It's that time of night - the witching hour. The five o'clock meltdown.
It never fails at right about five o'clock everything starts to come unraveled around here. The kids are getting hungry, and tired. This also happens to be the time of day my previously mentioned chronic irritation kicks in. I've used up all my happy songs for the day. I've run out of feigned excitement over the latest made-up game, as well as compliments for Ella's 132nd dress-up outfit. Spiral, if he isn't working the dinner shift at the restaurant is just getting home, and worn out. He doesn't want to walk into a house full of cranky people. If he is working the dinner shift, then I don't even have a worn out husband to lend a hand.
From five o'clock to eight o'clock (if we are running on schedule) it's a constant three-ring circus here. Trying to get dinner on the table, keeping up with all the kids' needs during that fiasco, cleaning up the kitchen, the nightly Cleaning of the Rooms (which is never a pretty sight), jammies, brush the teeth, stories, hugs, kisses, tickles, lullabies, cuddles, water.... And heaven help me if it's bath night!
There is a strong force out there behind all this chaos. If I could just pin down what it was, perhaps I could find a way alter it in some way. Five o'clock - every single night. Without fail. I dread it. If it made any sense at all I'd change their schedule so that they would be tucked safely into bed before five o'clock rolled around. Of course then they would be up at two in the morning ready to go.
Now if I could just move the family to say, France, five o'clock would become midnight. Maybe that's the answer. Do French children go through this same transformation?