Elli had her birthday party last night and she finally got her wish granted - a sleepover with 3 extra friends. I was pretty sure that 4 twitchy, overly stimulated small kids would stay up really late and be quite irritating but I wasn't quite prepared for just how late and just how irritating.
They had all gotten up around 6:30 to have a full day of horseback riding and they got back from that around 7:00 in the evening. I figured that this might even bode well for an early night - surely children exhausted from a long day with the horses would sleep at some reasonable hour?
But no. I tried to get them to settle down and sleep for about 3 hours from 10 till 1, and finally just gave up and went to bed myself. I was awoken by shrieking directly outside my bedroom door at 2, then at 2:30, then 3, then 3:30. You see, each time one of the small girls needed to pee, one of the others would sneak up to the bathroom and turn off the lights from the outside switch. Then of course the one in the bathroom would start screaming bloody murder because they were alone in the dark... and I would come awake in a adrenalin filled haze.
At first I handled it pretty well I think. I got them all places to sleep, negotiated my way through all of their random requests, and acted very much like a reasonable adult. (Afraid of the closet! Afraid of the barbie dolls in a cupboard! Thirsty! Pillow not comfortable enough! She is taking too much room!)
The second wakeup was not handled as well. I was very grumbly and irritable and lacked much in the way of patience. Their excuses, blaming each other, and lying about what they were doing had a lot less 'aww, this will make a good story' value, and a lot more 'I hate the universe. Especially the part of the universe that has children'.
The third wakeup was almost comedic. I snapped at them to get themselves off to bed, but was told 'But Daddy, I need to get the green makeup off of my face!'
It is three in the fucking morning. Why do you have green makeup all over your face? Why are you awake? GO TO SLEEP!
There was some yelling, and threats of severe punishments if I was awoken again. I am not proud of the yelling, but I cut myself some slack because the circumstances did not exactly allow me to be at my best.
The fourth wakeup was going to be bad. Thankfully Wendy had gotten to sleep through the first five hours of bedtime ordeal and she took over and let me roll back over so I didn't have to go out there and follow through on my earlier threats. I would have, had I been the one to go back out there, so it was good I didn't have to. I was really feeling that seething anger and it took me an awfully long time to get back down.
Finally the children were separated into three separate rooms and they fell asleep, only waking me up three more times before morning.
Somehow the kids seemed to think that everything went fine last night. They forgot all about how at any given time one of them was sobbing in a corner or injured or freaking out. They don't seem to be fazed by the yelling, the grumpiness, the constant fighting with each other, and their own exhaustion.
Next year the party is not going to include an overnight component. That sort of nonsense is for people who have enormous houses or camper vans for the kids to sleep in.