Bite, bath, bed. Swallow, shower, sleep. Whatever you might call it, it’s a horrendous time of the day when you’re outnumbered. The sunny hours could have been magical. Your kids just delightful. And then it hits 5pm.
I dread that number on the clock. I know I’m not alone. I had witnessed this before, of course, but when there’s two of you then there’s at least one set of hands available to put the prevention strategy into operation. When you’re alone, it’s just you, and your survival skills.
My survival skills are still being honed. In those early days, I once threw packets of raisins at them to break up a fight. I didn’t really think it through of course, because while there were two packets of raisins only one of them has mastered the art of extraction. And he wasn’t going to share.
I can scratch that tactic off my list.
For those rookies who are entirely unfamiliar with raising children, 5pm is generally the time they start getting tired and hungry. So when there are two of them and one of you, they must be left to their own devices while you prepare a nutritious meal they probably won’t eat, which means you’ll be back making marmite toast very shortly anyway.
In our household, this is the time when Hurricane likes to torment Chaos, who in turn seeks protection between the legs of whomever is doing the cooking. That whomever is now me.
There are preventative measures I can take. Actually there is only one measure. Put Hurricane in front of a screen. Phone or computer. Any video works. But that only takes care of him (and comes with an unpleasant side effect involving lost rags when time comes to turn it off for dinner). Chaos does not have his attention span. If she can’t get any attention from me she will want it from him. He is yet to welcome her offer of alternative entertainment.
There has been one spectacular meltdown to date. It started with Chaos hitting a button on the computer that ended a very engrossing video about ants. Hurricane’s response was to tackle her off the chair. All I saw was two pairs of feet take flight.
Dinner, I was told, was gisgusging. The shower was a write-off. They got wet at least, but then someone had the sponge and someone else wanted it.
At roughly 8.30pm I was sitting on the kitchen floor eating half a tube of cookie dough and humming the theme song to Smallville, listening to Chaos play with duplo while Hurricane yelled at her to get back into bed.
BB probably noticed the dough went missing, thankfully she had the good grace never to ask about it.