23 Apr 2011 1 Comment
When Squidge hit school I realised that it was time for me to broach the concept of The Sleepover. Now, I am hardly the fainting violet type but the entire idea put the fear of god into me. What if the other offspring cried for its parent? What if it was naughty and I made it cry? What if my child made it cry? What if it made my child cry? What if I lost it somewhere? Oh, dear heavens…
And, quite frankly, the horror stories from other parents hardly helped.
“Oh I had to take the other child home after a few hours,” said one mum, “She told my daughter that she hated her and that she wanted to go home.”
“The other child was so badly behaved and rude,” said another, “that I honestly cannot face her coming around ever again, not even for an afternoon.”
As you can see, the sleepover is a minefield peppered with social mores, high risk interactions, terror of error, and possibly parental alcoholism.
The Husband, obviously, didn’t see any of this. He merely shrugged and said, “It will be fine.”
Yeah. Right. He only comes home at 6pm. Bastard.
Luckily for me Squidge’s first sleepover (both the child coming here and her going there) set was a breeze. They enjoyed every minute and no tears or drama accompanied them.
Then came THIS holiday a.k.a. The Sleepover Week Of Doom.
I had been lulled into a false sense of security. I had been gulled. For the second round with another child was a highway littered with explosives.
It also started out alright. They played happily for an hour or two and then, THEN, began the pain. The other child (OC) went quiet. Ominously so.
“I am hungry,” she said, staring at me with the kind of face you see on an NSPCC ad. Oh god. It was 5:30pm and I hadn’t made supper yet. I’d been distracted by that dratted Kindle.
Immediately I raced into the kitchen to make my tried and trusted playdate favourite – homemade mini pizzas with sundried tomato paste, cheese, viennas, peppers and carrots. Delicious and faintly healthy.
I presented these to the kids with pride. I had salvaged my reputation. All would be well.
“This is,” said OC, “Disgusting.” My child, copying every mannerism of her guest, pushed her plate away too with the same expression of revulsion. (Traitorous creature, she loves these pizzas!)
It was at this point that I think I realised that my parenting skills were a bit crap. I tend to love people and want them to love me, a bit like a Labrador puppy. This is not a suitable characteristic for a parent. No. A parent must be firm and wise, must dispense authority with calm assurance. Must be patient and kind.
I am not these things. I am the panicked human who sidled desperately into the kitchen and stuffed a plate with breadsticks, wobbly cheese (Cheesestrings), grapes, and cold meat in an attempt to placate the OC.
It’s her eyes, I tell you. They bored straight through me and filled me with terror. She could smell my growing fear.
The offering was met with disinterest as was the movie, the games I suggested, and playing with Squidge.
Squidge, in the meantime, was retaliating to the fact that her friend considered her boring, by crying about everything and hunching into a grumpy ball at the end of the sofa. By the time The Husband got home I had my head in the drinks cabinet searching for a beverage that wouldn’t make me smell like a mad woman with a shopping trolley full of shoes.
The Husband casually took over with the aforementioned parental wisdom and calm that apparently has skipped my genetic structure altogether, and soon the two were asleep in bed. I was upstairs rocking back and forth with drool forming a rainbow to the floor.
The next morning was (BIG surpise) my morning shift so I was up with the two small humans at 6am. Yes, you read that correctly, SIX A.M. That is no normal time to be awake, unless you are about to travel to an exotic destination and need to be at the airport.
“I want my moooommy,” wailed OC, as I desperately tried to persuade her that the chocolate Wheetos were the same as Coc0 Pops and to stop Squidge from once again forming a ball-like huddle at the end of the sofa.
It was also when I discovered that fake tattoos (the ones you put on with a damp cloth and wash off after a bath) were the solution to all ills. With one flourish of a tattoo filled page smiles were returned to the faces of the two tots and I could once again return to worshipping my coffee mug.
While the rest of the sleepover was uneventful and painless I was struck with such sadness as to how the two children interacted. The OC is older than Squidge by a good six months and it shows. My little girl was born late July and is one of the youngest in her school. At a time when development can be measured in weeks, is this going to make her life harder? Would it have been better if she had been held back a year and been the oldest in her class? There are pluses and minuses for each decision but there is no going back now.
Still, it is hard to see other children boss her and roll their eyes at her because she isn’t at the same place as they are just yet. In fact it breaks my heart.
- The Toilet Of Doom by Stefan I am doomed. My child will have no...
- Identifiable Floating Object. What is it with this house and bodily functions? Do...
- The Urine Sample of Doom A lot like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, this B-movie-esque...
- May the wee be with you… I want to make friends with the natives, I do....
- When did my child mutate into hellspawn? Today was Squidge’s first full day at school. For two...