There comes a time in my day when the testing of my patience, the moodiness and the bad attitudes runneth over.  It is usually right about the time that I am exhausted and in desperate need of a squishy couch under my tired keyster.   I KNOW, just from watching them at this time of the day – every day – that God put a special chip in children that activates right around this time.  I, and most of my friends, call it the Witching Hour.

During the witching hour, as their behavior deteriorates to that of hungry apes, my threats reach maximum capacity as well.  I am serious too dammit!  Very serious!  But I have noticed, as I become more and more incensed in the practice of “If you do that, I will…!”, most are becoming just empty and useless.

I don’t know how it happened.  I used to be really good at following through.  If I got to 3, you got the punishment.  Now that I have 3 demanding and misbehaving children, however, I feel outnumbered and can’t seem to find the energy to always do so.

Maybe if I stuck to the simple threats – time out, being put in their room, and no dessert after dinner, I’d be more consistent.  But my girls have become wise to these punishments and actually think those are pretty OK.  Certainly not worthy of ceasing the beating of a sister, the throwing of water or the ignoring of the Mommy.

So I’ve had to get more defined.  More specific, more thoughtful.  However, I’ve also become a big fat liar.

“Katie, if you do not stop riding your bike in this house, I will take it to curb and let the trash men take it!”

Not likely…  that thing was expensive!

“Sarah!  If you don’t stop twirling your hair, I am going to shave you bald!”

Yea, well, ummmm…  that would not be cute at all.   And it would render all of the bows and hair bands I’ve bought her useless and I am not willing to eat that cost to get her to stop.  Soooo….

“Megan!  Let go of the toy or I will make you go to  bed and stay in bed until morning!”

Like she understands me.  Puleeze!

I have gotten close to following through with desperate threats, as I call them.  I have hauled the bike half way down the driveway, Katie crying and screaming, running after me and making me feel like the worst mother in the world for giving her a memory like this.  Only to stop, ask if she is going to mind me and give it back to her.

For her to ride through the house five minutes later.

I have put Megan in her crib, causing crocodile tears  – from me – and loud screeches and screams from her.  It lasts about 5 minutes and then I go get her, feeling I have scarred her for life!

As for Sarah, well, I have not found a way to almost shave her bald so that one really is baseless!  And she knows that and happily twists away.

But what else can I do?

Pause for a myriad of answers that I have not thought of.

I have to get these kids calmer during the witching hour and I have to make a serious point without spanking them for every little thing.  So I continue to offer consequences I will never follow through with, spout off threats that will prove fruitless and feel like a cad if I even try.

Just call me the Queen of Empty Threats.