Sassy recently hosted a sleepover. It wasn't for any special reason, it was just one of those spontaneous playdates that sort of grew and grew until the next thing I knew I had agreed to her having 2 friends spend the night.
Sleepovers are still a relatively new concept for Sassy and acting as a hostess to other girls isn't something she has mastered, but the girls seemed to enjoy themselves. The evening consisted of dressing up, playing with Play Doh and Barbies, watching movies and eating lots of snacks. Of course, it wouldn't be a kids' sleepover without a disaster or two. Not to worry--we had a bottle of nail polish spill on the carpet of our rental house. Which Sassy then tried to clean up with a washcloth soaked in nail polish remover. Disaster? Check.
Sassy may not have yet mastered all the social graces that are needed when hosting a function but she seems to have one vital fact ingrained on her psyche (It must be somehow in her genes because it definitely isn't something I taught her). It's a lesson that her friend, "B", knew well (even though it was "B"'s first sleepover) but that "T" apparently hadn't yet learned (unfortunately for her). The most important rule of a sleepover is: NEVER be the first one to fall asleep! "T" learned this the hard way when she woke in the morning to find she was now sporting a pink marker mustache (thankfully drawn with dry erase marker and therefore easily washed off before her mother saw it).
Growing up I took part in countless sleepovers and we all knew that rule. The girl who fell asleep before anyone else might as well have painted a target on herself because it just became open season on the party pooper. Retribution took many forms, a favorite being the bra in the freezer. To properly freeze a bra, you first soak it in water and then you toss it in the freezer, not to be disturbed until the morning. While I have been the perpetrator behind this trick, I have managed to escape being on the receiving end. The trick is to stuff your bra way down into your pillowcase after you take it off. That, or just sleep in it. Other party pooper punishments included the aforementioned face painting as well as the fingers-in-a-bowl-of-warm-water trick. The idea is that by putting the girl's fingers in warm water, she'll feel the need to pee and then wet her sleeping bag. (I know. Nice, huh?) I can attest to the fact that this particular trick does not work on me. I have never wet my sleeping bag, in spite of the efforts of my friends.
If never being the first to fall asleep is the first rule of sleepovers, then the second rule would have to be this: Giggle, gossip, pillow fight, have fun, but don't be so loud that your friend's dad has to come out and yell at you while wearing nothing but his tighty whiteys. Getting yelled at is never fun, but when it comes from your friend's father who is old (and in his underwear no less), it is downright scary. And for the hostess, having her dad flash his barely concealed dangly bits in front of her friends is an event so humiliating as to haunt her forever.
The third rule of sleepovers is: You reap what you sow. If you do manage to freeze a friend's bra, chances are it will come back to you at some point and you will find your own undergarments stiff and frigid. I learned this lesson in high school. One of the girls in my sleepover group had a driver's license and a car. The gang piled in said car and went to the home of our dear friend, "J", who had been unable to attend. We parked on the street and then, under the cover of darkness, I was the first to creep up her driveway...only to come face to face with a large ball of brown fur. The dog's name was something like "Lucy" or "Lucky" and since I was the only one who had remembered the name, I had been assigned the job of keeping her occupied and silent while the rest of the crew proceeded to T.P. "J"'s house. It wasn't too many weeks after that night that my family and I woke to find that "J" had called on the same group of friends and retaliated. Our yard, trees and cars were liberally covered in Charmin's finest. It was, quite possibly, the best T.P. job in the history of ever. My parents were far from impressed, however, and that was the end of my T.P.ing days.
The fourth rule of sleepovers is: There isn't supposed to be any actual sleeping. Whether you stay up all night watching movies or playing M.A.S.H. and dreaming about marrying Justin Bieber (or, as it had been in my case, Kirk Cameron), the idea is to stay up as late as possible. Sure, the next morning everyone will have matching sets of luggage under their eyes and be as cheerful as a horde of rabid wolverines but hey--you stayed up until 4am! Woo hoo!
The fifth rule of sleepovers is: No matter how nice your friends are, no matter how much they help, after they leave, the room will look like a cyclone hit it. You'd be better off roping Caution tape across the doorway and declaring the area a toxic waste dump than attempting to clean it. Popcorn is a magical thing that can find its way into every crack and crevice and somehow evade the heartiest vacuum attempts. Potato chips, when broken, turn into deadly shards that stealthily await the arrival of unsuspecting bare feet. Socks somehow manage to wedge themselves into the window blinds, and it's better to not even ask about the lipstick prints on the closet door. The only way to truly get rid of all the party evidence is with a can of gasoline and a Zippo.
While Sassy is just now entering the world of sleepovers and total room annhilation, I have no doubt that after a few more sleepovers she will start to pick up on all the rules. I will make a vow here and now to be sure that if her dad or I ever have to yell at the girls to be quiet, we will put on a robe first.