“Would you be okay if a few of my friends visited us for a weekend?”
On the surface, it seems like an innocent question. We’ve had house guests before, and despite six full-time residents, we still have room to fit a few more people for a short period of time. There was just one little catch: The friends would be bringing their children along with them.
Because I am
a sucker an awesome husband, I gave my wife the go-ahead. And that is how three of Mrs. Cutter’s sorority sisters and their four daughters (Ages six, five, four, and one) came to stay with us this past weekend.
Since these were college-era friends and
I was a huge a**hole my personality was still a work in progress back then, my relationship with these women hasn’t always been the best. Thankfully, we all have made peace in the years since, so I wouldn’t be greeted with too much open hostility. At least that’s what I hoped.
With the first guests scheduled to arrive on Thursday evening, it wasn’t a good sign when the au pair texted me that afternoon and said that she thought she might pass out. Apparently she had picked up an intense quick-onset virus of some sort. I hurried home to watch the kids, but with so many people staying with us, I was worried what would happen if the illness spread any further.
We let the au pair take Friday off – mostly because she appeared to be in no condition to work – and Mrs. Cutter and I split parenting duties. Unfortunately, as the day progressed, I found myself feeling increasingly tired and my head and body were beginning to ache. It seemed likely that I had picked up the bug as well. Once everyone arrived, I took the opportunity to head upstairs and take a nap, in hopes that I’d feel better afterwards.
My condition didn’t improve much, but there were air mattresses to be inflated, dinner to be cleaned up, and children to be put to bed. I powered through the process, and after the twins were in their cribs, I told Mrs. Cutter that I was going to take a shower and head to bed. You can imagine my dismay when she entered the bathroom and informed me that the Cutlet and Cujo had vomited simultaneously.
I helped clean up as much as I could, but eventually I had to bow out. I was feeling nauseous myself, and my brain felt like it was on fire. I wanted to take something for my head, but I didn’t think my stomach would be able to handle any medicine. (The next day I found out that the women basically wiped down our entire house with Lysol after I went to bed. It was probably a smart decision.)
It was a rough night for me, but fortunately both the Cutlet and Cujo made it through without further incident. Since the Cutlet seemed fine, Mrs. Cutter stuck with the original plan of taking her and the Cutlass to the zoo with her friends. Since I wasn’t really up for much walking, and because we didn’t trust putting him in a car seat, I stayed home with Cujo. Everyone seemed to do well with this arrangement. The girls had fun, and Cujo and I both got to take long naps.
The original plan for Saturday night was for all of the women to go out while I watched the kids with the help of the au pair and her boyfriend. (Like I said, I’m a
sucker awesome husband.) But considering neither the au pair nor myself were at top strength, the ladies nixed those plans and we ordered Chinese food instead. Nobody seemed too upset by this change of plans. It certainly didn’t seem to slow down the women’s wine consumption.
On Sunday night, after a long weekend of activities, everyone – parents especially – seemed pretty worn out. Therefore, it was probably a mistake to serve homemade Shamrock Shakes for dessert. (The original plan was to have them on Saturday, but I pretty much went to bed right after dinner.)
The extra sugar, combined with a mixture of over-tiredness and over-excitement meant that the kids were in ho hurry to go to sleep. (We also moved the clocks ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time, which didn’t help matters.) All four of the older girls had been sleeping in the basement, but with the Cutlet having school the next morning, we couldn’t let her stay up all night. After several warnings, she was sent to her room where she fell asleep almost instantly.
On Monday morning, everyone parted ways, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. When the vomiting began on Friday, I thought we were headed for disaster, but fortunately everyone’s health held out for the most part. The kids didn’t destroy the house too badly (the place is basically a disaster 95% of the time anyway), and the breakdowns and crying fits were kept to a minimum.
It seemed like everyone had a great time. The twins liked having so many people around, and Cujo seemed especially taken by the one-year old. (Quite the ladies man that boy is.) The Cutlet thought it was awesome to have a bunch of girls to play with and have a sleepover in the basement. And I know I meant a lot to Mrs. Cutter to be able to see some of her best friends again.
As for me…I survived. It may not have been the most restful weekend (as if such a thing exists), but in a way, it was easier having so many people around to occupy the kids. To their credit, if the women verbally abused me or made fun of me in any way, they had the courtesy to wait until after I went to bed.
As everyone parted ways, I told Mrs. Cutter’s friends that it was a pleasure having them, and I couldn’t wait until next year when Mrs. Cutter took all the kids to visit one of their houses!