Hey moms – know how about 5 p.m. your kids start to scream a little louder, sometimes in fear, sometimes in pain, and sometimes in anger? Know how sometimes they’re just screaming to make noise?
Did you ever notice they seem a little more hyper than they did thirty minutes before?
Or, do you have a fussy baby you assume has colic like I did when my oldest was little, when instead it’s highly probably the kid is just as worn out as you are and needs some quiet time?
Either way, how do you handle this? Do you drop everything and focus solely on your children? Do you ignore it and continue making supper? (Down here in the South, we call the evening meal supper. “Dinner” involves getting out of your yoga pants and t-shirt and actually putting makeup on). Or do you take the following approach: when they are at their very loudest, and you don’t think you can take their ear-splitting noise ONE MORE MILLISECOND – do you simply lie down on the floor near them and start to howl as loud as you can? (Bonus if this includes fake tears).
I have tried all three solutions. Frankly, I’m too intent on cooking something my husband and kids will eat to stop, drop, and roll over to my kids and keep them entertained. And when I ignore it, it just gets louder and louder until the decibel level would damage a dog’s ears on the international space station. Just so you know, the louder it gets, the more likely it is that someone’s going to get hurt. I’m not sure why – it’s just one of those mysteries of life.
Now, that last approach works well with small children. For about half a minute. Because they are so terrified that they stop all noises that could possibly come out of their mouths (or other orifices for that matter) and stare at you, mouths hanging open, and it’s just at that moment you realize they are about to pitch a mother of a hissy fit because you scared them to death.
I still sometimes do the fake-cry/scream thing – now they just laugh. They stop crying, though. But as soon as I turn my back somebody got pushed down accidentally or someone (and I wouldn’t name names even if I did feel like exposing my precious children to the world-wide web) starts to bite someone else.
So, what’s a harried mommy to do? Well, I learned what works well at my house. First, load the smallest up in the bouncer and put the kid in the oldest child’s room. For about half an hour the littlest one watches the biggest one and everybody’s copacetic. Then you just let both kids run wild in the living area, and holler “Keep an eye out on each other!” and retreat for five minutes MAX to the bedroom. The door is left open and you can hear them destroying the living room, but I have found that this is the longest chunk of time in which nobody gets hurts or turns over too much furniture.
Now, that still leaves twenty-five minutes till my husband gets home. So, I turn on the news, ignoring them yet keeping an eye on them at the same time. Occasionally, 0n a good day, they’ll both want to crawl up around you and cuddle. That lasts approximately five seconds, and may even include kisses if you’ve been good that day. Then they are at each other’s throats, and they might even just be playing, but you have to make them get down and roll around on the floor. Just then, my husband walks in and I make a beeline for the kitchen to put together a meal in under twenty minutes – which only works if you plan ahead and this may include cooking an extra meal after the kids are in bed – and then while it’s cooking I once again retreat to our bedroom to catch up on General Hospital.
After that, my husband is pretty much on kid duty. He puts the youngest to bed and I put the oldest to bed. So I wonder: am I a bad mom for “letting” my husband take over when he gets home from work? What are your thoughts? I consider myself freakin darn lucky. But there have been some not-so-subtle jabs from (I hope) well-meaning people in my life. To the tune of, “How can you mistreat that boy? Let him sit down and relax. You should be doing (fill in the blank !). Or, “I hope you know how lucky you are!” This is said in a mondo-sarcastic voice, with some serious head-shaking going on.
I would write more on the subject, but the kids are tuning up…gotta jet…let me know…