hell is other people’s children

Last summer, the Bee went to day camp at a local kids’ science museum. As part of the tuition for that camp, she got to participate in a free sleepover this fall. Unfortunately, there were only three dates offered, and the first two were the Fridays right before the election, so we ended up going this Friday.

I’ll say in advance that, having missed about a gajillion hours of sleep in the past week and a half, I wasn’t really looking forward to the idea of sleeping on a floor. But I promised the Bee, and we haven’t spent a lot of one-on-one time lately, so we went. And oh, was it painful!

I’m not really sure when the whole ‘camping out at a museum’ thing started. The first time I encountered it was when we were looking for something to do at New Year’s Eve when the Bee was about 3, and noticed a local museum had a sleepover. My current conclusion, of course, is that if you have a three-year-old, you should pop the champagne at 10 and got to bed before midnight, because you’ll be waking up at 6 a.m., just like every other day, but I was younger then, and more naive.

The Bee had fun, although around about 11, she wanted to go to sleep, and we couldn’t do that until 11:40. But I made a strategic error when picking out our ‘camping spot,’ and regretted it all night long. Two factors (besides just sleeping on a floor) contributed to a hellish night for me. The first was a loudly snoring guy about four feet away–not that I had anyway of predicting that. The second, however, was preventable. We slept next to the ramp that led out of the room into the bathroom. The ramp that 10 or 15 Boy Scouts ran up and down about 40 times during the course of the night. Loudly and echoingly.

Yesterday morning, they woke us up at 6:30 (I know! even on my one day of waking up without a three-year-old!) and we got shuffled down to breakfast, served in the museum cafeteria. There’s nothing quite like sharing a cereal bar and an apple with 200 strangers. I’m not enough of a fan of humanity (especially when that humanity is largely under 10 and hasn’t had enough sleep) to have enjoyed that experience.

One of my favorite childhood books was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and participating in that sleepover made me realize that if I ever run away to live at the Met, I’ll have to do it on a night when there aren’t any school groups staying over.


November 12, 2006. books for kids.


  1. mssisyphus replied:

    I *loved* that book! But you couldn’t pay me enough to trap myself in a room full of grade schoolers overnight. But I bet you’re the Bee’s hero.

    Yeah, bad call on the ramp. I also learned the hard way to always request the hotel room *away* from the elevator. Supersonic hearing is a bitch.

  2. Suzanne replied:

    Oh, that sounds, umm, dreadful. I’m glad you survived!

  3. Mary Tsao replied:

    That sounds like the worst night imaginable. You are an awesome mom. Love the title of this post. So true!

  4. Kate the Shrew replied:

    I loved that book, too! I agree about making sure there are no school groups sleeping over, though. That just sounds miserable on so many levels. You’re a good Bee-Mama.

  5. MetroDad replied:

    Too funny, LM. While reading the first part of your post, all I could think of was…doesn’t LM love ” From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”? She’s got to! Glad to see you mention it at the end. Guess sleeping in the museum isn’t as fun as it’s made out to be. Alas, once again, truth proves to be stranger than fiction.

  6. Daydreams and Musings replied:

    I can’t even imagine – I would give my kids the moon but I’m not sure I would sleep on a museum floor for them. I really, really like my own bed. You are a mommy hero for doing this for her.

  7. chichimama replied:

    I loved that book too. And you are a mommy saint. I cannot imagine a scenario in which I would camp out at a museum with a gazillion under ten-ers. Especially right after a campaign.

  8. Ashley replied:

    Ouch. I just tried a cub scout camp out. In the rain. We got soaked. That was bad enough, I can’t say I’d volunteer to sleep with 200+ people on a hard marble floor. Did the Bee at least have fun?

  9. Ashley replied:

    Never mind. Helps if I re-read. 😉

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