I'm not so sweet on Wolverine's plans for her 16th birthday
THE Wolverine's 16th birthday is looming. Or, as she reminds you in ominous tones -- capital letters implied -- her All-Important, Utterly Crucial, Sweet 16th Birthday Party.
She's not expecting much. She has watched those spoiled, oh-so-lucky teenagers on MTV. Teenagers whose doting parents spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on sweet 16 birthday gifts of designer clothing and 22-carat bling; parents who think nothing of splashing out a small fortune on extravagant sun-kissed parties.
The Wolverine understands that one such as she cannot aspire to similar wonders.
All she wants, meaningful pause, is a few blonde highlights. And er, a-sweet-sixteenth-birthday-barbecue-sleepover-with-16-of-her-best-friends on Saturday night.
The last bit is gabbled so quickly you almost miss it. But your husband doesn't.
Blonde highlights yes, birthday-party-barbecue-sleepover-with-16, no.
Had both her parents not made it abundantly clear, he wants to know, that sleepovers were banned, now and forever, following the last fiasco -- screams, laughter and horror videos til four in the morning, clumps of pizza walked into the carpet and excessive rudeness to distraught younger sibling?
There is a short, explosive silence before the Wolverine bursts into tears.
She completely understands that her parents are psychopathic control freaks whose only miserable pleasure lies in thwarting her at every turn, but she never dreamed they would go this far.
After she storms, howling, up the stairs, you turn to your husband. You have a cunning plan, you say. He sighs.
Step one: Allow the Wolverine to stew for several days. Step two: Suggest compromise birthday-sleepover-barbecue with four to six friends on the first Friday of the school term.
Step three: Make clear the fact that Friday night is her only opportunity because a very special sweet 16 family celebration has been arranged for the Saturday. Step four: Make it clear that, apart from having no sleepover at all, this is absolutely the only option.
Your husband looks puzzled. "The Friday after the first week back at school is the perfect time for a sleepover," you say.
"The Wolverine and her friends will be exhausted after the first week back in harness. By 10pm Friday night they will be utterly shattered.By 11pm they will be putty in our hands. By midnight they will have conked out.
"There will be no screaming, no laughter, no horror show running till four in the morning."
He sniggers. Now he remembers why he married you, he says.