One should not travel with five children.
I think we can agree that, in general, it's just a little loony to have five kids. Then again maybe you, dear reader, have seven or eight and five doesn't seem at all strange. Good for you! You are in the minority.
The world is not equipped to easily accommodate a family of seven. We fill every seat in our minivan, which is ostensibly crafted to handle our brood. However, judging from the strangulating seat belt reserved for the rear middle occupant, KIA doesn't think anyone is really crazy enough to procreate with such abandon. And if they do, that last kid must be a mistake, right? So the parents probably don't care whether the three-point restraint allows for normal respiration. To be fair, on occasion they're right.
Hotels share this philosophy. Not that my children should suffer, just that I have too many of them. One cannot legally book seven people in one room, even if it's a "suite" which, for the majority of hotels, was defined as many beds in one room, not separate living and sleeping areas. Despite this design failure, hotels charge more for "suites." So, to save money I only booked us one "suite" per hotel. Yes, folks, we all slept in one room. Actually, six of us slept together, because most nights M.I.L and F.I.L kindly housed One.
From the get-go we established that Four and Five would sleep on the pull-out couch. If there was one king-sized bed and one queen, we gave Two and Three the king so they had a better chance of avoiding contact with one another. The Captain and I bunked together, which is why One got shipped out. He was perfectly happy with this arrangement, even though he missed all the nocturnal fun.
Sharing a room with six men is akin to sleeping in a barn. There is snoring, farting, kicking, cursing, and tooth-grinding. For added humor, the Captain brought along his newly acquired bi-pap machine. He recently found out he has central apnea, which means his brain stops him from breathing in the middle of the night. Essentially his brain is trying to kill him. He's now locked in mortal combat with this cranial traitor, and the first line of defense is the bi-pap machine. It makes a pleasant white-noise hum while forcing jet-powered air into his lungs, unless the mask slips off his face and breaks the seal. Then it emits a high-pitched squeaking sound, like a runaway helium balloon, or a dying duck.
A typical night in the suite, as observed by moi, who hasn't slept in nineteen years anyway:
Four and Five fall asleep on the couch. Twenty minutes later, Five sits up and flops over onto Four, where he will spend most of the night attached to his back, earning him the nickname "Tick."
The Captain straps on the bi-pap machine, and we shut off the lights. The room remains illuminated by the electronic glow of the iPhone and iPad as Two and Three read facebook and the details of the (failed) attempt to acquire Dwight Howard for the Nets.
An hour later, the Captain's mask slips and squeaks. Giggles from the next bed. Cursing and
torn Velcro from ours.
Hours later, "Three, move over!" Grunting as Two rolls his brother to the other side of the bed.
Hours later, the clicking sound of Three grinding his teeth, and snoring from the Captain, who has ripped off his mask in frustration.
"Oh my god, Three, move over!"
Snoring, clicking, shoving, flopping.
Dawn arrives, and a cacophonous crescendo of farting signals the growing consciousness of the roommates.
I always said I wanted a farm, so I have only myself to blame.
* Explained here for those of you not fortunate enough to live with gaseous young men.