This weekend was the first time we had a little friend over for a sleepover. I had been putting it off for a while. I couldn’t tell you why, but I think it probably has something to do with the first time I looked after missy and another child of the same age. They were both about eight weeks old or thereabouts, and it was a disaster. I quickly went from feeling like a capable mother who could handle anything to a mother scared of looking after more than one child – especially someone else’s child!
Of course, I did get over this. I’ll now happily look after one of missy’s friends for a few hours, but a sleepover was a whole other story!
When I was thinking about writing this yesterday – pre-sleepover – I was thinking about how easy it will be. I was thinking about how I’ll smugly write that it’s good to start with a child who has had a sleepover before as that makes everything go smoothly (missy’s friend is well-versed in the art of sleepovers). I will tell you now. Nothing. Makes. A. Difference.
The problem wasn’t missy’s friend. The problem was missy. Missy who had been talking about her sleepover for days. Who was so wound up and excited by the time her friend arrived we had absolutely no chance!
Related: 9 things my two-year-old does
The pair happily did the usual routine: dinner, bath, Peppa and milk, stories, toilet, teeth, bed. We had decided it would be totally adorbs to put them in bed together, top to tail. “They’ll chat,” we said, “But then they’ll get tired and go to sleep.”
I kissed their little heads – despite remembering my own first sleepover (I was much older) where I cried and cried because the mum kissed me and I had to go home I was so upset – and walked down the hall. Then I hear my daughter, “Let’s talk about Peppa.” And away they went. Hubby and I rolled our eyes, and smiled indulgently. The time was 7.15.
Me: Should we go downstairs and tell them to be quiet?
Hubby: Nah, let them chat. They’re excited.
I go downstairs and tell the kids to close their eyes. They tell me they just want to talk. I tell them they need to sleep.
Me from upstairs: Close your eyes and go to sleep!
Hubby: I’ll go this time
Hubby goes downstairs and chats to the girls for eons. I hear some giggles and then silence.
Daughter: I need to do poos!
I go downstairs, trying to keep the friend in bed while missy goes to the toilet. She sits on the toilet, giggles at me, does nothing and is returned to bed with threats of the door being closed (hard call when her friend is in there with her).
Hubby: I’ll go.
Me: [very firmly] Nope. I’ll go. I need to follow through.
Missy’s friend: Missy is being mean. I’m tired. I just want to go to sleep.
Me: Right, missy, you need to let your friend sleep. Close your eyes. If I hear any more talking I’m coming back and putting you into the spare room.
Missy solemnly nods.
Hubby: Right, my turn.
Me: She’s off to the spare room.
[cue crying and screaming and “nos”]
Missy is put in the spare room.
Missy’s friend is finally asleep after hours of tireless chatter being directed at her. Missy, on the other hand, has taken her night nappy off, is waving her legs around and having a giggle. I try my best to be stern rather than wet myself laughing. I go upstairs and pour myself a wine.
Oh, we could do this forever! Let’s just say the result was the door being closed and missy going to sleep past 10pm (usual bedtime of 7pm) and then waking in the night and requiring her father to sleep with her all night. It was a disaster.
Of course, when they both got up this morning (6.15 thank you very much) and sat at the same table, eating their breakfast, it was absolutely adorable. As was our little walk down the street to get a babycino and have a swing at the park. But not adorable enough for me to want to tackle another sleepover in the near future! Although, I have to admit, I’ve never been to a sleepover where I wasn’t chatting the night away. For some reason I thought it would be different for two-and-a-half-year-olds – apparently not.