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The Sleepover Saga: Part 2

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Game On!

(Need to catch up on part 1?  Check it out here.)

At this point, we said good night to our beloved teacher and her boys and I reminded my husband about the piñata.

“Oh shoot!” he said, and dashed off to the garage to scrounge up something to hang it on.

In the meantime, I organized the boys in one of my favorite decisions – the sleeping bag sack race.  Man, was I proud of that move!

I had purposely skipped the lawn watering the day before so things would be nice and dry.  Next, I had them all grab their sleeping bags, take off their flip flops and get inside.  I lined them up and they raced across the yard, potato-sack-race-style until they were lying on the ground, exhausted.

{Mwuh ha ha! My plan was working!}

A few boys who had figured out early on in life that they weren’t very competitive, helped me judge who won. Since I hadn’t had time to get a prize, I decided to award the winner of the sack race the next best thing: First dibs at getting to take a crack at the piñata.

Boys Love to Hit Stuff

Ah, piñata time: the timeless tradition of swinging a dangerous weapon around for the sole purpose of crushing something for a sweet candy reward!

Careful, dear!

I know that many parents have moved away from this dangerous birthday activity.  These are also parents who probably don’t allow their kids to turn sticks into swords, and who would also cringe at my son and my husband battling it out with their modified pool-noodle light sabers.   (Another one of my previous birthday party activity-victories that has lasted for two years of continued joy and impromptu whacking battles.)

The crowd of writhing, candy-craving boys lined up in a semi-circle around my husband who had bravely finagled a fallen tree branch, into a torch of piñata-holding destiny.  It also looked like the beginnings of a $10,000-winning “America’s Funniest Home Videos” submission.

Bravely he stood there while the first boy approached the piñata and eagerly grasped the bat.

“Where’s the blindfold?”

Oh shoot.  I had forgotten about that part.  I dashed inside and considered my options.  A dark sock?  No…too short.  A feather boa?  No…to itchy / girly.  Ah HA!  My husband’s old snow beanie!  Perfect!  Perhaps next time I will purchase an actual bandana.

The hitter grabbed the hat and put it on without any fuss, and was spun around 7 times.  Unfortunately, we had no more adults handy (husband was with the piñata and I was armed with my camera), so we enlisted the birthday boy for his help with the spinning, which was more of a casual turning that left no one dizzy or hilariously off balance. (Next time…)

Bashing stuff in the name of CANDY!

As the boys started swinging for the fences, I was reminded of our decision to stop having children after we hit the number two.  I should have made my husband wear a cup, regardless.

Luckily, the piñata was the only thing that the bat made contact with (phew!) and my son got the privilege of cracking that sucker wide open, to the sheer joy of his rowdy partygoers.  Woo hoo!  Candy for all and my husband managed to save the day with is modified piñata stand and man-hood intact.  Now that is an activity that I’d call a success!

It’s Getting Dark

The sun was beginning to set and I was feeling pretty confident with my activity choices.  I decided to break out another online score that I had found: 100 glow sticks.

A few helpful boys and I started activating the glowing goo inside and I distributed them among the crowd.  It was time for a Night Hike!

Now, where we live, a night hike is more like a twilight walk through the cozy neighborhood, but still…we gathered up the boys and made sure they were glowing like Christmas trees and set off to tire them out, I mean, we set off for a nice walk: )

This walk only lasted for about 25 minutes since, as you may remember, most of the boys were wearing flip flops, or casual pull on shoes without socks.  A few mentioned blisters, and were beginning to fall behind at the end.

“Hee-hee-hee”, I thought gleefully to myself.  A perfect time to come back and watch a movie!

As soon as we got back to the house from our birthday night parade, the boys all decided to go get their pajamas on for movie time.  Many of them also chose to brush their teeth.  I was pretty amazed.

Glow-boys all ready for a movie.

We set up all the sleeping bags and popped in one of the two movies my son had picked out from Red Box that afternoon.  I sat back and patted myself on the back as I watched them get drowsy and sucked into the Chipmunk drama on screen.

At this point, my husband was starting to fade.

He had been called in to work nearly 2 hours out of town that day, and had been up before dawn.  He had arrived home about an hour before the crowd of boys had arrived.  He was not going to make it through the long haul.

This is the time where I had wished I had enlisted some additional adult help.  If you are considering a sleepover, I would recommend bribing a good friend, relative or even paying a good babysitter for assistance with the late-night shift.  That’s where things can get ugly.

Before my husband passed out, I made a quick dash to the grocery store for milk.  Sure the mini-cereal boxes for the morning’s quick breakfast idea was a good idea, but I wouldn’t get very far without milk!  Oops!  Luckily we have two grocery stores less than a mile from us and I was back in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

My husband was losing steam fast and was starting to nod off on the couch.  No worries.  I was starting to feel pretty confident in my sleepover skills when I realized that it had gotten pretty quiet.  Too quiet.

Oh frick!  I had forgotten to ask the boys to put up their goodie bags which were FILLED with candy before the movie began!  That had been tucked cozily in their sleeping bags eating candy the whole time!  INCOMING!

Sugar Highs and Lows

By the end of the movie, almost all of the boys were bouncing off the walls.  It’s cool…that’s what happens at sleepovers, right?  I’ve got this…

But soon the stereotypical bouncing became late-night bickering, and my son, who normally can’t stay up past 9:00 on his own power and rarely gets candy more than once a week, was having a serious tear-stained melt down on the couch.

“They won’t listen to me! Why did we even have a sleepover anyway?!” he cried/ranted, and stomped off to his room to flop down on his bed.  Next, he realized that a few boys had broken off from the rest of the tribe and had found his collection of Legos and were involved in building a grand assortment of ninjas and Star Wars memorabilia in his bedroom.

I abandoned my post in the living room as the other boys began a game of ‘light tag’ and tried to cheer up my boy.

“Sweetie” I said “This is kind of what happens at a sleepover.  You get lots of people together and it’s hard to listen sometimes.  Please come back out and give it another chance.”

He managed to stick a scowl on his face and tromp back down the hall.  Luckily, when the other boys saw him reappear, clearly unhappy, one of the older ones said, “Hey everybody!  Let’s do what the birthday boy wants to do!” without me having to say anything.

After they tried to play a game of light tag in the house, I thought it would be best to pop in the other movie and attempt to get a little peace back under the roof.  The volume had increased to near sleepover-arrival limits and I had no idea how my husband was able to sleep, fully clothed, on top of the covers, back in our bedroom.

I had been informed by three of the parents, that their boys occasionally had problems with bedwetting, but only when they had late liquids and had been over tired.  Gulp.  Ok…surely that wouldn’t happen at a sleepover, right?

The boys had happily been gulping down water ever since we’d gotten back from our ‘night hike’ and I didn’t blame them, since our house was HOT!  Unfortunately, our A/C unit was located directly next to the smoldering fire pit, drawing in stinky smoky air throughout the house, so we had turned it off.  I finally broke down and cracked the windows, even though the smoke could easily blow in that way too. Of course they were thirsty!

My poor, poor bathroom…it has now seen things it probably only has seen during some of the rowdy college parties it used to see back when our home was rented out by a handful of popular college boys.  Little boys are not the best at aiming when they are focused.  Just think of what they can do when they are carrying around full bladders and jittery sugar highs!  YIKES!

After seeing the line to the bathroom grow, I told the boys to just go outside in the backyard to take care of their business.  This suggestion was met with extreme enthusiasm and I am hoping it got left off the list the next morning when their parents asked them, “What did you guys do at the party?”.

Finally, they were all situated (minus the laid-back Lego construction crew, hard at work in my son’s room) for movie #2.

When the end credits finally started to roll, only a couple boys were left awake and I ushered the Lego crew out of the back and into their sleeping bags.  I told them that they didn’t have to go to sleep, but I was turning off the TV and that it was whisper time.

Mama’s off to bed.

I had set up night lights in the big TV room where they were sleeping as well as along the path down the hall to the bathroom, just in case there were any late-night goers.  Groggily, I followed the lit up runway back to my room.  It was a quarter after 1 and it had been a long time since I had been up that late.  I was beat!

I pulled on some appropriate (a.k.a. “Frumpy / Mom-Like / Too hot to sleep comfortably”) pajamas and got my robe ready by my bed, in case I needed to go out and check on the boys.  I wanted to be sure I was decently dressed, although I was still crazy hot without the A/C being on.  There was no way I’d be able to budge the hubby from his sleep stupor.

Then Comes the Dawn

After a fitful sweaty sleep, I heard a thundering noise and realized that someone was running down the hall toward our room.

It was 5:45 in the morning.

I decided that since my husband had gotten to go to sleep early on, he could cover the morning shift and I grumpily woke him up to deal with the growing roar that was coming from outside our bedroom door.  He must have been walking out there in his sleep because he came back in shortly and there was no change in the decibel level.

I huffed my way out of bed and into my robe and took the hall in two long strides.  “You guys!  It’s not even the morning yet!  Can you keep it down?!”  There were still a few boys managing to sleep on the floor, despite the rest of the boys walking over them and turning on the lights.

“We’re hungry!” the alert ones said.

“I’m sorry.  I’m not serving breakfast until it’s officially ‘the morning’; let’s go put on some cartoons.”

I managed to stay in bed until a little after 7, but I wouldn’t consider what I was doing as anything remotely like ‘sleep’.  More like, tossing and turning and asking God, “Why on earth did I agree to a sleepover, again?”

Have I mentioned how much I abhor waking up early?  My children have been trained to fend for themselves on weekend mornings while mommy attempts to make up for all the sleep she lost during the week.  These boys were not adhering to the House Rule of ‘Just be quiet and leave mommy alone in the mornings and everything will be ok.’

The night before, my husband had been informed that it was his turn to volunteer at church that Sunday morning.

“What?!  You can’t switch with someone else?!  You’re going to leave me alone with them during pick up time?” I pleaded.

But it was no use.  He made me a yummy breakfast, got suited up in his motorcycle gear and was off in a flash.  Unfortunately, my house smelled of campfire, feet and farts, so I had little appetite for my nice plate of eggs and bacon.

Yep.  I fed the sleepover gang cold, sugary cereal and fruit while we adults had hot plates of goodness.  Luckily, they didn’t seem to care, even though I had ushered them all outside to eat, since I knew the track record of boys holding a bowl of cereal versus my floors and couch.  This way, only my grass would end up sticky.  Yes!

After a quick shower so I could look somewhat sane to the pick-up parents, I managed to turn off the TV and told the boys to go outside and play, which was actually what most of them were doing anyway.  I was happy it was such nice weather.

Back in my camp counselor days, I learned that packing kids up went much faster if the counselor took over the ‘rolling up the sleeping bag’ part, since most little kids can drag that activity out for a few hours.  I managed to get all the sleeping bags stuffed and rolled up and lined them up near the entry way.

Ready for pick up time! Please ignore my lame hand-drawn birthday sign in the background. Like I said, this whole ‘working full time and planning a party’ thing is new to me and it’s certainly not my best work,

Next, I picked up all the miscellaneous clothing items and laid them out like a lost and found.  “Is this yours?” I’d ask each of the boys as they walked by.  Finally we got all their backpacks packed and goodie bags collected and put everything by their sleeping bag.  I was beginning to feel like the end was really in sight.

We Made It!

I had set an 11am pick up time, and I think it worked out well.  The boys all had time to play together and get increasingly dirty and sticky, while I had a chance to rein in some of the mess from the night before, so parents didn’t arrive and see the complete devastation that my house had once experienced.

But, there still is a rubber lizard, somehow, stuck to the ceiling and caramel stuck to the window screen.  Not too many parents noticed that, though.

I was very thankful that we didn’t have any bouts of homesickness, and no one had to go home in the middle of the night because of sugar-overload-puking.  The boys seemed to have a great time and already seemed ready for a nap by the time their parents came to whisk them away.

I have a feeling that I will still undertake a sleepover or two in my future, but I doubt I we will invite so many boys.  I will also make sure to have extra help, in case my husband is MIA again.

I really hope it was something that my seven year old will happily remember for a long time to come.

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About Jenny Z

I love to overuse italics, misplaced hyphens and internal dialogue when I write about my usual favorite topic, myself.

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