We all have to go through rites of passages’ at different times of our lives. Some as a child, some as a young adult and others, as a parent fully entrenched in tween territory. The official first ever 12th birthday sleepover. When the name of the game is consuming your body weight in sugar and staying awake as long as you can. When sleep is for the weak and as the parent, it is time to play mum roulette as you prepare to ‘parent’ not only your own child but 7 of their closest friends without having some irate calls from their parents the next day.
With memories of my own sleepovers still fresh in my head, the challenge should I choose to accept it is to keep them alive overnight whilst attempting to not have to join them in their planned ‘all nighter’. How it will go is anyone’s guess but will I survive is an entirely different story altogether!
The 12th Birthday Sleepover
It’s been officially one week since Olivia’s 12th birthday sleepover. It was the first, and quite possibly the last one we will ever have. Some things are a recipe for disaster no matter how much you try, and certain things will always end in chaos and destruction. The story of the 12th birthday sleepover will forever live on as one of those tales.
A cautionary one for all parents who encounter this milestone after me and also have the exact same notion as I did. Hindsight Tracey will tell you to forget those these thoughts and run for the hills. However, we all have to learn somewhere and learn from our own mistakes. So this will be a story, my story of the crazy 20 hours that occurred as I too experienced that rite of passage we all must go through. Hopefully once, but some of never learn do we?
It was a Saturday night. 3 days after the official birthday.
Although this one will drag out for a week like a diva she is. Rushing frantically from Aldi to Asda, food list (curated by 7 11-12-year-olds) in hand, I was painfully aware that the ‘guests’ will be arriving in less than an hour. Totally not organised in the slightest and tiny beads of sweat were forming on my forehead as I read a text from my BFF asking if she needed to get a taxi as I was so obviously up the wall. I was and she had deducted this from my lack of reply.
In fact, I was stressing at the self-scan in Asda as the girls took over and I (slowly) realised I wasn’t leaving that shop with my bottle of salvation (gin) unless I took over and fast. First major crisis averted, for now.
So I pulled up at my friend’s house, you didn’t think I would do this alone, did you? And ushered her into my car with speed and drove as fast as I could (30mph max obvs) as the clocked ticked down to T minus 28 minutes. It was time for some deep breaths and a lot of gin.
We made it. Barely. With various bits of food on the dining table sort of resembling ‘party food’ and a few decorations up, it was party time. Or more accurately high pitched screams time as the girls turned up one by one and proceeded to run up the stairs making themselves at home faster than I could open the front door to let them in.
But that was only the start of the mayhem. Pizzas were devoured in the blink of an eye and my 9-year-old niece refused to go upstairs because, well quite simply things got crazy. I’m not going to lie I was soon 3 glasses deep in a bottle of gin and dreading the first toilet trip as if I couldn’t see it, it wasn’t really happening, right? But it was happening and in my newly decorated bedroom too. Was that chocolate fingers marks I could see on my wall?
The tears welled as I was ushered out of the room and back to the comfort of my kitchen and the random leftover dregs of food they hadn’t yet demolished.
A pack of hyenas laughing manically at only things a 12-year-old mind could, I kept my distance. That was until my friend and my only saviour announced it was game over and her taxi was en route. Could I do this alone? Did I even want to? Well, I had no choice now it was me and them quite literally. My mind flashing back to my own sleepovers at this age I wondered what my mum would do with 8 sugar-crazed girls who were showing no intention of going to sleep in the next 24 hours at least.
My sleep loving self sobbed as I retreated to the sofa and relative safe cocoon of my living room where I was to spend the night. It was as good as time as any to check exactly how comfy my new sofas really were. Spoiler alert: they were NOT designed to be slept on. Period.
Which was fine as literally, no sleep occurred that night at all. The hysterical nature of the beasts in the room above showed no sign of sleep. Or even silence as the hours ticked by on the clock. 12 am then 1. 2 and 3 am followed in quick succession. With texts and phone calls aplenty requesting, then pretty soon demanding, silence and sleep. But any self-respecting person could gauge my pleas would fall on dear ears as the last of the sweets they had consumed seeped out of their systems.
Eventually, all fell silent and the only noises echoing around the place were mine.
The snore of a cold riddled exhausted mum sought to threaten the peace and sure enough, as 8 am rolled by slumber was discarded for more chatter and surprisingly more food. I soon realised that holding the ironically named ‘sleepover’ on the night the clocks went back was a bigger mistake than holding the damn thing in the first place. But I digress.
My eyes were heavy, taking in the sight of discarded food, plates, bottles of drink that were strewn around the place. My kitchen bore a resemblance to the morning after a frat party sans shot glasses. Amid it, all stood me navigating my way to the kettle and trying to figure out if there were actually any clean cups to make my much-needed coffee or should I just make it in the kettle and pour my liquid energy and eye opener into a jug. If ever I was going to need it it would be today.
With the timer set to 12 pm, I flitted from room to room, disaster to disaster as the minutes slowly ticked by until I was free and the sleepover has come to its natural conclusion. Never again I swore. Never again. And as my eyes closed during the opening credits of Wonder Woman a few long hours later, I sobbed. Part in exhaustion, part in relief I had survived that pretty soon she would ask again and I was pretty sure I would yes stupidly once more.