We’ve all heard of the bedtime witching hour. When kids turn slightly ferrel and parents are counting down until the moment they can collapse on the sofa and ignore one another in marital bliss.
But did you know parenting involves a lot more witching hours than just the bedtime one…
The Early Morning Witching Hour
My kids are early risers. 6am is a normal wake up time. But there is that witching hour between 5 and 6 where you just know if they wake up there is no way they are going back to bed.
So of course it’s between 5 and 6 when your bladder wakes you up with a sense of urgency. You have to make the choice between a stealth trip to the bathroom trying not to wake anyone before you hot foot in back into bed for more precious sleep, or you lie there trying to ignore the ever mounting pressure on your bladder so you don’t disturb the kids but in the process you are not sleeping anyway!
This last precious hour of sleep is also when motorbikes speed by the house, the bin men come (always extra special on glass collection day), and the birds seem to be auditioning for a West-end show outside your bedroom window.
The School Run Witching Hour
In our house this one is only half an hour, but it is the longest half an hour of my day.
As early risers we are super organised. There is plenty of time for everyone to get dressed, eat, pack their bags and even play. I even allow extra time for the journey itself for picking up sticks and treading in dog poo.
But the moment I issue the words “Shoes on” everyone seems to loose their shit.
Little need some cajoling to go to school and Big gets stressed that we are going to be late, even though we never are.
There’s an argument about not wanting to wear a coat.
They decide to race to get ready, and Little has a meltdown when Big wins, because heaven forbid Big could let his little brother win so we can get out of the door.
By the time we arrive at school one of us is usually apologising for having shouted. The good thing is we all take it in turns to loose it at one another so no one feels left out.
By the time the whistle blows it feels like it should be lunchtime.
The Pre-mealtime Witching Hour
Keeping kids fed and watered is quite the balancing act. Not too much to drink before a car journey. Getting them to eat enough of a meal to sustain them until the next one. Never happens! One day they eat like birds, the next they devour everything in your house including the biscuits in the bottom of the barrel that no one normally eats.
It’s an hour before lunch and your kid demands food. You know that a snack now means they are not going to eat their lunch later. There is whinging. So much whinging. They declare they are “Staaarviiiiiing”. The repetition of their request for food ramps up and quickly escalates to every 20.5 seconds. And this my friends, is why we sometimes have lunch at 11am.
The Post Party Witching Hour
Is there anything more joyful than a child who has eaten a ton of sugar and been running around like a lunatic for 2 hours. Yes. Quite simply. There are a million and one things more joyful than a 5 year old on a post party come down with a sugar crash thrown in to.
Little is the kid that is dragged from parties kicking and screaming because he never wants the fun to end. It hits him hard when it does. Really hard. I have been know to leave the house and let the husband deal with the post party witching hour. It’s that bad!
The After School Witching Hour
You’ve missed your little cherubs and are waiting at the school gates with an enthusiastic smile, a hug and some snacks in your pocket. They emerge dragging their coats along the floor and grunt something that resembles hello.
The first hour after school is not a productive one in our house. It mainly involves tiptoeing round them so as not to ‘poke the bear’. They are tired, they are emotional. they are tittering on the edge of a meltdown. Words like ‘homework and chores are not advisable during this ‘unwind’ hour. Questions about the day are not welcome.
Eventaully the child you left at school this morning starts to reamerge and normal service is resummed, until…
The Bedtime Witching Hour
That lovely time of day when everyone is tired and has had enough of each others company. Excess energy is nosily expelled. Sibling rivalry is at is peak. Bedtime delay tactics are deployed.
The bedtime witching hour needs to be handled with military precision. If you want to get out alive avoid all eye contact. Looking into those baby blues will only result a weakening of will power and 22 bedtime stories.
A good parenting day will see you gliding through all of these witching hours without a meltdown in sight. A bad parenting day can often leave you reeling from the witching hours and wishing for happy hour!
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