In fairy tale land, the children were nestled all snug in their beds.
However, upstairs in our house, the cat was stuffed in an armoire on a stack of underwear. My son stood nearby fanning the doors first open and then closed. My daughter and a cousin hovered over the same tiny screen, legs poking off the end of the bed like pick up sticks. And another cousin waded over the lumpy terrain of inside-out clothing to report that nobody was sleeping.
At 10:20 p.m., this appeared to be an understatement.
By 11:00 p.m. three girls were sardined in one queen bed with the cousin in the middle aiming her feet at the other two. I cringed. That oughta be fun.
By 11:05, our son had produced a hundred separate farting noises and was headed for his second hundred when I interrupted. “Enough,” I said. And I spoke to everyone. “No more throat clearing; no more burping; no more gas. Go. To. Sleep.”
Which, I realized, was as practical as saying to my son, “hold this hammer; look this hammer over real well; but don’t even think about swinging that hammer into the wall.”
I paused at the doorway. It was silent for two seconds.
And then a soft “brrrip” left my son’s mouth.
Three girls tittered into their pillows and I swallowed as I pulled one small boy from his blanket pile and sat with him on the stairs where he sobbed his tired eyeballs out.
By 11:30, my son was sawing gentle logs on the floor by their bed, one cousin had faded, the cat was still in the armoire, and the last two were finding things less funny.
I smiled as each grumped out of bed this morning, claiming to have stayed up all night.
Seems a few of us may miss the ringing in of 2012.
I certainly volunteer myself.