Because of the way Christmas fell this year, the kids have their two weeks of holiday all after Christmas day. It also just so happened that this year we had fewer family functions, so we’ve had a long, fairly relaxed, mostly uneventful vacation time.
Until the sleepovers.
The idea was a good one in theory. My eldest suggested that the extended time off from school might be a good opportunity to have some of his friends over for a sleepover. My wife and I thought that would be fine. Then my middle son made the valid point that he also had time off and also had friends who might like to have a sleepover. We conceded the point. Then my youngest parroted the argument, and we had to tell him that he was a little too young yet for sleepovers.
Since that point it’s been all sleepover talk all the time – two of them excited, the other disappointed and angry.
It’s not like it’s the first sleepover for my bigger kids, but it’s the first where they’ve had the free time and disposable income (that darn grand-parental Christmas money) to really go crazy with the planning. One picked Thursday night, the other Friday, so they wouldn’t have to compete for use of the television or for sleeping in the spare room (empty for a few weeks until our new homestay student arrives). They’ve chosen movies, pre-purchased junk food, arranged for extra video game controllers, and talked about the agenda (most eating and watching screens) without end.
All of which is making my youngest crazy. Even when his older brothers aren’t actively rubbing it in his face that he doesn’t get to have a sleepover (which some times they do, I’ll confess), just having them be excited about it is a constant reminder that he’s too young to join in this particular excitement. He cried, whined, threw fits, and was otherwise miserable. I tried to suggest that he have his own sleepover with me, but that just didn’t cut it. I resigned myself to enduring his displeasure until the sleepovers were finally past.
Then, my middle son (not generally known for his ability to compromise), came up with a brilliant solution. Completely of his own volition, he offered to let his little brother join him for part of his sleepover. The deal was that they would start off with a movie appropriate for the youngest and let him share in their junk food in the sleepover room. Then he would head to bed and they would start the festivities for real.
The youngest was thrilled, and so was I. Not only did it reduce the amount of angst in my house, but I was really pleased to see that kind of consideration and maturity from a kid only nine-years old. There are certainly days when I don’t see that kind of behaviour, but it’s a real encouragement when I do.