Tuesday, 13 December 2011


What I have found is, when it comes to sleepover culture, I am a total amateur. The real professionals of this genre are ten-year old children.

Like Flizz. She jumps up in the middle of a Chinese park and shouts I've got a good idea! Let's swap sisters! One of yours can come to us and I can come home with you!

I am out of my league. If I put up any opposition it boils down to a half-open mouth and look of dementia.

Because I am from an old folk's perspective, where sleepovers cannot be spontaneous! Surely they have to be organised, parental signatures obtained, release forms issued, a timetable drawn out, somehow with monthly planning, and maybe a meeting or two arranged with spreadsheets and power point demonstrations.

Give me a week or two and I can think of reasoning in detail why no sleepover can be accomplished for the next three Saturdays in a row, and probably all of next year.

I am motivated by fear, of course. I am almost frozen with the terror of imagining the freak accident that causes damage to someone else's child. Maybe I will inadvertently push them off the balcony or bury them under a tree. What then?

Or they will have a wretched and miserable time of it, go home and exclaim Thank God I'm home! Mother you will never know the state of their floors!

If I had been honest and said those things in the Chinese park, I know it would have been pointless. Flizz would have pooh poohed them. She is a home ed child, which means she has already experimented with throwing herself off the balcony and who gives a damn about the floor?

But I am still of the old guard, edgy and uncertain. Flizz's ten-year old confidence makes it a little better: the new wave of sleepover cadets are clearly capable enough to arrange solutions for themselves without the unnecessary complications dreamed up by elderly doddering parents.

So that's what we do. Squirrel gaily scampers off with Flizz's mum, and Flizz jumps on a bus and comes home with us. It doesn't matter, she says, that she has no jimmy jams because we are sure to have a spare pair (gulp, the two available pairs are probably cut up for dolly dresses). The toothbrush doesn't matter either, she says, because you can buy those anywhere. And so what if she's wearing the same clothes again tomorrow? She looks indifferent at me as I raise this last weed of a thought before loudly asking me Is there something wrong with you?

So there, I was taught a lesson. We had a sleepover and it all went well. I did not accidentally assault, poison, or damage someone else's child. She didn't give a damn about the floors. There was only a slight ruckus between me and Shark which probably sent Flizz home saying God, that woman ought to chill.

And I never want to hear again, thanks, how home ed children are socially isolated, how they never see friends, how they never do ordinary kid fun stuff. We deal with certainties in our world. Where, clearly, friendship does not wait on parental organisation, scheduling, or the next free Saturday in the upcoming month.


Nora said...

Someone learned a great big lesson anyway, didn't they?

globeonmytable said...

Congratulations on having a sleep over. I did my first one a few months ago. Both young men were 16 and 17!!! I still found myself wide-awake until 3am at least, unable to relax. I had to tell myself that they are actually officially grown up, so what could possibly go wrong?

Big mamma frog said...

I have one who goes to other people's houses and actually requests to sleep in a cardboard box (a request which, generally is fulfilled).

I dread to think what conclusions others draw about my parenting.

Rachel M. said...

Wow! That was spontaneous!!!