Slumber party in full swing here. Seven kids running with great energy around the house. Hubs left with alacrity to get dinner 15 m ago
So, dinner, then cake, then we put on Shrek 2 on the big screen for them to watch. At some point in distant future - sleep #shesayshopefully
Starting off, all organised, all calm, no problemo. She'll be apples!
First glitch wasn't long coming, but it was minor.
And ummmm, I can only see / hear 5 of them. Better go huntin'
OK, the missing trio were playing Zombies in the Dark (whateverthehell that is) in my bedroom.
Things were going swimmingly at dinner:
One of the party guests just said, "Is ANYONE happier than me?" I think the party's going well ;-)
Bear in mind that this was a slumber party for an 8th birthday, and that all but one of the kids is unused to sleeping away from home. So, as the movies started, some potential cracks were appearing:
Shrek 2 in progress. My kids + 3 guests v, v happy. One guest looking anxious. One coughing & looking sick. #howlongtilfirstonebails
Then they started to divide into groups, which, while I hadn't expected it necessarily, worked out OK:
OK more experienced sleepover hosts - it's normal for party to divide into smaller groups, right? Three kids now playing while 5 watch movie
At this point it sort of dawned on me that sleep might not be a rapid and seamless transition.
aaaaaand credits roll on Shrek 2. Next - Scooby Doo Cyber Chase, and a further mystery called #willanychildactuallysleep?
I also realised I was using Twitter for emotional support as well as fun ;-)
I feel like I'm live-tweeting this slumber party, but need to report that the first kid just bit the dust (as in went to sleep, not left ;-)
Matters proceeded apace throughout the second movie, and I said:
I give this sleepover 30 more mins before 1 more kid crashes to sleep, and 1 kid cracks & asks to go home. Who'll give me odds?
Oh Lord. They're having a pillow fight #iconicslumberpartymayhem
Wow. Is it really going to be this easy? Signs of trouble simmering, but basically, not bad! Sent at 11pm:
All in sleeping bags. To my surprise, no one has yet decided to go home. 4 of them are overtired and sleepy, 4 are overtired and manic #hmmm
Ok, now 4 are asleep - my toddler (in her cot), two sisters who are guests, & one other kid. My two bigs + the two worried kids still awake
Twitter had to wait for morning for the answer, as I stopped tweeting when I clambered into bed at 11:30, to doze, but not sleep. Today I reported:
Well, it's 630 am. Sleepover score was - Kids asleep by 1130: 100%. Kids awakened by screaming nightmare of kid at 1245: only 1, amazingly
Kids going home at 1 am after aforementioned nightmare: 1. Kids inexplicably awake at 215 am believing it to be morning: 3.
Kids intermittently awake throughout night due to coughing and sniffing: 2. Kids awake for the day at 615 am: 4. Kids still asleep: 2.
And the all-important number: minutes of actual sleep for me - 180. In two 1.5 hrs blocks #gonnabetiredtoday
But at the end of the day ...
Still, the 8 yo has loved it intensely. So it's all good. Nanna nap is indicated for me today tho!
More palaver about making pancakes, saying goodbyes, and then, in staccato;
Man I'm tired.
Overall, it was a good party, and it was what A, my eldest, wanted most of all, a slumber party of her very own. After having a Nanna nap in the early afternoon, I don't even feel too drained. Unlike life with a little baby, I have the inestimable comfort of knowing that I'm likely to clock 8 solid hours of shuteye tonight, which makes it all OK.
Things I've learned from how we did this sleepover that I'll carry forward are:
1. Bringing takeaway dinner in was a good idea and really made the whole business of feeding the kids unstressy. It also was cost effective - buying bulk packs at the takeaway meant we spent $50 or so to feed the 8 kids and us, and I would easily have spent this on food if I'd prepared my own.
2. Popcorn with the movie was a huuuuuuge hit but very messy. Still, that's what vaccuum cleaners are for ;-)
3. 8 kids (including my own two big girls) was probably one or two many for a first-effort slumber party, especially as they are so young. The older, more mature ones coped extremely well, but some of the younger / less confident ones might have found it easier with less bodies at sleeptime in particular.
4. For winter sleepovers, *keep the central heating on all night.* I cannot stress this enough. Warm children sleep better and longer than chilly children ;-)
5. Being relaxed about bedtime (including for the toddler, who liked joining in) was a key part of making the event fun. Yes, some kids did get overtired and no doubt will be flaking out now, but it's a special occasion!
6. And finally, starting with an attitude of acceptance that I might not get a lot of sleep, and than that was OK, helped me to enjoy the experience and my big girl's excitement without obsessing on my own lack of rest. (I am glad I didn't attempt this until my toddler was solidly sleeping through the night, though, as adding getting up with a wee one into the mix would've been very hard, as would the knowledge that the lost sleep would not be made up the next night).
It's a meme of childhood, the slumber party - it's where memories are made. I'm glad to have been able to give it to my eldest as a love-gift this year.