Sleepover parties. Ironically, having little to do with sleep.

My girls have officially entered sleepover age. And there’s something about it I love. Especially in a small apartment like mine, it’s like a chance to peek into their developing social worlds, to eavesdrop on how they talk to their friends, what songs they’re singing, which “sassy” hand games they’ve learned.

I spent my own grade school years trading my bed for spot on a shag carpeted floor nearly every Friday night and the memories are awesome. Mostly.


Hally had the best records and a disco-era glass orb that lit up in every color of the rainbow to the beat of the music. Andrea had cool toys. Melissa had a real second bed in her room. Tamar had a massive comic book collection and a full kitchen drawer full of the kind of junk food that would have never made it past my front door. It was all so adventurous and different and thrilling. But I also remember the one downside, being the one kid that could never make it up late.

I have a vague recollection of getting pummelled by pillows–hard–at a fifth grade sleepover in response to my babyish insistence on separating myself from the group of girls and going to sleep. It was midnight. Maybe later.

I totally cried.

I’m not sure how sleepovers in my own apartment will be remembered in years to come by my girls’ friends, but at this point, I imagine it will have something to do with extra iPads for group Minecraft adventures, PureFizz soda maker experiments with the orange-peach-mango juice, and a mom who screams GO TO BED every 13 seconds.

Maybe every 20. I don’t want to exaggerate for effect.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the refrain I hear over and over from my kids’ friends  is, “We’re going to stay up all night!”

Or as one of Sage’s friends put it more specifically, “We’re going to stay up all night and party all day! Whoo!”

(I was tempted to tell her she was taking too many liberties with KISS lyrics and that if she wanted to party the next day, however first-graders might accomplish such a thing, that’s on her own parents’ time. I’ll be shipping her off at 0900 hours, sharp. Party on.)

Don’t children understand that sleep deprivation is not a privilege? It’s not something sane people do willingly. It’s a criminalized torture technique, punishable under international law. It’s an affliction that has created a zillion-dollar pharmaceutical business in sleep remedies complete with ads with giant moths. It’s many of our very worst memories of early parenthood.

I’d imagine it’s a top reason that some couples choose not to have children at all. Who wants to give up all that delicious, delicious sleep? And then, not long after your kids finally master the sleeping through the night thing, they decide they will host sleepovers in which they will willfully not sleep–again–so that at 3AM you have decide between being that mean parent who goes in and separates everyone, or that stupid parent who keeps threatening to separate everyone but never actually does it because that would require getting out of bed and not simply yelling into the living room.

You can guess which one I am.

My voice is getting hoarse.


12 thoughts on “Sleepover parties. Ironically, having little to do with sleep.”

  1. Ah, sleepovers. We’ve hosted a few for my oldest for her birthday, and thankfully our house is big enough that they all end up in the room farthest from my bedroom, so even though those girls may have lasted until 3 a.m. watching The Princess Bride I didn’t hear any of it. I think you’re generous to do that in an apartment. (Invest in good ear plugs!)

    1. Oh, to have a room–any room–that isn’t next to my bedroom. I suppose we could try the bathroom? We could fit two in the tub at least.

  2. My oldest daughter once exclaimed, “They should be called playovers!” My usual response to hosting them is to turn off lights, close my bedroom door, and put in earplugs. I’m going to sleep, even if they aren’t.

  3. So true. And the next morning looks like a crime scene wherein the Lucky Charms leprechaun was chased by the Sonny the Coco Puff bird. And each time I say “Never again,” only to host yet another sleepless kid-fest.

    1. Ha! Our crime scene involves half-drunk smoothies starting to crust over in the glasses in the sink, couch pillows all over the floor, and a tangle of chargers and cords and devices (uh, kids, isn’t that Mommy’s iPad Air?) leftover from the Minecraft marathon.

  4. Very bad news for you. My son’s 18th birthday last week was…a sleepover. At 2am I threatened to drive every last one of them home if they didn’t STFU. The only difference between now and then is I used the actual words…omitting nothing.

  5. Soon you will be a veteran of kid sleepovers and will stock up on cereal, popcorn and toaster strudels, nail polish and….remover so that you can be prepared when suddenly one of your daughters wants to invite 3 or was that 7 kids over for a sleepless gathering- okay mom? We’ve hosted a gazillion sleep overs- recently I found one of my son’s friends sleeping in the guest room (yes- we are lucky to have one of those) on top of the covers fully clothed with his boots on. The best part is the morning, the shy smiles where they shuffle around your kitchen whose layout they know better than you.
    Happiness is having a home where your children want to entertain their friends, no matter how many , how messy and how little sleep actually goes on- at least during the evening hours!

    1. What a nice perspective! I couldn’t agree more. One of my favorite changes I’ve made over the past year is creating a home that’s more conducive to play dates and entertaining.

      But oh, what I wouldn’t do for a guest room. And a little more sleep.

  6. Silas is having his first birthday party sleepover. Six boys will be in attendance. I know what it will be like all hell is breaking loose come early morning hours and sleep doesn’t actually take place, but I can’t help but think of it a poetic bridge taking us from the baby days, when he was up every two hours, to the big kid days. This could very well be my last “midnight feeding.”

  7. I hate them. I loved the idea as a child, but didn’t like the reality. I’m very much anti-sleepover for my kids. Or at least at my house. Heh.

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