Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Elementary Physics

All hail spring time! The warm weather has been great for my sanity, because my children love to be outside. Last night, CPod came home from work and played with the boys outside. ConMan had asked me to teach him how to throw a football. Yeah, good luck with that one, son. We'd better leave that task to Daddy. So they were all outside doing boy things, and I was all by myself inside.

I listened to this:

And while I reveled in the glorious violin skill that is Lara St. John playing the J. S. Bach Sonatas and Partitas, I made real food for dinner -- in other words, not morning sickness friendly-food. Yes, friends, we had more for dinner last night than crushed pineapple suspended in cherry Jell-o. Even better, I slept less than ten hours last night and I am significantly more functional than a zombie this morning. I hesitate to make this declaration, but I think I am finally out of the woods. 12 weeks sounds about right for that, doesn't it?

Now that I am out of the fog and can see my home clearly once again, I am appalled at the level of disorganization that surrounds me. Usually, I can't function like this. What am I talking about? I haven't been functioning! I've been surviving, and, as I'm sure you will all agree, there is a significant difference between functionality and survival.

A brief definition, and explanation:

entropy \ˈen-trə-pē\
1. the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a closed system
2. the degradation of matter and energy to an eventual state of inert uniformity

(Thank you very much,

Have you ever heard of Chaos Theory? It's a mathematical theory stating that (and I'm way oversimplifying here) something may look as if it was created randomly, but its creation was determined by certain conditions at the outset. In other words, things that look disorganized and random, usually aren't. The location of each component can be traced in a sort of cause-and-effect genealogy back to the very germ that was its inception. And the most insignificant, miniscule change can have very surprising and far-reaching consequences. Fractals, geometric figures composed of seemingly random iterations of a pattern in smaller and smaller scales, are a very visual example of this (Thank you, wikipedia, for this julia set):

(And thank you, Mrs. Caldwell, for forcing me to learn about fractals in junior high algebra.)

When you consider the world around us, you can find examples of entropy and Chaos Theory everywhere. Think of what happens to your yard if you don't mow the grass, weed the flower beds, and take care of things in general. Dandelions take over, but only until the grass is tall enough to choke them out. It becomes a mess of disorganization and, well, entropy. And though it looks random, every single uninvited plant is there because some bird dropped a seed that it consumed elsewhere and then passed over your garden, or because a gust of wind (also not random, by the way) carried it from its parent plant miles away. Each of these things can be explained, and if not exactly quantified, estimated. To quote a platitude I usually abhor, everything happens for a reason. (Completely unrelated: for a really great example of everything happening for a reason, read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.)

Can you see where I'm going with this? Don't feel bad if you can't -- I'm not sure I can either.

I believe that my children are real-life, honest-to-goodness superheroes. They are agents of The Universe. I wouldn't be surprised to find out they have secret agent code names and use talking Transformers toys to communicate with their superiors. Their special gifts? They are Entropy Specialists. They excel at facilitating the ultimate goal of our physical surroundings: the creation of disorder, the degradation of matter, the achievement of "inert uniformity" (everything is exactly the same, evenly distributed, and not moving). How do I know this?

Oh, I have evidence. I have seen MayDay's unparalleled skill in unfolding and tossing an entire basket of neatly sorted and folded clothing. I swear to you, it's like seeing a fractal on my living room floor.

I have seen G-D0g's amazing ability to evenly scatter 5 trillion lego pieces across the shag carpet of the area rug in our living room. I'm telling you, it looks random, but it isn't random -- it's chaotic, and every move he makes has direction.

I have seen ConMan throw a ball in the house (absolutely not allowed, but it still happens) with such perfect precision that he achieves the maximum amount of mess when projectile meets intended target, be it picture frames on the mantel or a glass jar of Skittles (MayDay's potty treats).

And I have watched in wonder as one child or another sashays through the pile of dirt I have so carefully swept from the huge expanse of lovely cherry planks on our main floor, and manages to scatter every blasted crumb to the far corners of the rooms.

It would seem that through my six week nausea and fatigue-induced sabbatical, that entropy has been achieved in my home. Maybe the secret agents, mission complete, will retire from Disorder Enforcement. Probably not, though. Because I have not given up! I will continue to fight entropy with every fiber of my being! I will refold that laundry, pick up those legos, put those Skittles back in the jar, and resweep that floor. And I will do it all again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, ad infinitum until finally in my celestial mansion dust bunnies do not exist and order becomes the goal of the universe.

Gotta go. Time to start sweeping.


  1. Elementary physics? Uh... how about high school physics? Or way over my head in general physics? :) I'm totally kidding. I love watching your crazy mind work.

    I totally get you on the entropy specialists. I have absolutely seen my children enter a room dead set on destroying any order that lies therein. They are fast, they are determined, they are focused. They do not rest until there is chaos.

  2. You are so funny! And...I can totally relate!!! Glad you're feeling better.

  3. Yeay for back to normal!!!!

    In our house, toys are only picked up once a day ... no point on doing it before the little one goes to bed ... my living room is total chaos all day long. Ha =)

    Living in entropy as well ... difference is I only have 1 author of it all. (Ok may be my husband and I contribute to this as well ... or do we?!)

    Any pictures of your pregnant self available now that you are feeling better? Never hurt to ask, right?

  4. I could totally relate to this post. I'm rethinking the idea of ever getting our boys together...there could be some real damage done!!

  5. I love that you gave a shout out to Jackie! I'm sure she would be thrilled to read your post today. I'm so happy for you that you have passed the first trimester. Although the kids have probably loved the whole pineapple-in-jello sleeping mommy time, I'm sure that CPod will be glad to have you and your appetite back.

  6. I discovered long ago that one of the biggest conflcts in life is that between entropy and homeostasis -- which is the seeking for balance. This explains why, when we finally get it all together, life comes along with a weed whacker. Or something like that.

    I, too, am glad you're seeing daylight.

  7. I'm so glad that you're feeling better! And I too am so happy to have my kids playing outside. Has it not been the strangest spring?
    and so forth.
    Let's hope that now spring is here to stay!


Sock it to me!