31 August 2015
Sleepovers are misnamed. Perhaps I should have realized when my insomniac children asked to host a sleepover that little if any sleep would be in order for the evening. Ever the optimist, however, and since the cicadas sing announcements of summer’s end, I agreed. Three kids hosted three others the same day my eldest girl went on a date and my husband an important job interview.
With the eldest girl on a date and the husband on an important job interview, the little people vastly outnumbered me. It was okay, though. I’m tough. I’m accustomed to being outnumbered. I live it daily.
I’m not accustomed, however, to the variety of childhood needs encapsulated in the little society we established for the evening. “Gluten free” and “no nuts” I anticipated. “I don’t like that” surprised me. I’ve taught my kids to at least try what is placed before them. Hearing blatant refusal to even attempt the offered foods shocked my kids, too. I scrambled for appropriate and tempting treats.
“I don’t like cartoons” presented a challenge. I brightened, pulling out “Spirited Away.” I explained, “It is anime, so although it is animated, it is not a cartoon. Besides, it broadens your cultural horizons.” Bullet dodged there.
“I’m not allowed to play violent video games.” I blinked in confusion. “It’s a building game. Unless you consider demolition violent, I think we’re okay.”
“I’m allergic to cats.” I did mention our furry buddies (two dogs and a cat) to all parents involved. When I phoned his folks, they scoffed. “He’s not allergic. His brother is, though.” I lint-brushed his clothing and sleeping bag before he left our house the next day.
Further, our small house must be approached like a Chinese slide puzzle. One piece must be moved to allow something else to advance. For those unfamiliar with the system, the confusion mounts. Bottle-necks and stumbling resulted.
I sought the solitude of the dining area. To my surprise, Sarah sat at the table, alone in the dark. Not even her service dog sat at her side. I asked, “What’s going on?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“Why aren’t you playing with your friend?”
“She wants to play with everyone else, not me.”
“The others wanted to pet her.”
“That’s not right. Come with me.”
She refused with a jut of her chin and a cross of her arms.
I pulled out the popcorn maker and a deck of Harry Potter Uno cards. As I poured melted butter over the snack, olfactory magic took its hold. The other kids followed their noses and found bowls overflowing with snacks and a table ready for card play. They found seats around the table. Latte nestled under Sarah’s chair.
As I settled them in for the night, I noted the irony. They were unified by Uno. No exclusions for the span of the gaming.
And sleepover is a definite misnomer.
With a yawn and a new fond memory, I remain,
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