Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Mysterious Reconstitution of the Number 2 (TWO!) and the Subsequent Demise of the Frazzles

Mathematicians in Washington state are beginning to take interest in the seemingly erroneous proclamations of a Bellingham toddler. For the sake of anonymity we shall call her Little-Miss-Hyperactive-Spaghetti-Hands (LMHSH).

One expert remarked, "I'm starting to think maybe [Little-Miss-Hyperactive-Spaghetti-Hands], who's learning to count right now, is on to something. Her arithmetic is a little unconventional--one might even say radical--but I'm starting to suspect that what would seem to be mathematical folly is actually a profound truism that could drastically alter the lives of many everyday people, not just mathematicians."

If you place a group of objects in front of LMHSH and ask her how many there are she'll tell you enthusiastically that there are "TWO!" No matter if there are five or a dozen, she will assure you that there are only two. This is what the mathematicians are so interested in, and what they are beginning to believe is in fact true: the experience of two in real life is drastically different than can be forecast based on equations such as 1+1=2.

Now let me present to you a photograph that illustrates one example of the kind of sad repercussions this radical new math can have on families. As you can see there is a table set for two (But let us be clear about this number two. This table is set for the old number two, the one civilizations have come to know and love over the last several millenia, the two that is only one more than one.) The dinner looks reasonably tasty and is even accompanied by a couple glasses of wine. But that is where the predictable pleasantries and pleasant predictabilities end, for the dinner of this couple (let us call them Mr. Frazzle and his wife Exhaustina) is not occurring at a dining room table or restaurant, nor on a picnic blanket or any other commonly used eating location. The Frazzles are eating their delicious Italian feast on a card table, in a bathroom, next to the toilet.

And the dirty diaper bin.

The Frazzles are adamant that they do not prefer such an arrangement and warn that this sort of thing is a direct result of the radical new mathematical laws professed by the toddler known as Little-Miss-Hyperactive-Spaghetti-Hands. Two is not two. It is five or six or ten. Experts believe that while LMHSH has been a leading proponent of the new mathematics she is not, in fact, the cause of the rupture. After much study it has been proposed that the small being on the right hand side of the image, while extremely cute and seemingly powerless, is the TWO! prophesied by LMHSH and is therefore the primary agent of this mathematical chaos and the attendant demise of the Frazzles.

More research is yet to be done to explain how and why a second child can more than double the demands on parents' time, but until that research is complete the Frazzles will likely need to continue to find innovative solutions for preserving their sanity.

UPDATE: The Frazzles have since vacated the bathroom and resumed more normal eating habits. They are however surprisingly proud of their creative problem solving and coping tactics. They are always on the lookout for other tips and tricks and ask that any readers with insights on how to live with TWO! share them in the comments.


Anonymous said...

This picture is perfect!! I love that you guys are eating at the table, playing cribbage, and taking care of your girls -- all at the same time!


Anonymous said...

oh... and the dogs smack in the middle of it :)

Love it :)


The Horne's said...

I feel like that is a picture that should be in a magazine titled "What's wrong with this picture" or "can you find..." or "Name the..."
That's fantastic!

The Gilfillans said...

First of all: you guys have a big bathroom to do all that.
Second: you do whatever it takes for sanity of the family.

Love it!

Carrie said...

Well, just wait until you have 3. It is so much easier. The transition from baby 1 to baby 2 is a difficult one. But from the Mount Vernon mathematician, lets see if there is some advice in the parenting standards. Standard 1--go to sleep as soon as the children do. Don't hang out, play on computer, just hop into bed and close your eyes. Standard 2--enjoy every frazzle minute. As these standards as still being developed and not ready for the general parenting population, remind yourself to smile, laugh, play & not take things too seriously. Your babies will be your friends before long.

Keep up the good work. I know parenting is a HARD job. My husband works atleast 6 days/wk 8+ hours so I usually have all 3 all the time. Hope to see you during the school year! Feel free to call if you ever need a listening ear!


theRachel said...

I was slightly lost until the second to last paragraph. Thanks for the elaboration...for those of us still dwelling blissfully in DINK-dom, we are not as able to comprehend the 1 + 1 = >2!

Jodi said...

Indeed you are so right. Two is not one more than one, and three is not one more than two. And stranger still is the fact that the results of such equations can vary day to day. One day two may be five, and the very next day two may be eighty-seven.

I think you guys are awesome. Families that eat dinner in the bathroom together stay together. I'm pretty sure I heard that somewhere.

Colleen said...

On the bright side, the more time you spend in the bathroom, the less time you have to spend cleaning the rest of the house! Isn't there another law that states 2 children = 3 (or more) times the mess?

Jen said...

Being a ONE (in the traditional mathematical sense), I have nothing to offer in this department.

I do, however, enjoy hearing of the escapades of my TWO-no-longer-two friends and naively believing that their stories will make my future TWO-not-two-dom easier and less crazy.

I haven't yet heard of anything as clever as dinner in the bathroom, though. Kudos.