It’s 5 o’clock somewhere and I don’t mean in a Margaritaville sort of way. It’s that time of day when hell unleashes it’s fury in homes of toddlers and small children everywhere. It’s that moment when everyone comes unhinged and the house falls apart: the “witching hour” as some people refer to it.
As parents try to channel their inner Jimmy Buffet and stay calm through the chaos, conditions in the household continue to rapidly deteriorate. Infants are clinging to their parents as if their house is a boat and it’s quickly sinking. Toddlers turn into little Tasmanian Devils, and the older kids decide that now is the best time to test out their wrestling and karate moves on each other. While everyone is losing their minds, parents are desperately trying to get dinner on the table while suppressing the urge to transform into the Hulk.
To provide a little context for you, I’ll recount for you my 5 o’clock hour that occurred just yesterday in our household. First, it started with my one year-old wiping his snotty face all over my legs, then proceeding to reach his yogurt covered hands up through my shorts to my underwear. All the while, I’m trying to wash dishes and get dinner ready for everyone.
Somehow I managed to get dinner on the table and three of the four children seated. Things were going smoothly until someone spilled water all over the floor and we had to clean it up. Meanwhile, my one year-old needed his saturated diaper changed so we proceeded towards the bedroom. But, on the way I got called by my potty training three-year-old to the bathroom where she decided it was a convenient time to poop in the potty. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy she decided to do that but her timing was a little inconvenient.
Once I finally made it into the bedroom, I discovered that my one year-old had gotten into the Valentine’s Day chocolates and was happily helping himself to a bite of each one. I finally managed to wrestle him to the ground to change his diaper only to be bathed in his fountain of bodily fluids the second the diaper came off.
So….I went to the laundry room and found the carpet cleaner (after getting a new diaper on my son) and took care of the mess. With this flurry of activity complete, it was now 5:20 and the next 40 minutes seemed to run in super slow motion as my children painstakingly took bite after nauseatingly slow bite of food.
Finally, six o’clock rolls around and dinner finishes. I breathe a sigh of relief as the older kids clean up, change into PJs, and settle down for their evening show before bed. This is kind of like the eye of the storm. Things calm down for a bit but then chaos resumes when the bedtime struggle begins.
Tantrums and meltdowns kick in again as I torture my children with the horrid punishment called brushing teeth. I must admit I was caught off guard when my first child was born and I started brushing his teeth. For someone who loved to shove anything and everything in his mouth, I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t love getting a toothbrush shoved in his mouth, too. But, it is what it is, and all my little ones hate it.
After brushing teeth, using the potty, airplane rides to bed, stories, and prayers, I kiss the kids goodnight and it is finally mommy’s “happy hour”. I get my class of wine, relax a little before bed, and prepare to start this all over again, because in our house there is another “witching hour”: it’s called morning!
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