That's a new calculation I learned tonight. It's sort of like the E = MC2 of parenting: A basic formula of parenting physics that says for every minute of uninterrupted adult conversation, there are 50 square feet of carpet coated in multi-colored glitter glue. It's like for every action there's a reaction; what goes up must come down; and force = mass times acceleration. It's that fundamental.
"GLITTER GLUE?!" I asked my friend incredulously. We were sitting on her couch under two blankets, facing each other and chatting like college juniors in a doubles suite while our four collective children--two boys and two girls ages 8, 5, 5, and 2--amused themselves amid EXTREMELY suspicious silence in the next room.
"So THAT'S why it's so quiet in there!" I looked at her with a grave expression on my face. "You do realize what you've done, don't you?"
"Oh yes," she said dismissively with a wave of her hand. "I'm aware. I already made that mental calculation in my head and decided it was worth it."
"Oh, OK," I replied tentatively. "As long as you know what you're getting into. Glitter. And glue. TOGETHER." My friend nodded. "I figure they're happy, no one's getting hurt, no one's screaming, no one's fighting. What's a little glitter glue on the rug? We get to sit here and talk while they're entertaining themselves."
And if by entertaining themselves, I thought, you mean spreading glitter glue all over the carpet (albeit innocently and inadvertently in the service of art) then yes--they are definitely entertaining themselves.
It wasn't long before the two sides of the equation equalized, and somebody ran out to report a spill. But by then, my friend and I had covered quite a few topics. (Granted, I talk fast).
"See? Wasn't that worth it,?" she asked, rising instinctively to fetch a roll of paper towels. I guess so, I thought. But it's also not my house.
Then I got home to my house, and the downstairs was such a shit hole, glitter glue would actually have been a massive improvement.
And that, my friends, is saying something.