Anatomy of a slumber party

I tried to follow these great tips from Marinka on how to host your first sleepover, but I broke the most important rule immediately: Invite Only One Child.

We had never hosted a sleepover before though our children have gone on them. Recently, Milo and a roving band of five year-olds had made the rounds of two other houses. So it was our turn. Without giving myself time to overthink things, I invited the three other families with a only couple days notice. Two of the three said, “Yes please.”

And, just like that, this rookie mom had her debut in the realm of hosting slumber parties. Here’s the breakdown:

4pm. Two five-year olds, Elijah and Harry, arrive at my house to join our three sons. They’ve never been here before so, of course, they want to run around and touch every toy.

5pm. My intrepid husband takes four little boys to the park to run off their ya-yas before we settle in for the movie. I order pizza. So far, so good.

6pm. Time for Return of the Jedi, pizza, fruit, and carrots. I give myself a few bonus points for sneaking in fruits and vegetables. Water to drink so nothing bad will spill. I’m pretty good at this.

preschooler dinner on movie night

7pm. Pause the movie to run around in fort. Pause again for ice cream sandwiches.

8pm. Pause again for pajamas. We blow right past the predetermined getting-ready-for-bed time because the movie is still going on. Uh oh, I may have miscalculated how long this was going to take.

8:30pm. Bye-bye bedtime I had planned (one hour past my sons’ normal bedtime). Movie is still running.

9pm. Settle them all into their floor-bed. Harry thinks its better to sleep with no shirts on. All the boys agree. Bunk bed is unoccupied. [In hindsight, we realize we should have spent more time sitting in there and shushing. Oh well, next time.]

four little boys in sleeping bags

10pm. Only my seven-year old is asleep on the floor in his sleeping bag. Elijah moves to bottom bunk. My kid, Milo, is moved to playroom then my room to sleep. Harry stays on the floor.

11pm. All are finally sleeping. Hoist Milo to the top bunk.

2:30am. I hear crying. I am prepared to be sweet instead of annoyed. Potty accident. Only the one kid wakes up for it — yay! — and he doesn’t remember a thing in the morning.

3:30am. Someone else cries out. I investigate and discover nothing. No biggie, I haven’t fallen back asleep.

5:30am. Baby Sawyer is awake and yelping. Pleeeease don’t wake up the boys. My husband, who is still awesome, takes him downstairs. I am feeling slightly less awesome.

6:30am. Everyone else is awake now. They all speak at once:

  • When’s breakfast? 7am, please stay upstairs until then.
  • Why am I in my own bed?
  • Can we play in the fort?
  • Can we play the movie again from the Ewok scene? If that will buy me time to make you food, of course!

7:00am. Breakfast is not actually ready. They zone out in front of the movie again.

slumber party aftermath

7:30am. I serve a superamazinggood lazy french toast from Katie Workman’s The Mom 100 Cookbook (100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket). Only Holden complains that he absolutely will not have seconds unless I make him regular cinnamon french toast. He’s excused.

8:30am. More running around. Happiness. Fighting. I sneak around to pack their bags and move all gear to the door.

9:00am. My guests return for second breakfast. Cereal this time.

9:30am. All kids are gone. I need a nap.

I think it was successful but I don’t really know. Milo tells me he had so much fun, and he can’t stop smiling. I feel like I need to have my coffee spiked to make it through the day.

Have your kids been on sleepovers? Have you hosted? Do you think these crazy sleepless nights are a must-do? Please share your wisdom.