baby math

March 26, 2010 at 8:32 pm Leave a comment

I’ve been thinking a lot about babies. No wonder, I guess, with the little bean that lives in the front house making super cute appearances each day.

With each glimpse of that sweet little bundle I find myself analyzing group dynamics. A while back Nathan and I did some reading about the number of people in a group and how it affects the stability and peace of that group. Uneven numbers are unstable, like three or five. In situations like this, one person will often peel off and find an individual task to get absorbed in, which then reduces the group to a more stable number. When all five of us in our family are together at one time, it can be pretty crazy. Trundling out of the house, or loading into the car for a shared adventure, these moments when we are attempting to work together, can be especially tricky. Other times I notice events are flowing quite harmoniously and I look around and find that one of us is absorbed in net surfing, or taking a shower, reducing us to the stable number of four.

And if one of us doesn’t peel away, we stabilize in other ways. For instance, maybe pet will play a prominent role for a time, acting as a sixth member of the group. Other times friends join us. Yesterday we had a peaceful play group at our house, we enjoyed a measure less of the usual chaos. I was perplexed by this until, after everyone had gone, I counted the people who had been present. Ten.

It makes sense. So as a fertile woman, starting to wean my toddler, and in close contact with a newborn, my baby distracted mind starts to do the math. If we add another child, we would be crazy! But we would also be creating a group of six instead of five. More peace, and more harmony. Hmmmm. But four children! Holy cow. But awhile ago we had our little toddler girlfriend with us and instead of increasing the insanity, having another child round out the numbers chilled us out. Nathan and I talked to each other, and the kids paired off. So maybe it isn’t so crazy.

But, as you all know by now, ours is a modern family. So adding a child to the days we have just Echo with us would be good for group dynamics, we would be increasing from three to four. On the days we have Bella as well we would increase from five to six. Pretty good… But on the days we have Echo, Xi, and not Bella we’d have five again. So you can imagine the logarithms I’ve been running in my mind just because I like the smell of the baby next door.

In case you were wondering, eight is the best number for group productivity. So all any of us have to do in order to increase harmony in our households is to pop out six children. No problem!

Just kidding.

Mostly these thoughts make me think about the reproductive drive of humans. And the power of babies to render an otherwise perfectly sane lady into a math scholar. It also makes me think of what I would want in place if I ever were to have another. Money, a completely weaned toddler, more time with my parents and sister. Which leads to more thoughts of designing my life, life maps, law of attraction, and the like. Heady stuff.

Oh, you babies. You get us all topsy-turvy.

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closer than I thought eyes wide open

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