Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Truth About 6 O'clock

If - as I sometimes suspect I will - I drop dead suddenly of (a) exhaustion (b) frustration or (c) falling asleep and plunging head-first into the kids' bathwater, it will be between the hours of 6 and 7pm.

Any mothers of children under 5 will appreciate this sentiment.  That hour when your energy has been sapped almost to nothing, but you have to 'step it up' in order to have any chance of having the children bathed, pyjama-ed and in bed by 7 (ish).  It's also the hour in which (a) tired children get ratty (b) nappies seem to be more likely to be filled with the brown stuff (probably scientifically something to do with the amount of time after dinner) and, of course (c) toys that have not been attractive all day suddenly become fascinating.  ("Mum! Can I get the playdough out!" "Painting?" - "NO, NO, NOO.  It is TOO LATE!")

My goals for this hour, on a nightly basis, are as follows (1) survive (2) try not to be too much of a cow to the children before they go to bed (3) try to muster up some enthusiasm for "look mum, I'm swimming!" (in the bath) and (4) 'Belly Button Book' (the preferred bedtime story) for the fifty-thousandth time.

Then comes the 'reprieve' - an uneasy time between 7 and 8 when the children are in bed, but things are not 'stable.'  Are those lights on the baby-monitor going to start flashing?  Is there going to be call for mummy or daddy?  Are Ray and I going to have the 'parent stand-off' where we sit and watch said baby monitor flash and see who can bear it the longest before one of us cracks and goes upstairs...

Of course, at the moment, my morning sickness (which pretended it was going away then CAME BACK like an old enemy who JUST WON'T DIE), together with a nasty cold* is tipping 6 o'clock from the "bit difficult" zone to the "oh my God just kill me now" zone.  Perhaps in week or so, this hour will seem less like the 'death zone' and more like the 'sleepy zone.' 

OK, I realise that, on the scale of problems the world is facing, the 6 o'clock issue is nothing. But, those of you with quiet houses, normal nights and time to brush your hair/shower/breathe once in a while, spare a thought for the long-suffering mummies (and daddies) who are just about getting to the end of their rapidly dissipating energy.

(Cue violins... and fade).

*if I had never had "proper flu" I would call my current "nasty cold" flu.  However, for anyone who has had real, bona-fide, wipes you out for weeks, can't open eyes because it hurts too much FLU will understand why I can't use this term lightly. I am on my computer, typing. It's a cold.

3 comments:

Cat said...

I feel your pain! Although for us the six o'clock is eight o'clock as they go to sleep at nine! It does get better though - nine year old does it all himself including the bed time story so there is hope!

Gillian Harvey said...

:-)

Fiona Chick said...

This is absolutely hilarious. About an hour and a half ago I was lying on my sofa, eyes closed, having various toys launched at my face by my 3-year old while my 18-month old wiped his snotty nose up and down my leg. (This was at 17:51). "I just need ten minutes to shut my eyes, Fin", I pleaded with my elder son. Not a chance. And all this knowing the massive uphill struggle of bedtime is ahead. I have the flu (a mild cold) at the moment and shared my side of the bed with my kids - one next to me in the middle, the other at my feet (he wasn't best pleased). I feel shocking. Suffice to say, there was no bath, no story, and lights straight out as soon as teeth were brushed. I haven't had an unstable period (that was hilarious, by the way). They dropped off immediately. If only the lovely little cherubs would remain asleep for the remainder of the night.

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