Muuuuuum, can I have a sleepover?
Those 6 little words can strike fear in the hearts of even the hardiest of parents. Sleepover. Whoever invented these night time terrors needs shooting…or even worse…a gang of kids full of sweets and fizzy drinks to sleepover at their house.
I considered myself quite a popular child but I can’t remember having sleepovers (and I just checked with a couple of my old school mates to make sure that they weren’t actually having sleepovers and not inviting me! They swear they weren’t.) In ‘my day’ we went to a friend’s house for tea, or to a party, then came home and slept in our own beds. Just a few hours of fun at a friends house was enough for us…we didn’t moan when our parents came to pick us up that ‘oh, you’re so mean mummy! You never let me have a sleepover’. No, when our parents picked us up – or our friends’ parents picked them up from our house – we knew our time together was up, for now.
Stressed Husband always laughs (rather manically) at the term sleepover because, as he says “Nobody bloody sleeps! The kids stay awake all night – and the parents holding the sleepover certainly don’t get any sleep either because they’re too busy popping into the room to get the kids to ‘settle down now’.” He’s right.
I suppose not everybody has terrible experiences when their kids have a sleepover (those parents probably have scary hair and brandish a big sharp, stick to frighten the little devils to sleep) and now that my children are older, sleepovers are much easier to handle. But if I think back to some of the sleepovers in the Writeonmum household they include these memorable nights:
1. The ‘My Eyebrow Hurts’ Sleepover. Teen Queen was 8 years old when she asked for 5 friends to sleepover for her birthday. Five little 8 year old girls…how much trouble can the darling little princesses cause? So, I said yes. All went well for the first few hours – tap dancing and excited screeching shook the house, but by 10pm I told SH to come out from under the cushion because ‘they’ll be asleep soon’. Ha. Ha. Ha. After politely telling the girls to ‘settle down’ every half hour from 10.30 until 1am with no joy, it suddenly became quiet. Great? No. I thought I’d check on them and that was the first mistake. Girl number 1: My head hurts. I went to get her a drink of water and hoped I could hold off on the Calpol as I didn’t want to administer meds without permission from her mum – who I knew was out making the most of a child-free night. Girl Number 2: My ear hurts. Back down the stairs I went for another glass of water…when I walked back into the bedroom, there was a couple of other ailments…sore throats and tummy aches. I wondered whether little Teen Queen was playing a joke on me but as I looked around the room I noticed that most of the girls looked tearful and home-sick. Oh no! So, at about 3am, I was sat huddled with the girls around me reading bedtime stories until they were all much jollier and ready for bed. Phew! Just as I walked out the room, eyes bloodshot like a Tom and Jerry cartoon (I really needed matchsticks!) a little, trembly voice piped up..….my eyebrow hurts. Pleeeeeeaaaase!
2. The ‘Fall Out’ Sleepover. Fast forward 6 years and I was used to sleepovers. I didn’t particularly like them, but I learned how to manage them as successfully as I could. But this one time, Teen Queen had 4 fourteen year olds over. The mess was a hundred times worse than the 8 year olds – make-up smeared on bed sheets, dripping nail varnish, bras hanging from lamps, glossy magazines strewn across the floor, turning the carpet into a death trap. The giggling about boys, clothes and music was entertaining – if a few decibels too loud. SH and I were asleep by 12 as the girls began to chill out with a movie. Until…at 5am, mother’s instinct made me snap open my eyes and alerted me to the sound of the front door quietly closing. I jumped out of bed, threw on a dressing gown and slippers and ran downstairs to find all the girls, but one, gently snoring. I drove around the streets in the darkness, panicking that one of my friend’s daughters was wandering around on her own and I was responsible for her! Thankfully, I found her standing at a bus stop. Her excuse?
There was, like, a bit of a fall out between us girls? And, like, I reaaaaalllly needed my space.
Needed her SPACE? At 14? I felt like kicking her spoilt little butt into space! Instead I gave her a lift home (still dressed in my snazzy night time ensemble) and returned to my house a shaky, exhausted mess.
3. The ‘Pass The Sick Bucket’ Sleepover: A couple of years ago, My Boy and a friend indulged in a spot of under-age drinking at a party. Don’t shoot me – it happens! Apparently, the parents of the boy’s party were out and left the kids to their own devices for a few hours. All that was available was soft drinks but of course, a few chancers bought along their own
paint stripper vodka and beers.
An hour after My Boy’s curfew and after failing to get hold of him on his mobile, I stood at the top of the stairs staring, unblinking, at the front door using ‘mother’s magic powers’ to bring him through it safely. It worked. He was home and after 10 minutes of trying to find the lock, he and his best friend, fell into the hallway and proceeded to bounce across the hallway hitting the walls, from side to side, like a couple of human pin balls. They were completely oblivious that I was standing watching them. Best Friend found his way to the loo and began the ‘song of Huey’ while My Boy cluttered in the cupboards knocking packets of crisps and biscuits onto the floor. After a huge telling off for both of them – I might as well have been talking to jelly – and trying to get them to drink lots of water, My Boy fell asleep on the sofa. Meanwhile, his friend continued to vomit as I held the bucket and wiped his forehead way into daylight.
Those are just a few of the sleepover shockers that stick in my mind and there are more, but I don’t want to scare you too much.
Little Angel is a regular sleepover-er too and it hasn’t, so far, been too bad. Her worse nightime crime? She has a habit of re-arranging bedrooms – hers and her friends – by moving heavy wardrobes, beds and other furniture around in the dead of night. She also like to make pancakes at 4am in the morning… ho, hum.
So, next time your child whines muuuuuuum can I have a sleepover? Make sure you’ve got scary hair and a big stick.