Timeout: The Sackler Laws (Part 2 1/2)

The Laws of Kid and Canine Chaos

Having kids is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.”–Alan Bleasdale

Part B: The Equation of Kid Chaos.  As the number of kids in any household or otherwise confined environment increases, the chaos generated by said kids increases logarithmically.

As we saw in Part A of this law, The Equation of Canine Chaos, dog generated insanity increases exponentially as dog population increases.  With kids it is infinitely more complex; so we see:

Heaven help us! (even if we are not pious)

When n=1 then Ck=1, but when n>1 then Ck=10n-1

So…n is the number of kids present in a given environment, and Ck is the potential kid-generated chaos in that environment.   In plain English?  The potential chaos increases by an order of magnitude with each kid added!  In other words—for the mathematically challenged among you—two kids may be 10 times as chaotic as one; three may be 100 times as chaotic; four, 1000 times, and so on.

But the increase in analytical complexity here is far greater than the math.  For dogs, the equation is for actual chaos and is a good average.  For kids, it is only for potential chaos, and is somewhere between an approximation and a wild guess.  For one thing, the interactions between children are so complex that they quickly become incalculable.  A good metaphor for this is Newton’s laws of gravity when applied to orbital mechanics of celestial objects: the interaction between two of them is precisely calculable, but as soon as you add even one more the math becomes intractable.

This does not even bring into the equation the question of other variables, such as age, upbringing, setting and proximity to bedtime.  Setting is particularly important.  For example, put 20 nine-year-olds in a catechism class taught by an angry nun wielding a ruler, and the chaos will appear so infinitesimal even the CERN supercollider would be hard pressed to detect it.  Now put the same twenty kids in an unsupervised free swim in a public pool, and you’ll pin the needle on the Richter scale.

But wait, it gets worse!  Dog chaos is pretty obviously measured by noise and activity; but with kids that doesn’t completely tell the tale.   Even when they are quiet there is no telling what’s going on in their little crania.  Take, for example, those twenty tykes in the catechism class.  They may appear behaved now, but what they are plotting to do to that nun when class gets out makes Lord of the Flies look like a sitcom.

This brings us to the most perplexing problem of all: putting multiple kids and dogs together and attempting to calculate what will happen.  It is not unlike trying to unify relativity and quantum mechanics into a single theory of quantum gravity.   In discussing this with my cousin Marion, I asserted that she could not imagine what the equation would look like.  Her sly reply was that she could not even imagine what the room would look like!  Not being one to back off from a challenge, I found this image which fairly represents what both the resulting math and the domicile will look like.

The Equation of Combined Kid AND Canine Chaos

With that,  have a great holiday week and brace yourself for more.


  1. Please, I am begging for help! Is there any way for you to calculate the chaos equation when 25 fifth graders are confined to indoor recess? Two days of indoor recess? A week?
    I would like to present your finding at our next teacher contract negotiations……

  2. You know, I kind of glossed over the equation earlier, but now that I see it, I think that you’re right, although perhaps it’s e^n-1 …. I’m not sure, because I’ve never had kids, but it just seems like a natural log would be more appropriate.

    • You’re assuming my math skills go that far! Anyway, what if one of the kids should have a name like, say, Benedict Cumberbatch? (This is an in joke for those of you who haven’t read Dave’s excellent “Blog of Funny Names,” Be sure to check on it–and Benedict Cumberbatch–at )

  3. Haha, I’m honestly not sure. My mind can barely fathom the name “Benedict Cumberbatch” (or “Bandersnatch Cummerbund”), let alone figure out how to express that name’s effects mathematically. All I can say is that it would bump up the family’s awesomeness quotient by at least one order of magnitude.

  4. Hysterical!!!

    • Glad you liked it. Of course, my wife and I only had one kid so my authority might be somewhat suspect. As far as the Dog part of it, though, this asylum is run by the inmates.

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