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The sleepover

Two young boys at the school gate, big brown eyes looking at me pleadingly. ‘Can Harrison come for a sleepover?’ asks Chris. ‘On Friday,’ Harrison explains, showing me the day after tomorrow with his hands.

I say I’ll have a think about it. They look at each other as if to say ‘That means no’. But decide not to make a protest.

In the evening after dinner Chris hands me a note: ‘Please can Harrison come for a sleep over? I asked you 5 weeks ago.’ I relent reluctantly as Rob is not home on Friday.

Harrison is a lovely boy and he and Chris get on really well together and we all have a nice evening just as I expected.

I don’t sleep well when I’m alone with the boys. I tend to lie in bed and imagine all sorts of things happening and me failing to hear their calls for help. They have a emergency button in their room, connected to my Bellman & Symfon alert system which is a little device I place under my pillow that will shake violently if they press the button, but what if they forget?

It’s almost eleven when they go to bed, teeth brushed and hands washed – unbelievably without a fuss! I thought they were tired, but they spend the next hour jumping in and out of bed and it’s getting on my nerves. Finally I realize that Alex is the culprit; needling them from his bed next door and an argument ensues when I try to get them to stop ‘It’s not, me it’s them,’ Alex insists. ‘It’s Alex who started it,’ Chris argues back.

I decide they are all to blame and shout: ‘ If you don’t to sleep right now, nobody is having a sleepover ever again.’ And for good measure add: ‘And I mean it!.’ And stomp off to the kitchen.

We do go to sleep soon after, but I wake up every other hour, once getting out of bed to check if they are still sleeping. I just can’t help it.

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