Last Friday night was, as usual, date night. Brandon and I haven't had a pizza and movie stay-at-home date night since July. We've been unusually social recently and been traveling a lot lately and so I was happy to stay home with some homemade pizza and ice-cold root beer.
Stay at home dates are sometimes successful, sometimes not so successful. It's really pretty hard to have an undisturbed movie when there are five children in the house, four of whom sleep in the same room. Someone is always getting out of bed and using the toilet, smacking their sibling, wanting a drink of water, beating on their sibling, flipping the lights on and off, hitting their sibling, playing with toys, punching their sibling, or wetting their bed. The hijinks started when Kathleen was moved out of her crib over six years ago and they haven't quit yet.
There will be lulls when the youngest sibling, after having been moved up to the party room, has gotten over the elation of having other people to bother and has had enough beatings that they will stay in bed. But that's usually right before the next one joins the party. I'm never quite sure whether my least favorite part of the night is bedtime or dinner time. Maybe lunch? We're planning on splitting up the boys and girls (bedrooms willing) when we get to Dushanbe and I am foolishly hoping that this will cut down on the hijinks, but really it will probably make them worse, since there are no girls to intervene when Edwin and Joseph are really going at it. Joseph really needs to bulk up so I can finally just let them fight it out.
Recently, when I've put the children to bed, I've started giving them a lecture about date night. 'Friday night is date night,' I patiently explain (over and over and over), 'which means that Daddy and I are having a date. And when you interrupt us with fighting (with a hard look at Edwin) or getting out of bed (Joseph) or needing a thirtieth kiss (Sophia) you are stealing our date night. Now Saturday night is family night. That's when we spend time together as a family. But not tonight. Tonight is for Daddy and me to spend time together. So if you steal our date night, you will not be able to participate in family night. Got it?' I'm never quite sure whether to end with a hard stare or a pleading look. It's a hard audience to play.
Last Friday night was going well - leftover borsch for the children's dinner, all of the necessary pizza ingredients present, movie in hand - so I got the children in bed by seven. Kathleen has a watch, so I instructed her to shut of the lights at eight. And then I shut the door and walked away.
I might have giggled as I bolted for my room, shutting the door and sealing Brandon and I off in our own little studio apartment, complete with pizza in the oven and root beer in the refrigerator. I figured that as long as I didn't hear any noise coming from the children's room, it wouldn't be happening, right?
A few hours later, full of pizza and a few IQ points less from having watched Divergent (since the book wasn't that great I knew not to expect much from the movie. Brandon viewed it as a good opportunity for mockery, exclaiming "Mr. Pamuk!" in a high-pitched Edwardian accent every few minutes) I opened the bedroom door. No noise.
I crept into the living room. No lights. I cracked open the door and listened again. No noise. Finally, I stuck my head, silent and invisible, into the bedroom. Four little bodies, all sleeping. Three tucked in neatly, Joseph sprawled over his bed in typical fashion. I felt like a magic fairy. I put the children their room at seven, told them to go to bed at eight, and they did it. Amazing. I couldn't help doing a happy dance right in the middle of all of those sleeping bodies. The children did what I asked! I got a whole pizza and movie with no interruptions! It was magic.
So I went to bed. Back in my single days I wouldn't go to bed on a Friday night before two in the morning out of principle. These days I love going to bed early on a Friday night, seizing the opportunity to get eight or even nine hours of sleep. Be still my beating heart. I've grown old and boring and I tell you it's fantastic.
The next thing I knew, someone was crying outside our door. Brandon, with the lightning-quick reflexes of a sleeping parent, vaulted out of bed to see who had been decapitated in their sleep, or fallen out the window, or been burned to death on the toilet. He found Sophia weeping outside the door (it's always Sophia, no matter who has had the problem. The other day Joseph had woken up at one in the morning with poop crusted to his rear and Sophia couldn't figure out how to help him out. She asked Kathleen for help and Kathleen's response was 'leave me alone or I'll bite you.')
Kathleen had thrown up earlier and now Joseph had thrown up to and she was so so so sorry to wake us up but really she needed some help cleaning up the vomit since Joseph didn't get it all in the toilet.
We blearily stumbled into the room to see how bad the damage was. Since the linens had just been changed that day, Joseph had managed to get borscht on all of the sheets, the blankets, both of his blankies, and for good measure, on the floor. Kathleen, thankfully, had the presence of mind to make it to the toilet. "It was a good thing, Mom, 'cause it was a lot of vomit."
I stumbled back into the kitchen and got drinks of water and Brandon wearily filled a bowl with hot water to start the scrubbing. He stripped the sheets and dumped them outside the laundry closet/Eleanor's bedroom. I started on the floor, and we thanked our lucky stars most of it was bundled up in Joseph's linen. Brandon borrowed Eleanor's blanket for Joseph, we handed out bowls, and called it a night.
Next time, we're staying in a hotel.