Who invented sleepovers, anyway? When I can sense that one of my kids is going to beg me to invite so-and-so over for a sleepover, or a parent calls and says that her kid wants one of mine to come over to spend the night, I find myself automatically spewing out a slew of excuses about why it’s not a good time.
In my opinion, there’s never a good time for a sleepover.
Some of my most vivid memories from childhood are of sleepovers. They weren’t good memories, necessarily. But they definitely embedded themselves into the recesses of my brain, some of them as strong and clear as if they happened last night instead of thirty-some years ago.
There was the time that I stayed up at a sleepover until the wee hours of the night watching, mesmerized, as my best friend’s hamsters (or maybe they were gerbils, or mice) ate one another until there was nothing left in the cage but a few tufts of fur. I kid you not. I was captivated by their bizarre behavior, which ironically proved to be a perfect metaphor for us bigger animals occupying the same space. Only difference is that us 10-year-girls were cocooned in sleeping bags instead of a cage.
The poor girl who was foolish enough to fall asleep before the rest of us was not unlike that first poor rodent eaten by its peers. We dipped her hand in a bowl of water; according to seventies suburban lore, doing so would make her pee in her underwear. The rest of the evening’s antics have become fuzzy over time, but I have no doubt that we talked about the girl behind her back or, more precisely, while she was on her back. Likely there was some bickering, pairing off in twos and threes and, finally, mercifully, passing out just before the sun came up.