstrations, this effect does not hold.  Instead, the amount of noise increases in a markedly disproportionate manner to the number of toddlers: 2Tx=16N.

Scientists are baffled by this phenomenon, and are seeking a grant – preferably in the form of an adults-only vacation to the Caribbean – to conduct further experiments.

Sigh.  Really, it’s going well.  L and X moved in last night, and it would have been bizarre if the three-year-olds didn’t effectively lose their minds with all the excitement.  Neither of them have the faintest idea that this move isn’t a perfectly wonderful decision, set up entirely to let them have more play time.

L is exhausted, I think as much from the details of moving as from the constant load of stress she has been carrying alone for several months.  I’m hoping she can find some quiet time to just gather herself together… once the initial toddler freakout fades, of course.

Willem is, right this second, picking Emily up from camp.  The plan had been that all three of us would go, but I woke up this morning with a hard knot of anxiety wrapped around my esophagus and really didn’t want to expose myself to the summer camp environment if I could avoid it.  And because he is a kind and generous rhinoceros husband, he immediately assured me that there was no reason for both of us to go, he could get her, I could stay home with Jacob and make a “Welcome Home” sign… he’s a good egg.  He has shown it in a lot of small ways this week, like how he worried about choosing just the right bedding for L’s room, “Because I know, we’re helping, blah blah blah, but nobody wants to be moving into a room in someone’s house.  So I want it to feel as safe and comfortable as possible, not like we’re doing her a favor.  I just want her to feel welcome here.”  And like how, at dinner Thursday, he leaned into odd postures to prevent the sun from glaring directly in my eyes, without comment.

So, we’re good.  It’s going to work out well, all of this chaos and new people and confusion.  And if nothing else, I will leave this experience with a true awareness of just how blessed and special is the silence that descends after all of the children have gone to bed.



  1. I seldom laugh out loud at posts but the equation tipped me over. And please can I be part of the scientific study group? And I have to also say, with only a tiny view of the story, we should all be so lucky as to have friends such as you in our lives. Props all ’round. The journey beginneth!

  2. Sheer genius!

    Seriously, you & your family are rockin’ the true-friends-in-time-of-need card.

  3. He’s a good man, your husband.
    What happens to the equation, when you add a third? You’ll have to work that one out over drinks at the beach.
    I hope it goes well for everyone, all around. I know that I would have to be in a very bad situation to accept this gift from a friend.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: