I always figured that as the kids got older this would just stop.
It was a phase, something that they would grow out of. Some day, I would learn not to dread this so much.
But after almost 5 years, that has yet to happen. Still to this day, at 5pm, something happens… all the children go bat shit crazy. At 4:59pm the children are calm, beautiful, loving, following the rules but as the clock changes to 5pm, the gloves come off and the gates of insane open.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t need to start making dinner at this time. We have always run our house on a finely tuned schedule. We had to when the triplets were young or we would have not survived and as the years went by, we just stayed with it. We can be flexible when needed but living by a schedule is just what we know.
When the 5pm hour hit when the kids were younger, to keep the out from the kitchen, I got creative. Setting up barricades and road blocks to try and keep them out so I could work and not trip over a baby spilling hot whatever I was cooking on them.
But in truth, the barricades only pissed off the already angry and disgruntled children more. They plowed right through like it was nothing more than a sand castle and took their anger and crying right to my feet.
As they grew, the children could be distracted more easily with TV and movies. I could set up a movie and if I planned dinner right, have it pretty much made in the 12.3 minutes it held their attention. You know, if I was lucky.
Recently though, the diversion tactics are not working. It’s like we are back to square one in this battle of wills. And even candy as a bribe for good behavior doesn’t work. In fact, it kinda makes it worse. It’s like they behave just long enough to get the candy, ingest it and then go freaking crazy any way.
Tuesday nights seem to be the worse for this. This is probably because this is a busy night for our household. Hayden has cub scouts that night and homework and dinner all need to be completed before the 6:30pm den meeting.
Again, the schedule comes in. After school, there is 30 minutes of TV time, then homework, dinner, and then Jeff and Hayden are off to scouts.
This schedule is all great and it works well but the only problem in that 5pm is included in there. Something always happens at 5pm. I feel it lurking like a big bad monster hiding in the shadows. I get a chill down my spine as the clock strikes 4:58pm. I know it’s coming. I try and ignore, carry on, but it doesn’t matter. Just like a zit, it will come to a head and explode.
“Ok, Hayden just a couple more words. Spell ‘awkward’,” I said.
Hayden wiggled on the bar stool back and forth. I glanced at the clock. I had to hurry. I walked to the fridge to get my ingredients to make dinner and then set a pot of the stove.
“Hayden don’t do that, you’re going to fall. Now spell ‘awkward’,” I instructed.
He stilled for a moment and tried to write just as Quinn popped up from the basement where he was supposed to be playing.
“Mom, there is cat threw up on the carpet,” he said.
“MOM!” Jake called from the basement, “Claire is climbing on the curtains.
I began to walk towards the steps when CRASH! Hayden knocked himself off his stool and sent the other one cascading down.
“Are you ok?” I asked turning around to help him.
“Mom, can I throw a football at the window?” Claire asked suddenly appearing before me.
“LaLaLa, Meow, Meow, LaLaLa, Meow,” Quinn sang, “I’m a dancing kitty.
The stove top hissed as the contents in the pan boiled over.
“ALRIGHT!” I yelled, running to deal with the pan and then added, “Hayden, get up and spell awkward. Quinn please be a dancing kitty downstairs and put a towel over the cat vomit. Claire, you may not climb on the curtains or throw footballs in the house, go read a book. And for the love of Pete, where is Jake and what is he doing?”
I took a breath as the kids scattered. Hayden put his pencil to paper and began to write. I cleaned up the stove top. Order seemed to be restored as I looked at the clock, 5:04pm. We were in it now.
“Done,” Hayden said.
“Ok, next spell ‘known’,” I said.
I turned from the sink back to the counter where Hayden was sitting just in time to see Jake walk through the kitchen, naked, carrying one of my old anatomy text books.
“What are you doing?” I ask him.
“Well, I gotta poop. This is gonna take a while,” Jake explained and continued walking without missing a beat.
I just watched him, trying to decided what to do as Quinn come out from behind the cupboard and screamed, “BOO!”
“Freaking Hell!” I screamed, startled.
“I’m a ninja. I scared you, mommy,” Quinn said with a smile.
“Mommy, there’s poop and my football in the toilet,” Claire called as she ran out from the bathroom Jake close on her heels.
Yeah, I really hate 5pm.