It went a lot better than I thought it would.
Technically speaking, our kids have had sleepovers before. They’ve slept outside our house without us there. They’ve slept in our house without us there. They’ve slept in different houses from each other, once, but each of them had one of us. This was different.
This was to be a new adventure. One of my aunts invited Julianna to come to her house for a sleepover. My sister’s 5 year old daughter was also invited. Girl party!
My aunt had prepared a team of people: Her husband, 1 of her sons, 2 of my other cousins (both teachers with lots of kidperience), and 1 golden retriever. She had meals, activities, and sleeping arrangements planned. She even had a plan for how to deal with Julianna’s slowly fading fear of dogs (another story for another time).
For a week leading up to the kickoff, we prepped Julianna. We would tell her how much fun she was going to have and how it would be sooo cool to get to sleep at another house and how her cousin had done this before and loved it and now SHE got to do it too and so on. At first, she was skeptical. At first, she had lots of questions about the dog situation, like, “will Belle sleep in the same room?”. This question was oozing with deeper meaning. We assured her that she had nothing to worry about. We told her, “Belle is extremely gentle and loving and frankly would much rather eat her older cousin.”
As the week went on, the assurances got easier. The excitement got greater. Finally, we got to a point where we had to pack our overnight bag. For this, the big guns: A princess rolly suitcase. Outfits. Check. Books. Check. Special pillow. Check. Everything else. Check. The last bit was to pack her favorite bedtime friend, a Minnie Mouse doll that has been with her every night since right around her birth. For that, we’d wait until morning.
Morning arrives. She’s very excited now. The plan is to go to school, as normal, and then mommy will pick her up early, along with her cousin and bring them both back to our house where my aunt will be waiting. We get to school and she’s so excited that she’s telling anyone who will listen what she’s doing tonight.
What could possibly go wrong?
Turns out, not a whole lot.
My wife goes to get the girls and brings them back to our house. My aunt had arrived a few minutes prior, which was enough time to get the car seats installed. The girls come into the house for a quick potty break and a snack attack and then into the car they go. Julianna is so excited at this point, she vaults into her car seat like she was some sort of olympic athlete. If only she did that every time…
Off they go. I tell myself 4 things:
- I hope she has an awesome time.
- I hope she misses us.
- I hope I don’t have to drive 45 minutes to pick her up at 2:00am.
- We aren’t going to call every 5 minutes to see how she’s doing.
After all, there will be 2.5 adults for each kid.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, we could forget that we had another kid…
We didn’t. We went to pick Chloe up a little later and had a very nice, and relatively quiet time with her, which included a later-than-we’d-normally-be-out trip to the toy store. Guilt.
We had an easy night. Checked in once or maybe twice with the sleepover to find out that they had eaten dinner (Mac & Cheese), baked cupcakes, and even pet Belle the dog. The night ended at around 10:00 when Julianna, who was one of the last to fall asleep, was apparently still so excited, that she was sitting up on her knees on her bed, trying to talk to people, and then literally passed out.
All is well. They essentially slept through the night without a hitch. They woke up and made pancakes. They played, went on a hike, and barely got a scratch. Barely. One little fall and one little drama moment but nothing arm shattering. No calls to be picked up immediately.
Meanwhile, my wife and I are now “remembering” how easy having 1 kid in the house was. Eventually, it was time to head out and pick Julianna up. We all get in the car, anxious to see how it all went. We walk in the house and get this:
“Can you go outside, I don’t want to leave yet.”
Perhaps she’s more resilient than we give her credit for.
She had an awesome time, was well behaved, and can’t wait to do it again.
And she didn’t even get eaten by a dog.