The term “witching hour” is a common one among parents, and it seems to generally refer to the same time of day: the pre-bedtime, post-dinner zone, which in my household has become something of a daily cross to bear. We’re always trying to keep Dylan awake for just a bit longer (I’ve learned that 7 is the earliest he should go to bed, but that definitely doesn’t mean he’s a happy camper for the preceding half hour or so), we’re trying to deal with Riley who is alternating between bouncing off the walls and channeling Satan, we’re trying to bolt our own dinner, we’re simultaneously wanting to grab as much quality time with the kids as possible and wishing like hell they’d just go to bed already.

We used to deal with this time of day by taking the boys for a walk around the neighborhood, which was a perfect solution — they stayed entertained, and JB and I could chitchat while getting a little exercise. Now it’s just too damn dark outside, so we rattle irritatingly around the house like marbles in a can. Dylan gets fussier and fussier, Riley fine-tunes his ability to detonate people’s skulls with the sheer force of his whining, and I find myself staring glassy-eyed at the clock: has it really been only five minutes since the last time I looked, DEAR GOD IS THERE NO MERCY.

Those of you who have similar evening-time challenges, how do YOU deal with the Witching Hour? I could use some inspiration, because last night around 6:47 I spent a few minutes just sort of fondling a bottle of liquid Benadryl and thinking, would it really be so wrong?

I don’t even want to acknowledge Daylight Saving Time. That is going to suck, if you’ll pardon the expression, a giant bag of baboon assholes.


57 Responses to “In between days”

  1. Anji on October 26th, 2008 2:24 am

    It is SO freaky to see a comment by someone else with a kid called Orion. :D

  2. NIki on October 26th, 2008 10:28 am

    I can’t help with the pre-bedtime routine, since I missed that stage with StepSon. I wanted to comment briefly on the cracked-out behavior some of you have mentioned, because I see it occasionally in our 10-year-old. My fiance has explained to Stepson that when he gets overtired, when his body wants to just shut down but circumstances are keeping him awake, his “motor” has to rev up very high just to keep him awake. So, in our household, high energy at nighttime acts as an indicator that we’ve kept SS up too late. (I’m not suggesting that all rambunctious nighttime behavior is overtiredness. I’m pointing specifically to the frantic energy that follows a period of general calm, usually 30-60 minutes after SS’s bedtime.)

  3. kristylynne on October 27th, 2008 7:12 am

    I start the bedtime routine by 6:45ish most nights. Bed between 7:30 and 8. My boy likes to play in the bath so the bath is a good 20 minutes some nights. Then we brush teeth, put on jammies, roughouse a little and read 3-4 books. He does get a bit hyper right before bed but the routine does seem to help calm him down.

    Our witching hour is more like 4or 5 p.m., and we do usually go outside if weather permits. If not, and things get ugly, I turn on Clifford. (bad parenting, I know)

  4. Penne on October 27th, 2008 7:41 am

    Mine are big, now – 11 and 9 – but the only way we got through that time in their lives was with a BIG bathtub. My husband worked late then, so I was alone at the witching hour… I’d take a basket of laundry in the bathroom and fold and talk to them while they splashed and poured water from cup to cup…they were always mushy and sleepy (and smelled great) afterwards. I’d avoid any running, jumping, tickling, it just fires them up. The bath is relaxing and quieting. Good luck!

  5. Asheo on October 27th, 2008 8:29 am

    Lately my husband either gets down on the floor with Aiden (our 12 month old) and they throw a blue ball back and forth, or they stack ABC/123 blocks and knock them over. Or Daddy will get a snack and share it with Aiden to keep him amused until 7:45 ish on non-bath nights (on bath nights he’s in the bath at 7:30)… bedtime is at 8:00.

  6. Elisette on October 27th, 2008 2:29 pm

    Our witching hour is actually the hour or two BEFORE dinnertime – 4-6 PM or so. But the post dinner time has become easier because of routine, routine, routine! Seriously, we started with a list for my son (3.5+) bedtime routine (pj’s, teeth, clean room, stories, bed) and it just seemed to spread the sanity. We have no list now, but post-dinner and bedtime are a breeze.

  7. Mackers on October 28th, 2008 1:28 pm

    Good lord- we’re still battling this one. He’s up until 10, sometimes 11 every night with maybe an hour nap in between. It’s enough to make ME want to suck down some Benadryl.

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