Bored Housewives Network

Getting through the day, one bonbon at a time.

Monday, December 12, 2005

No sleep til bedtime

[This is the second entry I'm attempting to get up in the interests of responding to the very nice invitation to join this group. Which I have been remiss about. I'll try to be better.]

So Mia and The Boy turned six and nine at the end of October/beginning of November. The nature of the visitation schedule, plus our general mad-busy life, meant that this past weekend was the first real chance we had to do any celebrating en mass. We decided to do it all in one go and get it finished with on Saturday night with a combined slumber party.

Mia invited four of her friends, and The Boy invited five of his. One of The Boy’s friends couldn’t come at all, an additional friend of The Boy’s could only stay for the evening, and two of Mia’s friends could only come for the evening. I’ll skip you doing the train-leaving-the-station math here and just say that it meant ten kids for dinner, and seven kids for breakfast.

They started arriving around five and began running about the apartment. Children do this. When my friends come over, they tend to head straight for the cold beer, but kids seem to like to warm up with some sprinting. And some yelling. Some yelling and sprinting and general mayhem. Parents arriving with new children (who could hardly wait to get their boots off so they too could join merry band of running, screaming kids) smiled at us goofily before waving goodbye in a barely disguised show of relief that they weren’t required to spend the evening with us. Parents of the two kids that Mia had invited to spend the evening warned us that this was a first sleepover. The mother of one – and I shall call him Paul for his adorable baby face – told me that not only had he not spent the night with a friend, but hadn’t even stayed at a grandparents’ house. This was the big first, for Paul.

Ulysses and I allowed the liberal playing of play station games by The Boy and his crew. “I have never,” said Ulysses as he pressed out pizza dough, “been so happy to hear the sound of one of those stupid games.” The din was definitely lessened. Mia and her friends plotted with one another upstairs. Ulysses had taken the appropriate step of locking the doors to our bedroom and the office.

We ate pizza. Most kids preferred plain cheese (another mystery of childhood!) and I didn’t even bother to make salad. A co-worker had lent me Ice Age which was incredibly popular, if also entirely predictable in both plot and gags. Before the next feature film (The Incredibles – and if you think I was deliberately drugging the kids up with television, you’re right. (And I’d do it again.)) I made popcorn with the help of a little boy (not Paul) who launched himself onto the kitchen counter by taking a leap at it. It was certainly impressive.

Some parents returned for the offspring who could not stay (and those offspring were pretty damned loathe to go, which must have meant party success) and we herded the rest of the kids into pyjamas and sleeping bags. Mia and one of her friends slept on the floor of her room, but Paul took the bed. He wasn’t sure about the height of the pillow, so I gave him his own. Also, he wasn’t sure about turning out the light, so we didn’t. The Boy and his friends announced their intention to stay awake until the sun came up and I said that it would be best not to share those plans with me and also be very quiet.

Ulysses and I got into bed and fell almost immediately asleep. At about two a.m. I rolled over and nearly crushed poor little Paul who opened his eyes and announced he was “too scared to sleep in there, so I’m sleeping with you”. Ha!

The sound of some sort of older kid ruckus woke up Paul an hour later and he demanded “a heating pad” to help his “growing pains”. I have one of those wheat bag things, so I took it downstairs to heat it up and tell the older kids to knock it the heck off with the noise. Paul fell asleep about twenty minutes later.

In the morning, Paul let me know that it was a good thing, these growing pains, because he was going to be big enough to ride the good rides at Canada’s Wonderland this year. Mia and her other friend seemed to think it entirely normal that Paul took off to sleep with me and Ulysses (Mia: “I sleep with them whenever I’m scared.” Which is true, Mia, but we’re not strangers to you.)

The gathering of the belongings went less smoothly than it should have, mostly because every single kid was bleary-eyed and overtired (and Ulysses and I were also less patient than we might have been on a full night’s sleep). Some fights broke out and we broke them up. I made the pancakes and sausages, and we got everyone fed. The parents all arrived (Paul’s mom just laughed when I mentioned the unorthodox sleeping arrangement, so that was good), and then they all left.

Then we all cleaned up. Once the visitors’ stuff was gone, the place wasn’t that bad, and Mia and The Boy pitched in. In a couple of hours, as Mia said, it was like “nobody ever came to the party!” Then we picked up the Christmas tree, ate left-over pizza, and played a couple of kid’s card games. Mia cried. We put everyone to bed early.

And there won’t be a massive kid slumber party again until next year. Hooray!


  • At 5:21 PM, Blogger landismom said…

    Wow. We just had our first slumber party this year, and that only involved one child's birthday. You are very brave. Hoping that you got to the beer after the kids fell asleep.

  • At 1:30 PM, Blogger queen of the harpies said…

    No beer! But that was only because we were too tired to think of anything but the wonderfully comfortable bed. This coming weekend, beer aplenty, methinks!

  • At 3:36 PM, Blogger Tammy said…

    Oh my god, that was hilarious. And terrifying. You mean other parents will just drop their sleepover-virgins off at your house like that?! I'm afraid!

    I was telling the mister about small Paul's pillow concerns, nocturnal visit to your bed, and growing pains, and I kept cracking up during the retelling. Yup, I'm a born storyteller.

  • At 4:49 PM, Blogger queen of the harpies said…

    Paul’s mom did stress that Paul was extremely excited and she wanted to let him try the sleeping over, but she would have no problem whatsoever with making a middle of the night drive to come and get him if he decided (at some ungodly hour) that he couldn’t make it through the night. I was a little shocked to find him, you know, in my bed, but I figured that he seemed perfectly content to be there and he would definitely have a meltdown if I turfed him out.

    I’m still laughing about it too. I must seem like the most non-threatening person in the world to small children. (Which explains a lot about the behaviour of my own.)

    Thanks again for the invitation to join! You are, quite obviously, a born storyteller and it’s delightful to read your (and everyone’s!) posts.

  • At 11:14 PM, Blogger Tammy said…

    Ha! Just reading these tiny new details of the story in your comment made me laugh some more. I think you have to have another slumber party and invite Paul, just for the story fodder.

    I'm so glad you've joined, saskatchewan! I've "known" you since... when? Hissyfit? Good lord, how many years ago was that? Funny how the internet keeps these connections alive, even if they're dormant for a while.

  • At 8:24 AM, Blogger queen of the harpies said…

    I joined Hissyfit the spring I was pregnant with Mia – so six and a half years ago. (!!!) I’m stunned! Now my little boy, who was a toddler back then, is in grade four. I remember grade four. There’s nothing quite as frightening as realizing the things that are happening to your kids right now are things they’ll be able to recall with some degree of accuracy when they’re adults. And throw back at you.

    Man, I hope my kids refrain from a big ‘ole Long Days Journey Into Night public exposé of all my faults when they’re rising literary stars. That’s what we’re all hoping for, I think.


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