My boy attended a slumber party this weekend. I am really not a fan of sleepovers in general because my kids act like jerks when they don’t get enough sleep, and they never get enough sleep at sleepovers. My boy usually prefers to sleep at home, although that decision is really only firm in the middle of the night at someone else’s house, not when he’s having fun with his friends at 5pm. Last time he spent the night at a friend’s house, he told me that he couldn’t sleep because he was so sweaty under the kid’s huge blanket, and he didn’t have any water so he had to keep going into the bathroom to drink from the tap. Doesn’t everyone go to bed with water?
Anyway, he was excited for this party and informed me that the boys all had big plans involving shaving cream for whoever was unfortunate enough to fall asleep first. When I dropped him off, I heard two of the boys pledging to wake each other up if they started to fall asleep – they were going for an all nighter.
I wanted to be annoyed by this, but the truth is that it took me right back to the 12 year old slumber parties of my own youth. So I just quietly suggested to the mom that she hide her sharpies, then waved and drove away, vowing to enjoy the quiet of having just one child at home before the return of our jerk-infused sleepover monster the following day.
I don’t know how we did it, back then. I consider myself a night owl, but I can barely make it through Saturday Night Live anymore. I can see how the momentum generated by adolescence, sugar, and mischief would have gotten us through to 2 or 3 am, but it’s those darkest hours before dawn that must have been tricky. Maybe it was helpful that we had all scared the sleep and the bejesus out of each other with ghost stories, levitation, and Ouija boards. Light as a feather, stiff as a board. Eek!
I have this one very clear memory of sitting in some sort of chair swing in someone’s rumpus room, feeling the mixed bag of emotions that comes from seeing the break of dawn after never having closed your eyes. The pride and camaraderie are short-lived, because: 1. You’re 12; 2. Everyone else is also 12; and 3. Your mom is not 12, and she’s going to be pissed when she picks you up.
And now here I was, the mom. Driving to pick him up with my own mixed bag of dread and anticipation. I looked forward to the stories and thought if we could keep the mood light, maybe he wouldn’t completely self destruct upon impact. My girl and I pulled up in the Westy and popped the top so that all of the bug-eyed, unsmiling boys could clamor around and check it out.
It was reported that my boy and most of the others had about four hours of sleep. Kids these days! They don’t even have the sense to scare themselves into wakefulness, they turn on movies and play video games until their wee addled brains give up and shut ‘em down. Halo is not nearly as disturbing as that story about the girl driving down the highway alone at night, thinking she was being harassed by the trucker behind her who kept shining his brights and driving right up onto her tail at regular intervals. When she finally pulled into a police station to report the trucker, he followed her and jumped out to tackle the madman who had been crouched in her back seat, rearing up to kiiiiiiilllllll her!
Or the one with the couple making out in the woods, hearing a radio report about a madman ripping young lovers apart with his hook hand. The boy made fun of the girl when she freaked out and demanded to be driven home right away. It wasn’t until he went to open the door and let her out in the safety of her own driveway that they noticed the hook stuck in their car door, as if it had been about to open it.
I’m not going to sleep a wink tonight.