I nearly cost myself a divorce last weekend. I momentarily lost my mind and all my friends took advantage. I was only trying to be helpful, be a fun mum, be one of the cool kids. But it turns out I was just a bellend having an oddly optimistic moment.
I hosted a sleepover. I didn’t mean to, it just kind of happened. I said ‘We have plenty of space, the kids can stay if they need to!’ And then, without realising, we were putting 7 children to bed. Repeatedly. For hours.
Before my friends berate me for making them sound like selfish twats, I offered. Then I reiterated my offer. Then I reassured them I was happy to do this. Then I sent them home, sans enfants.
And before Husband Dearest reopens divorce proceedings, it was all my own doing. He said no. He said what the fuck you absolute lunatic. He said I’m really not happy about this. I heed you now, Husband Dearest, I heed you. Thank you for not walking out at 4am and not nutting any of the toddlers during the 5.50am Morning Song.
We had an open house for the bank holiday. Everybody brought lots of food and wine. The furniture was pushed back, the garden was
wet and rainy open and we had a nice little gathering in full swing. It’s possibly my favourite thing to do. Nothing* beats a house full of happy, tipsy, wonderful people. There kids were a bit primal, but no first aid had to be given, so I’ll take that as a success.
Having sent out the casual offer of kiddie beds, we’d ascertained that no one was really taking us up on it. In fact, one wondrous being actually offered to have Monster Minor. I was encouraged to stop being a complete dick by wondering if I should take this personally, and stop bringing attention to the fact that I’d momentarily lost my mind, offering our services as a toddler/preschooler hostel. So when we began preparing for the event, we were pretty sure we’d escaped nocturnal creature fielding duties.
Husband Dearest describes learning that this wasn’t the case as rather gradual. I’d use the term ‘snowballing’. We soon realised that 3, 5 including our own, would be staying. That was ok. One was Monster Major’s girlfriend and sleeps like a log (if that log had beautiful ginger curls). Another two we could learn to manage. They’d be so tired from all the amazing fun our house had beheld in the previous hours, that they’d crash at 8pm and sleep 12 hours, waking refreshed and full of manners and etiquette.
The bath factory line began. Usual occurrence at mass gatherings, and rather the military operation now. However, what followed was the feral screams of over-excited Mini Monsters. Trying to put them to bed was like Whack-a-Mole with fewer hammers and more sugar-induced mania. And it’s not like we were doing it single-handedly! Parents were still around, yet safety in numbers was a futile concept. Nothing can make that situation worse. Unless you add in two more 3-year olds who want to join the party.
But I know, I offered! It’s all my own doing! I can’t complain when I actively encouraged this. I don’t blame my friends. I’d have done the same. I blame them for not sitting me down, telling me not to be such a stupid motherfucker and that I completely could not handle seven 18-month – 3-year olds overnight. Perhaps they were too polite. Perhaps they believe in me. Or perhaps they just wanted a night where their monster was someone else’s problem.
Most parents left whilst the bed-swapping, nappy-removing and bare-bottomed conga lines were still taking place. And reeeeaaaallllyyy slowly and reluctantly, most went to sleep. Well, four out of seven. Two beauteous beings stayed until all children were passed out. The final 2 monsters still raving were treated to a real concoction of tough love, cuddles, blankets, stories, threats, and S.K.’s most monumentous consequence yet: ‘If you don’t go to sleep right now, you will never ever eat chocolate, ever, ever again.’ (It worked, S.K., you total legend.) They then stayed for a couple of cocktails and a bizarre game of kick the play mat mirror around the dining room.
Husband Dearest and I made it to bed around 10.30/11ish. And we had Peace At Last. Until 2am. The little
bastards (sorry, I’m totally not calling your loves bastards) scamps worked as a team for two hours. The game resembled that one where you work together to hit the balloon so it doesn’t touch the floor. Except, it wasn’t a balloon, it was us. And it wasn’t the floor, it was sleep. But the hitting felt real. Cue lots of cuddles, songs, bed visitors, stories, reassurance, curling up at the bottom of a bed pretending to be asleep, muttering FFS, groaning ‘Nooooooooooo’, and Husband Dearest hissing ‘ONE CHILD ONLY, NEXT TIME!’ We. were. spent.
So when Monster G decided 5.50am was the precise time he’d treat us to his glorious rendition of Sounds of the Cat Once Strangled, we were a little less than perky. When he and his blow-up-bed buddy ran through the upstairs, waking the other campers with the chorus, we could have given it a miss. Though when he entered our room, did his funny little jig, and ran out again, I think even Husband Dearest may have cracked a smile.
If I wanted to be a major-league bellend, I might say the glee on Monster Major’s face when they ran around the landing at 6am, made it all worth while. But I’m not that much of a nob and it didn’t.
A pretty seething message to the parents slightly before 6am, must have guilt-tripped them, as we had 3 collectors arrive before 7am. You people are amazing. I can’t imagine it would’ve ended well if we’d have had to cope with them for much longer. When you’re nearly four-foldly outnumbered, it’s only a matter of time until someone has a complete and utter nervous breakdown
or reopens last night’s vodka.
So, in all the madness, I did learn a few things.
- Do not let J&A bring pudding for the children. It will contain sugar in copious amounts. And certainly supervise the gorging on said dessert; otherwise some Monsters will still be bouncing off the walls at going up to 10pm.
- No child is a safe bet. Parents may tell you they sleep until 8am. They lie. Parents may tell you when they’re asleep, they’re dead to the world. They, too, lie. Children are like zombies. You can’t knock them out, they keep coming back, and they want to take your soul.
SometimesOn exceedingly rare occasions, Husband Dearest may actually be right.
- My friends have terribly low standards for who watches their children. They watched Husband Dearest and I drink from 3pm and STILL left their children in our care. The things they’ll do for a moment’s peace.
- Having someone’s children for less than 12 hours, does not clock up any favours, unfortunately.
Sleepovers for Mini Monsters. It’s not big. It’s not clever. Don’t be a bellend. Don’t do it.
*Total, unashamed lie for effect. A LOT of things beat that. Sleeping through the night. Sleeping past 6.30am. Sleeping without a child in the bed. Red wine. Nando’s bottomless frozen yoghurt.