I used to love this comic book series when I was a kid:
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Okay, I was a bit of a weirdo, but that’s besides the point.
“The Witching Hour” was all about that time of night when the tides turned and the strange and unexpected commenced. The stroke of midnight was theoretically the beginning of “The Witching Hour,” however the eerie and downright creepy happenings that would begin at the stroke of 12 would not magically end once the hour was up. No, the horror continued throughout the night, until the first stirrings of dawn’s early light ended the terror. Events that would make your blood run cold were the name of the game in this disturbing yet compelling series. Not likely the stuff that most little girls read but hey – we all have our foibles, right?
Nonetheless, there is a point to this preamble. “The Witching Hour” really exists, I have learned, as I ponder screams of terror in the dead of night.
No, it’s not some ghoul who has come to take me to the netherworld, no, it’s my own flesh and blood, often times two (read:twins). “Night Terrors” are very real when you’re two. They are, by extension, terrifying for the parents as well.
“The Witching Hour” also exists during the period between 6 and 8:30pm most weeknights, when children are hungry, tired, crabby and generally irritable. It can be downright scary when dealing with a child who has had a bad day at school or daycare and an empty stomach to boot. Watch out.
There are many things that are scary in this world but we parents deal with some particularly frightening prospects. To wit:
- An airplane, a toddler, a meltdown and a transatlantic flight – need I elaborate further?
- Realizing that you’ve run out of milk at the precise moment between 2 and 4am that your warm-milk dependent child wakes up from a horrific nightmare;
- A sleep-deprived two-year-old who has missed his/her nap and is not-so-valiantly trying to stay awake to the chagrin of everyone around him/her
- Toilet training
While these events will shake many moms and dads to the core, they are not, unfortunately, limited to the nether hours of the night. No, some of the most terrifying events known to parents occur in the brilliant light of day. Better yet, the most horrifying of experiences that parents can endure strangely occur outside the confines and security of the family home. Go figure.
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“The Witching Hour” may be representative of a time in the day where parents feel overwhelmed, anxious and sometimes consumed by their parenting responsibilities. Regardless of when it occurs, the onset of this time frame is indicative of yet one more challenge in a day in the of the life of mom and dad. Being a parent is hard, and this particular occurrence makes it harder.
So what’s a frazzled mom or frustrated dad to do upon realizing (often at 4am) that they’re part and parcel of a horror scenario that they definitely did not sign up for? Well, there are a few things that can be done to get through this experience without completely losing one’s already exhausted mind:
1)Think Triage: Treat what is the most pressing, the most immediate and the most urgent. It’s likely that if you do this, the situation will be diffused and the kid(s) will calm down considerably…or at least enough for you to feel that you’ve avoided a monumental meltdown.
2) If the demand is ridiculous, stand your ground. Otherwise, take each situation on a case-by-case basis. Pizza delivery at 3:30am?No. A vat of ice cream for breakfast? No. A cookie and some milk at 4:00am? Yes, if it means a calmer child and eventual sleep. Ditto for sleeping with Mom and Dad for the rest of the night to soothe frayed nerves and frightened children.
3)Lower your voice and try reasoning – you’ll be surprised at how well some children will respond to hushed tones and soothing speech. I know it’s hard in the midst of a screaming fit, but try it. It just may work.
4) Take a deep breath and remember that kids will be kids, and like anything, this too will pass. While you’re in the midst of the commotion, hold on to that thought and ride it out. It’s often all you can do, so why sweat it?
“The Witching Hour” may await, but it doesn’t have to derail your day – or night – or very early morning, for that matter. Be prepared in advance and know that there is the hope of a less stressful day on the horizon.
How do you deal with the craziness of “The Witching Hour?“
VIDEO: Wilson Pickett: The Midnight Hour (there is no song about The Witching Hour that’s appropriate and this song rocks, so here it is!)