I think we all have a time of day that seems to be more stressful than any other. For many it's that early morning slot when trying to get everyone ready and out the door. For me it is when we get in from school in the afternoon, so around 3.30pm.
This is the time when my daughter, the one that was perfectly happy to play a wonderful, albeit loud, game with her brothers at 6am, appears to get replaced by a moody child with attitude. Cue demands for food, juice, tv programmes, and an endless list of other things, none requested with the use of the word 'please'!
As soon as I get to my front door it starts. My daughter's first task is to remove her shoes, her second to wash her hands. If she was quick she could do this before I got her brothers out of their pushchair, however, like all five year olds, these things require dawdling. This leads to her brothers lingering in the hallway waiting for her, usually accompanied by whinging. The boys because they for some reason refuse to enter the living room without their sister, the one they have managed all day without, and my daughter who insists on shutting them out of the loo whilst she washes her hands, and shouts when they open the door.
When I finally manage to get the pushchair in the hall after repeatedly asking the boys to move out the way, it's straight into requests for snacks. God forbid I need a wee, it'll have to wait!! As I try to empty the school bag and clean out the yoghurt coated lunch bag, I have crying children at the gate begging for food like they've never eaten! Once they have a snack and a tv programme on I think it's safe to make a cuppa yet no sooner have I flicked the switch on the kettle, Peppa Pig has finished and I'm being shouted at to put on another!
When my daughter finishes her snack she insists on having music on instead so she can dance which does not go down well with the boys. So while she dances (or should I say runs around like a lunatic for all of five minutes before getting bored and sitting down with her Leapster Explorer), my sons use me as a climbing frame. Today one of them kicks me in the boob, bringing tears to my eyes. My other son and my daughter sympathise with me, my daughter stroking my hair (making me cry more!) The kicker however takes great pleasure in repeatedly kicking said boob bringing on proper tears from me, and when I've started I can't stop!
When I calm down it's time to make dinner during which time the boob kicker empties boxes to stand on and reach the ipod, or pulls out DVDs, and my daughter tries to fall asleep, clearly put out that we aren't having fishfingers for tea.
When we sit up for dinner, which may as well be dog poo on a plate if my daughter's facial expression is anything to go by, she refuses to eat, moaning that she is tired. And cold apparently, which would be to do with the summer dress she has insisted on putting on! My request for her to just sit in silence is misinterpreted as 'talk as much as possible whilst getting up and down from the table'!!
When the boys are finally in bed, after getting out twenty million times, and my daughter has reluctantly done her school reading and also gone to bed, I'm gagging for a drink, and I don't mean tea.
I know that I'll go up to bed before long, look in on the kids sleeping peacefully and looking all cute and just think how lovely they are...until tomorrow..around 3.30pm!!
So when is your stress o'clock?!