To some, the witching hour is a time of night when supernatural creatures are believed to be particularly active. To parents, it is the time between 3pm and bedtime when your child transform into little monsters and there is little you can do about it, short of an exorcism. When my daughter gets off the bus in the afternoon, she transforms into a head spinning Linda Blair, going through a range of emotions in a 5 minute time span. Once the boy gets involved, all bets are off. Together, the two of them can get so reved up, the Tasmanian Devil would be put to shame.
As the clock loudly clicks off the minutes until The Witching Hour, my dread builds and I am desperate to rush through things, hoping the clock will move faster and bedtime will approach quicker. Feeding dinner at 3:30pm and in pjs by 4:00 does not make bedtime approach any faster. (believe me, I have tried) Play dates come to an end and I find myself wanted to grab the other mother and scream “Please don’t leave me alone with them! Take me with you!”
If trouble is to arise, it will do so in The Witching Hour. Take yesterday for example. After leaving my play date with Jen and our friend, Rachel, I make my way home to see my husband off for the week on a business trip. As he prepares to leave, the whirling in the air becomes distinct….the creatures are awakening and are preparing for flight. They smell fresh meat. I’m alone and outnumbered. It is only a matter of time before they descend and settle in for the kill.
The first sign it is going to be a long night is the kids complaining about being starving and its only 4:00 pm. Even after an after school snack, they are writhing in pain from the hunger ….so I start dinner….at 4pm. (We apparently are on the Senior Citizen meal schedule, but I guess when you wake up at 5am, this schedule totally makes sense.)
I am routinely interrupted by questions of when dinner will be done and refereeing the WWF smack down going on in the living room. I get through dinner somewhat unscathed…DJ only left the table 10 times and peed his pants twice and Livy Lu only asked if she was going to vomit 4 times. (long story)
As I clean up from dinner, I realize that in my haste to get dinner on the table, I have inadvertently put the plastic spoon rest holder on the back burner….which was still hot. I now have a melted spoon rest seized to my ceramic cook top. Great! I tried to wiggle it, but that sucker is on there tighter then a pair of skinny jeans so I decide to turn the burner on again to heat up the plastic, then scrape off the spoon rest. Again, in my haste to get through this and closer to the bedtime routine, I pull on the spoon rest, which isn’t quite ready to give up its hold on my stove top. Next thing I hear is an enormous “CRACK!” and the ceramic top breaks into three pieces. Next thing my children hear is a scream and a long burst of cuss words, which I am promptly reminded by my daughter that I now owe “a lot of nickels” in the swear jar (yeah we have one of those, I admit it, but that’s a whole other post).
As I stand there in horror, the first thing that enters my mind is “my husband is going to flip!” the second thought is “we can’t afford a new stove!” The third thing is “Sh#@t! It’s only 5 o’clock! I still have three hours till bedtime! After kicking a few things and putting my money in the swear jar ( I put in a fiver, just to be on the safe side), I fired up the iPad to see if this disaster was fixable. It turns out the part was not too expensive (I’ll take a $300 repair over a $1000 hit for a new stove any day!) and the repair doesn’t look to difficult to do it myself. The only bugger is it looked like the part was not in stock so I decide to call the company and talk to a live person about the issue.
Now if you are a parent reading this, you probably just cringed when I mentioned making a phone call. Why? Because in the laws of the universe, and especially during the witching hour, making a phone call with children around is about as easy as eating just one Lays potato chip…it’s almost impossible to do. You would have more success plucking your eyebrows in the dark then trying to have a coherent phone call while children are within a 12 mile radius. But, as I said, I was already frazzled from being in the witching hour so my thinking was skewed.
As soon as I connected with a live person, the decibel level in the house started rising. First, I was bombarded with meaningless questions, followed by a wrestling match and ending with Dr. D scratching Livy Lu then throwing a flashlight, nailing her in the back. Amazingly, I was able to order the new cook top and hopefully it will be sent to my address since I just said yes when the woman read back my info because I had a wailing 8 year old trying to sit on my lap.
After checking out various injuries and doling out the appropriate sympathies, I calmed the monsters down enough and tried to proceed with the evening.
Me: Hey, Peanut. Could you put your shoes away and start picking up your toys so we can watch a show?
Liv: (hands on her hips) Mom. I’ve been punched, scratched and had a flashlight thrown at me…..I’ve been through a lot.