The kids and I survived their sleepovers. M2's was easy. She hitched a ride over to her friend's house while M1 was at swim, and nary a word did I hear from her until I showed up to retrieve her. The mom called a couple of times to give status updates, but the girl herself was apparently having too much fun. From what I gather, much giggling was done by all, and they slept from about 12-8:30. Pretty good night's sleep for a sleepover in my opinion.
M1's twin best friends and their mom, who is one of my best friends, arrived at the house about 5:45, and before anyone could say much of anything, a duffel bag, two pillows, and one of the two sleeping bags had been hauled upstairs to the game room along with two extra Xbox controllers and a couple of 'spare' games in case they got bored of Minecraft (the very idea amused me). The boys were engrossed in their playing well before the pizza and cheese sticks arrived and were reluctant to come down, even for food. We adults managed to pry them away from the screen only long enough for them to eat between 1/3 and 1/2 pizza each (and plenty of cheese sticks... I'd been pre-warned by M1 that the cheese sticks, not the pizza, were the main attraction and had ordered two boxes) before they heard the siren call of the screen and vanished again.
(Thankfully they believe in hydration, and they all eventually came down, one by one, to get covered cups of water that could be taken upstairs. I was rather impressed by that, not only because they came to get water of their own free will but also that not a single soul requested pop.)
I never knew until last night that playing Minecraft - or any video game - could be a noisy experience. When by himself, the gamer child is a fairly quiet, solitary individual given to long bouts of thoughtful planning of his or her next adventure. This child only becomes passionate when the game itself is taken away. It's an interesting experiment. However, when placed into a social gaming situation, the gamer child becomes quite gregarious, and the shrieks of panic ("DON'T BLOW UP MY GUY!!") and laughter will fill your home to the point where you and your fellow gaming-child mother feel more at ease on the front porch than in the living room. Mosquitos were preferable to listening to shriekage.
At midnight or somewhere thereabouts, I went upstairs to collect the remotes and tell the boys to turn off the TV. I'd warned them during dinner that this was the plan, and at 11 I'd made them pause the game for a bathroom/pre-bedtime routine break so they could spread out the sleeping bags, change into pajamas, etc., so my presence and request for remote controls wasn't a surprise. One of the boys likes to sleep with the light on, so I dimmed it enough so M1 could sleep but so that it wasn't too dark for the anxious child and checked on them periodically until they all sacked out around 12:45. Then I, too, went to sleep.
At 5:30 a.m., the upstairs toilet flushed (It flushed!! Who knew it did that?? I should mention that the TP roll was completely empty and that, at least, was normal in that a new one never made it onto the holder, but still, it was a bit of an epiphany... boys can flush toilets). I squinted into the dark at my phone and hoped against hope that the flushing was simply the result of a child awakened by his bladder and that he was now stumbling back to the game room to fall back asleep... but in my sinking heart, I knew better. I heaved myself out of bed, the headache that had been lingering in my skull from barometric pressure changes announcing that it had not, in fact, been cured by Aleve or sleep, and quietly went upstairs.
Sure 'nuff, the boys were wide awake. They were talking quietly while Despicable Me played in the background. I made them turn off the television, and I told them to go back to sleep. Fifteen minutes later, I was back upstairs telling one of the boys to stop jumping on the others because Miss Sarah gets awfully cranky when she doesn't get sleep, and neither she nor Mr. Oz was making coffee before the sun came up, and that the thumping of a small herd of elephants didn't fly at that hour of the morning. Fifteen minutes after that, I went upstairs again just because I was still awake, and two of the boys had fallen asleep... temporarily. Boy #3, who was the jumper, was still awake and not likely to let the others sleep for long, but he at least promised to be quiet.
And I have to give it to them... they were quiet. Oz got up, having slept through most of the nighttime shenanigans, and left for work around 8. When he left, after taking out trash and making coffee (bless the man), he told me that he'd heard noises and that the boys were up. Being the ever-dutiful mother type, I hauled my butt out of bed yet again and puttered around doing my morning chores - letting out the dog, putting on clothes, putting in contacts, taking more Aleve to try to banish the rest of the headache that was still lingering, getting breakfast, getting coffee (coffffeeeeeee...) - and waited for the boys to come barreling downstairs begging for breakfast.
Finally finished with everything I could do downstairs, I grabbed a sack and headed up to empty the upstairs trash cans. I figured I'd tell the boys to come down and get breakfast while I was up there. But when I got to the top of the stairs and peeked into the game room, I was greeted by three motionless figures in sleeping bags, legs and arms flung in all sorts of weird directions. I instantly regretted the fact that I'd already done all the morning chores because if I hadn't done those, I probably wouldn't have been so wide awake and probably could have gone back to bed... but I knew that according to Murphy's Law, that would have meant the boys wouldn't have been asleep... and so I sighed, smiled at their cute sleeping innocence, and trudged on.
Two of the boys - the two that had fallen asleep fairly quickly at 6 a.m. - woke up shortly after 10. I woke up #3 at 10:45 because we had to be out the door by 11:30 to deliver them to their daytime residence so that I could pick up M2 on time. Despite their very obvious fatigue, they never stopped talking about Minecraft. They all wished they could have stayed and played longer, and they attempted to exact a promise from me that next time they came we wouldn't have to go anywhere the next day so they could stay up all night.
Sometime between now and then, I think I'm going to invest in a pair of good earplugs for sleeping. This mama is starting to feel her age, and sometimes there just ain't enough caffeine!