Have you ever seen that Snickers commercial with the tag line, “you’re not you when you’re hungry?”
Well, that is sort of what it is like when little kids are hungry. Except instead of a mild-mannered Betty White, it’s more like the bunny from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
My #1 piece of advice to parents: DO NOT LET THEM GET HUNGRY.
I have learned this lesson the hard way; meltdown’s and tears and kicking and screaming.
All parents learn pretty quickly when their child’s “witching hour” begins. It is usually in the afternoon, after a long day of play. This is also typically right before dinner, and it is usually accompanied by the war cry of “I’m STARVING! I didn’t eat anything ALL. DAY!”
If your child isn’t speaking yet that translates into kicking and screaming and flinging themselves onto the floor.
I know that in order to prevent the Toddlerpocalypse on the way home, I immediately hand each child a small snack to tide them over until we get home. I then immediately give them a snack upon entering the house. I do not put my bag down, I do not go to the bathroom, no matter how long I have been in traffic, I do not change into my after-work clothes. I am in that kitchen, bag still over my shoulder, keys still in my hand.
This is mandatory in order to keep the peace.
If not, you suffer the consequences.
You know how they tell you not to go to the grocery store when you are hungry? Well, try that with a hungry kid and whoa! boy.
Case in point:
Pi picked the kids up from camp and daycare. He needed to stop at the store on the way home. It was after 5pm. Start of the witching hour. This was mistake #1.
This is what I come home to:
Me, to Mahlie who meets me at the door: “Hi Sweets! How was your day!” noticing she looks awfully disheveled, more so than usual after a full day at camp.
Pi, in the background, in a voice I almost didn’t recognize: “GET BACK INTO YOUR ROOM THIS MINUTE!”
Me: “Soooo, everything okay?”
Pi: “It was awful. I’ve never seen anything like it. I had to run into the store and Mahlie was taking things off of the shelves and throwing them into the cart and when I told her we weren’t getting it and to put them back, she was flinging them back onto the shelves, things falling all over the floor, yelling, “if I can’t have them NOBODY can!” THEN, when we are at the check out she is grabbing handfuls of m&m’s and throwing them onto the conveyor belt, screaming how she “needs my m&m’s!” When we get home, I go to get changed (for those of you keeping track, mistake #2). When I come back, she is sitting in the living room with a couple of pieces of bread. I tell her to eat in the kitchen, and notice the loaf of bread is gone. I ask her if the loaf of bread is in her room she looks at me and says, “no” while running back to her room. I walk in and she is trying to hide the bag under her bed and is shoving whole slices of bread into her mouth. It was a mess!”*
*This is how I recall things being told to me and I am pretty sure it is 100% accurate.
Me: “Did she eat her lunch?”
Pi: “Um, I don’t know, I didn’t check. Why?”
Me, looking into her lunch bag and discovering the only thing she had eaten was the pack of goldfish crackers I sent: “She’s starving. She’s a starving child that you took into a grocery store, past the witching hour, and then you go to change first when you get home, leaving her in the kitchen. By herself.”
He has a lot to learn.
*This post was going to end here. But then I asked Pi how this morning went. He then described the following scene:
“Well, when I got out of the shower I went to find Mahlie and she wasn’t in her room. She wasn’t in the kitchen. I noticed the back door was open and I was a bit nervous at first but then I saw her….in the back corner of the yard, behind a tree….with 3 empty containers of pudding next to her.”
Anyone else have a crazy story when their kids reach the breaking point at the witching hour?
Have a great crazy day!