The Witching Hour

It’s a coincidence that I am writing this just as Halloween approaches. This will be my first Halloween trick or treating with the boys and I’m pretty excited about it. Mostly excited about eating the candy that Monkey will surely forget about. I imagine that we will go to about 5 houses before I get sick of it and go back home. We got Monkey a pretty cute Halloween costume. In the true nerdy spirit of the Topping household, Monkey is dressing up as Yoda. It’s going to be adorable.

But today’s post isn’t actually about Halloween. If you have children, you read the title of this post and you knew exactly what I was talking about. The witching hour, for the uninitiated (and because I’m typing this in said witching hour, stay uninitiated as long as you can for God’s sake), is an hour around supper time where your children turn into the spawn of Satan.

It’s not that bad, you think in your glorious ignorance. You are wrong. It’s the worst. This hour is the number one reason that there is no way in the world that I will ever be a stay-at-home mom. There isn’t a single thing that doesn’t go wrong.

Let’s start with today. Our witching hour begins precisely at 4 pm, which happens to be 75 minutes before Brian gets home. The opening credits for a television show begins (because by the end of the day, I’m ready to let Food Network parent my kids) and both boys lose their minds. Eggs wants to go down for another nap, but with bedtime at 7 pm, a nap at 4 is inadvisable. Monkey wants supper, but that’s not for another hour or so. So I fill both boys with snacks. Today it was raspberry jello.

But, oh no, Monkey doesn’t want jello. But he doesn’t tell me that. He just takes a bit and then runs away to spit it into his hands and smear it on the living room walls. Eggs, on the other hand, loves the jello. Problem is that he wants to eat it faster than he is physically able. He chokes on the jello. And because he has a sensitive gag reflex, he throws up. Red bile all over the carpet.

Okay, so I grab a new snack for Monkey, clean up the wall, clean up the floor. While I do this, the kids head over to the TV. We have a long TV stand with 3 drawers because they don’t make childproof TV stands and they want you to attach your television to your brand new wall, which is super unreasonable in my opinion. Anyways, they have pulled apart the three drawers by the time I’ve cleaned up. But not just pulled everything out of them, pulled them out of the stand. And not just pulled them out of the stand, but pulled the rails out as well, tearing long gaping holes where the screws are supposed to sit. One piece of furniture destroyed.

It is now 4:15.

To be honest, I’m ready for the day to be over. Actually, I’m ready for the sweet embrace of death because it has been a long day. So I put them in their rooms so I can try to fix the stand and sob because I used to have nice things once upon a time. And then I go to sit back down and step in the wet spot from Eggs’ vomit. A cheerio grinds under my other foot. So I decide to vacuum.

Partially because there is a colony of cheerios living around the exersaucer. And partially because I know my boys are terrified of the vacuum and if you can’t take joy in the little things, I don’t know what to say to you. I pull the vacuum out and suck up all the cheerios as my children cry in both terror and in grief for the loss of each and every cheerio they threw on the floor instead of eating.

The vacuuming done, I go to comfort the children. I hold Eggs because his sobs have turned into gags, but this sends Monkey into a full blown tantrum because he wanted to be held first. Once Eggs is calm, I go to Monkey who doesn’t want to be on my lap now because he’d rather be smacking Eggs in the face, who is now screaming once again.

It is now 4:30.

Wait, where is the snack I brought up for Monkey? Oh, he’s crushed it between two shelves that he managed to pull off of the bookshelf, sending the contents of blu rays to the floor. I clean up the crumbs, put the shelves back up, and check each case to make sure that none of them have shattered.

The boys are screaming again. Don’t know why this time. Probably because they are hoping that the next time I go to school, I drive my car off the high level bridge.

Because I’m dead inside, I just let them cry until…

It is now 4:45.

We go downstairs to wait for Brian to get home. Because there’s nothing like screaming children to greet you at the door. The change of scenery calms them for 51 seconds. Then they realize that is where the food is. But not just any food. They want chocolate. At least Monkey does. And because he knows where the chocolate chips are kept, he tries to sneak into the pantry to get them.

But I’m smarter than an almost 2 year old. I’ve hidden them. But that doesn’t go well. He screams at the empty spot in the pantry, alerting his brother to his presence. Eggs follows the sound and finds the dog dish where he starts choking on dog food. Cue the vomit.

It is finally 5.

Brian will be home in 15 minutes. So what do I do? I hide in the bathroom.


This is the witching hour. Apparently a combination of tiredness and hunger, this is the equivalent of WWII here. A living nightmare where it may only be an hour, but you have aged at least 7 years from 4 to 5 pm.

And there is nothing to do with it except endure. Until they stop being like this, which I estimate to occur sometime around 2030.


4 thoughts on “The Witching Hour

  1. Ah, the Arsenic Hour (what we called it back then), I remember it well. It made labour & delivery seem like a vacation. Every part of my being is screaming to try and make things easier for you, even though my head knows this is not the appropriate response. I am wired like a guy, hear a struggle, find a solution. Give it Google, time and practice and you will find ways to make it go smoother both for you and the boys. I say smoother; it will never be challenge free, but then what is? Hugs & love from this Mom to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the warm thoughts. Yeah, it can be hard sometimes, but some days are easier than others so it’s not always barf and jello-filled. It is something that you just power through for a while. I’ve been working on finding things to entertain the kids with specifically in that time like playdough or time outside. That helps.
      Mostly I just needed a place to spin out exactly what happens behind our front door at 4 pm.
      But Arsenic Hour is one of the best terms I’ve ever heard.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh…since December 14th of last year 5pm. ..just in time for parents to show up to pick up their kids and see mine acting terribly and leave them wondering if Im actually capable of watching theirs…the older one had never really had one that I had noticed, but he took a page from his sister’s book and joined in the fun after a couple months.’s so fun!


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