Slumber Party Remedial School

I was queen of the slumber party in my youth. I don’t often toot my own horn but this was something I did well. All I needed was a Ouija Board, an inappropriate movie, some junk food and my dad’s trademark lax supervision to rock an event.

1984 was an exceptionally good year in the slumber party circuit.

Shout out to Dad’s super-relaxed parenting style. It’s a shame my children will never know what that’s like.

However, it’s been a (ahem) few years and some skills are perishable. I should probably have enrolled in slumber party remedial school, because despite my impressive resume, I spent a good portion of my daughter’s slumber party dropping the ball. By the end of the day I felt like I’d just returned from a 5 hour booze cruise on rough seas. I practically crawled to bed after telling the girls that there would be no more requests fulfilled due to my impending collapse.

The whole week my focus had been elsewhere on other obligations. When I woke up Saturday morning, I realized that precious little had been done to prepare for Riley’s birthday slumber party and Hubs would be gone all day having a big boy play date.

Big boys playing dress up with toys

I panicked, tapped into some mother-guilt, forgot my slacker mom sensibilities and over compensated for my lack of preparation with some ill-fated last minute plans.

Now a logical slacker mom might have paused, thought back to what she enjoyed at her own childhood slumber parties and realized that 8-year-old girls don’t want parent-imposed schedules in their sleep overs anyway. They have their own ideas about what they want to do. So here’s a novel idea: ask them. However, I’d used up all of my logic for the week and I was too busy nursing my silly idea that this, being a birthday sleep over, should be different and therefore more special.


So my plan went like this:

  • 1:00 guest arrival
  • 1:15ish head to our neighbors’ pool.
  • 4:00 manicures
  • 5:30 pizza and birthday donuts.
  • 7:00 movie
  • 9:00 giggling while pretending to sleep

It sounded like a great plan to me. I prematurely congratulated myself on being such a rock star.

Ever notice that any phrase beginning with the word “premature” is automatically a bad thing? Premature baby, premature ejaculation, premature menopause, premature gray, premature congratulations…all bad.

First of all, I neglected to make sure that Riley’s best friend could actually arrive at 1:00. As it turned out, she couldn’t. Then the girls hadn’t seen each other all week and wanted some time to bond over their Beanie Boos collection, which went right through pool time and into manicure time. Beanie Boos require a lot of bonding–must be the giant eyes. They’re haunting. The Bette Davises of plush toys.

They are so sweet, like tiny stuffed animal zombies.

My friend, who I’d enlisted to help with the manicures showed up and we forced strongly compelled completely disinterested girls to get their nails done.  I had conveniently forgotten that I possess the manual dexterity of a raccoon–just enough to dig through the garbage, but not enough to execute delicate spa services on tiny, thoroughly chewed nails. So I completed 1/2 of one manicure while my “client” complained about the horrible salon service, until my friend was merciful enough to fire me and take over.

This took us to 5:00, when of course the girls decided that they were ready for the pool. Because a pool is more enjoyable when you’re cold, hungry and sporting freshly painted nails. You could drive a tractor-trailer through the holes in this logic. Not to mention that the timing would interfere with the allotted time for nail drying and cut into the joyous partaking of pizza and donuts around the dining room table.

I started to illustrate the obvious problems with their plan when I was struck by either an epiphany or an aneurysm. Because of the pounding in my head it was hard to tell the difference. Whichever it was, I finally realized the error of my ways.

This was Riley’s birthday. If she wanted to spend it becoming hypothermic, waterlogged and ruining the manicure she hadn’t wanted in the first place, then by God, I should let her. I shut my trap, took the kids up to our neighbors’ house and plopped them in the hot tub. There they stayed until 8:30, enjoying pizza and donuts and partying like polar bears.

“Smile for the camera or my mom will make us get another manicure.”

Honestly, I think my headache and fatigue may have been my 8-year-old self trying to kick my @ss from the inside, out of frustration over my slumber party ineptitude.

What about you? Any birthday or slumber party horror stories? Better yet, any fabulous tips for my next one? Obviously I can use any help and pain reliever you have to offer.

2 thoughts on “Slumber Party Remedial School

  1. Paula J says:

    You are a funny, funny lady. My father in law always said, “If you can laugh at the end of the day, ” oh, I don’t remember what he said and besides I’m the one laughing not you. My birthday party throwing style was always just let the kids figure out what they want to do(within reason. Once I had to stop them from walking on the roof and going in and out of the second story windows. Insurance issues. ) If they can’t figure out how to have fun on their own,they don’t deserve to have fun.
    Great post.

  2. It is late. I am tired. I was ALWAYS the first to pass out at sleepovers (which I don’t recommend to anyone, BTW). But you are seriously funny. So I’ll peel my eyes off the floor to leave a comment. I have two girls 8/10 so I can give you LOTS of tips. Like whatever you do, make sure you have someone come and do their nails.

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