Monday, March 2, 2015
A late-over, or un-slumber party, is an activity that includes all the good parts of a sleep-over, the snacks, fun, late night silliness, movie watching, tent building, etc, without the actual sleeping over part. The kids are sent home just before the tiredness turns to crankiness. There's no late night phone calls, no staying up all night, and our kids wake up relatively happy and ready to do chores Saturday morning. It also completely does away with the anxiety kids can have during a night away.
I don't know if our "no-sleepover" policy will be strictly enforced as our children get older. Right now sleep-overs are limited to cousins and grandpa and grandma, but both Dean and I enjoyed sleepovers when we were growing up. I do, however, remember one particular sleepover in eighth grade that I wish I hadn't been a part of. I was huddled in the bottom of my sleeping bag while the others were watching The Shining, playing weird "Bloody Mary" games in the bathroom mirror, and sneaking out to be with the boys who had snuck onto the balcony. I'm sure it wasn't evil and terrible, I went to church with every one of the girls (and boys) involved, but I do remember it being uncomfortable for me. Enough so that I had to pretend to be asleep while they stole my training bra and my toothpaste. I remember hoping an adult would come down and make everyone go to sleep, but no one ever came.
I wish I had had the courage to make my Sunday school teacher proud and just leave, but I remember it all happened so gradually. No one "announced" that boys would be sneaking into the house at midnight, or gave me a heads up about the bloody Mary thing, it just happened. That's the way sleepover's work. It's the reason a recent church leader counseled us as parents not to have sleepovers. And so, for now, the late-over is the perfect solution.
I have a feeling our no sleep-over rule will continue. Of course there are always exceptions, good friends that feel like cousins will probably make the exception list, but those huge sleepovers with hormonal pre-teens probably won't. We'll be the dorky parents picking our kids up at midnight. But we'll also be the parents that know their children are safely in their beds at midnight, and best of all, our children will always have the "no sleep-over" ruler to fall back on. They can blame their lame parents and save face when they feel uncomfortable.
Our late-over's now are pretty tame. Even Sadie gets to be a part of them. Poporn and Grapico, (this stuff tastes like Dimetapp, but the kids LOVE it!) Ninjago and Bay Blades, but I know we'll graduate to truth or dare and toilet papering soon enough...