We went out to a party the other night, and it was a rather late-night party for us parents of three young children. For any of you who’ve been to Argentina, this was an early party. It started at midnight. Many parties start after that. Discos open their doors at 2 a.m. and don’t start heaving until 4 or 5 a.m. and can run through the morning. An after-party, as they are called here, comes after breakfast. And for the sleepless, an after-after party at lunch.
My wife and I called it quits at 3 a.m.
“The night is young,” I said to my wife.
“We are old,” she responded.
We drove home sober and tired and dreading getting up the next morning with two of the three kids (our son was at a sleepover). We’d left them with a babysitter, a teenager who’d brought along George Orwell’s 1984 to read. Impressive, I thought. She didn’t even ask where the television was or the computer. When we got home she was still reading. I drove her back to her house. But my brain had already shut off so I couldn’t ask her what she thought of the book. I returned and crawled into bed. My wife had already conked out.
It was 5 a.m. when my eyes closed. Graciously, our two girls, ages eight and nearly three, played until noon without waking up the grownups. The cat did its darndest to get me out of bed, pulling down the shower curtain and knocking deodorant and hand cream containers off the bathroom shelves. She wanted her breakfast.
They transformed the playroom, AKA the garage, into a castle with dungeons and lairs. It rested on a rocky cliff with the sea below, a sea full of sharks. They went shark fishing and then busied themselves with defending the castle against enemies from far and wide.
I swore it looked like the aftermath of a tornado.
“It’s a battlefield,” the eldest corrected me, pointing to where they’d fought off the dragon and then the witch.
It was a fight for noble causes. They were protecting sleeping daddy and mummy. I couldn’t tell them off, not really. I was going to tell them to clean up but as my mouth opened they put their fingers over their lips and said, “Shhhhhhh… Sleeping Beauty is still asleep.”
Indeed, Sleeping Beauty, AKA Mum, was still very much comatose.
I made breakfast for the valiant warriors, rewarding them for their endeavors. I made a pot of coffee for my future endeavors in cleaning.
I’m now on my fourth cup of coffee, still sat at the kitchen table with my head throbbing.
The kids, now replenished with nourishment, have decided it’s high time to wake up Sleeping Beauty.
I cautioned them that it might be easier to fight another dragon.
They thought about my proposition for a moment before discarding it and proceeding with the original plan.
And as they made their way to the bedroom, I started brewing another pot of coffee for the soon-to-be Groggy Beauty.