Fact: I had no idea what the "witching hour" meant until I had a toddler.To be honest, I probably could have figured it out sooner, when Little Man was a wee little baby and seemed inconsolable every evening around the same time. But those evenings all blend together into one foggy, sleep-deprived memory anyway.
For those of you, who like me, don't know what the witching hour is in relation to babies, toddlers, and older children, allow me to explain. It's a particular time in the evening (usually 4-5 p.m.) when a full moon comes out somewhere in your house and your sweet, content, happy child turns into kidzilla and begins wreaking havoc on the whole household.
For a baby, this might mean they are extra fussy and seem to want more feedings than usual. For a toddler, they become clingy and cranky, with an extra dose of meltdowns and fits sprinkled throughout the hour. If you have more than one child, this might be the time when sibling warfare is most likely to go down.
Sometimes I feel like hiding in the corner of my kitchen (Jaws theme music is playing in the background) as Little Man searches around for me with that "I'm 'bout to drop a mega-fit up in this hiz-ouse" look on his face.
It can become really difficult, frustrating, exhausting...you get the idea...and I don't usually shine my prettiest colors during this time. I find myself exhaling heavy breaths as I try to prepare dinner (in a hot kitchen) while a toddler is insistent on being held right when I've been handling raw chicken or who throws a 5-minute fit because I want him to say "please". I mean, what happened to the sweet little boy 2 hours ago who was saying "uh-oh" while running into the kitchen to grab a towel to clean up something he spilled??
Slowly but surely, I started coming up with ideas on how to keep Little Man distracted/happy/content for that one small hour that I needed just a little more peace than usual.
For today, I'll tell you about the little farm we have on the fridge now. It was really easy to make and Little Man loves to find the animals and put them "in the barn" while I sing the song and cook in the kitchen.
I began to brainstorm after I saw this idea on Pinterest. But I had the feeling that a paper bag just wasn't going to last very long with my Little Man. Plus, I'm all about utilizing what I already have...which in this case was...a refrigerator!
All I did to make the barn was cut out the basic shapes from scrapbook paper. The white rectangular shapes are actually the scrap pieces from the red paper, just flipped over. Since I knew I was going to laminate the barn, I just taped the pieces all together. And no, I don't have my own laminator. I use those wonderful self-laminating sheets from Walmart.
I wish I could take credit for the animal magnets but my mom actually put those together and sent them as a Christmas gift to Little Man. She simply bought the wooden animal pieces from Hobby Lobby and stuck magnets on the back. Since I live in the tropics, I had to go back and glue all the magnets back on because they just didn't want to stay stuck. Gotta love humidity.
We also have a set of Melissa & Doug magnets that my awesome sister-in-law sent to Little Man. We have a little more variety from that set. Sometimes Old MacDonald has a giraffe or a tiger on his farm...ee-i-ee-i-o....
I do like to limit the number of animals up on the fridge so that a.) it's less overwhelming for Little Man to find the animal and b.) it cuts down on the visual clutter.
Stay tuned for more posts with other "toddler approved" activities that I've been putting to the test. Until then, I'd love to hear from other moms out there.
What calms your child(ren) down? How do you find peace during that dreaded "witching hour"?
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