Tag Archives: the witching hour

A closer look at the American family

The American family. A tradition dating back to the early 1600s. They can be found living among various habitats in North America, from teeming cities rich in natural resources, such as Chipotle, to the peaceful suburbs, where powerful tribes known by the moniker of “The Homeowners Association” roam the land, dictating grass length and the number of acceptable lawn gnomes. Utterly unique in the animal kingdom, these creatures can easily be identified by their colorful plumage, having decorated their bodies with various diaper bags, oversized purses and backpacks featuring a “Dora,” a small-statured explorer with a bowl haircut that is worshipped among the youngest of the herd.

The American family is among the most social of all the mammals (except when it involves the subject named “Debbie;” the female of the species isn’t talking to “Debbie” this week…further extensive research has concluded that “Debbie” knows what she did). They often gather for elaborate eating rituals, where animal flesh cooked on a primitive device known as a barbecue, usually by a male of the species named “Dave,” is consumed in large quantities and the young engage in playful romping that involves murderous screams.

Let us take a closer look at this fascinating species, focusing on a newly formed American family that recently had its first offspring.

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Like many American families, this one began with marriage, a tradition in which rings are exchanged and the technology known as “Netflix” replaces formerly vigorous mating rituals. After three years of this marriage, the male of the couple impregnated the female by seducing her with his elaborate mating call of “Hey…you wanna…you know?”

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The gestation of the pregnant female is nine months, during which both the female and the male eat copious amounts of food, a biological response to the upcoming months of starvation they will face once the offspring is born and they no longer have time to forage for food in the kitchen.

For this particular American family, the bulk of the child-rearing duties falls to the female, whose personal hygiene has taken a backseat to ensuring that the offspring survives.

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Her day is also spent guarding the child from dangerous predators, such as the family dog, who lurks on the periphery waiting for its chance to attack the child with never-ending licks directly inside the child’s mouth.

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The male of the species, after a long day of hunting for editorial approval and gathering fonts, arrives to the shared dwelling and is greeted by the female hurling the offspring directly at his face while she retreats to the bathroom, where she will curl up in the fetal position on the floor and call her best friend to engage in a ritual known as “venting.”

Left alone with the offspring, the male attempts to keep it entertained until he notices the female crawling across the floor army-style toward the front door, where the following conversation takes place:

Male: “Where are you going?”

Female: “To the grocery store.”

Male: “But we don’t need anything, do we?”

Female: “I don’t care!”

It is at this point that the clock strikes seven and the male is filled with trepidation. For it is at this time that a unique phenomenon known among the natives as “the witching hour” begins. Although no one knows why, some biological urge within the offspring’s DNA causes it to cry and scream nonstop at this time every night, often to the point of vomiting (it being a well-known fact that the young of the American family are nauseated by the sight of a nice button-up shirt). Note, if you will, how former techniques used during the day, such as the “bouncy-bounce” knee maneuver and the “Look! It’s Mr. Giraffe!” distraction method are now useless against the growing tide of cries.

Exhausted and confused, the male will often resort to trying to use logic with the child, but so strong is this biological urge to cry at heretofore unheard of decibels, the child ignores his pleas of “come on, buddy, no need to get that upset”. Eventually running out of ideas, the male will often resort to simply letting the offspring cry, often crying alongside him.

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It is at this point that the female generally returns, after first standing outside the front of the dwelling repeating the mantra “I can do this, I can do this” for five minutes. But the storm is over. Just as quickly as it began, the witching hour ends and soon the exhausted offspring is fast asleep.

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And the male and female celebrate another successful day of child-rearing by drinking fermented grapes and vowing to never have any more offspring until the first offspring has graduated college.

 

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Stay-At-Home Moms vs Working Moms

For those of you in the betting pool who picked that I would fail as a mother within a month, bad news: Riker is still alive. Not even maimed yet. Or as far as I can tell, permanently psychologically damaged (granted, that might change once he finally learns to reads and goes through all my old pregnancy blog posts…”Really, mom? My nickname in utero was Demon Wizard? Really?”).

However, now that we have made it to the one month mark fairly unscathed, the real test of parenthood is beginning. All the visitors have left. My husband has gone back to work. And I am now solely responsible for the lil’ Nipple Slayer (“Really, mom? Really?”) for most hours of the day.

Now, I was never one of those people who thought that stay-at-home moms had it easy. Nor did I think working moms were walking on down Easy Street in their pantsuits. And this is because (…brief pause while I dust off this here old soapbox…) I believe myself a true feminist who recognizes that women should not be judged for their life choices just because it isn’t the same as your life choice (…steps down and gently places soapbox back in its hiding place in the closet, right beside seven year’s worth of BUST magazine…).

But now that I am a few days into this new visitor-free, husband-less child care routine, while simultaneously still working from home writing my (WARNING! WARNING! Shameless self-promotion ahead!) award-winning newspaper column, I feel I can fully empathize with both sides.

In fact, just for fun, let me take you through a typical day of mine.

It usually begins at 4 a.m. That is, if my son decides it starts at 4 a.m. He could also decide to start it at 2 a.m. Or 3:17 a.m. Or, if he’s in a really festive mood, we simply blend the previous day into the next day with no discernible break in between.

Still half (occasionally all) asleep, I attempt to change his diaper, which he has turned into a fun game I like to call “Let’s Poop And Pee As Much As We Can In The Tiny Window Of Time Between Removing One Diaper And Thrusting The Other One Underneath My Tushy.”

He usually wins.

He also almost always wins what I call the Bonus Round, which is when he manages to pee on me no matter where I’m standing at the changing table.

We then eat breakfast, and by we I mean him and by breakfast I mean he gnaws on my breast for 35 minutes like a starving, feral piranha. Repeat three times until mid-morning when I finally get 47 free seconds and use it to eat my own breakfast of a moldy blueberry muffin, daintily crammed into my mouth whole.

After that, I usually kjfjfjfjfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff…

Oops, fell asleep on the keyboard. Sorry about that. What was I saying?

Well, anyway, at some point he finally falls asleep again, which is when I put him down in the crib for a nap, which is apparently the international baby sign for WAKE UP IMMEDIATELY AND START CRYING HYSTERICALLY! So I pick him back up and try to calm him while at the same time trying to clean my house at least a little bit considering I haven’t seen the dog in about three days and I suspect he’s stuck underneath the world’s largest pile of burp cloths.

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At some point, I will actually get to go to the bathroom, which is when I notice I have run out of maxipads. And with necessity being the mother of invention and all, I make the executive decision to use one of Riker’s diapers until such time as I can get to the store (which I’m guessing will be in June).

By now, I’m lkkdkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk…

Oopsie. Fell asleep again. Um…where was I?

Well, it doesn’t matter. Let’s just say at this point I realize I have a looming deadline and need to finish (re: start) my column. So I put the baby in the magical vibrating bouncy chair I got at my baby shower and proceed to write exactly one sentence before I start to feel guilty because the baby is just sitting there, staring at me, doing nothing. And all the stupid baby books say you have to stimulate your baby CONSTANTLY or else he’ll end up as a drooling vegetable by the time he’s an adult. Or worse yet, an employee for the Department of Motor Vehicles.

So I then pick him up and try to write with him in my arms but this, as you can imagine, is less than sldddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd…

AH! Where am I!? Oh. Sorry. Happened again.

Well, at this point we’ve reached what is usually called “the witching hour,” which is when your baby decides to cry for three hours straight for no discernible reason. Although if I had to discern the reasons why he was crying, it would look something like this:

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And now it’s the end of the day (the term “day” being subjective to my son’s whims, of course), I still haven’t showered, I have a tiny diaper shoved in my underwear and my column has exactly one sentence written and this helpful note below it:

“Something funny about soapboxes here.”

So, to all you mothers out there, I feel your pain. But let me share with you the one piece of advice I received that has truly saved my life and works whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or working hard at the office or doing both like me. And that advice is dffffgggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg…