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?