Kids love sleepovers. My children seem to have one every other weekend. It begins on Thursday or Friday as a friend starts calling, whispered conversations occur, then a child comes to me and asks, ‘can my friend sleep over tonight?’

Negotiations occur. Other parents are involved. Travel routes and schedules are developed, and before you know it, masses of children are camped out in front of the X-Box, or are screaming at the top of their lungs on the trampoline…or tramopoline, as Homer Simpson put it.

This is known as the sleepover, but it’s a trick. No one actually sleeps. Last night my children were in the basement with friends, watching the television at 11PM when I told them ‘good night, I love you, sleep well.’

(Incidentally, I was so proud…they’re finally watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus on DVD. They grow up so fast!)

Anyway, it turns out that they didn’t go to sleep until 5 AM. That accounts for the general surliness and fatigue all of them are exhibiting. And for the fact that several boys were too tired to shoot pellet guns or .22 rifles, even when I offered to be range-master and let them. A sure sign of exhaustion in a boy.

So all I know is, sleepovers ain’t sleepovers. They’re food-fests, in which entire pizzas are consumed for breakfast (as one was this morning in our kitchen). They’re caffeine parties, during which the children manage to suck down every molecule of stimulant they can find. They’re holy sacraments of destruction, in which the house becomes strewn with shoes, socks, underwear, soda cans and potato-chip bags. Sleepovers are movie festivals and video-game competitions. But they are not, in fact, times of sleep.

They’ve duped us! The children, by using some kind of Orwellian ‘newspeak’ have managed to convince us that their friends come to our homes to sleep. Be aware, dear fellow parents.

Many things will happen, but sleep is not on the schedule.

Watch out!  Grumpy children on the horizon!


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