It’s funny but I don’t remember ever having a sleepover when I was young, even with my buddy Mitch when I was in middle school and my buddy Ivan when we were in high school together. I’m sure I had them, especially since I have vague memories of Mitchell’s dad yelling at us late at night, but still, it certainly wasn’t a common occurrence. And yet, my children are constantly having sleepovers, either inviting their friends to my house (or their mom’s house) or being at the other person’s house.
And so it’s come to pass this evening that I am hosting my 9yo daughter K’s first sleepover here, and it’s also her friend’s first “official” sleepover too. Two 9yo girls in da house!
So far, so good. I made french fries and turkey and cheese sliders for dinner, along with a big bowl of fresh berries for dessert. And, yes, we do love our Cuisinart panini maker. You can see the before pic of the sliders on the right. They came out delicious, though I actually haven’t had one because it’s not on My Meal Plan right now, which is kind of a drag, actually.
They’ve spent their evening so far making bread (from scratch: you can see it in the oven below) and playing dress up, including doing each other’s nails, putting on eye makeup and even *cough cough* dabbing on a tiny bit of perfume prior to our meal.
Read “use up half a bottle of perfume and stink up the house” when I say “dabbing”, of course.
What most strikes me about this is that I am really relaxed with the girls being here, something I attribute to just doing the single dad thing for years now. In the beginning it would have been more like “drop and give me 20, soldier!” but now I just feel rather an inner peace about the whole situation, and am looking forward to a quiet evening and relatively painless sleepover. Well, maybe “quiet evening” is a bit optimistic…
More than that, though, I’m proud of the fact that I have this much trust in the community, that as a single dad I can play host to not only groups of teen girls, as I did a few months ago when my 16yo daughter A- had a five-girl sleepover here at our house but also to a much younger girl. Of course, I did insist that my 12y son also be home this evening just in case things went sideways, since I thought it might just be useful to have someone a bit older who can attest that nothing untoward transpired. Paranoid? Maybe. But you don’t see all the email I get after some of my posts on this blog either, including the very post where I talked about the teen girl sleepover party. Depressing.
I guess to me this level of community trust is kind of an antidote to the cultural message I feel is far too pervasive nowadays of all men being potential rapists or pedophiles. I dunno, maybe it’s a hot button of mine, though I have seen it pop up every few weeks on Facebook, among other places. What do you think, dear reader? Do you feel like the cultural zeitgeist is that men, strangers or family, are all just something horrible waiting to happen?
And in that light, the fact that this other girls parents trust me for her first sleepover ever? A nice feeling.
Now let’s see if they ever go to sleep…
10:30pm update: still not asleep. Trying not to go drill sergeant here, but I’m fine with an hour of post-lights out whispering, but it really is time for them to get to sleep. It’s possible that they’re indeed a bit too young for this overnight thing. We’ll see, we’ll see…
8:00am update, next morning: The girls either went to sleep just after I stuck my head in at 10.30pm or they realized that if they were really quiet I wouldn’t know they were still up. Either way works, and I woke up to them in the kitchen, painting farm scenes. Lovely! Two hot chocolates later and they’re happy little clams, finding things to do in K-‘s room and even volunteering to be involved with our usual Sunday morning chores. Phew. Bullet ducked. 🙂
I do not think that all men are just trouble waiting to happen and would totally trust my daughter to your house for a sleepover if she were friends with your daughter.
When I was a Girl Scout leader and taking girls to overnight camp I had this same sensation of awe in the trust that others placed in me.
Oh, and 10:30 is not at all late to be up at a sleepover. Loosen up and let them stay up to midnight. -:)
Yeah, I know, I know. But 9 is so young. In fact, as far as I could tell, they either realized that if they were super quiet I wouldn’t know, or they actually fell asleep around 11pm. They slept in until 7am and when I woke up around 8am, they were downstairs painting. 🙂
Interesting and amusing. I am a single mom and wonder if society will feel the same when the time comes for my sons’ sleepivers.
Oh the society won’t have squat to say to you Lia. It’s the men that people tend to look at… and for very good reasons. It isn’t very logical… or fair, but when sick women do unmentionable things to little boys, society has a hard time taking it even half as seriously as when it’s the other way around. And that’s not to say that it does any less damage. Anyone who saw “Antwone Fisher” got a glimpse at the psychological toll it takes.
I think Taylor has good instincts. You always need to be aware of perceptions out there. When your community trusts you that much, you guard and protect that reputation zealously, because it doesn’t necessarily take DOING anything wrong to lose that reputation.