After the sleepover

We let Henry have a handful of friends sleep over for his birthday, and was that ever a poor decision. This weekend we discovered that for nine-year-old boys, "sleepover" is code for "Hey, let's fling our bodies against each other and then lob ourselves against the walls as if we were human beanbags!" I am amazed that no furniture or spines were broken. How are there not head-sized holes in the walls? And when did my child learn to construct a human catapult?

Because of this apartment living that we chose, there was no escape from the sleepover bedlam. From the screaming and the screaming oh sweet baby Jesus the screaming. Actually it was more of a scream/laugh medley. Scraughter. It is not fun to listen to, even before you're sleep-deprived. Did you know that kids scream like they're being murdered and that this means "Golly, we are just having the funnest time!"? Can you make sense of this? Of course you can't, because you're a reasonable human and not a maniacal child-thing. When given the opportunity to play a nice quiet game of chess or sit silently and think about all they're thankful for, the entire party instead opted to engage repeatedly in something called a "dogpile." I ask you.

We've hosted sleepovers before, but even last year, the guests (and the birthday boy) were younger and more pliable. Our friends thought we were insane when we let five- and six-year-old sleep over, but I'm telling you, that's when you want them. They're easily entertained. They might smell a little funny, sure, but their combined funk does not knock you over when you enter a room. They're so thrilled with the novelty of the event that they'll fall asleep simply from excitement. Whereas once they're nine, they're all gangly and their limbs can and will knock over fragile lamps and also they're brimming with weird nine-year-old emotions. One kid kept tearfully announcing himself "on strike" because he didn't like the choice of activities. Another kid volunteered to help me out, and then did so by bonking the first kid about the head and back with a foam sword and then tossing his shoes down the stairwell. I really. I mean. Have you ever.

At any rate, let the word go forth that I will forever remain reluctant to agree to any kind of sleep- or slumber-themed event, unless the children prove themselves to be mute and/or exceptionally subdued, or our conditions change so dramatically that our squad of governesses can entertain and monitor the guests while we decamp for our country estate. I am sure that my stance will not change a little bit, even when I've completely forgotten how much my head hurt for days afterward, and the day arrives that Henry asks us really nicely. Not even then.