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.