“What are you guys doing this weekend?”
“Can I have your kids?”
“For a sleepover. Tiana* has been asking to have a play date with the girls and since we can’t get our schedules to line up, I thought this would be perfect.”
And just like that, TD1 and TD2 were invited to their first non-familial sleepover. My first thought was “Ummm we’ll pass on that.” No offense to our friend, but I’m just barely comfortable with our family taking the girls, I wasn’t ready for someone outside the family. Had she offered to babysit for a few hours, we would have gladly taken her up on that, but a whole night away? Yeah, I wasn’t sure about that. I’m sure she could sense the uneasiness over the phone because she did in fact offer to have us just come over for a few hours so the girls could hang out.
T-Daddy hung up the phone and we didn’t speak on it. For the first time, I was actually glad because I needed time to process my feelings. This was an acquired friend through T-Daddy and one thing that I’ve learned, especially since raising kids, is that no matter how close or cool both sides are with each other, when there’s opposition, lines are clearly drawn: His Side/Her Side. My uneasiness didn’t have anything to do with who was asking, it was what was being asked. But I didn’t want her to take it personal, to think that I didn’t want her keeping my kids. I mean I have only had limited interactions with her in the parenting arena, so I had questions about her parenting beliefs and methods and how that would align or clash with our own, but that wasn’t personal. I have a relationship with her, we get along, we’re a lot alike in many aspects. But still, I’ve been down that road before and I know when someone thinks it’s personal, none of that other stuff matters. I didn’t want that battle, not when she was trying to do something nice for my kids.
But I still had questions. Not just about her and her household, but what was expected of T-Daddy and I. What were we supposed to do to prepare? So I Googled. I read a dozen or so articles on sleepovers. What’s the appropriate age? What am I supposed to do? What do I tell the girls? T-Daddy gave me a few days before he brought it up and I was ready. I had an answer for him. I let him tell me what he thought and then I told him what I thought. We were pretty much on the same page. He shared the same uneasiness that I felt about her not being family. (Not that that matters, but this was still new territory for us and we went through the same thing with each family member that kept the girls for the first time.) Our girls are a ball of non-stop energy and having them around other people usually gives us both anxiety. Having them around someone that’s never been around them without us, well that’s full-blown anxiety attack.
On the flip side, T-Daddy and I desperately want our friends to be more involved in the parenting side of our life. It’s extremely difficult to keep the two separate and our friends without kids sometimes don’t get it. Sure, partying and all that is great, but for us, so is trips to the park and watching our kids react to the world around them. And we want our kids to be friends with our friends’ kids. That can’t happen if we never hang out with them with the kids. Also, we want to have someone that can take the kids off our hands to allow us a date night. In one phone call, we were being offered all of that – “come hang out with me and my daughter and then leave your children so you can have a date night.”
So we came up with a list of important things, we thought she should know: TD1 doesn’t like fish, but TD2 loves bread; our discipline routine, bedtime routines, etc. And then we told the girls. Big mistake. TD1 asked me about the sleepover every day. Then she told every one about the sleepover, including her teachers.
Finally, Sleepover Day had arrived. The TDs were excited. I was nervous. I didn’t want to drop off and run, but I didn’t want to linger too long. They were excited now, but would they freak out the minute the door closed behind us? I thought I was ready, but was I really? What if Tiana’s mom quickly realized that she didn’t want to keep the girls. This was turning out to be a high-pressure situation and a reminder that my girls are growing up faster than I’m ready for.
We arrived and the girls instantly started playing together. We hung around for a while before leaving to enjoy our gifted date night. The girls barely batted an eye when we left. T-Daddy and I received snaps (direct picture and video messages sent through Snapchat) throughout the night and the next morning, which I really appreciated because I like photo and video evidence of the TDs experiencing life and new experiences. When we picked them up, TD1 and Tiana were already planning a Part Two of the sleepover. We promised she could sleepover at our house next, and the whole car ride home, TD1 was planning her sleepover with “The Tianas.” (We know two girls the same age with the same name and the TDs are crazy about both of them.)
And just like that, the girls had not only survived, but thoroughly enjoyed, their first sleepover. T-Daddy and I did too. Then, we made good on our promise and hosted a sleepover at our place. And now, “sleepover” is some new buzzword.
Thanks Tiana’s mom! I think you started something.
*Since I went with a Disney princess in “TD1 and the Super Straight Hair,” I decided to stick with tradition and go with another beloved Disney princess.