An Open Letter to the Friends We Invite for Dinner

We really like you. That’s why we invited you to dinner at our house. If you asked around even just a little, you know that we’ve only done this three times in the past year. Which makes it four times total since we adopted two babies, really close in age. Essentially since we adopted twins. Who don’t like each other.

We don’t know how to tell you this: we go to bed at 7:30pm. And we’d like you to leave by then.

Specifically, our kids go to bed at 7:00pm sharp, and then we clean up, put on our pajamas, pour some wine and tell each other how tired we are. Then we go to bed at 7:30pm.

Guests we invite back are the ones who intuitively know to leave around 7:00pm if I’m being frank. We love those guests.

You probably wondered why we invited you for dinner at 5pm. This is why. We need you to leave before it’s dark out.

The thing is, we don’t think we can just come out and say it so we thought we’d give you a list of the hints we use.

1. We tell you that our toddlers are working on “saying goodbye to people” and that we will have them do so when you leave. The toddlers go to bed at 7:00pm, so this is your hint that we expect you to leave by then. We make a big dramatic scene. We may even tell them to hand you your purse.

2. We text you that afternoon and say, “You know what? Come early! Come at 4:45pm! That way we have plenty of time to catch up before everyone goes to bed. At 7pm.” This is our way of making sure you realize that we are inviting you over early for the purpose of saying goodbye to you early. Emphasis on early.

3. When 6:30pm rolls around and I notice your drink is empty and I notice that you notice that I noticed, and I only pour you a half drink, it’s because I don’t want you to get too comfortable. A full drink says, “Get comfortable!!” I’m definitely not saying that.

4. One of us leaps up to do all the dishes somewhere between 6:30pm and 6:40pm because, as we tell you, “Our kids can hear the clanking of dishes in their room.” It’s really because as soon as you leave, we are going straight to bed. And the thought of having to do dishes after 7pm is too depressing. That should be a hint that we also would like to not be talking to any other human being except each other (and sometimes not even that) after 7pm. You should really go.

5. Ok, you missed the hints. It happens. We put the kids to bed and come back at 7:03pm, as we always do, and you are sitting on the couch, drinking your wine so slowly I think you must be the devil. You don’t notice the fear in our eyes or the eye contact we quickly make with each other. You don’t see the panic. So we sit down near you and one of us politely asks some questions about your lives we should already know (“Oh I totally forgot you have a sister!! Oh right, I guess she was at my wedding. It’s parenthood! Always in need of sleep! Right, honey?”) and the other one has started to snore. At this point, we can’t hold it together. You may as well be curled up in bed with us. We’ve got nothing left.

6. OMG– its 7:45pm and you are STILL HERE! Why?? Do you hate us? Clearly the friendship is over, which is why the one of us who isn’t snoring and drooling on her shirt looks at you sweetly and says, “It was so nice you could come! Thank you! Do you need a light to get to your car? No? Ok, how about I walk you to the door? Bye!”

So, friends, bear with us. Listen for all comments having to do with “bedtime ” and any sentence starting with, “We usually go to sleep by…”

Look on the bright side: you can make plans for AFTER you have dinner with us! Or better yet: you can go home, put on your pajamas, and be in bed by 7:30pm. You’ll see it’s rather glorious.

Love,

Your Friends who have Small Children

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