Surviving the Sleep-over

Two of Hesperus's friends look angelic for the camera. Don't be fooled by these sweet smiles! They're really rabble rousers.

Two of Hesperus’s friends look angelic for the camera. Don’t be fooled by these sweet smiles! They’re really rabble rousers.

About a thousand years ago I wrote a post about my then 10-year-old’s upcoming birthday, her plans to have a huge gala to celebrate turning eleven, my fears about not being able to afford it, and my general dread of the whole idea.

One reader whose kids are a bit older than mine, Brette Sember (check out her blog at MarthaAndMe) mentioned that a sleep-over party was all but obligatory at this age. Still, she gave me several practical suggestions on how to keep it manageable.

Other readers also helped assuage my fears and encouraged me to keep things within the limits of what I could handle.

Thank you for all your wisdom.

I am here to report back that we had the sleep-over party.

And that I survived.

The girls arrived at 3:00 p.m.

Our first activity was a photo shoot.

Hesperus and a friend in a silly pose. We took a lot of fun shots as well as portraits.

Hesperus and a friend in a silly pose. We took a lot of fun shots as well as portraits.

Then the girls played outside. They came in to make their own pizzas (also Brette’s idea). I was going to buy pizza crusts but decided that morning to make whole wheat dough before the party started. It rose surprisingly well (homemade bread and I have an uneasy friendship. I aspire to bake my own. Sometimes it’s fantastic. Sometimes it’s a brick.)

While the pizzas cooked, Hesperus opened presents, accompanied by lots of giggles and exclamations.

After dinner, we had cake and ice cream. I made a very simple glazed lemon cake (agave sweetened with whole wheat flour) that I baked the night before:

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Hesperus convinced me to buy a can of whipped cream, which she then spurted directly into her mouth. This might have been the highlight of her entire life.

After dinner, I put the baby to bed and then raced out on my bicycle to the drug store to print the photos. Etani and Athena went to bed, James and I cleaned the kitchen, and the girls watched “Twilight.” (They’re all obsessed with the Twilight books and one of Hesperus’s friends had already seen the movie four times!)

I went to bed before the movie was over. James, who took Etani and the baby to a friend’s earlier in the party, stayed up to usher the girls to bed. Their giggling only woke me up thirteen times. Constant reminders to hush from James kept them relatively quiet. They all slept on the living room floor.

Baby Leone was all coos and smiles at 6:00 a.m. Since the big girls had gone to bed at midnight, I didn’t want her waking them. So I took her for a two-hour walk.

Then I made pancakes.

Then we had a pinata (we ran out of time the night before) and the girls munched on candy and worked on their friendship books.

They glued pictures of their friends on the pages and then each friend wrote something on the page opposite her picture. They used colored pencils to make borders and cut letters and pictures out of magazines to decorate the books.

Hesperus, her brother, and her friends working on their friendship books

Hesperus, her brother, and her friends working on their friendship books

This activity was super successful and kept them so busy that they weren’t ready to go when the party was supposed to be over. So everybody but one friend stayed a couple hours longer to finish their books:

The cover of one girl's friendship book

The cover of one girl’s friendship book

Sample page from friendship book

Sample page from friendship book

Hesperus was happy. Everyone had a good time, I think. I put the kids to bed super early Sunday night and no one acted sleep deprived. Besides me.


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