About Me

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My interests include veganism and vegetarianism, health, ethics, politics and culture, media, and the environment. I have three kids; I teach college part-time, study piano and attempt to garden. I knit. I blog on just about anything, but many posts are related to my somewhat pathetic quest to eat better, be more mindful of the environment, and be a more responsible news consumer. Sometimes I write about parenting, but, like so many Mommy bloggers, my kids have recently told me not to. :) Thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sleepover Hangover

I'm chugging coffee while I write this, in a sleep-deprived state that has everything to do with how bone-tired I was last night and how utterly able I would have been to sleep perfectly well, had I not had three extra boys spend the night for my 10-year-old son's birthday party. At least boys are entertaining -- kinda.

It all began with the bowling. We wisely chose to have bumpers for all the boys, to minimize frustration over what would have been an 85% gutter-ball rate. As a semi-pro bowler came over to tell me, their technique was hilarious. The boys had a blast -- throwing the ball half-way down the lane, falling down while throwing it, using two hands to throw it, throwing it over their shoulders like a discus thrower, skipping down the lane, managing to throw their ball into somebody else's lane, etc.

Then came the pizza and sodas and cake and presents, the part of the party that, frankly, is so ubiquitous that there's not much to report. The little brother (who had his own pirate birthday party last week) shed a few tears over not having any presents of his own to open. In a classic do-not-do-this parenting moment, we resorted to giving him a few Starburst candies to make his tears disappear.

Then we had some time to kill before parents arrived to pick up the few kids who were *not* spending the night.

Word to the wise: NEVER have time to kill at a birthday party. Not that we hadn't actually planned well; the parents were late.

Word to the wise: DO NOT be late to pick up your child from a birthday party. It makes the host parents a bit, uh, irritated.

The lanes had been taken over by the bowling leagues and the food had been consumed. The presents (legos and books and a gumball machine) were not the kind of thing we could open up and do in a bowling alley. So, the boys begged to waste money on those stupid video games. UG.

What else were we going to do with them? $10 down the loo and a punching-pushing argument between two brothers (not my kids) who were not spending the night and who were convinced that the other brother had taken the other brother's money. Something like that.

Is it small of me to say I was glad it was those kids and not my own? Nothing like feeling comforted by watching somebody else's kids lose it.

When the mothers of the not-spending-the-night-kids arrived, my husband and I were a bit frazzled. The cake had been stepped on (don't ask), the five-year-old was throwing a tantrum (over what, we never figured out), and the birthday boy was, in his usual style, itchy to do the "next thing".

On the drive home, the boys launched into a discussion of farts. Leave it to 10-year-old boys to find this a fascinating enough topic to last for the entire 20-minute drive. "Once, when I was in third grade (word to reader: last year), I let out the LONGEST fart!" and "We could have a fart contest!" Longest, loudest, smelliest, silent killers....

When this last category was suggested, one kid piped up, "Oh, I would SO win in that category!"

Child, I'm not sure you want to claim that distinction.

Back at the house, the boys watched a movie, played Wii, built legos, and were asleep before midnight. Really, that's not so bad, though picking up the detritus (candy wrappers -- where did they even get it???, popcorn, toys, lego boxes, legos, toothpaste) is driving me crazy. The evidence of "child" is on every conceivable surface.

And their appetite! Good lord, I didn't expect them to need to eat after the party was over. They ate A LOT. Fortunately, they were happy with bananas, popcorn and apples. I'm willing to adopt the child who thanked me for everything, washed off his plate, dried it and asked where he should put it away. (He's the same kid who claimed the silent fart trophy and stepped on the cake.)

They were up by 6:30. All in our bedroom, asking if they could get under the covers and watch cartoons on our TV. We vacated the bed and they are very happy.

I assume, in a very few years -- perhaps months -- they will not descend on parents' bedrooms, assuming they can crawl into the bed. But for now, I have to say, if you're going to feel like roadkill after a sleepover, it's nice to have a bunch of nice boys wake you up.


  1. Great work Elaine & Dan! A good time was had by all! I couldn't begin to add up how much money has been squandered over the years on machines at pizza parlors, bowling alleys, and malls. And we have girls. :-) Your reward, once you've reassembled house, is a nice, long nap this afternoon. :-)

  2. The one who stepped on the cake has totally redeemed himself by washing the plate, etc.!!
    Belated happy to the birthday boy.

  3. @50 Something Guy -- I figured out who you are, but I can't figure out why you changed your virtual identity. (Tell me sometime.)


    @Kenju -- The boy definitely redeemed himself, and left evidence at the end of the party that he deservedly owns the award for silent killer. :)

  4. Elaine: What a great, evocative post. I think the times I feel thrilled to be a parent are times like these. They are fleeting and it is wonderful you are documenting this.


Politeness is always appreciated.