To herald the death of the old year and the arrival of the new, we allowed Henry to do the heretofore unthinkable: stay up until midnight. Would he manage it? He is a boy who is usually snoring peacefully by eight p.m. and stays that way for eleven or so hours. When he stays up even an hour after his bedtime, he devolves into a blithering maniac who skitters from room to room on all fours, speaking in tongues. So we had our doubts. Still, though, we were attending a get-together wherein the children would be pajama'd up and free to snooze, if they needed, so the worst that could happen is that he crashed along with some other preschoolers. Also, when had we not been sitting at home being boring, for New Year's Eve, since Henry was born? Never, is when.
By allowing Henry to stay up until midnight, we granted him his heart's desire. Every few days Henry pleads with me to let him stay up late. "But you will be insane," I tell him, but that makes no difference to him. Night time is when all the exciting stuff happens. When we don our smoking jackets and trade witty quips. And then retire to the playroom, to enjoy our Bionicles until the sun comes up.
Anyway, the party actually went well. Although the children were marinated in sugar and hopping up and down on each other's heads, there were no tears, no bloodshed, no broken bones. Henry was cheerful, if drowsy. As the clock struck midnight, he wrapped his flannel-clad body around me and whispered, "Please, can I go to bed, now? "
So all was fine and dandy, until we got home, and he went to sleep. And woke up. And woke up again. There are four reasons why he won't be up until midnight again until he's at least 30.
1. 2:00 am. I wake up to the sound of someone crashing around downstairs. There's a burglar! We're being burgled on the first day of 2008! Also, there's weeping. A highly emotional burglar is lurching around our home. I run to the stairs to restrain him and/or provide emotional succor. But of course it's Henry, who's on his way back up after wrecking the place, and is sobbing. "What's wrong?" I ask him. He lurches back to bed. "Aaaiiiiiigh," he tells me, and I ask him to repeat himself, but he's snoring.
2. 2:30 a.m. A pitiful wailing wakes me up. I make my way to Henry's bed, where he's under the covers, shrieking. "You have to ree my snore!" he screams. "What?" "You have to ream my store!" "WHAT?" "READ ME A STORY." Oh, I am so in the mood to read some Magic Schoolbus. But that must wait. Until I'm CONSCIOUS.
3. 3:00 a.m. Weeping, banging, screaming. I make Scott get up. More weeping, more screaming. Some of it is Scott. I get up. They're in the bathroom. "My eye hurts!" Henry is shrieking. There is much clutching of the eye and tossing his head back and forth, while Scott tries to get a look at what's going on in there. "If your eye is injured, my boy, you should let me look at it," Scott offers. "Quite," I murmur. (What, you don't think we can be that calm and reasonable at 3 am? You calling me a liar?) "NAAAAGH!" Henry wails, and runs back to his bed. Somehow I manage to pin him down and look at his eye. Because Henry's eyelashes are nine feet long, when there's a pain, it's usually an eyelash. In this case, his eye is fine. "There's nothing there, Henry," I tell him. He's asleep.
4. 3:30 a.m. Crying. More crying! I go there. To him. What do you want, what, WHAT? "I NEED TO PEE," he cries. I recommend that he goes to the bathroom. And stop myself from explaining loudly that I DO NOT NEED TO HELP HIM OUT WITH THIS. ALL CAPS.
And there you have it. We started the new year with a bang. And a whimper. And a poorly aimed whiz.