Sleepover politics

Sleepovers can be divisive in a household full mainly of teenagers…

Only son’s sleepovers are not greeted with the most enthusiasm in our house. He had one over the weekend. “NOOOOOO,” said daughter two when she heard the news. She’d had a long week with a performance for drama GCSE and her birthday and she wanted to sleep. Daughter three was concerned only son would dominate the tv. Daughter one was worried about being woken up early the following morning as her room is next to the living room.Only son’s friend had invited himself around about a week before and every day he came out of school he reminded me with a thumbs up signal. Only son and his friend are a little like Laurel and Hardy. Only son’s friend is very tall and enthusiastic. Only son is smaller, more serious and considers himself the leader of all imaginative exploits.

My partner was, fortuitously for him, in Spain. Battle began early. Daughter three was already in silent protest over thwarted plans to make cinnamon rolls when we arrived home. Daughter one was stuck into some series on Netflix. Only son had been anticipating a Jurassic World extravaganza because his friend is playing a dinosaur in the school play and ‘needed to rehearse’.

By early evening the boys had managed to wrest control of the tv, Only son had introduced his friend to his ‘paper tech’ collection – he has made every Apple product out of paper – and he made an imac for his friend to ‘type’ on while they were watching the film. He and his friend proceeded to run around, bounce, draw pictures and do computer games until around 9pm. They then quietly got into bed and did word searches and read. Only son’s friend has just got glasses so only son, who also has glasses but very rarely wears them, put his on too.They were out for the count by 10pm which is good going for a sleepover.

I fell asleep 10 minutes into some rom-com thing daughter three put on, woke up around 11.30pm and dragged myself to bed. By 6am I could hear giggling. “Mum, we’re going downstairs,” said only son. “Try and be quiet,” I mumbled. Only son promised they would only watch Spiderman 3. By around 7am I could hear what sounded like nerf guns being fired at the tv. Oh dear. This was followed a few minutes later by the phone ringing. Only son was ringing his friend on my mobile – the phone ring is very loud. I went downstairs. The cats had scattered to the far corners of the room. Only son and his friend were under the table with the phones and the nerf guns. Cups of milk and bits of cereal were on the table. Spiderman 3 was playing in the background, but no-one was watching.

By 9am only son and his friend were doing Just Dance and playing computer games. I took them to the library to calm down. They both had their glasses on and went immediately to the reading corner with their Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. I had a chat with the librarian about alternatives to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Only son has read every book 25 times and Jeff Kinney is not writing new ones fast enough to keep up. “He likes books about relationships,” I started. “Kind of Jacqueline Wilson but for boys. He says Jacqueline Wilson is seen as a ‘girl writer’ by his peer group.” It turns out there are not many Jacqueline Wilson-type books for primary school boys. It’s mainly books about adventures, magic, animals or farting.

We dropped daughter three at counselling and went to PC World to fix the laptop, again. It was virtually impossible to drag only son and his friend away from the imac. We stopped at McDonald’s to get some lunch. Only son and his friend were keen to go in and check out the play area. Daughter three wasn’t. She decided to wait it out in the car in silent protest. I locked it, then unlocked it, remembering the alarm goes off if people are in the car [I haven’t had time to work it out yet]. The play area was cordoned off so we played pairs with the happy meal gift and I texted daughter three. “I am sitting here completely still in case the alarm system goes off [she thinks it only goes off if you move],” she texted.”I unlocked it,” I said. “You must have double clicked because it is locked now,” replied daughter three…

By the time I dropped only son’s best friend home I was ready to go back to bed, but the other teens had just emerged. “Any plans for the day?” asked daughter two.

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