Family / Random Musings

The Twitching Hour

Girl making a funny twitching face

I hearby dub this The Official Face of the Twitching Hour

When my 3-year-old was an infant, we used to say he had a Witching Hour. It seemed that no matter what, between the hours of 4pm and 6pm, he was just Not Happy. He didn’t want to be held. But he didn’t want to be put down. He didn’t want milk. He didn’t want toys. He didn’t want anything. He just wanted to cry. It was a short-lived phase and at the time I thought it was Really Hard. Ha. Hahahahaha. If only I could go back in time to my mother-of-one status, I’d slap myself and say, “You think THIS is hard. You have no idea what HARD is.” And I’d be just like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men when he said, “You can’t handle the truth.”

Because while the Witching Hour days have passed, for my 3-year-old and my 18-month-old twins, we now have what I call The Twitching Hour. Because that’s what it causes me to do: twitch.

We can be having a perfectly lovely day at home where the kids get along and we make fantastic fake food out of Play-Doh (and they only for-real eat a little instead of a lot of it) and I think, “Yeah, this bein’ a mom stuff is GREAT!” And I’m all proud of myself for teaching them things like where their noses are and what the letter A sounds like. And then…6pm rolls around. And Hell unleashes its fury inside my living room. Something about this time of day turns my angelic children into demon spawn.

Just to give you a timeline, my husband leaves for work at 7am and on days he has to work late, like today, he gets home at 6:52pm (not that I count the minutes or anything, no siree). So when the kids go crazy at 6pm, I’m at that point in the day where I am Play-Doh’d out, playgrounded out and just plain played out. I need a break. Today’s Twitching Hour went something like this:

The children have finished eating dinner and are playing with blocks and cars and stuffed animals and things. I am running a DVR’d episode of Super Why! on the TV. I decide to open my new laptop and work on the ol’ novel. Twin Boy is playing with a pool toy (and yes, we’re in the living room, not the pool). It is basically a squirty toy, wrapped in a pool noodle with a rubber duck glued on top. Like this:

Pool Toys with critters on top

Older Boy decides, even though he is playing with his cars, that he needs the pool toy. Like NOW. So he grabs it from Twin Boy’s hands. Twin Boy doesn’t like this one bit, so he starts to scream. So I tell Older Boy he can’t just take the toy, that’s not nice sharing. He needs to give it back. As you can imagine, the answer from Older Boy is “No.” Well, actually, the answer is “Never!” which is his new favorite word. I hate it. We now start the conversation we have every day.

Me: Buddy, give the toy back to Twin Boy. You can’t just take it.

Older Boy: Never!

Me: I will count to three. If you don’t give the toy back, you get a Time Out.

Older Boy: Never!

Me: One.

Older Boy: Never!

Me: Two.

Older Boy: Never!

Me: Three.

Older Boy: Never!

So I take the toy and put him in Time Out. By the way, Time Out in my house translates to: Older Boy begging for three minutes for me to please let him out and how much he is sorry and how he really wants to share nicely…until three minutes is up and then I give him permission to leave Time Out. Then he refuses to leave (“Never!”). And he screams and screams and screams that he is NOT leaving Time Out. Ok, buddy.

Finally, he calms down and enters the living room. And since he has finished with the screaming and he self-confessed he’d share nicely if he left Time Out, you might think the episode is over. Except it’s so not. Because he finds his little brother, hits him on the head with a stuffed dog, pushes him over and takes the pool toy. Like a 3-year-old mugger who robs babies.

Commence more screams and hits and pushes and time outs and crying from everyone (me too…maybe me especially). I finally decide I have had enough. I put the twins to bed. It’s a bit early (6:35pm) but I cannot take even one more single second of this. I come downstairs, pick-up the pool toy and hand it to Older Boy. I figure, maybe he’ll be nice now that he has what he wants. He takes the toy from me. Looks at it. And throws it into the toy bin. Then goes back to playing with cars. And three more gray hairs sprout at my temples.

My husband walks in a few minutes later. I kiss him. I grab the car keys and say, “We’re out of milk. I’m going to the store.” And I leave. Because even if we already had two gallons of milk in the fridge, we needed more. *I* needed more.

Ahh. This is the kind of hour that requires copious amounts of Double Chocolate Milanos to recover from. And maybe equally copious amounts of wine.

Calgon, take me away!

P.S. I really do love my kids. Like I said, the rest of the day was lovely and nice. Just not between 6:00pm and 6:52pm.

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12 thoughts on “The Twitching Hour

  1. Ahhhhh! You mean it doesn’t get any better? I’m currently dealing with this with my 3(4 in august) year old and 10 month old. Since he became mobile, he’s not allowed to play with the girl’s toys, but she’s allowed to play with all the toys. It causes quite a bit of screaming and tears in this house(and yes, a lot of those are from me).

      • If that’s the case, I’m going to start the countdown now. 48 days to go! lol. even though I almost got choked up when I scheduled her 4 yr check up yesterday. I swear it feels like we just brought her home yesterday.

      • Sending you a mental “countdown to 4 advent calendar” now. You’ll have to let me know if the rumors are true. I have to wait until December to find out :).

  2. “Like a 3-year-old mugger who robs babies.” =Classic! lol
    Sorry, it sounds like you definitely needed a glass of wine after that.

  3. We had this exact experience with our two when they were younger as well! Something about that end of the day time, right about when my hubby would walk in. He would see me screaming/crying/curled up in a corner or whatever and then presume the whole day was horrible. When it really wasn’t. It was the last hour or so that had made me wonder why we had thought procreating was a good idea.

    Now my boys are old enough that I can say, “Go to your room and play your Nintendo.” Or better yet, I can put myself in Time Out – which is a hot bath, a good book, and a glass of wine.

    Overall, the parenting experience is wonderful, but there are those times that make you wonder if your kids could qualify for the next Exorcist film.

  4. This probably doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but I know that my grumpiest hour is when the sun starts to go down. My body wants to say “NOOOOOOOOO!” to whatever is happening, no matter what it is, and cry and hit things. That is usually around 6pm. I can sympathize with all of you.

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