Why did I decide to agree to host a slumber party for Maria and six of her kindergarten friends? Because I am a sucka! I remember back to the thrill of my b-day parties as a kid and I want Maria to have those same opportunities. THen again, I think I fantasize about the b-day parties of my childhood. I believe I had one party in 6th grade where we danced to Barry Manilow and ate cake and I am fairly certain got into a number of spats about who would sit next to who at the table and who would dance with who on the floor. I remember another at my friend’s house at age 13 when I got teased the entire time about being on my period. Maybe I have such fond memories of slumber parties because they should be the ultimate girl-bonding experiences. A flock of young girls together in a room talking about our stories, boys, teachers, parents. Maybe it is like childbirth where it hurts when you go through it (aka, talk about my period) but then long after the event, you are glad you experienced it. Who knows. The bottom line is that I agreed to host this soiree by my lonesome because Jon was smart enough to hit the road with Mario.
Most moms I spoke to about the event nodded their head side-to-side and sighed invariably thinking “thank god it is not me.” Amazingly enough, it was fun – a lot of work and refereeing – but fun. The girls arrived at 5 pm with their mini-sleeping bags and princess covered pillows. They sported huge smiles but hesitant moves as they stepped into our house for a full night away from their folks. I had a craft table set up with glue and stickers and puff balls and paper and tiaras for them to create works of art for themselves and their moms since mother’s day was the next day. A very smart move I learned a half of an hour later when they remained enmeshed in decorating their tiaras and making pictures for their moms. I looked at my watch and thought “Sweet – a whole half of an hour gone already just with working on crafts!”
Maria was the first to get antsy and ran into the living room shouting “Let’s put out our sleeping bags!” Megan, Maria’s babysitter stopped by at that time and ended up staying for a while (thank god). She must have had that babysitter antennae pop up and sense I needed assistance. Sure, I could have handled it on my own but it was a godsend to have another adult body in the house to referee disputes, help with music, prepare barbies’ outfits. Megan stayed long enough to watch the dance contest (Justin Bieber dancers versus Big Time Rush dancers) and allow me to start some pasta and garlic bread for dinner.
After the dance contest and some intense Barbie playing, the girls came down for dinner. Everyone ate up the pasta (only one girl complained about the pasta and she got a PB&J sandwich). I forgot about the garlic bread in the midst of the chaos of trying to referee who got to tell the next Knock Knock joke and woke up this morning to nine pieces of toast hardened in the oven. The Knock Knock jokes always contained a reference to “boobs” or “butt” or “penis” or “poop” or “fart.” I thought these words were only used in the boy purview…. They had each other cracking up throughout dinner, and were ready to head outdoors after they finished.
The rain had slowed down so we got out the umbrellas and headed to the new yogurt shop, Orange Leaf. I was hesitant to go there because I knew all of the girls would want to fill the humongous paper cups up to the rim and then put 2 tons of toppings on their creations. I tried my hardest to police the yogurt and topping output but it was a lost cause. I have been there before – my eyes used to perk open at the dessert bar at Ponderosa so I couldn’t deny them the experience of loading on gummy worms, skittles, brownies, fruit loops and oreos. Maria, of course, had been talking all week about getting a mile high yogurt since it was her b-day but she went fairly easy on me. Some of the other girls, not so much. I walked out with a $30 bill for seven yogurts and with a pound of yogurt left over. After about five to ten bites, each girl looked at me and pronounced “I am finished, Mary.” Of course, what does the Grandma Menkedick in me do? I put all of the yogurts together in two bowls and took them home to eat as leftovers. I got one out after the girls began watching their movie, and about threw up with the foul combination of fruity pebbles, cherry brownie, mint chips, and skittles mixed in with pineapple yogurt. What was a I thinking?
My girlfriend, Amy picked us up in her big ol’ van when we were finished because the rain had moved from a shower to a downpour. The thought of trying to get the girls home without someone ruining their shoes or getting a cold from the weather led me to agree to just throw them in a van and get ’em home. Amy brought her son Zach who is in Maria’s class. He is a fireball of energy and the house felt like I tornado was running through it as soon as all of the kids entered the door. Poor Amy was ready to lose it. I amazed her with my calm and my humor in it all. I told her it comes with the territory when your family is as loud and rambunctious as my family was growing up in Cincy.
Amy si an artist and she saved me by bringing tile and paint over to the house for the kids to make pictures for their moms. Of course, they were all pumped up on sugar from the Orange Leaf so what was supposed to be a gentle process of dipping thumbs and fingers into paint to rub on the tiles became whole hands and feet thrown into the paint and smashed onto the tile. Sans sugar, I think we may have had a less insane process and a more intelligible piece of art for the moms but hey…
After the wash-up, Zach got attacked by the girls for the tenth time but he took it in good spirits; in fact, I think he rather enjoyed it by his begging Amy not to leave. Maria impressed me with her compromising skills when it came time for the movie. She had really wanted to watch Barbie or Eloise but none of the girls took to those movies. A majority of them wanted the Secret Garden – the one movie that I made Maria get from the library against her will. Maria graciously allowed for that movie to be viewed after I spoke with her about being a host of a party. She makes her mama proud.
We started the movie at 9:40, popcorn was ready by 9:50 and the girls were snug in their sleeping bags with their kernels of corn by 10 pm. I wiped my hands clean and thought “Ahh, now to rest.” Ha! My sweet Maria and her friend Anna were asleep by 10:20 but the remaining gals took advantage of no parents, lots of sweets, and an easy-going chaperone. They ran around the house, they made more crafts, they ate more food. 11 pm came and went and they begged me to stay up until midnight. I agreed thinking they would have to be exhausted by then. Midnight came and went. I decided to clean up the downstairs (why do this with the morning bringing renewed chaos?) and let them stay up longer figuring they did not have much more gas left. Finally, at 1:15, I made them go to Maria’s bed and close their eyes. I literally had to stand next to their side to make them not speak to each other. Finally, at 2 am, they were all asleep. A miracle. I slept downstairs on the couch because I was worried about one of them getting up in the night and escaping through the front door. Can we say neurotic?
next and then Anna. The other night owls slept in until 9 am. We ate donuts and cinnamon rolls for breakfast and watched Barbie Diamond Castle until the moms showed up at 9:30 or so. Overall, I would have to say it was a success. Maria had a great time with her new girlfriends, her girlfriends enjoyed going somewhere new and playing together, and some moms got to take the night off and relax.
Amazingly, I didn’t feel too bad the next day. A little groggy at first but nothing that donuts couldn’t fix. However, the next slumber party will have a Barry Manilow dance-off.