The Witching Hours

          Here’s another thing no one tells new parents in the hospital. “By the way, when your beautiful bundle of joy gets a little bigger, he or she will turn into a manic, sassy, shrieking, hitting, kicking, and/or biting lunatic every day about 4 p.m.” Unfortunately, this corresponds with the time of day when parents are exhausted, hungry, and have a desperate need to use the bathroom after too many hours of holding it. The result? Parents tend to become shrieking lunatics as well, and somebody ends up crying. (Usually the parent.)
          I wasn’t prepared for this. No one warned me, yet now that I’ve compared notes with other parents, it seems to happen in most households. The obvious reason is that everyone is tired and hungry after a long day. In our house, hungry equals animalistic behavior, and I feel more like a zookeeper throwing out raw flesh to ferocious lions than a mom. None of the sweet poetry or decorative plaques I’ve ever seen about motherhood has mentioned this aspect of it. Maybe it could be a new line of greeting cards for Hallmark. “Roses are red, violets are blue, moms are like zookeepers, and they clean up poo. Thank you, Mom, for all that you do!”
          Food makes everyone happy for exactly 3.5 minutes. Then, they get a ridiculous burst of energy, apparently from the high quality ingredients in the hot dogs and mac & cheese they’ve just consumed, and all three children begin sprinting in circles around the living room. Daddy and I count the laps in this Indy 500 until the inevitable crash. Bodies fly everywhere, followed by 3 seconds of silence and then concurrent wails of outrage and pain. The first few times, Daddy and I ran to give kisses. Now, we quote Bill Cosby, “The same thing happens every night,” and yell from the kitchen, “If you weren’t running in the house, you wouldn’t have gotten hurt.”
          This is when the TV goes on, and stays on until bedtime. When I had one child, I vowed she would only watch one hour of TV each day. The guilt and horror of using TV as a babysitter provided the motivation to search the Internet and library for mind-enriching activities and quality parent-child interaction. Now that we’ve added twins, I believe three consecutive hours of TV are less likely to cause brain damage than someone getting hit over the head with a shopping cart.
          Fortunately, the witching hours have a beautiful conclusion: Bedtime. THIS is a magic time of day. You can’t help but hug a child wearing footy pajamas. Hugging turns to tickles and giggles and kisses on sweet, smooth cheeks. The traumas of the past few hours are easily forgotten, and bedtime stories and songs leave everyone feeling a warm glow. Mom and Dad whisper a goodnight and tiptoe away, exhilarating in their love for their children, the completion of another day, and, finally, the grownup time they’ve been longing for since morning. Ah, peace.
          Until a little voice breaks the quiet with a whine. “Mom, I’m hungry!”

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Lynda Olsen
    Nov 18, 2010 @ 09:47:16

    Abby,
    You have done it again….made me laugh and nearly cry at the same time when I read your marvelous blogs. You are such an amazing writer and I truly wish you had more time to use your creative juices.

    Just know that many people enjoy your work and hope that you will ‘keep at it’ despite your time/effort constraints.

    Lynda

    Reply

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