Big Guy has his first sleepover
It’s been an obsession with Big Guy since a schoolmate regaled him last spring with tales of her sleepover, which I think must have been as glorious as a day at Disney combined with a trip to the Jelly Belly factory.
“Mommy, when do I get to have a sleepover?”
I’ve always managed to come up with avoidance excuses, including some good, honest reasons. None of his school friends lives close to us, and there aren’t any kids his age on our street.
Sometimes, though, I say “yes” simply because even I get tired of hearing myself say “no.”
No, we can’t go to the park after school.
No, you can’t have a TV in your room before you’re 30, and I don’t care who else has one.
No, you can’t have a pet lion.
So when Big Guy and his favorite cousin, Nina – the baby Big Guy version of her real name -- started hammering me the second I got home from work Saturday, I impulsively agreed to a sleepover. I instantly wondered what I’d gotten myself into and hoped Nina’s mom would say “no” and save me from myself.
No such luck.
I did a mental kitchen scan and tried to figure out what to feed them, because there was no way I was fighting a grocery store the day before Easter with three kids amped up over a sleepover. Make that two kids amped up – Little Guy, of course, was clueless, but bounced around chanting “seepober! seepober!” simply because the older ones were.
Crust in the freezer and cereal in the cabinet. I’d bought strawberries on the way home, for some reason impulsively grabbing an extra two-pound cartoon. Sounds like pizza, berries and Rice Krispie treats would be on the menu.
I think that violates sleepover law – I don’t recall ever having one when I was a kid that didn’t involve chips and French onion dip.
We couldn’t have stumbled on a better candidate for Big Guy’s first sleepover guest. Nina is well-mannered and easy-going, but with enough of an impish side that the guys think she’s tons of fun. At 10, she’s mature enough that I can escape to the bathroom by myself, yet young enough to love getting rowdy with the guys.
And she’s always excessively impressed with anything I bake. “You know how to make Rice Krispie treats?” she gasped. “Oh, my gosh! That’s amazing!” I practically swooned at the praise.
She did, however, have a reputation. She’ll stay awake until 2 a.m. and then call her mom to come get her, I was warned.
Ay, but the other sleepover hosts lacked the secret weapon I had hidden in the TV room – a sofa bed! Clean up the cracker crumbs, pile on the blankets, pop the corn and you’re good to go.
“There’s a bed in the couch ?” Big Guy kept repeating, stunned. “Why didn’t you ever tell me that?” Because, my love, I didn’t want you to constantly harass me about it, like I know you’re going to do from now on.
The only hitch in the night came during the 10 p.m. movie debate.
What do you want to watch? Big Guy asked.
“Madagascar,” Nina replied.
We’ll watch “Stuart Little,” Big Guy countered.
Why do you always do that? Nina asked.
Ask me what I want to watch and then tell me what we’re going to watch, she said calmly.
OK, “Madagascar,” he conceded.
If I hadn’t been in love with Nina already, I would have tumbled head over heels right then and there. Here was a 10-year-old, sweetly calling my little pint-sized control freak out on his bull crap. It’s something many adults in his life have yet to figure out.
Big Guy finally dropped off about midnight, just as “Stuart Little” started. He was going to stay awake to make it to his movie or die trying. Nina gave up about a half hour later. I woke up a while after that and scurried to let in the Easter Bunny.
It was 2 a.m., and Nina was still around. The strawberries – all four pounds – were gone and one lonely Rice Krispie treat remained. It was a successful night.
In the end, I decided that sleepovers have a lot in common with giving birth. In both cases, the fear of the pain was far worse than the actual experience.
Next time, we might even try two guests, including one who isn’t a relative.
Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.