We've launched the first of two sleepovers this weekend. Tonight it's Alex Ogden. Tomorrow it's Team Tokash.
All was going well until we went out the door to dinner. Jeff is playing poker, so it's just me and the kids.
"Mommy, is it true that parents give you stuff and not the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy?"
She's 8. I've been expecting this. But I wasn't ready.
"What?" I say.
"My mom said," Alex jumped in. "She said the parents give you stuff. We don't believe in anything anymore. Except Santa Claus."
I sensed an out.
"Why do you still believe in Santa Claus?"
"Well because last Christmas I got a D-Rex. It's a robot. And I know my mom would not have spent that kind of money," Alex said.
At this point, we're in the car and I'm pondering my next move. Ali and Alex are strapped in the back sitting next to each other rather than leaving the middle open. I think it's kind of sweet.
"Mom, I think you have something on your shirt," Alison said.
"I'm approaching the stop sign at the end of our street. I glance at my right shoulder. And scream, scream, scream to all that's holy because there's a snake on my shoulder. Had I not been braking I would have driven right into my neighbor's front porch.
I realized -- not instantly, because if it were instantly I would have recognized the piece of reptilian plastic her friend Dominic had just given her that afternoon -- that it was not a real snake. But I couldn't stop screaming.
I wasn't the only one sounding like a broken record.
"Oh, mom. I'm really sorry. I'm sorry. I wanted to see if you were really afraid of them like you said," Alison kept saying from the back seat. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
Alex kept saying, "Oh, man, Ali. I don't think you should have done that. I don't think you should have done that."
And then, from the rotten red head, "Am I in trouble?"
I stopped screaming. I didn't punish her. I think we were all punished enough. Plus, I think all of our ears are still ringing. They're next door right now getting some early bouncing in on my next-door neighbor's daughter's birthday entertainment. I might just let them sleep there.
Here's hoping that Sleepover No. 2 will be less exciting...