On most days I will do ANYTHING not to have to cook dinner between the hours of 4 and 6PM. Doing so with two small children is like shooting yourself in the foot with a pellet gun repeatedly for a two hour interval while also trying to make dinner. It’s the best recipe ever to create a highly stressed, overwrought, angry mother. And who wants one of those!? Throw in a no nap day and oh my god I can’t even find an analogy that encompasses it.
It took me 18 months to realize there was a solution to this—but last night I forgot to use it. I don’t know—we had just had a bunch of family in town, there had been plenty of hands on deck, maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I thought, “It’s just pasta and sauce- that shouldn’t be a problem.” Even though it required a bit of cooking, the sauce would take any normal adult approximately five minutes to whip up.
Why oh why did I forget that I am not a normal adult. I am a severely handicapped adult. My handicaps are three feet tall or less and are known to go bonkers during those hours especially when there hasn’t been a nap and most ESPECIALLY when your attention is absolutely needed elsewhere.
My cousin (who has three children) told me once that this time period is called the “arsenic hour.” I understand this analogy. I can’t place it exactly—but I know it to be an accurate description of this time period.
Last night, after interruption 537 for my supposedly 5 minute sauce and what 10 minute noodle boil, when I heard my son come out of his room bawling, “Mom! Sister pooped in my room!!!” for a second I actually laughed out loud. For a second.
I had already wrestled my daughter back into her diaper twice during my thus far 30 minutes of meal making. She had also already peed on the carpet once. I was standing at the stove trying to get my sauce to thicken while thinking “WTF was I thinking trying to cook dinner at this hour!?” So when the word came from down the hall that she had just shit in their bedroom—for a second I thought it was funny. No, correction, for a second I recognized laughter as my only recourse in an insanely absurd and already totally stressful situation.
So needless to say, you won’t catch me in the kitchen today between the hours of 4-6PM. You won’t find me trying to accomplish anything other than maybe a little Lego building, kid book reading, or toy car driving. Maybe I’ll be able to throw in some knitting, while sitting and chatting with the car drivers. Maybe. Today I will be back to doing what for some reason it took me 18 stressful months of pellet-gun-in-the-foot-shooting to figure out. Making dinner between the hours of 12-2PM when everything is calm in the house and the children are playing happily solo is the ONLY way to go for peace and harmony at dinner time. So if the children in your house outnumber the adults and/or are significantly shorter than these adults or if you can relate to the “arsenic” analogy– get out your crockpot. If you can’t use a crockpot get every possible thing ready early so that the only thing you have to do between 4-6PM is either press “bake” or heat it up as your husband (in my case) is walking through the door. I’m telling you, it will save your life, and your foot (so to speak).