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.


Sick, Sicker, Sickest

So far, April & May have been really hard months. At the beginning of April, I can’t remember if it was the sixth or the eighth, Monkey got sick. Like he went from healthy and happy to waking up coughing and panicking because he couldn’t breathe. We spent all night outside with him so the cold April air could shock his lungs back to breathing. He’d not really been sick before, not like this. And we had no idea how to handle it.

The barking cough subsided and was replaced by a running nose and a wet cough. Which lasted and lasted and lasted. Two weeks later, I decided to take him in to see a doctor. Brian took Eggs and I had Monkey, who sobbed into my shoulder as the doctor looked in his ears, listened to his chest, tapped on his tummy.

We left with a prescription for a puffer, a drug to open his lungs, and instructions to come back by Thursday.

Then that Tuesday, Eggs got it. It was hard to see in Monkey, but even harder in Eggs who just stared into my eyes as he coughed, begging me to make it stop. He started getting a fever and stopped wanting to eat (and if you’ve seen my baby, you’d know how much he likes to eat). It was heart-wrenching.

The next day, I caught it. My nose felt like a desert wasteland, my throat constantly burned, and my head felt so full that even the pressure of a pillow was awful.

Eggs was supposed to be vaccinated that week, but I put it off because of how sick we all were. Just a week, I thought. Thankfully, both Eggs and I mostly got over it. It looked like the three of us were on the upswing.The boys still coughed and my throat still ached, but at least the rest of it seemed to go away. They were eating again, which was the most reassuring.

Mother’s Day was at our house this year and Monkey was incredibly miserable all day. I couldn’t figure out what had gotten into him. He normally loved all the attention lavished on him by grandparents and great grandparents, but today he just cried and cried and cried.

I should have been empathetic, I mean, I’d just gotten over the same thing. I knew how he felt. But I was so mad. I’d planned this day, baked a couple of pies, cleaned up the house and it was all undone by a toddler. I knew I was being irrational, I knew I was being selfish, but I just thought today of all days? You have to be a jerk on Mother’s Day?? 

The next day was even worse. So I took him and his brother up to the doctor. I say up because I didn’t go to the doctor in the city we live. Instead I went back to the city we used to live in because 1. my city has one walk-in clinic for seventeen thousand people and 2. I was more comfortable in a clinic I’d been in several times before.

We drove the hour, with Monkey crying in his car seat the whole way, and got to the clinic where I unloaded my bag, Eggs, and Monkey. I’m so glad that the clinic wasn’t busy and sent us in right away. The doctor saw us and sent us out for an x-ray. So I loaded up the three of us, drove a couple blocks down, and got unloaded again.

By this point, Eggs was starving and Monkey needed a diaper change. Let me tell you, a diaper bag, a car seat, a toddler, and a mom do not fit in a handicap bathroom stall (where they keep the changing tables). Now Monkey was clean, but both boys wanted bottles. So we headed to the waiting room and I fed Eggs in his car seat and held Monkey while he drank. Eggs was so hungry that he finished his bottle and wanted another, which I heroically refilled one handed while I continued to hold Monkey. It was a sight to behold. I know that because the women across the waiting room were commenting on my lack of babysitting and shaking their heads at my poor planning.

The technician was significantly kinder, offering to take the car seat to the x-ray room while I took Monkey and my bag. Another tech took Eggs and carried him around while the other tech and I dealt with Monkey’s x-ray. We belted him into a clear case that looked like a primeval torture device to keep him still. He screamed as we took the pictures.

Afterwards, I loaded everyone up again. It had now been four hours and I was starving for some lunch. I grabbed a cheeseburger and called the doctor to see if I had to come back. No, she said. It takes a couple days for the images to arrive here. We will call you when you need to come back.  With that, we went home.

Turns out the receptionist I’d spoken to was half right. They would call when they needed me to come back, but it wasn’t a few days later. It was about five minutes after I unloaded the boys from the car and into the house. You need to come back to get your prescription, she said. Thankfully, my mother was still in that city running some errands so she picked it up. I don’t know if I could have handled another two hour drive with two sad boys.

Turned out that Monkey had pneumonia. We were tasked with administering some yellow syrup that smelled like those awful banana candies to Monkey three times a day for ten days. Not the easiest way to medicate a toddler, but we were just glad for some answers. Three days later, Monkey is feeling better. Eggs and I must have picked something up from one of the waiting rooms we were in as we are both sick as dogs yet again. I’m desperately hoping that Eggs stays away from the pneumonia and gets over it soon.

So, yeah, that’s why I haven’t been around much.

TD;LR – Been too busy tending to sick family to write anything useful here.

Happy New Year!

Good afternoon and happy new year everyone! I hope that this year brings many joyful surprises to each of you! We begin this year on the blog with a couple of wonderful guest contributors that I’m very excited for you to meet! I grew up with both of these talented ladies and share lots in common with them, especially a love for writing. As of right now, neither of them have blogs of their own, but you can follow them on Twitter to see their exploits and watch their careers blossom.

I will be back in February to do my regular weekly posts. Hopefully, my life will have returned by then to some kind of normalcy. Til then, I hope your January is filled with enough joy to make you look back and smile, enough sadness to remind you of your blessings, enough stability to keep you safe, and enough surprise to keep life interesting!

Hello world!

Welcome to!

This is me giving a glimpse into the glamorous world of a mother who loves to write, but struggles to find the time. Hopefully this will one day be the place where I can announce the publication of my first novel or any of my short stories, but until then, let me entertain you with the moments that make up my life.

I warn you, there will be a lot of graphic honesty here. If you don’t want to know that I have just come from a blow-out diaper and I’m not really sure why I can still smell it (oh, I have some in my hair…great.), then you might not want to move forward. But if you’re willing to laugh with me a the silly moments that come with being a mother or the pent-up anxiety of not writing anything good lately, I invite you on what I hope will be a fun ride.

I plan on having a couple of guest bloggers and maybe even some fun event days like a Throwback Thursday or I-hate-this-day-when-will-it-be-over Monday, but it sort of depends on when I get the time while my little monkey grows. I aim to publish every week at least. Forgive me if I am being overly optimistic.

Can’t wait!