Yes, I should probably be committed to an insane asylum for agreeing to a sleepover on a weeknight, especially when it involved not just one, but two friends of son (a little girl and her little brother). But before bedtime it was a dream - they didn't argue, they played well together and required very little intervention from me - which meant a quiet evening in bed nursing a sore tooth and watching Kevin Bacon in The Following (does that man actually age?).
Clearly the challenge was always going to be bedtime, but I had been lulled into a false sense of security by the blissfully hands-off evening. So when tears were shed over jammies and tooth brushes (standard fare really) and I finally did the math of three kids and one bunk bed (in retrospect I really should have had the siblings share), I just kept reminding myself to take big, deep breaths and hoped that letting the kids listen to Annie on my laptop would get us all off to dreamland unscathed.
No such luck. At half ten a very bleary eyed son came wandering into my room complaining that he couldn't sleep because his friend "sleeps too loud" and crawled into bed with me. He fell asleep instantly. I wish I could say the same for me, but frankly he sleeps too loud.
By morning, after a night in which he managed to arrange himself parallel to the headboard and stole all the blankets, we were both exhausted. It look ten minutes to get him downstairs and arranged in front of the telly with cereal. I won't take you through the detail in that or you, like me, might just want to end all it immediately.
Instead let's fast forward to later in the morning, when son was reluctantly, feet-draggingly, whiningly following me toward school and I - in a stroke of genius, if I do say so myself - called in a hot chocolate and a latte to the cafe we pass on the way.
"Why are we stopping here?" says my mini-thunderstorm.
"Because we are stuck in a time warp of crankiness and this is the only way out" I reply.
This gets him thinking - "Mom, does a time warp make time go faster or slower?"
"Faster, which is why we are late to school" - another stroke of genius because now our tardiness is no longer my fault, it's just physics (except that it's actually not scientifically correct).
"And what's the opposite of a time warp of crankiness?" Making it up as I go (isn't that the definition of parenting?), I reply "A good mood black hole" which is a little oxymoronic but I've only had two sips of the latte and my brain is running on fumes.
"So does time slow down in a good mood black hole? Like it does in a normal black hole?" Yes, my child better at physics than I am.
"Indeed it does, which is why if we start the morning in a good mood black hole we will never be late to school."
We've reached the school gates, and he's about to head in when the lightbulb goes off in his eyes and he says - "Next time we start out the morning in a cranky time warp, let's just take a wormhole to school," then he gives me a quick kiss goodbye and saunters happily off (if a little late) to class.
I really hope they're not covering physics today, or I might be revealed as the type of parent who feeds her child misinformation as a form of persuasion.
But isn't that also the definition of parenting?