So here's how that sleepover went down…
~6 p.m. The five guests arrive. I hadn't met them all before, but they appear to be fine, upstanding, polite young men. (You were supposed to get a chill of foreboding right there, in case you missed it.)
~7 p.m. Things are getting noisy, but so far I've been mostly hiding in my office chanting, "It always sounds worse than it is. It always sounds worse than it is." I come out to help serve pizza, cake, and ice cream. I hate letting Mik eat this, but I don't know of any other "dinner" that six 11-year-olds are all going to like. Besides, it's a birthday party.
~8 p.m. Things are ramping up to a whole new level of noise and chaos. Dex has apparently done something annoying to them, and they decide they have to gang up and get "revenge." I can't figure out why they're asking for a paper clip, until I notice that Dex has locked himself in the bathroom. I tell Dex to leave them alone and blog about hyperventilation.
~9 p.m. They decide to go outside, where we've set up a couple of tents in the hope that they will run out of things to do in the dark before long and drift peacefully off to sleep. (cough, cough)
~10 p.m. I warn them that they need to start keeping the noise level down, because even though it's a Friday night, we have neighbors who might be trying to sleep. Elderly neighbors thataway. New neighbors with young children thataway.
~11 p.m. They've decided against sleeping outside. Great. M.H. and I go to bed.
~12 p.m. I believe I actually slept through whatever happened in this hour, but judging by the mess downstairs, I'm going to guess they ate potato chips and a bunch of individually wrapped cheeses.
~1 a.m. There is SCREECHING coming from outside. M.H. gets up to remind them to keep it down.
~2 a.m. Shrieking and laughter from outside. I get up to talk to them. The kids in one tent want to sleep, but the kids in the other tent are harassing them. I have had it: IT IS 2 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING. NO MORE TALKING OF ANY KIND OUTSIDE. The occupants of the naughty tent go inside.
~3 a.m. A fully audible conversation is under way from the "good" tent, but since they're talking in relatively normal voices, I figure it probably isn't bothering anyone else. I do, however, hear the toilet with the tricky flusher running downstairs and get up to fix that.
~4 a.m. SHRIEK! SCREAM! The occupants of the (ahem) "good" tent aren't tired, so they're playing tag. I shoo them inside and tell them no one is allowed outside anymore AT ALL.
~5 a.m. There's a massive clap of thunder, and it starts pouring rain. I worry that they've left their iPods and stuff in the tents (which they had), and M.H. gets up to rescue everything.
~6 a.m. There's a knock on the bedroom door. "Sorry if you were sleeping or anything, but Mik says he's feeling really sick." Well, that's no surprise. He gets sick EVERY time he eats a lot of sugar or wheat, and did I mention we also fed them s'mores at 11 p.m.? M.H. gets up to give him something.
~7 a.m. The alarm goes off. What? Why?! Oh yeah, M.H. is taking Dex on an out-of-town rock climbing trip. I get up to help them make breakfast. On the plus side, five of the six sleepover children are now actually asleep (including the one whose mother might yell at me if her darling-from-the-bad-tent stays up all night). I put blankets over them in the hope that they'll stay that way. I am so responsible and compassionate.
~8 a.m. Two kids are awake. I offer them some breakfast, but the only thing they want of what I suggest is bacon. I feed them bacon and go upstairs to work, hoping the rest will sleep until their parents arrive.
~9 a.m. The noisiest Nerf gun imaginable starts revving up, and I run downstairs, pluck it from the hands of the offending child, and leave without a word.
~10 a.m. All but one kid is now awake, and they all want bacon. Whatever. A bad-tenter apologizes for all the overnight noise, saying, "When we're tired, it's like we're kid-drunk."
~11 a.m. The parents arrive and ask me in turn if their kid behaved. What is to be gained at this point by telling the truth? I answer, "I'm so glad he could come. They had so much fun!"