“Let’s make a shopping list!” I told Noah and his two cousins who were all crowded around me, asking what we were going to do for fun on our big sleep-over. “Sam, what do you want?”

“I want a giant movie box of Runts!” he squealed.

I raised my eyebrow. “Would your mom let you get a giant box of Runts?”

“No.”

“Okay, I’m putting it on the list!”

That’s what uncles do.

I turned to Noah. “What do you want to put on the list, Noah?”

“Popcorn!”

Noah always needs popcorn when we have sleep-overs.

“Okay, I’m putting it on the list!”

I turned to Joshy. “How about you, Joshy? What should I add to our list?”

“Pancakes!” There was no hesitation.

“Hmmmm, I think pancakes would be good. They’re going on the list!”

I also added pizza, cause we needed some “real food” for dinner. By the time we got back from our trip to the store we had added a bag of donuts and chocolate milk to wash it all down.

Instead of runts, the boys all chose giant boxes of Nerds candy. I decided they were much too easy to spill in their boxes, so each kid got a tumbler filled with the fantastic sugar coated sugar. They would need it.

“Who’s ready for bed?” I asked after we finished pizza. I was fully expecting an outburst.

“Nooooo! We wanna play! We wanna watch movies! We wanna stay up all night!” All three boys sang out their rebellion, united, as if it was rehearsed.

“Hmmmm… would your mom let you stay up all night?” I asked with a fake scowl spread across my face, daring them to tell me a fib.

“No.”

“Well, good thing you’re at Uncle Dan’s house! I think you guys should have a contest to see who can stay up the longest!

And thus you see the reason they would need the sugar-coated sugar. Things were getting serious. Each boy wanted the title of “up the longest” to hang their hats on. I can’t say I blamed ’em. It’s a pretty big accomplishment.

We watched Rango. The kids weren’t slowing down. At all. Then we watched Rio. I was hitting my limit. It was 1:15 AM when the credits rolled. I looked around. Joshy and Sammy had fallen asleep at some point. Noah was wide-eyed and grinning. “I stayed up the longest, Dad!”

“Yes, you did. Now go to bed you stinker.”

He was out 20 seconds later.

I locked all the doors with the childproof locks, worked on my blog for a couple hours, and finally went to bed. I was tired.

Seven AM.

“Uncle Dan, Uncle Dan, Uncle Dan!” Sammy and Joshy were standing next to my bed, poking me, prodding me, giggling. “We want to watch a movie!”

Grunt.

“Dad!” Noah had joined them. “Come on, get up!”

I flumped out of bed. Not quite as thrilled about my encouragement of the preceding night’s events. Grunt.

“What do you guys wanna watch?”

I don’t know who screamed what. I turned on the first movie I was able to process and told the kids to come get me out of bed if the house was burning down or if somebody started bleeding. I figured the movie would buy me another hour and a half of sleep.

It did. Kind of. I kept waking up to things crashing. Kids yelping. Thumps. Sounds of craziness. I was too tired to care. I just rolled over and tuned it out every time it happened..

8:30 AM.

“Uncle Dan, Uncle Dan!” “Dad, Dad!” “The movie’s over!” “We want breakfast!”

Grunt.

I had promised them pancakes. I thumped down the stairs and stared at the box of pancake mix. My eyes couldn’t focus on the directions.

“Who wants their donuts for breakfast instead?”

The supporting vote was unanimous. Donuts it was.

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 1.4 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!