After some happy hours of play, N came in for lunch today bubbling with excitement. 'Mama may I go to V's house for a sleepover?' She asked. I was kind of prepared, since a few minutes earlier I'd had a phone call from V asking the same question and I'd put her off saying I'd get back to her.
This marks the entry of my twins in second phase of their lives - the beginning of a new set of parenting decisions and dilemmas. With the kids' eighth birthday round the corner I thought I still had a few years before queries such as this one popped up.
In all honesty, I questioned myself - Is she ready for a sleepover?
The answer is 'probably yes'. Here's why I think so..
Since she asked, no begged, for it she probably is ready.
She has slept away from me (with my sister and her cousins) a few times.
She doesn't wake up too often during the night.
She's pretty independent (in my absence).
She behaves like a gem (in my absence).
So yes she's ready for it.
The second thing I asked myself was Who is she spending the sleepover with?.
And there were where the worries lay. Nope, there's nothing wrong with the family. They live in the same society as us and I see them around pretty frequently. They're in that vague slot between acquaintances and friends. However, how okay was it to let a child casually call up and invite a friend for a sleepover, I wondered. Am I over reacting in thinking this is a watershed moment in my kids' life? That this is a big deal? Is it just like a simple play date or an evening out with friends (which I am also dubious about till I know the family well)?
I would have certainly appreciated some reassurance from the mum.
And I had queries. Lots of them...
Who else is coming?
Who are the other adults in the house?
What about older siblings?
What would they be doing before they turn in for the night?
Would they be watching scary TV? (Such a no no!)
Being a girl thing would they be talking/trying out dress up and makeup? (aren't they too young for that?)
What time would they actually sleep?
I would have liked to ask all of those and maybe some more. Yes I'd have liked a chat with the mum.
Sounds like I'm fussy? Well I'm entrusting the most precious thing of my life to a relative stranger, I have to fuss. I am well aware I'm a tad reluctant in letting the kids go. (It's not quite right and I'm working on it. The progress has been slow, I might add).
Mercifully an old friend is arriving with her kids the morning of the proposed sleepover so the decision was made rather easily.
What was not so easily done is conveying the news to N. I had the heartbreaking task of delivering the 'no' watching her tiny face crumble into tears.
That, right there, is the time I HATE being a mum.
Linking that bit of introspection to Write Tribe's Free Write for the Wednesday prompt.