The Only Slumber Party


When #4 was in the third grade she turned nine and asked for a slumber party. I jumped at the chance, erroneously believing it would be a) cheaper and b) less time-consuming than a regular party. No loads of games and activities to plan; the girls would be largely self-sufficient.

I recalled slumber parties from my own childhood, where there were usually five of us and we’d be camped out in someone’s basement and the latest we were ever able to keep our eyes open was 1:00am.

At one slumber party I went to the birthday girl, Jeanette, mandated a no-talking rule promptly at 11:00pm and anyone who broke the rule got pointed at and her name written neatly on a piece of college-ruled notebook paper, which was to be given to Jeanette’s mother in the morning. I got my name written down for trying to talk someone into sticking someone else’s hand in warm water to see if we could make them pee their sleeping bag. We expected to have to write sentences- I will not talk at the slumber party– just like in school, but I don’t think that actually happened.

On the Friday night of #4’s slumber party, approximately 11,000 velociraptors nine-year-old girls arrived in our living room. I had invited them. On purpose. This is the point at which I suddenly understood, on a cellular level, that we did not have a basement. Nor did we have carpeting, or any absorptive surface in pretty much the whole house.

It all started off okay. They ate the junk food we bought. We did the few activities we had planned and they began entertaining themselves, doing little girl type things. The night passed happily, if loudly. I knew I could stick it out because soon enough they’d all be dropping off to sleep and we would once again have (relative) silence in our house.

I had never imagined that there might possibly exist 11,000 nine-year-old girls that were capable of going entirely without sleep, and that they would all be in my highly reflective living room, which was directly under my bedroom, at the same time.

Around midnight we called #4 upstairs and said, hey, tell your friends it’s time to quiet down and start to go to sleep. We weren’t too bothered yet, being that we work nights and usually stay up til 2:00am.

We called her up again around 1:00am and repeated the conversation a little more loudly.

Around 2:00am I called out, gently but firmly, from the doorway of the living room, “Girls, it’s time to go to sleep. No more talking.” Which was met by a stunned silence, then a fit of giggles which escalated into an even louder bedlam by the time I was at the top of the stairs.

Is there anything worse than a pack of nine-year-old girls who are acutely aware of their power? Where the hell was Jeanette?

By the time it degraded into us actually yelling at our birthday party guests somewhere after 4:00am to no avail, I just shut the door to my bedroom, set my alarm for 8:00am, and put my iPod on.

In the morning I discovered that they had eaten all of our other food during the wee hours of the morning and we didn’t even have anything left to make breakfast with.

We shoved the girls outside to play while CC went to the grocery store and made breakfast. By this time they were all fighting because not one of them had gotten a single minute of sleep. Some mothers began to arrive to pick their daughters up before breakfast was ready. It was awesome.

Got any slumber party stories to share?


34 thoughts on “The Only Slumber Party

  1. My 7yo twins have never had a slumber party. After reading your post, they’re never going to, either!

    I remember giggling at slumber parties…

    For hours…

    But not all night. (But don’t ask my mom!)

    1. I’m here to serve. After all of those highly organized parties, a slumber party seems like a good idea. You start thinking it’s going to be easier. I don’t know if it’s the antibiotics in the meat or sunspots or the Disney channel, but kids today are fully capable of going 48 hours without sleep. They should be doctors.

  2. My girl’s got a while to go before we even have to start thinking about this, but I remember going to one when I was 11 that got real Lord of the Flies real fast. I went into their family room to watch Nightmare on Elm Street bc it was much less scary than what was happening where the other kids were. Preteen girls are freaking terrifying.

  3. Yea, Im with you AS… I remember my own sleepovers lasting until 1 am or so… Until I hit about 14 or 15 and then it was later. But my kiddos will also stay up until 4 am if given the opportunity and they don’t even think it’s a privilege. It’s a little bewildering. I’m glad you survived.

    P.S. I totally plan to trick out my husband wiht the warm water thing so I will let you know how it goes šŸ˜›

  4. I like the nolstalgia this post brings up for me. For you, maybe other things…
    I rememember in the 5th grade, I was only ten and newly transferred to the public school, and used to walk home from school with a girl, and she even let me wear her white safety belt sometimes and stand on the corner and pretend to be the safety. All the kids on that route knew it was bull, and mostly just pushed past me. Well, if someone is your friend enough to walk home with you and let you wear their safety belt, when she had a sleep-over birthday party, it would naturally follow that I’d be invited, right?

    Nope. She invited all the girls who weren’t even her friend, that typical attempt to be liked by more popular girls. And left me out. Uninvited! Being the very persuasive sort, I bugged her until I got invited. It was a huge gathering. She said too many had been invited already. When I finally got there that evening, did I cower shyly in a corner, just feeling lucky to be included?
    Hell NO! I told the longest, most gruesome scary ghost story I could think up. Must’ve lasted an hour. I sure did make her regret inviting me. And she deserved it! Plus, she had MICE living under her dirty kitchen sink, with grubby slimy mousetraps set all over the place. In fact, I soon became best friends with the prettiest, most popular girl in the class. And didn’t invite her to my pool party the following summer. (girls can be such little bitches šŸ˜€ )

  5. None to share and after reading this, there are not going to be any to share either. Miss O 2 turns 9 this month. There will now be NO slumber party (not that it was an option under consideration) EVER!

  6. I remember when my girls were little.. the giggling and the talking loudly and the food vanishing from the kitchen at some point after me finally falling asleep.
    I miss those days!
    A lot of happiness in this post, Love it.

  7. what a nightmare. a group of non-sleeping 9 year olds. i would be beside myself. i take sleep very seriously.
    And i agree with ‘whatimeant2say’…Jeanette…did she become a nun by any chance?

  8. I have all kinds of fond slumber party memories, freezing my friends’ bras, seances, truth or consequences, and of courst toilet papering houses. Now that I think of it, what were my parents thinking, sending me off to spend a sleepless night at friend’s houses, whose parents they didn’t even know. Which is probably why I didn’t let my pre-teen kids go actually go to a “sleep over.” Instead they would go to the party until about 11:00 and then I picked them up. But, they would protest, so as a compromise, I agreed to host their friends at sleepovers in our house. I realized too late that the only practical place for the 10 girls to sleep was in my family room, which does not have carpeting and is on the other side of my bedroom wall. That’s when I had to re-think my “No sleep-overs at your friends house” policy.

  9. I remember lots of slumber parties when I was around middle school age. 4th, 5th, 6th grade I think. We did a lot of dancing in the living room, a lot of junk food eating, a lot of swimming, and after the parents went to sleep; a lot of sneaking out to toilet paper the houses of any girls who lived nearby that we didn’t like.

    My 8 year old asked recently to have a slumber party. My response was that when she can fall asleep consistently for a month without me having to lay in bed with her and snuggle, then we’ll talk. I’m secretly pretty happy that my 8 year old still wants to snuggle, so I’m in no hurry to make the slumber party happen.

    1. That’s pretty sweet. I do remember being young and going for sleepovers at my friend’s house, waking up in the middle of the night crying and calling my mom to come get me. Not because of anything bad; I just wanted my mommy. She always came and got me.

    1. We did the pinata for all the kid parties the first year they lived with us. Have you ever googled “pinata accidents”? We had like four adults to wrangle and protect and did it sans blindfold.

  10. I REALLY, REALLY dislike sleepovers. I’ve got no problem with playdates, even entire day long playdates, but honestly, until the kids are teenagers and hide from you and whisper secrets that they REALLY don’t want you to hear, sleepovers are possibly the torture chambers of parenthood. When you have a house like mine, or yours, which is overflowing with children at all hours of the day and night, already, adding a few who think it’s the equivalent of a 3 day rave into the mix does nothing but stir the pot and turn me into Medusa without her happy pills.

    I discourage them, at all costs.

    1. I’m with you. I feel evil, but I can’t deny that’s how I feel about them. Usually, my kids are all about trying to escape anyway and generally prefer going to someone else’s house where there are fewer kids to compete with for space, attention, video games, and junk food.

Comment. It gives me a reason not to clean my house.

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