Tonight, I took my four children and two of their friends to see “Shrek,” which we all enjoyed. My 9-year old son thought it was the funniest “Shrek” movie yet. My daughter laughed like a maniac, even when she had no idea what was funny. (I think the Super Loud Laugher sitting in our row may have encouraged her to extreme guffaws.)
On the way home, we were stopped at a red light. The kids all noticed two workers removing letters from a Walgreen’s sign. My daughter wanted to know what they were doing, so we all glanced over just in time to see the lady remove the “S” from “SHIRTS” turning it into “HIRTS 2/$10.” The kids thought this was amusing . . . “HIRTS, only FIVE DOLLARS!” they shouted and laughed.
And then–it was such a long red light–the woman put back the “S” and moved to the “R” while the older boys stammered, “Oh no, no, no . . . don’t remove the R!” and just at that moment, off came the “R,” turning SHIRTS into . . . well, SHI TS, two for ten dollars . . . and the barking laughter grew hysterical. The light turned green, I accelerated and the kids screamed with laughter. I was laughing, by then, at their hilarity.
I’m no longer laughing, though, because somehow I ended up hosting what amounts to a slumber party. We returned home at nearly 8:30 p.m. . . . I ran a bath for my daughter, then changed into exercise clothes. Then one of my 14-year old twins appeared at my bedroom door. He looked sheepish and said, “Uh, Mom . . . we have a problem.”
And then he explained that the two boys who went to the movie with us planned to spend the night. They’d cleared it with their mother, only no one had bothered to ask me. “And,” he continued, “John and Joseph [*not their real names] think they are spending the night, too. They’re downstairs.”
Now, earlier tonight, the same son asked me if John [*still not his real name] could spend the night. I went a little berserk at his request and explained that “I DO NOT WANT ANYONE TO SPEND THE NIGHT! I’VE SPENT TEN MILLION YEARS THIS WEEK WITH FOUR HUNDRED CHILDREN IN AND OUT OF MY HOUSE AND NO NO NO NO NO!” I was very coherent and eloquent. Ha. And he didn’t say another word.
And yet . . . and yet . . . I couldn’t say “no” to these four kids who’d already asked their parents and gained permission and WHY DO THEY WANT TO SPEND THE NIGHT? (Could it be the ice cream they all ate at 10:30 p.m.?) I had earlier raved to my son, “WHAT IS THE POINT?” When I just informed the younger three kids that at 11:00 p.m. I expected them to go to sleep, Joseph [*still not a real name] protested and began to tell me about how things are done at his house and I said, “Uh, at my house, kids do not stay awake past 11:00 p.m.” (And yet, at the moment, seven boys are awake and it’s 11:16 p.m.)
I haven’t even met the parents of John and Joseph [*uh, fake names]. Seriously, who sends their kids down the street to spend the night at someone’s house without meeting the host-mother (aka the INSANE LADY WHO LETS HALF THE NEIGHBORHOOD SPEND THE NIGHT)?
Well. Okay then. It is what it is. Did I mention that my husband’s out of town for two days? Boy, what fun I’m having in his absence.
(The three youngest boys have created an elaborate “fort” in the family room using an assortment of quilts and couch pillows and heavy blocks and . . . oh, a bunch of stuff. They are sleeping in this haphazard shanty-town. Well, “sleeping” might be overstating what’s happening at the moment.)
Oh, I hope we sleep tonight. I hope they sleep. I want to sleep.
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Update: The three youngest (all about 9 year old, I think) slept–as far as I can tell–from 12:30 or 1:00 A.M. until 6:00 A.M. The oldest four? Well, I came down at midnight and told them to turn off the lights and be quiet and go to sleep. They were ever so cooperative. Why? Because as soon as I went upstairs, they turned on the computer and resumed playing Runescape. (All sites on their computer have to be approved by me–everything’s password-protected–so I am not worried about them accessing other things.) Oh yes, they did–as I slept, confident in their obedience. And then, at 3:40 a.m., my daughter woke and crawled into bed with me. Then at 6:00 A.M., she woke up, whining. I told her to go back to sleep and then the DOOR SLAMMING woke me at 7:30 A.M. All the boys were awake and the younger boys were attempting to “prank” the older boys. Thus, much door-slamming ensued. I came down in my purple bathrobe and reprimanded everyone . . . I am so not the cool mom, not the fun mom, the ha-ha-ha, isn’t-this-fun?-mom. I’m the irritated mom who got roped into a non-slumber party and now I’m weary.
By 9:00 A.M., I was ordering everyone to clean up the messes they’d made. (One kid brought peanuts in the shell and so shells were everywhere.) By 9:30 A.M., I was sending them home. By 10:00 A.M., my 14-year olds were falling asleep. I demanded the truth . . . and that’s when they confessed to playing games all night long–well, they did sleep an hour. I think they were just too tired to lie. Huh. I have now blocked access to their favorite computer game as a little demonstration of the consequences of disobedience and lying. And the best thing is that they had to choose between going to the beach with me (to explore the low-tide) or going with their friend (who spent the night) to an activity on the military base. They chose the military base . . . so they are staggering from booth to booth, display to display, activity to activity on an hour’s worth of sleep. So, there! Take that! Now whose laughing?
My 9-year old got about six hours of sleep. He’s at a birthday party right now. My 4-year old and I are going to explore the exposed shore. I shall return with pictures. Maybe.