Monday, 23 January 2012

Tooth Brushing With 2 year Olds and The Logisticians Triangle

It has been a little while since I have blogged about the adventures of Joel, my two year old son; so I thought I would rectify this situation.  Joel and I are best buddies and can quite often find joy in doing the most mundane tasks if they are done together.    Yesterday we cleared the garden of overgrown bushes and just hanging out was fun….so much fun Joel would have worked on into the darkness.  One task that doesn’t always fall into this category is tooth brushing.
Known as ee-ee-ee ah-ah-ah because of the sounds, it is absolutely imperative to make when brushing incisors and molars respectively Joel will happily dash to the bathroom eager to have another instalment of minty freshness.  All is going well so far but there are a lot oif variables that can throw your process:
Is the toilet seat up? – a raised toilet seat is inherently more interesting than one that is down and requires investigation….the more touching the better.
Is the shower curtain closed? – anything could be hiding behind there…..we best check it out
Is Keshie making a sound elsewhere? – We have to stop and cup our hands round one ear to check to see if she is crying.
Are there any unidentifiable sounds? – these may require anything from a cupped hand around the ear to a full on half clothed expedition downstairs.
Has Daddy left toys in the bath? – a reasonably new development Joel has climbed into the bath and filled it with water to play with those disaggregated toy stocks.

I have to admit if such things come into play tooth brushing can become stressful because my logisticians triangle is locked out.  What kind of mysticism is this you may ask…..perhaps some ancient Egyptian art?  Whilst I would like to come across as mystical and interesting it actually owes more to secondary education maths than mystics of Nuba.  The logistician’s triangle gives him a rough and ready idea of what is achievable…….. I don’t think I am betraying any magic circle like secrets here…… The three sides are as follows: Time ……Resource ……. Objective’s Perameters.   Where juts one of these is infinite anything is possible but the reality is juggling 3 limited commodities to make things happen.
Time – So Joel and I have around 3 – 5 minutes to brush our teeth before I have to get myself ready to leave the house for work.  It is unclear how Joel relates to the time commodity.
Resource – I only have two hands and a pair of eyes and I can only be in one place at one time, and I think it is well established wisdom that it takes more than two hands to grapple a wriggling two year old and only mothers get eyes in the back of their heads.
Objectives – Get  Joel in and out of Bath room with brushed teeth and minimal dampness to clothing.

There are days when this works smoothly and I leave for work unruffled and Joel arrives downstairs, dry, shiny and minty fresh.  On other days we can both leave the bathroom wet through, frustrated and something less than ready to face the day, usually because one of the variables (which I should have mentioned does include toilet roll to be pulled out into a large pile) has come into to play. 

"our definitions of passable are different my friend"

Well isn’t that just the logistician’s life.? Random things get fired into your perfectly functioning system just to make the job “interesting”; such as finding no one mentioed the road slid of the side off the mountain.    If you find yourself getting tied up in logistical toilet roll use your logistician’s triangle to assess the problem.  Scale one of its faces to stand on top and survey the problem a new.  If just one of your commodities is changeable in a slightly longer timescale, a slightly redefined target or another couple of bodies at the work face you will quickly see the stress ebb away.

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