Suicide hour: That hour as you’re busy cooking dinner, the children are hungry and tired and no one seems able to do anything on their own without help.
It normally involves frequent whining, a couple of tantrums and an urge to throw yourself off a bridge. Or time out everybody while you finish cooking. Or time out yourself and let everyone else fend for themselves.
Also known as Arsenic Hour, The Witching Hour and Please Everyone, Just Go Away and Let Me Cook Dinner Alone Hour.
Both children are at my feet, screaming at me. Amy is tugging on my top, asking for a glass of milk and Isaac is wailing at my feet, clutching my pant leg.
It’s dinnertime and I just had to hop into the lounge room to settle a dispute.
Amy, no, you play with this toy. That one is Isaac’s. Isaac, here you go.
Unfortunately, my presence has alerted him to the fact that he is hungry and tired. He clutches me, wailing, while I try to make it back to the kitchen. I can smell things starting to burn.
Isaac! I grump – Sit here! Right, now play with your toys.
Amy! Give him BACK his bottle. You’re a big girl, you don’t need a bottle.
But I neeeeda bottle, she wails.
No, you don’t.
I make it to the kitchen before the wailing begins again. My head is going to explode, I can feel it. Glancing at the clock I mentally count minutes until I can feed everyone and start putting them to bed.
Nathan makes his way to the lounge room, ostensibly to give me a hand. Neither of the children want Daddy though, and they remain at the kitchen gate, wailing for me. My stress levels rise as I run the stick blender through the pasta sauce and drain pasta. I only just caught it in time, gluten free pasta won’t stand for overcooking. I’m pretty sure no one wanted to eat pasta mush with their tomato sauce.
I start dishing up as the wails get louder. I’m getting frustrated now, how hard is it to entertain the baby for 5 minutes while I dish up dinner? Amy screams about an imagined slight and I have to remind myself to breathe deep and ignore it for now.
I mentally take myself to my happy place, only somehow, my happy place has been infiltrated by tiny short screaming people and it’s looking less like a happy place and more like hell with every passing moment.
The house has been trashed in just one short hour. Toys are everywhere and I’m fairly sure I just fractured something as I dodged a thrown baby bottle and stubbed my toe on the cupboard.
I manage to keep the swearing to an under my breath mutter and slowly, I get the pasta dished up and sauce allocated.
The baby sits on the floor, pasta and cheese in a bowl in front of him. He spreads it out in a giant circle around him before starting to eat. I ignore it, wishing, yet again that he would submit to the highchair.
Amy sits at the table for 2 mouthfuls before needing a glass of water/the potty/to bother her brother. Still trying to grate cheese over my own dinner, I get her fixed and heading back to the table.
It’s a useless effort of course, because as soon as I sit down, my dinner becomes The Most Interesting and Tasty and both children end up sitting at my feet, begging for mouthfuls of now gone cold pasta.
Sighing, I give up on getting to eat unbothered and share my dinner, wishing I could get away with hiding in the bathroom to eat.
Slowly we finish my dinner and I start to get the mess Isaac made cleaned up. My favourite method of cleaning just involves letting the cats inside, but as Isaac still looks hungry, I pick up the pasta from the tablecloth he was sitting on and pop it back into his bowl. He, of course, spreads it back out in a circle again.
I give up.
As I head to the kitchen to dump the plates and open the door for the cats, Isaac notices Daddy. He’s eating dinner relatively unphased by the circus surrounding him. Isaac hauls himself to standing and stays there, holding onto Nathan’s legs with his mouth open like a baby bird. Amy notices and climbs up, to sit next to her father as well.
Reluctantly, he shares out his dinner as well, even as his eyes plead with me to rescue him. I look at him, trying to keep a straight face, but I can’t.
Please? He says.
Sorry honey, I’ve uh, got to go outside and uh, do something.
Smiling now, I disappear outside for 5 minutes to get my head back together before the bedtime circus begins.
God knows I need to after all that.