There is an hour known well amongst new parents, the hour when it feels like time stops and nothing you do is right. The hour where you ask yourself ‘What am I doing?’ and come to the realisation that you are somebodies parent. Where you ask your baby ‘Why are you crying?!’ in a frustrated and tired voice, you’ll look at them with such despair, their quivering lip and their little tears making you forget that it is completely normal for a baby to cry for three hours a day.
This hour is known as ‘witching hour’. It is the hour where you learn that there is a very fine and fragile line between a happy baby and a devastatingly sad baby. The hour where all hell breaks loose and the only way to describe your baby is feral. Some days it won’t come, some days it lasts for the whole afternoon or god forbid the whole day. Those days are rough to say the least.
Leo’s witching hour usually comes around about the time when I decide to prepare dinner, mostly on nights when my husband is working and we are home alone. After eight months I am less fazed by the cries of protest as I walk away, I almost smile when I see his sad little face as he crawls toward the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong we still have our moments, I still ask him why he is crying and look at him hoping that by some miracle he would’ve learnt how to speak and be able to tell me what is going on. Some days, we still teeter on that fine line between happy and devastation, I must admit the thought of split personality disorders have crossed my mind.
Overall we have been lucky with Leo, he was never really a crier, his witching hour consists of a grumpy clingy child who only wants mum. Sometimes I think I would prefer the crying. Trying to calm an eleven kilo baby who wants to be cuddled but wants to be free at the same time is extremely difficult, usually we go with the distraction technique.
One of the wonderful things about babies is their short attention span (remember that fine line?), Leo could be crabby one minute and then read him a book or show him a soft toy and he will smile his gorgeous smile. So this is the way we go, distract, distract, distract. Generally it means that Mum and Dad don’t get their dinner until late but that’s OK. When you are a new parent your need for sanity overrides your need for food.
Witching hour always makes me appreciate my husband. On those days when Leo is beyond feral, when I have fed him, changed him, burped him, tried playing with him, sung to him, done everything all the books say to do and nothing is working I know my husband will be home soon and it will all be OK. He is the calm that I need in moments of stress and I am so grateful. I don’t know how single parents do it. I think that all the time, I have a new found respect and I take my hat off to them.
Although some days it may be the hardest and longest part of your day it does end. You know they aren’t sad tears, they are mostly overtired, frustrated tears and the distraction part is actually really fun.
And at the end of a long, exhausting day making my boy smile or laugh when he was so upset only just a minute ago makes me feel like I am doing a good job as his Mum, even if I am just making it up as I go.