A FELLOW mum has started going solo of a night now her hubby is working a late shift. She wanted some tips on how I survive witching hour on the nights The Bloke in The Shed is at meetings ‘til late. That time of night when supernatural creatures are particularly active. Oh, sorry, wrong witching hour.
I was sure I had plenty of tips and magic spells to turn little ferals into perfect, patient angels. Like, move to another time zone when 5pm hits. Seriously. I thought our nights ran less like battling peak hour traffic and more like a ballet dance. I might add, not Ella’s ballet, where last week the teacher asked them to “sit there, girls” and every one of them got up and followed her to the instrument cupboard.
As I was in the midst of trying to juggle everything tonight – a teething Baby Holly biting my shoulder while I jiggled her up and down on one hip, stirred food with the other hand and pushed pencils in the direction of Princess Ella via a foot as she complained she was “huuuungry’’ – I wondered if maybe I could be doing it better. Or is that called coping?
Here are some of my witching hour coping strategies and suggestions:
- Put young babies into a baby carrier or older babies into a Jolly Jumper. Not unlike bike riding, going “hands-free” can still end in tears for someone. Especially if your door opening isn’t very wide and you have an overactive jumper.
- For preschoolers and older, get them involved in cooking the meal. Children are more likely to eat the main meal if they’ve had a hand in preparing it. Yes, sometimes even broccoli.
- Give them a new toy. Which really just means something stashed in the cupboard that they’d previously become bored with. To them, it’s new.
- Set up an activity they’re able to do themselves for 20 minutes – drawing, play dough, craft or dancing (concerts are a highlight here). It’s just enough time to peel the spuds and get the meat into whatever appliance it needs to go into.
- Press the action button on the Zhu Zhu pet and watch them go silly. It causes giggles (and ear piercing squeals) for a good 20 minutes.
- Have lots of leftovers and freezer food. We tend to do big cook ups on the weekends now and freeze some of it or have it as leftovers early in the week. This helps make mealtime preparation shorter.
- Feed them sultanas. I know, I know, never eat before dinner time. It doesn’t appear to have affected either of their appetites I might add. Yes, big eaters. Plus, sultanas seem to take forever to chew.
- If all else fails, just keep pedalling.
Then it’s onto the nightly routine:
6pm: Dinner time
6.30pm: Bath time (also known as “let’s see how wet we can get the bathroom floor’’)
6.45pm: All pile into Ella’s bed for books, songs and milk. If Baby Holly is so tired she can’t stay awake for books, I leave Ella to read to herself, feed and put Holy to bed, and come back and resume the routine with Ella.
7pm: Everyone tucked up into bed. Hopefully asleep. Yes, wishful thinking.
How do you cope with witching hour? What are your tips for surviving each night?