Friday, January 15, 2010

My love/hate relationship with sleepovers

Walking out of the YMCA yesterday a mom calls out to us, "What are you doing tonight?" I hate that question for two reasons. If you say "nothing" what ever they suggest you are available to do. If you say "we are busy" and it is something you want to do, you already said you weren't available. It is like a trap.

So being ever so careful and only giving part of an answer, I said that Dancer had dance rehearsal tonight. That makes us busy but we had two hours until the class. The mom says that we should swap kids for a sleepover, their daughter is one of Dancer's best friends and they have a son that Spark is good friends with.

It's Dancer's birthday I said, meaning we are going to out dinner and I don't want her at someone else's house on her birthday, I want her for the whole day but the friend can come with us. Dancer and her friend are already jumping up and down excited and now the boys are looking at me. You can take both the kids she suggests. That would have been fine except that we had to eat dinner out and being at the end of the pay period we were a little low on funds so I mumbled something about four kids being too much for tonight when we had to stay in town and wouldn't be home until late.

The next suggestion was that Spark go to their house. I hate spur of the moment ideas for a sleepover. I don't mind when kids come to our house on the spur of the moment, I just don't like my kids leaving like that. I am, I will admit, over protective when it comes to my kids and when they go somewhere I need time to process it all and make sure that everything is perfect for them to go. Meaning, they have a packed bag, their stuffed animal, I have had time to tell them to behave and use manners, and kiss and hug them goodbye. Well, that is how I am with Dancer, Spark has never gone to anyone house overnight except for Grandmas and then Dancer was with him. So after quickly going over all this in my mind and looking into his pleading eyes I said, "no."

Walking to the car with Dancer, her friend, and Spark, my mind is just reeling. I need to let him go, but will he be okay, he needs to spend time with other boys and play boy things, I will miss him so much, will he be okay, he doesn't have his Jeffery with (his stuffed elephant), I am smothering him, Dad feels the same way as I do what will he think, it will be so fun for him. Oooohhhhh, I just don't know. Wait. You can go I tell him.

We yell to the other family, that is now way on the other side of the parking lot, to wait because Spark can go. He quick gets his sweatshirt out of the car and they drive over. I think the other mom knows I am torn because she says "I swear I will bring him back in one piece." I kiss him goodbye until I think he might be getting embarrassed, buckle him in their car and wave goodbye.

It all turned out fine. Dancer loved that she got to have a friend overnight on her birthday (they said they were up until 4 a.m.) and Spark had a good time too. And I was fine too. I wasn't really worried about Spark, as Dancer has stayed at the other family's house several times, it was just my internal mothering that I was having a hard time with, feeling like he was being jerked away. I guess I just like to know that all my babies are safely tucked into the nest at night.


jugglingpaynes said...

This is why it's good to have a bad memory. I always say, "I really have to take a look at our schedule first, let me call you back."

When I used to just say yes I often overwhelmed myself and sometimes I accidentally double scheduled us. Much easier to just tell them you'll get back to them. :o)

Peace and Laughter,

Fatcat said...

I think your friend broke a cardinal rule of parenting - Don't ask in front of the kids!!! I would be a bit put out by this.

I also hate sleepovers and we don't allow them in our family until age 12. I think Cristina has an excellent idea - tell them you'll give them a call later.