Bedtime tonight was 7:00 SHARP. As I write this, the time reads 7:14 and the little angels are tucked in, probably not quiet, much less sleeping, but they are somewhat stationary for the night.
It starts around 5:00. I call it "The Witching Hour". Every night at this time, like an impending explosion, the kids grow horns and forked tails and carry out the evil plots they have been cooking up since the nasty punishments they endured the night before.
At first, there is quiet, pleasant play time. They talk like people (not monsters) and seem content. Then, all it takes is one small infraction to set off a chain of events so horrifying to them and so LOUD to me, it feels like Armageddon inside the house and I am powerless.
Talk to them in quiet tones? Don't get angry or give threatening looks?
Yeah, right. Whoever came up with this theory has either never had more than one child or has reached that time in their lives when all the "bad stuff" has long been forgotten. I've tried to speak quietly. In fact, I still do at first. Once in a while it works. 90% of the time it does not. "OK mom, you're gonna whisper to me, I think I'll keep screaming at my sister for looking at me and then I'm gonna start throwing punches and pinches. You can intervene whenever you want, but good luck."
Why do children enjoy teasing? Why do they get pleasure from causing each other pain? Is that fun? I don't remember enjoying that. (doing that, and certainly not being on the receiving end of it)
Dan: (quietly) "no,no,no,no,la,la,la,la,la"
Shannon: (screaming) "Why are you doing that! Stop that! I can't take it any more!"
Seriously? You're gonna start a fight over that? We're in for some rough teenage years if just that bothers you.
Then it's time to take a bath. No problem. Ever washed a kid who's sensitive about the bath anyway let alone having a scab on his knee that he will just die from if it gets wet?
They did settle down. We watched home videos for our movie tonight and that always gets lots of smiles.
For about 10 minutes.
Then there is more crying and arguing over the chair and who sits in it. Shannon wants to sit alone. Katie wants to share. They fight. Daniel is now mad because he can't hear and that's when I say "That's it! Time for bed!" They grumbled but drudged up to bed. (I like to think it's because they know I'm right. Actually, they probably just don't want their toys taken away)
Some version of this happens a lot. I'm sure it's normal. It'll pass and I won't even remember it right? Even as I write now I have lost the drive to unleash my frustrations on the computer. It's gone so quickly. But for that hour, when I'm in charge (yeah, OK) and everything is coming undone, I would trade my soul for some earplugs.