Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Surviving the Witching Hour with the Grumpus

Grumpy time! The one and only pic I've shared of crying/angry Jack!
I don't know if it is only our baby that has a daily pre-bathtime witching hour - but I suspect there are many others out there. We call Jack our little Grumpus when he is being fussy at night. Named after the Snufflebumps on the Friends episode "The One with The Male Nanny". If you haven't seen this episode its not really important - but I did want to share a shot of Sandy and the Grumpus. Adorable.

We feel truly blessed to have such a happy baby. He laughs at everything, is super ticklish, smiles in his sleep and giggles at his own toes. But even the happiest baby must be miserable sometime.  Jack is routinely miserable between the hours of 6:30 and bath time (usually 7:30ish).  So if you ever plan to drop in on us please avoid these times if you don't want to see a raging baby.

In the first few months Jack didn't seem to have any particularly fussy time. But as his life has become much more driven by patterns and routine we have noticed this witching hour.  We tried EVERYTHING people suggested to us and kept doing what works for him. We are like performing circus monkeys at times working to keep this guy happy but it is entirely worth it to get him until bedtime. We have become quite creative in finding ways to keep him from becoming a nasty little monster (besides trying to explain the concept of bribes to him).  I know that every baby is different and we always welcome suggestions! Here are some little things that work for us (Right or wrong.. they work and we just want to keep the peace!)

Tummy Time Together
Jack is thrilled to be on his tummy and explore the world. But at night he is sometimes less thrilled and needs some encouragement. We crawl onto the floor with him and by being on his level all he really gets into playing despite his Grumpus ways.

Playing on the floor together - Jack loves some company on the floor rolling around!

Go On Tour
It seems that in the evening this guy loves to get a walking tour of the house. He looks at everything as though he hasn't seen it before, mostly focused on lamps, lights and of course any animals on the move. So long as he is in your arms and on the move this guy stays very calm and doesn't fuss up.

Daddy taking him for a stroll around the house and checking out all the lights, windows and pets.

The Music Man
This guy is a music buff.  He is a huge fan of Coldplay - him and Daddy often sit together in the evenings at the computer desk and watch live concert videos of their songs. His favourite Coldplay song is "Don't Panic" to which he smiles, sways and coos to while Daddy sings to him.  We make up silly songs about him and the pets too - but they're pretty on the fly, never rhyme and I don't think you'd want to hear us perform them.  But hands down Jack's all time calm down/sleepy time song is Soft Kitty from Big Bang Theory.  It was something that started in the hospital hours after he was born and we haven't looked back since.  If you don't know what I'm talking about definitely click the link to watch the short clip of it being performed. If you do know what I'm talking about - still watch it. Priceless.

This is a kids TV show aimed at Preschool aged children that is focused on educating kids about animals. Hosted by two guys and a lemur puppet it doesn't sound very awesome but it SO IS.  Jack is really into it now, but so are his parents. It features tons of live animals and really interesting facts about them.  Neither of us believe the TV is the solution for a child and that there is more to life. BUT there is always room in your life for TV and we are big animals lovers so this one melts our hearts.  Jack enjoys the reoccuring musical numbers (we know them all word for word and sing them often... sometimes accompanied by dances, depending on how cranky he is - don't judge until you have a screaming infant to fix). Jack doesn't just watch, but he bounces and babbles at the TV and loses it laughing when Zoboo (the lemur) is on the screen.

Soaking in some TV on Grammies bed before a sleepy time.
Chris, Zoboo and Martin. These guys are so awesome I would high five them if I ever saw them in real life!

Apptivity iPod
Jack has a little iPod of his own now that he inherited from Grammie since she has a new one. We loaded it up with his favourite tunes and apps (there are more baby apps than you can shake a stick at).  He watches little counting games, learns about colours, plays piano and listens to music. He is able to hold it now in front of himself and chew on the case while "playing apps". I use that term fairly generously as he is more of a passive participant in the whole affair - but it keeps him happy so we don't question it.
This baby knows how to work technology already - he really enjoys swiping and tapping a touch screen.


  1. I have been a part of these witching hour marathon, and it is quite the workout... my arms needs a couple of days to get use to the heavy load, but then I am totally up for it. But nothing seems longer than that hour. When something works, its glorious until it wears off, and you think you have burned off 30 minutes but when you look at the clock.. its only been 10!!!!
    Hang in there.. it won't last much longer...

  2. I'm with your mom on this one... it wont last forever. We called it "heinous baby hour." And Gracie outgrew it around 7 or 8 months. Looking back, it seemed like it lasted much longer than that! Taking her outside always seemed to help, as did many of the things you already mentioned (dancing and singing for sure). We also slowly moved her bedtime to 6:15ish, from 7:30 (although she's now back to 7:00), and what do you know, heinous baby disappeared while sleeping! :) Good luck!

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