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Last weekend Rada and her friend Kayla had their long-awaited sleepover. While Kayla’s mom Kathy enjoyed some grown-up time, Kayla, Rada and I mixed it up at home.

It was the third or fourth time the girls had gotten together without the presence of both moms and the dynamics were interesting. During the transition phase, before Kathy left, the kids were testy and whiney.  I was worried that this was a portent of how the evening would go. But it was as if they were purging themselves of all negativity.

Once Kathy left, and it was just me and the two girls, all of a sudden they developped a team-like mentalilty. And I started seeing them as a group, instead of several individuals.

When it was time for bed I said, “OK, everyone into their pajamas”, as if there were hoards of un-pajamed children roaming about. 

When Rada and Kayla holed themselves up in Rada’s room I said “Gosh, where did everyone go?” as if a big party had somehow dissipated.

I began to see the appeal of the family with multiple children. You can herd them. You can make sweeping policies. You can quell insurrections and issue edicts. You can also have a party or put on a show. Three is a crowd, but sometimes a crowd is a good thing.

Later that evening, the girls decided they wanted to sleep together in Rada’s bed. It took a long time to calm them down. They wanted me to lie with them, so I found myself with a 5 year old draped over my legs and a 3 year old on my stomach. Finally they settled down. I heard the regular rhythm of their breath, indicating sleep.  Gently eradicating myself from their limbs, I stood looking at the small bodies sprawled on the bed before quietly closing the door.