Can I have a sleepover?

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.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/21297311@N00/319439/">SmartEnoughToBark</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>
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.
Wrong!

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.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/21297311@N00/319439/">SmartEnoughToBark</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>

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.

photo credit: Marilyne Blais via photopin cc
photo credit: SmartEnoughToBark via photopin cc

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32 thoughts on “Can I have a sleepover?

  1. Don’t be such a meanie! On her birthday especially! My own daughter has settled in with a best friend that we actually like (and her parents aren’t nutjobs either) and all they ever want to do is sleep over at each others’ place! It’s not so bad yet with the noise, but someday I’m sure they’ll become as annoying as you describe.

    1. Ah you wait. I was fresh for all this sleepover stuff but after ten years I have no tolerance. One or two friends are grand but a group…. You wait and see.

  2. Until this post, I’ve never thought about what my mother must have gone through during my sleepovers. I have an urge to call and apologize to her for a sleepover I had over 20 years ago. As far as being the youngest, I feel your daughter’s pain. Being the youngest myself, I definitely got the short end of the stick. But, in some ways I’m thankful for it.

  3. Ah, you’ve just reminded me of the almost forgotten horrors of sleepovers our two lads used to have when they were in their teens and invited a horde of scavengers round to our house – and my frantic efforts to hide the contents of our booze cabinet from the marauders. It was not so bad when we had advance notice of a sleepover for that allowed us time to relocate the contents of the cabinet to the (relative) safety of our bedroom. It was the spontaneous sleepovers that started after we had gone to bed that were the nightmare. We would awaken in the early hours of the morning to the noise of what sounded like 15 drunken louts staggering back from town and crashing out at our place. In a well-practiced, co-ordinated move, Anita would engage sons and their guests in conversation –

    ‘what the f*ck’s going on here?’

    while I would slip into the living room, grab as many bottles as I could from the cabinet, then dash out into the garden through the patio doors and hide the bottles in the water butt before returning nonchalantly back into the house and bidding our unexpected guests a cheery goodnight πŸ˜†

    1. Ha ha. Brilliant team work there.
      We had a party for my eldests 18th in the house. The kids themselves hid bottles and cans around the house as they didn’t want to “share” with each other, but as they drank they forgot about them. It made for interesting housework discoveries over the next few weeks.

  4. WOW! Did this post ever stir some old memories! With eleven kids, I must have had at least eleven hundred sleepovers. After the sleepover that I knew would be “the last” I grabbed a bottle of wine, propped up my feet and had a celebratory toast! No more sleepovers ever again! Ahhhhh……..I think I’ll look for the wine. Why not celebrate again! πŸ™‚

    1. Oh wow. I forgot you had so many children. I need the wine now to recover for you! I think you are an amazing lady for coping with all you have gone through. Have you thought about contributing a letter to my “series of letters”?

  5. so funny, well – maybe just one time, so she can experience it, c’mon, mum? i know it is absolute hell on earth for the parent and an absolute blast for the child! i was one of 3 girls, and a younger brother, and had 3 girls myself, so i know crazy. my 3rd daughter once said to me, ‘mom, you seem stricter with me, i thought moms were supposed to break down and get easier with the later kids?’ ‘well, i learned what not to do with your sisters and i’m better at it now.’ – my response. )

  6. Oh, Tric. πŸ˜€ You made me laugh so hard my tummy hurt. Little My is the last of the brood, and I’m trying to avoid refusing things I let her brothers do. They all gang up on me and tell me it’s not fair – it’s amazing how siblings can rally forces as often as they squabble.
    Little My’s sleepovers are in her bedroom. She has pals who appear to need sleep on the pumpkin side of midnight, so they come over pretty much when they want.

  7. My boys began having yearly sleepovers during spring break when the oldest was 7 (they’re 21 months apart) limit 10. And my baby girl,would spend the night at a friends who’s brother would be at my house. This went on for 7 years. Each year the amount of pizza they would eat went up. Then around 15-16 friends would spend the night and I’d wake to 4-5 boys in the family room asleep on the floor (these weren’t considered sleepovers (don’t ask me I never figured it out). My daughter didn’t care for sleep overs with more then 2 people, she such a doll.

      1. I’m so sorry, I’m glad mine are grown. Because they were on Spring Break, I took the week off. They had it early in the week and then I had cleaning and recovery time.

  8. We usually ONLY do sleepovers on birthdays…..but they are a nightmare! Our kids are so close in age too, so they all want to join in on their siblings sleepover. Renee usually sleeps on the couch to quiet them, and I never know when its a good time to open my wine!! The slumber party isn’t near as bad as the next day though, in my opinion…..my children do not do well without sleep! πŸ™‚

  9. Wonderful story, and so true! Let me tell you, it is little different with young grandkids! Same song, next verse…

    “EE”

      1. Kids will be kids…they all share some of the very same traits throughout time!

        Thanks for the reply. Enjoy your day…

        Ed

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