Sometime earlier in the summer, my ten year old son was invited to a sleep over birthday party. He and nine other boys were treated to a baseball game, dinner and all the movies they could stay awake and watch. Unfortunately, many did, stay awake all night. This set a precedent and a few weeks later, he was invited to another party where the mantra was basically, “we refuse to sleep”, and they didn’t. And because I was only a listener of stories, versus a victim of the party, this seemed like a reasonable thing for a bunch of 11 year olds to do. Right?
Unfortunately, I also gave the go ahead to invite more than ten friends and all were to spend the night. It started off fun enough. We rode go carts, played video games and putt-putt. Then we went back to our place. My husband left the go cart place early, to pick up pizza and would meet us at the house. That would have been perfect, except for the fact that there were twelve children in my care and my van only holds 7. So, I called my mom. My mom actually showed up ten minutes after I called her, just like she promised. Still, it did not occur to me that the universe may be turning itself inside out, like a sock thats gone through the wash cycle, all wadded up. Nope, I was thinking it was all going so well, that is, until I realized that my husband had taken my van keys, (after helping another mother load a sleeping bag into my van), with him to Pizza Hut and was now 20 miles away. So now, I sent three with my mom, in her convertible. My sister could only fit her two into her car and I shelled out another 28.00 for putt-putt. Meanwhile, another friend that was supposed to join us at the party, had to drive 20 minutes, back to the go-cart place to give me my keys. At least I didn’t forget one of the children. But still.
Finally, we get back to the house and there are 12 children running from one end to the other, yelling and slamming doors. Yeah, I fully expected this. And, even ahead of time, decided I could make it through it. Throughout the evening, my sister, who promised to stay the night, with her two children, to ,”help out”, would give me those, “you are crazy for lettin those kids run through this house”, looks. That was interspersed with nerf bullets, spraying the living room and fights over video games. There were pass words created, in order to screen entrants into the back bedroom, where a storm of popcorn had erupted on the floor. Meanwhile, in the family room, one child was catapulting himself off the top bunk bed, while his little brother dropped legos, one by one, to see if they’d stay together once they hit. Finally, my friend left and took his two children with him. He was the smartest one. My sister fell asleep on the sofa, (I have no idea how she managed to sleep), and my son came into to plead with me to make his friends be a little more quiet. That was right before someone spotted a scorpian along the baseboard. Then all hell broke lose again. There were those who wanted to kill it, the one who wanted to catch and release and the one who wanted to keep it. My husband put it outside.
Finally, my husband announced he was going to bed. I also fully expected this. I kept making popcorn, pouring ginger ale and refereeing. Around 1:30, I gave them a thirty minute warning that we were all going to sleep in thirty minutes. They all staked out their sleeping bag areas on the rugs and sofas and bunk beds. Somebody said they saw a scorpion on the top bunk and all three guys that had claimed, and defended the oh so desirable top bunk, retreated like so many soldiers.
After another hour of ghost stories, the honoree, decided he needed some real sleep and left the party participants for a sounder sleep with his dad. I was left to man the attendees. It was 3 a.m.. One was sound asleep, one was scared to aleep without a “big” light on, one had no pillow, one was suddenly allergic to his sleeping bag, two had forgotten to eat the pizza earlier, but couldn’t eat popcorn, and wouldn’t eat peanut butter, one was trying to coax the dog to sleep with him and one was bouncing off the walls. It was at this point, I felt my veneer of outer hipness slide into the hardwood floor, while the mom that wanted sleep took the reins. I heard myself telling them that everyone needed to stop talking, because one of the children had to go out of town the next day and he needed his rest. My other self reminded me that this was a sleepover and this is what they are supposed to do. But the newer, sleepier me could care less. So, I crawled onto the big leather sofa, where my 8 year old slept at one end and took the other end, sharing his blanket. And finally, after several reminders, they all fell off to sleep, one after the other. I too, fell asleep, wrenched into the end of a fairly comfy sofa. Finally, all were asleep, except one young man who was hopscotching over lumpy sleeping bags, clad in the pants of his long johns and no shirt, back lit by the “big light”. My self that felt guilty about making them all go to sleep at a spend the night party had passed out an hour earlier and the sleep deprived mom dug my foot deeper down into the leather cushions and pulled the covers over our head.