Crouching Tiger, Hidden… Tiger

entropy  (ěn’trə-pē): A measure of the amount of energy in a physical system not available to do work. As a physical system becomes more disordered, and its energy becomes more evenly distributed, that energy becomes less able to do work… The amount of entropy is often thought of as the amount of disorder in a system.*

The house in in what could politely be termed “a state of disarray.” In my mom’s words, it looks “like a bomb hit it.” Either way, the place is a mess.

The thing is, we’re reasonably certain it was clean just last night. We tidied and cleaned before my grandparents came over for supper, and it looked quite good. But for some reason, over the course of a day, this house always (always!) manages to devolve into chaos at an alarming rate. I don’t want to point the finger at any innocent people here, but the amount of mess seems to have a direct correlation to the number of children present and the amount of time they spend a) awake, and b) in the house. I’m aware that correlation does not equal causation, but I’m sure the mess isn’t causing the children, and it’s no coincidence.

Tonight we’re looking at the same mess we have every evening: items from the play kitchen everywhere, items from everywhere in the play kitchen, dinky cars, books, crayons, dirt tracked in from outside, bits of cereal, abandoned juice cups, etc. Then there’s the mess that has appeared only in the last week or so, the stuff that Isaac dumps on the floor as he’s attempting to crawl around (usually succeeding in moving backwards or in circles). Today we had another mess (two, actually) relating to Norah’s previously mentioned refusal to poop on the potty- I’ll spare you the details. I’m just glad I wasn’t the one who had to clean it up. Eeeeewwww…

What amazes me is how, when everything seems to be out in plain sight, so many things can go missing. Let’s take Ta as an example. Ta, Simon’s stuffed tiger and very bestest friend, has been disappearing lately. We don’t tend to notice until naptime or bedtime are approaching, and then it’s panic time. Simon patters around, going “A where Ta? Where’d he go Ta? Where Ta go?” and calling, “Taaaaa! Oh TAAAAAAA!” Cute, but not really helpful.

Ta shows up in various places. A few nights ago, we didn’t find him at all, and Simon had to go to bed without him; the next morning, Mom found Ta in the refrigerator of the play kitchen. Why we didn’t think to look there, I can’t imagine… Tonight when bedtime rolled around, good old Ta was once again nowhere to be found. After searching the bedrooms, the living room, the bathrooms and the back yard, I headed downstairs. Downstairs is my brother’s territory- him and Norah, and his girlfriend Madelyn when she’s here. Dad watches TV down there, but that’s about it for the rest of the family. I didn’t think Ta would be down there, but, well, he’s a troublesome tiger at times. I found him curled up in a corner, beside the rocking chair in Norah’s room. Good hiding spot, but I won this round, my furry friend.

I came across a definition of entropy a few weeks ago- the tendency of things to move towards a state of chaos (or homogenization, either way), unless energy is added which will prevent this from happening. This has to be true- I see it every day. It happens in your house, too. Even if you’re the world’s most anal-retentive neat-freak, it happens; the only reason your house looks so nice is because you put energy into keeping it that way. Left on its own, your food would rot, dust would collect, and your pictures would all start to hang at funny angles for no apparent reason. See? Chaos. Mwa ha ha!

Madelyn and I were talking it over, and we think we’re going to open this house up to the public, charge admission, and call it “The Entropy Museum: Disorder InAction”. It’ll be a big hit with the tourists, I can feel it.


*”entropy.” The American Heritage® Science Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company. 07 Sep. 2008. <>.

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