Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Arsenic Hour

Ahhh, it’s that transitional time in the afternoon lovingly dubbed “The Arsenic Hour”.  This is not an original term, but one borrowed from The Mother’s Almanac and brought into our family vocabulary by my sister.

Between the nap and the twilight

When blood sugar is becoming lower,

Comes a pause in the day's occupations,

That is known as Arsenic Hour.

—Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons, The Mother's Almanac I, 1975

Kelly and Parsons appear to have taken a page from Longfellow’s poem “The Children’s Hour” (1863)

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as the Children's Hour.

No amount of naps or high quality snacks can stave off this phenomenon in our house.  This is the time that tests Mom’s soul. I have yet to figure out how to prepare dinner with one wailing child on each leg. So I reach for the remote control.  Today’s child-calming feature is the movie Cars. Thank you, Lightning McQueen.

Interestingly enough, there’s another type of late afternoon meltdown experienced by Alzheimer’s and dementia patients--Sundowning.  Lengthening shadows and end-of-day fatigue trigger a type of confusion that leads to inappropriate behaviors and increasing agitation.

It appears that God created our bodies to need a time of rest, no matter what age. Just like we need a good night’s sleep and possibly even a daily nap, we also need to take a break from our busy lives and refuel. Otherwise, let the cranky times begin.

So a quick prayer for Mommy and a kiss for the kids.  Daddy’s coming home soon.

1 comment:

Joanne Sher said...

I am SO familiar with arsenic hour - but there is definitely a lesson here, isn't there? Great thoughts - and I LOVE the new look of your blog (did you find the template from the site I got mine from?).