Tonight I am the mean mom.
I don’t do sleepovers. We’ve done a few, but they generally don’t work out. Lots of “over”, very little “sleep.” And even if the disruption isn’t in my home, my children are cranky and out of sorts the next day. Delayed disruption. No thanks.
I have done several late-nighters – watching someone’s children in my home until late (or having someone watch my children at their home late into the night). I don’t mind them so much. Generally you only need to dole out lots of popcorn and put on a movie and before you know it, it’s time to go home.
Tonight, though, is a school night, and I needed children – my children, at least – to go to bed at a reasonable hour. My friend’s son had a playoff football game two hours away, beginning at 7 pm (and she called me at 7 to say it had been delayed…11 and 12 year old boys beginning their football game well past 8 pm at night on a school night…priorities?). Her husband is deployed; there is no way I could, in good conscience, allow her to schlep her 4 other children (ages 11 down to 3) all the way down there that late at night. I have done these things myself, and they are the events that break us.
Afternoon playing, pizza dinner, ice cream dessert…no problem. Pajamas, brush teeth…all was good. Then the fun came to a screeching halt.
I segregated the families. Mine: up to bed. Hers: living room with books.
“But why?” several little girls wailed. The other children gave me the no comprendo blank stare. “She can’t be serious,” they seemed to be thinking. “She’s never done this before. She must be out of her mind.”
Nope. Not out of my mind. Just very serious about having a peaceful evening.
And it was very quiet and peaceful. My crew behaved as per usual with the girls going off to sleep and the boys re-enacting the Normandy invasion in their room (but the room is far away and I can’t hear them). My friend’s youngest fell asleep almost immediately on a chair. The others looked quietly at books.
It was about a half hour ago that the 5 year old came in and said, “Miss Michelle, can we watch a show? We’ll keep it down low.” I am quite certain his older sisters set him up for the task.
There was a pause, and then a look of complete shock. Suddenly he realized: my mother has left us with a big meanie. He turned and walked away, speechless.
“You could go to sleep,” I called after him. And you know what? He did.