I have no idea who reads this column. Specifically, I mean the demographic. Are you a kid? A newlywed? A new parent? An old parent? A grandparent?
Do you wish you belong to any of those previously mentioned demographics? Are you a bitter person? A person with sociopathic or narcissistic tendencies? Are those also demographics?
In any event, since it is almost the 10-year anniversary of my writing this column, I wanted to delve back into one of the first columns that I wrote. As a writer, I was curious to see how my “style” has changed. Please don’t mock me, I am an artist (wait, are you laughing as loudly as I am because I just woke husband #1 up from a major snoring episode)? I also want to see how I was as a parent and if my “musings” would still be as up-to-date then as they would be in today’s parenting world.
Upon looking back, I see that one of my very first columns was on the “witching hour.” I couldn’t remember the first time I had heard that phrase. Was it when one of my kids was screaming at me, when the other one was spitting up on me, one was throwing his dinner on the floor and their father walked in from work, acting like he had entered the wrong house and was desperately trying to come up with a minyan to go to? Yes, even back then, going to shul was in the playbook for Husband #1. I fondly recall the very true story about how on one particularly hectic Shabbes afternoon, he tried to leave the house under the guise of going to say the afternoon prayer that he had already said he had gone to say a few hours earlier. Kids, you can’t make this stuff up.
With each kid, Husband #1 went to synagogue more. There is a whole discussion to be had about that situation. But it’s for another time.
I had learned, as the years passed, that the time of day, the length of said “hour,” and the favorite activity ebbed and flowed with the ages of my angels. Whether it was when one kid was toilet training (which required the patience of a saint and a part of the body that I was not born with) and the other one was trying to take off his diaper because he wanted to be like his big brother (this also required the patience of a saint and, yes, a body part that I was still not privy to) and then there was the third son, Son #3, my baby, who for the life of him couldn’t figure out why no one was paying any attention to him. (Hey, do kids who go to Ner Israel ever get the nerve to write a tell-all novel about being neglected?)
The summer witching hour, when the boys were little, involved everyone needing to take a bath because of their adorable sand-covered bodies, which came from playing at the pool. So sweet to think about, in hindsight, but at the time, I am sure there was a great deal of screaming going on. And it wasn’t coming from them. “Just get through to bedtime, just get through to bedtime. You can do it. No Child Services today! You can do it.” Apparently, I did it. But it was the following paragraph that I want to quote verbatim.
“More recently, as my boys have gotten older, I have discovered, much to my chagrin, that it is no longer the witching hour, but the witching afternoon-evening. Come Friday afternoon, full moon or not, my sweet boys transform into lean mean fighting machines. And I stand there, screaming my head off, before someone gets hurt (no one hears me), I explain that there is no time to take anyone to the emergency room (no one hears me), I plead with them to get along because I had them close in age so they would be each other’s best friends (still nothing.)”
Hey wait, they did hear me! Thank God. All these years later, they do still get along. And the only thing happening on Friday afternoons does not involve not getting ready for the sabbath queen. Well, what do you know? Maybe all of that screaming and looking like a witch (which is why it is called the “witching hour”) wasn’t for naught. Who knew?
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is happy that it finally snowed. Hopefully no one slipped and fell.