The sleepover that almost wasn’t
Boots is just too young and too clingy, I thought. Facing a night without his El, he'll either cry at bedtime or wake up a few hours later and want to go home.
Right theory, wrong child.
Once again, the guys surprised me. Boots acted like he owned the house from the second he walked through the door. Big Guy whimpered, hugged, hesitated and finally agreed to give it a try. As it turned out, he had a blast. It just took him a while to get there.
It wasn't the guys' first sleepover. They've had several over the past few years, with friends and cousins. This would be their first road game, though. The others all had been at our house.
The first signs of trouble came when Big Guy balked as we got ready to go to a movie earlier that evening. "Fine. I'll go to a move. But I am not staying at B's house."
I thought it was merely because the guys constantly bicker over who has custody of B. He started out as Boots' friend, but he's smack in the middle of the guys chronologically and has a lot in common with Big Guy. It actually works out pretty well - he'll play Mario for a while with Boots then switch off to soldiering with Big Guy. It's hard to keep track of which alliance is in effect at any given time, and sometimes things will boil over for a bit but for the most part things go smoothly.
"You don't have to stay," I said. "But why don't you pack your clothes in case you change your mind?"
He did, which told me that he really wanted to stay but something was holding him back. The clue that hit me between the eyes didn't come until much later, when I was dropping them off after the movie.
"Can you stay for a while?" Big Guy asked.
Huh? He actually wants me around? Oh my gosh. Could it be that Mr. Independent is actually afraid of missing me?
"Sure, I'll stay for a few minutes."
"Stay for an hour," he said. "One hour."
About half way through that hour, I stepped outside to the patio. Big Guy didn't see me at first and panicked.
"I thought you were gone," he moaned, rushing to me and hugging me as hard as he had in months. Years, maybe.
"No, I'm still here. But I do have to go soon," I said.
"I'm leaving when you are," he said firmly, going back inside and climbing into an oversize arm chair, his lip jutted out to punctuate his point.
I sat down beside him, putting both arms around him.
"Look, you don't have to stay," I said, and I meant it. The sleepover was highly optional - it's not as if I had any big plans other than editing video in peace. "But I think you'll have fun if you stay. Do you want to give it a try?"
"But all those people ..." he panicked, pointing to exactly two late-leaving dinner guests. "And the new dog ..." he added, referring to a canine more the size of a small horse but who posed no danger other than perhaps drowning someone in drool.
"The people won't be sleeping over," I said. "And you know Z is a great dog."
He had to concede both points.
"Look, you know our phone number. You can call anytime you want. I'll even come and get you later if you want me to."
With that, he agreed to stay.
Our dog looked at me suspiciously when I got home and the guys didn't follow me inside. I think she feared I'd left them at the shelter. I puttered around the house but never did get around to video editing. I was distracted by thoughts of sad, sad Big Guy surrounded by all those people and the vicious, drooling dog.
I finally fell asleep, guilt stricken at having talked him into it. He'd only spent three and a half nights apart from me in his life, and two of those were when Boots was born. How could I leave him in the wild like that.
When the phone rang about midnight, I was ready to jet out the door.
"Hi, Mommy!" he chirped. "We're having a great time. I just wanted to call and say 'good night' before bed."
"I'm glad you're having fun," I said. "Good night, babes."
It was such a good night that the guys didn't come home until early the next afternoon. I'd call the guys' first sleepover road trip a success.
Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.