Magic Hour(s)

I find it difficult to maintain my sanity at the end of the day. It always goes the same way... every... single... stinkin'... day. From the hours of 6-8pm I am having the "worst day ever", every day. Lemme break it down for you.

All day long the kids are beating each other up, teasing, making messes, all the usual stuff. We get Noah from the bus stop, have a snack, and then the magic begins. It's 6pm, which means I need to start making dinner. It's like someone gave my children a combination rabies/caffeine/pure sugar IV drip. It's always worse when Josh is gone. They act out more and I don't have someone to "tag" for normal referee duties whilst I prepare our gourmet dinner (hahaha).

Tristan and Brennan take turns beating up Noah, who makes it a point to wail like the widowed ghost in a crappy horror flick. Then Noah turns on them and starts fighting back and they in turn scream and cry and stomp their feet, taking small breaks to bust into the kitchen so I can hear and see their extreme pain. Then the play shifts to a reenactment of the running of the bulls, taking turns being out front with whatever object is their current trophy. Today it was an electronic tetris game, which none of them actually play (but it makes noises and they are boys). They run from the dining room, to the living room, around the recliner (messing up my curtains), out into the entryway, through the hallway, into the kitchen, back into the dining room, and on and on. Eventually someone falls (usually Tristan) and cries, and then gets angry, and then hits someone who also falls and cries, and gets angry, and hits back, and so on. They laugh and cry at the same time. They scream with joy and pain, within milliseconds of each other. It's ridiculously stressful and irritating. When they come in for sympathy from me (yeah right) they also switch gears to beg for tastings of whatever happens to be on the chopping block. Like they are starving to death.

It is now 7pm. Finally dinner is done. As I am plating and cutting meat into bite-size pieces they are fighting over who gets to wash their hands first. Water gets all over everything in the process. I never go in there. It dries by morning and I just don't care anymore. We sit down to eat. One of them tells me I forgot drinks, which I didn't. I yell at them to have some patience and respect. I know they don't have drinks yet, I am getting them... I haven't even gotten my food yet! By time I get my food, someone has spilled a drink (usually Brennan) and I go right back in the kitchen to get a towel. Tristan has finished a few bites and has begun his "I don't want to eat my food" routine, which he will recite every 3 seconds for the next 30 minutes.
ME: fine, but you won't get a cookie
HIM: but, I want a cookie!
ME: then eat your food
HIM: but I don't want to eat my food
ME: then you won't get a cookie
HIM: NooooooOOOOoOOOooo I want a cookie
ME: then eat your food
HIM: NOOOOOOO

Done arguing, done explaining. Why bother. I try to ignore the "I don't want to eat my fooood" while Noah tells me about his day at school. Brennan jabbers on in the background, occasionally dipping pieces of food into his milk, and spilling. I keep my head down and eat my food. Responding as needed, checking the clock. Almost bath time.

7:30pm and everyone is done. Usually everyone gets a cookie. As much as they fight it, they finish their food so it's even MORE frustrating and annoying to have to go through such a pointless exercise every damn day. More running and wrestling in the living room, this time with cookies. Yay crumbs!! 7:45 BATHTIME, says I. YAY!!! They love bath time. I do not, however.

They all strip and then start smacking each other on the bare butt, and I tell them not to, and they laugh and laugh and laugh, and then go for the "peanuts"... NO! You are not allowed to touch anyone there!! NO! (this is said another 10 times at least). I quickly wash the babies. Noah washes himself, but requires constant doses of reality as he stares in the mirror, contorting his face like a moronic cartoon character and reciting various quips about butts and farts. He never stops gazing at himself in the mirror, making bizarre faces. I even told him the story of Narcissus. I think he was too distracted by his bubble beard and spikey hair to listen ;) OK time to get out! They fight over who has to get out first. They wiggle and giggle while I try to dry them off. They stare at themselves in the mirror. They go for each other's junks. They tickle. They make a million butt jokes. Brennan pees in my shower after every bath. They all weigh themselves and announce their poundage with pride. They run circles around me as I tell them to go get dressed. They can't hear me anymore. It's too late now.

Naked boys running with toothbrushes. Tristan climbs up to the top bunk and starts throwing his blanket down for Noah to catch and toss back up. GET DOWN! I said BRUSH YOUR TEETH and GET DRESSED!! I get him down. I drag Brennan out of the bookshelf so I can get him dressed. He squeals and squirms. He kicks and laughs. I am not amused. He is made aware I am not amused. I get him dressed and brush his teeth. I go back to the other two and get Tristan down from the top bunk AGAIN. They all run to the sink to rinse. Fight over the cup. Spill water. Run back into their room and get dressed. All the time hooting and hollering about whatever word they've decided to be the "magic word(s)" for the night. Tonight they were "NOT MY PEANUTS!!". Very much like Pee Wee's Playhouse, someone says the magic words and the whole room goes wild.

Brennan hands me a book, but snatches it back when I try to open it up and read it "MY BOOK!". Tristan hands me one, Noah hands me one. I read. Noah listens. Tristan looks at other books to throw in my lap. Brennan looks at his book and "reads" on his own. Ok everyone say goodnight to Brennan! Brennan jumps up and laughs and tries to run away, off to his room to hide behind my recliner. I drag him out. Noah gets in a hug. Brennan refuses to hug Tristan and Tristan throws a fit. Bren will push him over. If I hold his arms he head butts Tristan in the face. So, every night Brennan gets smacked on the leg before bed for being mean to his brother. I literally have to hold Brennan's head and stretch his arms out for a hug in order to stop Tristan's fit and keep Bren from hurting him. Brennan thinks it's hi-LA-rious.

I put Brennan in his crib. He runs in place and shakes his head like he's having a seizure. I tell him to lay down so I can put his blanket on him. Evil grin "no!" OK then, and I walk out, and he whines for me to come back in, and lays down so I can cover him up. Tristan yells that I forgot to say goodnight to them, which I didn't. "I am putting your brother to bed... like I do every night. I will be in there in a second... like every other night". Noah and Tristan ask me for every kiss they know: eskimo, butterfly, alligator, crab, horse, monkey... don't know all of these? Read the book "Fish Kisses" and bedtime will be a lot more fun :) Tristan asks to sleep in Noah's bed "No, he has school tomorrow. Only on weekends". One more I love you. Door closes. MUST HAVE TEA and ALONE TIME!!!

All this stuff isn't bad. I can handle it. The problem is that every single thing I listed. Every comment, question, noise, issue, movement, every little thing I said... happens EVERY DAY. EVERY SINGLE STINKING DAY. At the SAME TIME. I dread this part of the day. Sometimes I let them stay up and watch movies until they pass out just so I don't have to do this part of the day. Sometimes we have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or a bowl of cereal for dinner. Sometimes I put their butts in bed at like 7 without a bath. Sometimes I watch my own shows with my laptop and big noise-canceling headphones. Sometimes I just can't be nice and patient so I save them (and me) by doing what I can handle. And sometimes that's not very much. :P Fin.
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