Boy Sleep Overs, or
The End of Civilization As We Know It
by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
What was that? Okay. Itís all right. It was either the light fixture in the dining
room crashing to the floor or a Molotov cocktail. Sometimes itís hard to tell
the difference. But I think theyíll leave me alone for a few minutes. They have
fed. Maybe now they will sleep. Ha! If only it was that simple!
slumber party time at the Sowdalís. Yee-Haw. Do you have daughters? Girl slumber
parties are one thing. There is giggling, the occasional squabble. Hair fixing,
magazine reading, prank phone calls, ice cream, and in the morning every single
one of them wants two things; a forty minute shower and to use somebody elseís
The day of the Girl Slumber Party is past at our house. Now it
is time for Boy Sleep Overs, or The End of Civilization As We Know It. The two
functions are as different as night and day. The happier boys are, the louder
they get. Instead of hugs and secrets and looking at photo albums, there is wrestling.
And head butting. And kung fu. If two girls like each other and want to show it
they will lend each other a shirt. If two boys like each other, Katy bar the door!
They will show their deep affection by trying to annihilate one another, leaving
nothing but a grease spot on the previously unspotted living room rug.
Then there is the problem of feeding them. I was inclined to just throw ten pounds
of raw meat into the group and run. But I thought the other mothers might think
that was lazy. So, next best, we grilled burgers. Only Johnnie is allergic to
beef, Billy doesnít eat any meat, Freddy doesnít eat after 5:00 p.m. and Mustafa
cannot be found anywhere. I say "anywhere" but I havenít actually checked in the
dryer or under the hood of my car yet. I give my old standard, "if you donít like
whatís for dinner, there is always peanut butter." But Johnnie is allergic to
peanuts, Billy wants to know if he can spread his with a sharper knife Ė bigger
and sharper, Freddy wants the top of his toasted but the bottom of it not, and
Mustafa is definitely not in the dryer. Though we did find evidence that somebody
had been in the garage because all the bottles and cans marked with skull and
cross-bones and labeled "deadly poison, do not touch" were off the shelves with
the lids off.
Dinner is finally over at last and everybody has found something
which suits him. I still donít even know what Mustafa looks like, but my son tells
me he found something to eat and has gone back outside to play. And then he wants
to know if Spring Breeze Fabric Softener is very bad for the koi or just a little
bit bad, and he is not asking for any particular reason, just that he wanted to
know. In case.
Only fourteen more hours to go. I am sure they will fly
by. Thank heaven for video games. Only, horrors! Andy, my son, apparently only
owns dumb games. Who knew? No honey, you wonít all fit in my four passenger car.
No, we are not even going to try. Just tell me what you want and I will go rent
it. Wrong thing to offer. My intentions were good, as always, but you know what
the road to hell is paved with. And hell is what ensued. There was a forty-five
minute discussion over the merits of every single video game ever invented. And
when I say "discussion" that includes running at each other and crashing together
chest to chest to make a point. They also called each other the most horrendous
names in the most cheerful tones. "Hey now," I interjected, "are you allowed to
talk like that at home?" They all stopped. And looked at me. Real hard. Their
little eyes glinting cruelly. And then resumed. Escalated and resumed. I left
the room, happy to have survived unharmed.
It is four oíclock in the morning
and I have moved the computer and monitor into the closet, hoping that they will
have forgotten I exist. I have done more than one stupid thing in my life, but
offering a midnight snack to those heathens may have been the worst one yet. I
only bought the gross kinds of ice cream, you see. I had other snack things to
offer, but Johnnie is allergic to fruit, Billie only eats pesticide free organic
fruit, Freddie tried to build a robot out of his and Mustafa . . . letís just
not talk about Mustafa. I think he may be having Spring Fresh koi for his snack.
I have never, ever wanted morning to come so much in my life.