I’m an extrovert (surprise!) and as such, I like being around people. As a general rule, I believe that more is merrier. Planning a dinner party for four? Why not make it ten? Thinking of having a handful of people over for a movie night? Tell them each to bring a friend. Heck, go ahead and invite everyone you know and hope for the best.
My motto generally applies to my kids and their friends, too. My daughter had nine girls at her 9th birthday sleepover and I was only mildly stressed out. I swear it’s often easier with six kids in my house than just three because there are fewer dramatic wails about how incredibly boring my house is and how there is never EVER anything to do – or eat – inside our humble abode. When the kids have friends, they entertain each other and I sort laundry.
However, I have discovered that there is an important caveat to my generalized acceptance of guests and it is this: more is not merrier when it comes to small children in your bed at 2am. It just isn’t.
Now, to be fair, I co-slept with my children for years when they were little and I have extremely fond memories of those days. But they were a lot smaller back then and I generally only had one sleep buddy at a time.
A couple weekends ago, my son was away at an overnight church camp with his dad and so the girls and I decided we would have our own sleepover. I invited them to join me in my room, with visions of how adorable and snuggly we’d be and how we’d wake up and read stories together in the morning.
The reality, of course, was far less charming.
Let’s start with the fact that my girls somehow managed to take up the whole bed. How two small children weighing under 100 pounds between them can lay claim to an entire king-sized bed is a mystery of the universe. It’s clearly a violation of the laws of physics. And yet, when I tiptoed in to join them around eleven o’clock, there they were – sprawled out like sweaty little starfish. My youngest was actually sleeping perpendicular to her sister.
I (gently, lovingly) shoved her out of the way and clambered in between them, holding my breath and thinking slender thoughts. They both immediately rolled towards me, wedging me in place and snoring delicately in my ears.
This excessive closeness might not have been the end of the world, but there was one more extenuating factor. We had a fourth overnight guest sharing the bedroom with us that night: my ex-dog. Yes, I was once the owner of a chubby yellow Labrador who has been living with my ex-husband for the past two years. With him out of town, Princess Abigail was bunking up with us.
Apparently, my canine companion is a light sleeper. Every time one of the girls stirred, the dog got up and paced around, toenails clicking. Then she’d flop back onto the ground, sighing ostentatiously, just to let us know she was there. There was also occasional shaking, some scratching, and an inexplicable amount of dog-tag-jangling.
Matters came to a head at 2am when the furball decided she needed to go out. Immediately. Extricating myself from the kid-shaped barnacles woke them, of course, at which point I gave up on the adventure and moved everyone upstairs.
Yes, everyone. To forestall the sleepy, disappointed tears that I knew were coming, I slept in the girls’ room with them. But at least I had my own bed, albeit twin-sized, and this time I remembered to remove the dog’s collar.
I won’t be repeating that scenario again anytime soon, but if anybody wants to binge-watch The Great British Baking Show with me, come on over – and bring a friend.