Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Un-Happy Hour

Does anyone else have a terrible time with your kids between 4 and 6pm?  I know for infants this time is the witching hour, but I'm finding it's lasted past infancy and into the twos (and apparently, sevens) in our house. 

Here is the scene.  Oldest gets picked up at 3:30 from school.  She's tired, she needs to wind down, chill out, veg on the couch a little bit.  She needs to destress.  Conversely, Youngest has just woken up from her afternoon nap and she is ready to go, with a capital G-O.  The dichotomy between these two needs is, well, distressing for all of us.

But it's not just the "one's tired and one's not" issue, I'm beginning to suspect.  I'd planned pretty well to get around that.  Letting Oldest watch a show, while I take Youngest in the back yard to burn it off, things like that.  Here's what I think it is:

Oldest has been away from Mommy all day and needs me back.  She needs to feel like she is my focus, that I want to hear about her day.  And I want that too.  I've missed her.  I want to know what happened at school.  We also need to do piano practice, though I try not to do it right after school because it usually has disastrous consequences.  Like yesterday, which resulted in them both having two sets of time outs, EACH.  But I won't bore you with those details today.  I'm SO over it.

And Youngest should be fine with this need of Oldest, right?  She should understand that she has had Mommy all to herself for 5 whole hours (nap's in there for 2 hours) and now it's "Oldest time" - kinda like Miller time. 

Are you all laughing yet?  She's TWO, of COURSE she doesn't understand that!  The personalized time with Mommy means she wants more, and in her "it's all about me" stage of development (which, let's just be honest here - some people never "grow" past that stage), the more Mommy time she gets, the more she thinks she's entitled to have.   I SO want to put it's like a crack addiction, but I can't, JUST CAN'T, compare my two year old's need for Mommy to a crack addiction (unless I just did?). 

So they fight with each other.  LITERALLY, every time I leave the room, Oldest is screaming at Youngest and Youngest is either taking something from Oldest or hauling off and smacking her.  I'm all about siblings solving their own differences, but I can't tolerate the hitting and I can't tolerate the bellowing.  NO ONE (except Mommy, when she's had ENOUGH) is allowed to bellow in THIS house.

So now that I've deciphered the WHY, let's move on to the HOW TO FIX.  Because it's driving me crazy.  Tips, tricks, HELP out there?????  What do you do?  How do you help your kids not make you nutty during Un-Happy Hour? 

Maybe that IS why cocktail hour was invented.  It had nothing to do with work, it had everything to do with parenting.  ;)
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