Today, I become the father of a teenager. My oldest son turns 13. Oh boy.
Last night he had a sleepover party with 6 of his friends. Seven 12-13 year old boys can just fill a room.
The den floor was covered in sleeping bags and pillows, and the whole house was filled with loud talking and raucous laughter from 5:30 to well past midnight. After everyone arrived, we fed them pizza, then Calfgrit13 wanted to watch Ghostbusters. After the movie, it was time for cookie cake and ice cream. CG13 no longer wants to do the candles and singing part of a birthday party, but cookies and ice cream, that, no boy outgrows.
One friend went home at 9:00, then the rest of them spent the evening playing Halo 3. (CG13 got an Xbox 360 for Christmas, and his friends brought their own extra controllers.)
Although I watched the movie with the boys, I left them alone to play their games. (Wifegrit went to bed, exhausted.) I sat upstairs in my office, with my door open, surfing the Web and listening to their voices carry up the stairs. Everyone was talking over everyone else such that I couldn’t make out a word anyone said at any time. It was all just a constant cacophony.
I went back down to check on them a couple of times, and found them watching Airplane!. Think about that a moment — 13 year old boys, left to their own choices, turned off a shooting game from 2007 and put in a comedy classic film from 1980. This supports my belief that boys would rather laugh with their friends than kill each other. It’s a good thing.
At midnight I went down to call for lights out. Surprisingly, the lights were all already out, and only the TV was on. They were just about to start another Xbox game, but they grudgingly turned it off. Everyone got to their sleep places and continued talking quietly. I went back up to my office. I held no illusion that they’d go right to sleep.
At 12:30 I heard loud music downstairs. I tip toed down the stairs to see what the boys were doing. The TV was on again, and three boys were playing/watching Portal 2. The other three boys were playing on their smart phones. The phones were the loudest things in the room. Really loud. I stood behind them all, at the dark edge of the room. After a minute, CG13 spotted me. “Hi Dad,” he said.
“Hi son. Whoever, turn down the volume, OK?”
The boys with the cell phones turned down the music, but no one quit any game.
I said, “For the record, I told you to turn everything off at midnight. Right?”
“Yes,” they all said.
I went back up to my office. The talking downstairs continued, loud enough I could hear them upstairs. But after 15 minutes, it quietened enough. I could tell they were still up and probably playing games, but at least they wouldn’t wake mother or little brother.
I was tempted to go back down and shut things off, firmly, for the night, but a boy doesn’t turn into a teenager every birthday. I thought I’d let Calfgrit13 live it up a bit. So long as they didn’t wake Wifegrit or Calfgrit8, or me once I went to bed, (at 1:30am), I was fine with them “partying” all night :-)