Sleepovers—don’t you love them? There is nothing your average ten-year-old girl enjoys more than a sleepover with a selection of her best friends and/or mortal enemies: based on my experience the girls tend to swap between the two categories all through the crucially important run up period to the sleepover. It is during this period that discussions on rations to survive the night occur—basically take the recommended amount of sugar per week per child and double it; selection of appropriate DVDs and vetoing by boring parents who refuse to be responsible for introducing the pre teen pack to MA 15+ movies and the crucially important discussion of who is going to sleep next to whom.
In a weak moment, I foolishly agreed to my youngest daughter having a mass sleepover last weekend with four of her friends and somehow the tent became involved and the whole thing metamorphosed into a major camping expedition in the back garden. I am always suckered into these things by thinking about how wholesome and “Five go Camping” the whole thing is. I completely forget until approximately 2:00 a.m. how tents just move the whole sleepover thing into a new dimension—torches, things that go bump in the night, dog, possums, moon, no moon, bad language from next door garden, and needing to come inside to go the loo in an unending, pass the torch, relay. In fact given the relative amount of sleep gained by each participant perhaps the whole sleepover concept should be renamed Wakeover.
As the night skittered into the early hours I transformed remarkably quickly from cuddly, fun, Mummy fresh from the Famous Five tales, to fire breathing dragon hissing threats relating to the fate of the next small child to emit a snort or giggle and then terrified I’d scared the little horrors I would then tack a plaintive “Darling” onto the end of the threat. I needn’t have worried about the mixed messages it was all to no avail, the squeaks and shrieks continued unabated.
Morning dawned over a crowd of remarkably good-humored children and a pair of exhausted and bad tempered adults. The dog that normally gives true meaning to the phrase excitable was so high that it was in dire need of Prozac. Husband had retreated to shower where as parents arrived to pick up offspring he could be heard bellowing away like a wounded buffalo owing to the fact the tribe of sleepover girls had used all the towels in defiance of the house towel rule as number 542 states all children found in possession of an adult towel will be hung, drawn, and quartered.
I have decided that like childbirth, you forget the horrors of sleepovers very quickly until approximately five minutes before the next time, but I tell you what, next time it is going to be me throwing in the towel. I will be putting up a tent, but this time I’ll be sleeping in it.