I’ve hosted sleepovers before. With three kids who are all pretty social, it’s a given, actually, and I’m glad to say that our track record is a good one, with no trauma, no police, and no families blacklisting us.
But this time the confluence of coincidence ended up where we were facing not one, not two, but three extra girls, making a total of five girls plus my son who would be spending the night in my house.
Since I know you’re not keeping count, I’ll explain the head count: my daughter A-, 16, and two of her best pals (one 16, one 17), my son G-, 13 (who had a sleepover the previous night at his pal’s house), and my girl K-, 9, along with her 10yo friend.
Fortunately, one of A-‘s friends actually competed in a major track and field event earlier in the day — placing sixth! — and was too tired for a sleepover, ducking out at the last minute.
Still, lots of kids.
I cooked up a quick pasta casserole (basically penne pasta + a home-made meat sauce + fresh mozzarella mixed up and baked) for dinner for everyone, to great acclaim and while the younger two played the board game Herd Your Horses, inventing new rules as they went, everyone else eventually got into Dance Party 4 on the Wii. Allowing four simultaneous players, it’s quite fun and in my experience just about all kids enjoy trying to keep up with the on-screen dancers while listening to some decent music.
The evening progressed as the older ones really wanted to watch a movie that was not appropriate for the young ‘uns (I’m careful about that) so around 9pm it was time for K- and her friend to head upstairs and start organizing their sleeping arrangements.
K-‘s friend? Well, she was brave in her enthusiasm for sleeping over at our house, but when it came time for actually getting beds ready and switching into PJ’s, I could see she was getting anxious and upset, so I suggested that if she changed her mind and really wanted to go home at that point, it was totally fine. So she did. Much better than being anxious or unable to sleep. K- then went rather promptly to sleep.
Meanwhile, downstairs, after digging through the free movies listings on Xfinity On Demand, looking at potential TV shows to watch, we settled on the first Toby Maguire “Spiderman” film, with me being the heavy, warning them that at 11pm we’d turn off the TV regardless of whether we’d finished the film or not.
At 10:56 the film switched to commercials and I powered down. “We have four more minutes!” me: “Yeah, but this is a logical stopping point. If we go back to it you’ll complain at 11 that there are just a few more minutes in the scene and complain” My son: “Gah, I hate it when you’re right.”
Score one for Dad!
At that point, the rest of the gang did quietly head upstairs and that was that. A sleepover survived. Phew.