Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Witching Hour

I have the same problem every morning -- getting the kids out the door, with everything they need, without being late or losing my mind or my temper. And because we set timers and countdown to 8:24 like we're NASA getting ready to launch, we're actually pretty successful at avoiding drama as we head to school.

And then, about nine hours later, I think some sort of other NASA countdown happens in my house. One that I didn't initiate, but can neither stop nor keep from turning into a full system failure every furkin' night.

We call it The Witching Hour.

What the hell happens at 5:30pm? Does the gravitational pull of the moon get stronger or something? Is it because it's sorta day and sorta night? Are they part canine? [Editor's Note: Because my geriatric gimpy beagle can tell you within about two minutes on either side when it's his dinnertime. Even if you factor in daylight savings, that dog knows when it's time to eat. -Kate] What is it about the 90 minutes between 5:30 and 7:00pm that turn my children into treacherous, sniveling, whiny, loud, interrupt-y people?


Lefty and Happy go from being buds and co-horts into being each other's punching dummies and tattle bitches. A game of basketball h-o-r-s-e turns into a shriek fest of "GIMME THE BALL! IT'S MY TURN!" "NO! IT'S MY TURN! YOU'RE A HO!" "NUH-UH! I'M A HOR! YOU'RE A HO!" And then invariably someone takes a ball to the face.


McGee celebrates the 5:30 arrival by overdosing on her own hormones. [I'm really enjoying the pre-teen years, thanks for asking. The only thing that makes it at all funny is that right when I'm escaping it, Lydia will be plunging in. -Kate] I swear if that kid stomps across the floor one more time, she's going to plummet right through into the basement. It's amazing she doesn't have permanent damage from all that eye rolling. How many times can you possibly focus on the inside of your own forehead before your tendons just snap?

Ninety minutes later, it's over. Partly because - again - their internal clocks have somehow determined that it was time to return to their normal, fuzzy cuddly selves. Partly because they've eaten and seen McLovin, which tends to ricochet everyone back from their Lord of the Flies mentality. And, partly because I've screamed myself so stupid that it's entirely possible they're still acting like rabid howler monkeys and I'm just too dumb to notice.

And then I sit at the table like I just escaped from a psych ward in Rikers and look at McLovin, who's quietly reading through the mail and drinking a beer, and he says, "So, how was everything today?" and I think about telling him about The Witching Hour and how sometimes I think they do it on purpose just to f**k with me because it all comes to a grinding halt about 17 seconds before he walks in the door. 

As an experiment last week, I moved the clocks back twenty minutes. Well, thank you Science. Because not only did you prove that it is in fact nature and not nurture that makes the Crazy happen every night, but you were so kind as to drill the point home by making it last until it truly was 7pm. That extra twenty minutes was just. so. fantastic.

So here's the thing, Witching Hour. I'm ready for you now. I've got snacks ready, fun things to do, some water, a timer, and a strategy in place. Bring it on. Tomorrow night, I'll totally be hiding in the curtains.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

26 comments:

  1. There's no coincidence that "Happy Hour" falls at the same time as the "Witching Hour." I truly believe Happy Hour was invented by moms to make to the other side of the Witching Hour... My kids have perfected the art of the Witching hour, and my wine cabinet is always FULL. Cheers girl.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ours starts while I am making dinner and lasts until bath time at 7:30. It's total Hell. All I do is scream at them to stop hitting, biting, kicking, chasing, screaming... it's enough to push bedtime to 7 some nights. Especially if the hub is gone for whatever Army BS they have him doing (like now). On occasion I cook with my music LOUD and pretend I can't hear them... but that's when #2 will show up with a gaping head wound (like last time hub was gone). Good to know it's not just me that has to weather the nightly storm of crazy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. When mine were tiny I had friends talk about the Witching Hour...I thought it was myth...until the Myth, the Legend, came a'visiting at my doorstep. I am like Allie and sometimes cook w/the radio on loud trying to drown out the BS going on in the next room. I swear that my children can fight over air molecules. I try to make sure they get a SMALL snack at 5:00 and have things to occupy them - HA! Sometimes I get lucky and can make dinner w/out interruption, but usually I'm doing well to sit it on the table at 7 when Daddy gets home - which always ends the chaos cuz we all wanna sit by Daddy. He's been working late a lot though, so I've been trying to move dinner earlier - sometimes dinner breaks the cycle. It's all a roll of the dice!! Good to know my house isn't possessed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This hilarious and so true, especially the part about how oblivious Dad is to it all. It just dissolves the minute he walks in the door!

    You know what's worse than the witching hour? The witching hour on a snow day. Actually, the whole snow day becomes a witching DAY. (I type this as we're bracing for another blizzard tomorrow. F-bomb.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I completely agree with Lattelover. Wine starts at 5:30 and ends when the whining ends. At first I thought I was drinking alone, until I talked to every.single.other.mom.I.know.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mine starts at 4 and lasts until 6. The best way I have dealt with it thus far is that the 3 year old naps until 6, dad gets home at 5 and there is still mega drama from the 5 year old.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm going to have to ask you to CEASE AND DESIST watching the Nanny Cams you obviously have planted in my house! Thank you very much!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I really did think I was the only one whop dealt with this and that there was either something truly wrong with my spawn or with me.

    ReplyDelete
  9. OH MY GOD.... here it's about 4:30-7:30. The sad part is, my 81 year old grandmother is JUST AS BAD AS THE KIDS! And she ALWAYS says OH, dinner time was always the WORST part of the day. And here she is being an interrupt-y, whiney IHP. Awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yeah, I am the bad mom here...my TV gets turned on invariably at 5-5:30pm (at least after homework) every evening when this #$%@ starts. I am all for letting technology help me through the witching hour especially since daddy works most nights. Frankly, I find the nights he is home he doesn't help much just adds to the frenectic energy that already abounds!

    ReplyDelete
  11. My grandma used to call this the "arsenic hour" because you just want to kill yourself. LOL! But yeah, it definitely happens here too!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have three boys, ranging in age from 17 years to 6 years old, and the witching hour for them begins at 3:30 p.m. and lasts until 8 p.m. My husband thought I was exaggerating greatly when I would call him at work occasionally (because I needed to hear a soothing voice to calm me) to tell him that his children (notice what I did there?) were insane little zippers with the mental capacity of goldfish, secretly schooled by flying squirrels and wild boars--and should be committed immediately.

    He felt I was prone to theatrics, for when he walked in the door, everyone was usually sitting at the table feeding their faces, so my ramblings made me look like I had inhaled Drain-o earlier. But that all changed when he took them bowling (without me, cause I needed a break!) last night. When he stomped through the door at 9 p.m., murder in his eye, I knew... I KNEW--and am not ashamed in admitting feeling gleeful and more than a bit vindicated, because he just experienced what I go through every afternoon/early evening--and why I'm more cuckoo than any mom I know. I'd say I'm waiting for him to apologize, but know that's never going to happen...

    ReplyDelete
  13. I had this conversation with a friend of mine who's husband is from Spain. After listening to us talk about this phenomenon, he asks "Haven't you ever watched animals at those hours.. they do the same thing". To this day I'm not sure if that was supposed to make me feel better or worse.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You lost me at "tattle bitches" because I couldn't focus on anything after discovering the best. phrase. ever. Would you believe my kids occasionally (I swear this is true) TATTLE ON EACH OTHER FOR TATTLING ON EACH OTHER??? I'm soon going to start duct-taping their mouths shut two notes into the "Mommeeeee, she bab bla bla ba bla meeeeeee!" song.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Mine do it too, and the hubs "finally" got a dose of it between Christmas and New Years. He sort of understands now why I'm in bitch mode every night he walks in the door...

    ReplyDelete
  16. I actually call this the "suicide hour" because that's what you actually feel like doing.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm reminded yet again why I only have one kid... my 9 yr old girl has her moments believe me.. and it's usually around 6-7 that she's the most rotten but since it's just her and me she has no one else to feed off of lol

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sorry, I can't get past the Oprah Zombie on the side of the page. I know she's suposed to be rolling her eyes, but she's freeking me out!

    ReplyDelete
  19. This post reminds me why I love you guys more than chocolate. I often say comment that it is turning into Lord of the Flies over here at Chez Babineau and that the boys are about to roast and eat each other or me. My husband is clueless. I did have to use the BatPhone last week to call him and tell him to come home because (and I quote) I could not physically stand to be with these children one more moment. Needless to say, a 40 minute drive took him 30 minutes and my children are still alive.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Ever heard of "Sundowners Syndrome" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundowners_syndrome)?

    I swear to God, kids have it too.

    ReplyDelete
  21. LMAO!!!!!!!! That is SOOOOOOOO my house but here it starts at 4:30 and goes until about 6ish...EVERY. DANG. DAY. Maybe it's cause mine go to bed at 7...they feel the need to get it all in so they start earlier. We also call it the witching hour so this just had me in freaking hysterics!

    ReplyDelete
  22. that's why you should start drinking at 5

    ReplyDelete
  23. I don't even look at the clock to see when this begins in our house! When my 16 yr old and my friend's 3 yr old are home, IT'S ON! Period. Since we don't have curtains, I want to hide under the table until bedtime. Two single moms... no Daddy to distract screaming mini-maniacs with his presence. Pass. the. hard. stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  24. In our house it's called the Baboon Hour. As in the metamorphasis from a sweet, loving, obedient toddler to a petulant primate. Baboons, all of them.

    ReplyDelete
  25. That is freakin' hilarious. We usually have a repeat of the witching hour at bedtime, but with lots of grunts and groans.

    ReplyDelete
  26. OMG ... so that's what it's called? Yup, every day here too. It usually starts the instant I pick them up from the school bus stop until after we have supper. My 16 yr son & 9 yr old daughter argue & hit, which results in her ear-splitting little girl screams, then my 11 yr old daughter jumps in with the hormonal stuff. I read that paragraph to my son & he said "Sounds just like her!"

    ReplyDelete

ShareThis

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts