Bitching hour. It’s not actually an hour, but roughly the time between 5 and 7 p.m. when you’ve got kids to feed, bathe, dress, and sedate so they will go the fuck to sleep. This is when your parenting gets put to the ultimate test.
In my house, this is when all the major league unpleasant shit goes down. Hair is pulled, limbs are bitten, food is thrown, and toys are smashed. And that’s just me. The kids are tearing ’round the house killing each other, and I am furiously shaking the TV remote to crank up the news and tune out the deafening sound. Wine is poured, so much wine.
While in this time vortex, I’m usually feeling pretty tired and shitty from the long day I’ve just had. The noise is just that bit more irritating than earlier in the day, and the tantrums are epic so it’s stress city. If I’ve gone all Betty Fucking Crocker in the kitchen that afternoon and cooked something healthy and kid friendly, I’m pretty aggravated when the little turds won’t even take one bite. Out come the two-minute noodles or the eggs on toast. Depending on my mood and ability to cope, it might even be cornflakes. Corn is a fucking vegetable, OK? In fact, it’s a vegetable, fruit, and grain so the haters can step off.
After dinner when the kids are running around nude and wiping sticky fingers all over the walls, the dog may be licking the toddler’s bum because said toddler had an accident in the hallway. I need more wine. And then more wine again when I’m on my hands and knees cleaning up shit and realize he’s put himself in the empty bathtub and slid down the side leaving a nice brown stripe. The older one decides now is a good time to also do a poo and makes me sit there for the entire performance while my eyes are watering from the stench. It’s only 5:45 p.m. I bathe them slowly—until the water is so cold they’ve turned blue and are shivering. It’s still only 6:15 p.m. I need to be saved from myself. More wine. I dress them if I can catch them. But they streak off to all corners of the house, hide in the curtains, and giggle hysterically.
I grab hold of one and wrestle them into their pajamas, then set off for the other one. Only then do I discover the other one has attacked the makeup drawer and smashed all my eyeshadow into one glittery pile, put the lids on my lipsticks without winding them down, and tried on all of the expensive perfumes. There is a massive puddle of water in the middle of the room from fuck knows what. The little one is shaking the sides of his bed and screaming from sheer exhaustion, so I slam dunk him into bed. I skip the story because that’s a bird in the hand, and he won’t remember anyway.
I read a book to the one who is too smart to let you skip it. I fill up the drink bottle, put on the socks, turn on the night light, and tickle her little back while singing “Twinkle Twinkle Fucking Star.” If I am lucky, she goes to sleep, and it’s 7ish. If I am unlucky, then I will be back and forth up the hallway 17 times making sure the right socks are on, the correct toy is in the bed, the light isn’t too bright, the cupboard door isn’t open a crack, the tickles are completed in a semi-circle fashion not a clockwise fashion, the pajamas are not too hot or too cold, and the sheets are tucked in just right. I pour more wine and then sit down to breathe.
Then my husband walks in and wakes both of them up because the dogs start barking.
“How was your day?”