On Saturday, Tyler and Liam had their first sleepover at our place. Tyler and Liam have been friends pretty much since birth. We are good friends with Tyler’s parents – my husband and Tyler’s daddy grew up together and Tyler’s mommy and I have been friends ever since we met – so my rough calculation is about eight or so years. So understandably so, Tyler and Liam have grown up in each other’s back pockets. Luckily, they genuinely like it each other (even though you wouldn’t think so if you had to hear how they argue at times) so it’s been great to see their little friendship form and develop.
So Tyler’s mom dropped him off on Saturday and immediately they dashed off to Liam’s room to tear it up into a million little pieces – well that’s what it looked like when I walked in there later. They are still happily oblivious to the fact that Hannah is a girl, so the three of them play very nicely together. My heart breaks for the day when they turn to her and say “hey, no girls allowed.” Let’s be honest, as much as Liam loves Hannah, of course there will come a day when his sister is no longer cool to hang with when his friends are around. *note to self, find Hannah more little girl friends stat.*
Here are a few things I discovered about sleepovers from this experience:
- When you think they can’t get any noisier, you best believe that they can. The more excited small children get, the louder and squeakier they become. And this was before the introduction of any sweets or stimulants.
- Small children are the biggest moaners. He pinched me, she hit me, he stole my pencil, she looked at me funny, he is breathing too loudly. Oh my poor bleeding ears.
- They are also the biggest forgivers. No sooner have they complained and cried about all the atrocities inflicted by their playmate, then they are back to playing happily and lovingly.
- Sleeping on a blow up mattress is indeed as fun as it looks. When you are 4 years old. And weigh under 20 kgs.
- Crowd mentality. It’s real. I think this is how pre-school teachers actually survive the day. One child whines about the supper that has been prepared, or complains when it’s time to brush teeth – but get the other kids on board and you have yourself a winner!
- Small kids don’t care about ugly crying in front of their friends. Now, I know I try and hold back my ugly cry in front of my friends, because I don’t want to be ridiculed for the rest of my life (you know how your good friends take the mickey at every chance they get). But 4 year olds are still pretty ok with going nuts in front of ANYBODY. No amount of “Tyler is going to laugh at you if you behave that way” worked. (yes, I know that’s not good parenting right there, but when your kid is going nuts, you try everything to shut them up, ok).
- Every little boy still needs his mommy at night – even though he makes like he is a big shot in the day.
- Giving small children chores is not advisable on a sleepover. Everyone wants to outdo the other, and not in a good way. The results are often messy and you’re left with more work than you had to begin with. For example: setting the table turns into a game of who can throw the place mats the highest and who can run around the dining room table the fastest. Making up the bed turns into who can wrap themselves up in the sheets the tightest and then everyone gets to pummel the poor person wrapped in the sheet. Cleaning up the toys takes hours, they discover new games with every toy they pick up, and that turns into another game, and the toys never get put away, until I realise that it will actually be quicker if I just pick the toys up myself.
- Small children have NO idea how to whisper. 6am on Sunday morning, I could hear them “whispering” in Liam’s room. They were very aware that they needed to be quiet, judging by the conversation I could audibly hear along the lines of “shhhh, we must be quiet cos mommy is still sleeping.” Yeh right.
- KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. Rule number 1 when dealing with three small children. Make sure their bellies are full, make sure the walls are padded and then leave the room. They can quite happily keep each other occupied for hours. I watched a movie, read my book and kipped on the couch uninterrupted. Pretty awesome.