If you are a parent, there will come a time in your life when your daughter will sweetly ask, “Can I have a sleepover?” I’m using your daughter for this example because eighty-nine percent of all sleepovers are with girls. I know it’s true. I Googled it.
1 cm: Your first thought may be pure delight. Your child has friends and she wants them to stay overnight at your house. (Does that mean you are the cool mom?) You might even shed tear. Well, wipe that tear away right now and batten down the hatches! As a mom who survived five kids and hundreds of sleepovers, I am here to offer some expert advice.
2 cm: Forget about buying healthy food. You can spend eighty dollars on granola mix, fruit, veggie dips, low fat potato chips and no salt pretzels, etc. These girls only want pizza, real chips, ice cream, gummy bears, licorice and extra butter popcorn. Mental note for your sanity: Never buy graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate. They will attempt to build a campfire in your yard at 3 a.m. to make S’mores. If you must, buy marshmallows in a jar and let them microwave a snack. The Fire Marshall will thank you.
3 cm: The most important thing is to keep the number of kids to an even number. I don’t care if it’s two, four, six, or eight. And truthfully, if it’s six or eight, you probably should be in a mental ward. If you have an odd number, there is an unwritten rule that at two a.m. someone will feel left out and have hurt feelings. That child will cry loudly, very loudly, until you call her parents to take her home.
4 cm: It’s always the dad who fetches the sobbing night owl. By the time he arrives at the door, the girls will be lining up like soldiers to hug, squeeze and tell Suzy they love her. For the past hour they bickered, but now in the darkness there is a Kumbaya moment. At this point, there will be an hour discussion about whether Suzy really wants to leave. It’s all very dramatic. “Please don’t go! We’ll miss you!” Sometimes the other girls even cry saying it. The mood will shift and Suzy will decide to stay. You and Suzy’s dad will bond while you apologize that you had to wake him to drive twenty minutes for nothing.
5 cm: There should be parent’s code where we swear never to tell a soul how either parent looks at “the “fetching hour” of the night. This is another reason why you should be very careful about your daughter’s sleepover choices. Stay away from the girls with hoity -toity parents. You don’t want them gossiping about your scary self. You might remember Suzi’s dad as a handsome man: clean-shaven with bright blue eyes. That’s his daytime look. At “the fetching hour “he looks like Fred Flintstone. I could only hope he didn’t mention to anyone that I looked as if I’d been electrocuted. I look like a mad woman when I don’t get my sleep.
6 cm: You’ve had just about enough of the dramatic, almost farewell. As you close (slam) the door, you fall asleep climbing the stairs to go back to bed.
7 cm: The heavy duty labor pains are coming fast!
8 cm: Just after you tuck each child in and say good night (morning) your daughter will remember that there is popcorn and ice cream downstairs. You will hear what sounds like a herd of centipedes running down the stairs as your head hits the pillow. Your husband will sleep through all of this so be sure to make mental notes. He’ll love to hear all about it in the morning.
9 cm: There is usually an array of talent in the sleepover group: a gymnast, a dancer, a singer and a baton twirler, if you’re lucky. After ice cream with sprinkles and whipped cream, these talents come to life at four a.m. Music will fill your house. No really, music will FILL your house. Dance lessons will ensue as they learn new shake moves in their nighties. The gymnast is always a winner because she uses your sofa top as a balance beam while she shimmies. And let’s not forget the singer, who is really not a singer in the darkness of the night. After eight mugs of strong coffee, and after the sun has risen, I might enjoy her rendition of I’m Too Sexy for My Shorts.
10 cm: The girls who thought you were the sweetest of all the moms will now change their minds after you swoop into the family room looking like a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz and screaming, “Go the hell to SLEEP! Stop singing, balancing and dancing and for the love of God, my broom is not a baton!” It is very important that you watch your language here. If you slip and use a curse word, it will go down in history. The moment their parents ask, “Did you have fun at your sleepover?” they will rat you out. I used to ask if the other parents cursed at three in the morning, so I didn’t feel alone.
Unlike after popping out that baby and having breakfast delivered to your hospital room, you now have to get back into the kitchen. The breakfast menu request is usually pancakes. Try to stay awake while flipping on a hot grill. They will all be wide-awake and chatting about how cute Suzy’s dad is and how he’s so nice. They will not say that about you. The only thing they might say is, “You make good pancakes. Do you have chocolate chips?”
Within two hours, all of the girls will be gone. You and your child will go back to bed and be unable to sleep. She will want to chat about how happy she is that they were all at her house. As you doze off you might hear her ask, “Can we do it again next Saturday night?” And if you’re really tired, you might dream that you said, “Yes. It was so much fun!”
Sleepovers are one of those things like labor. When you’re going through it, labor is hell. When the baby arrives, you forget the pain until you have another baby. The memories will rush back with each contraction.
As you regain your lost sleep, you will weaken and there will be a group of little people with sleeping bags and backpacks at your door once again, and again, and again.
And when those days are over, you won’t really remember the labor-like pains, you’ll smile at the memory of Fred Flintstone (Suzy’s dad), the broom baton, I’m Too Sexy for My Shorts, and those little centipede legs running down the stairs in the middle of the night.
Trust me- you don’t want to miss this!