My youngest who is still eleven asks me almost daily “Can I have a sleepover for my birthday?”.
She is my fourth child so as you can imagine, I am not a novice in this. I know the word sleepover is a joke.
There is no sleep in sleepover.
Without hesitation I say, for the one hundredth time, “No”.
There is no need for explanation because she has already been given one innumerable times.
I hate sleepovers.
We have had sleepovers in this house before.
They have involved my other children having friends here.
As the evening progresses they begin to bed down.
Duvets, sleeping blankets, pillows etc are dragged out.
DVDs are selected and popcorn and drinks brought in.
The lights are dimmed and to the uninitiated it looks like its going to be quiet.
In no time at all the volume of chatter rises, mixed with high pitched laughter,
if you have girls you will definitely know what I mean.
The laptop which was going to show the DVD is commandeered and who knows what is happening on it.
The door is closed, so your constant wandering in and out is very obvious,
and the silence that occurs while they wait for you to leave is embarrassing and worrying.
As the hours pass you go to bed and try in vain to sleep.
Only to be woken regularly by full volume shouting and laughing.
You spend half your night knocking on the roof to quieten them,
and the other half eavesdropping in a vain attempt at supervision.
Eventually just before dawn they seem to remember the “sleep” part of sleepover.
At last there is peace.
Two hours before you must get up!
Yes as you can read I am no stranger to sleepovers.
So when I am asked I have no hesitation refusing.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
Sadly for my fourth child she is at a serious disadvantage.
There are certain things I have learned through experience.
No mobile phone until you are just about twelve.
No going down the village to “hang out”.
No make up until at least 14 and definitely not at school.
No belly button piercings until you are at least 14.
No drinking, smoking or drugs.
I also know that some of what my children say may not be technically correct,like when they say,
they are going “nowhere”, when leaving the house.
Or when they say they have “no homework”.
When they tell you “That teacher hates me”.,“I did nothing”.
or when they say “honestly, I swear Mom”.
As they have grown up I have learned all this and more.
However one of my biggest lessons learned was to pick my battles carefully.
As my youngest yet again pesters me for a sleepover, I hope this is a lesson she too will soon learn.