The first sleepoverAt the age of 7, we decided that the time is right for us to graduate into the next phase of parenthood by allowing our son to have a sleepover!

As a trial run, we decided be chickens by hosting the first sleepover at our home and to invite only one child (I said sleepover not slumber party…).

Even though the sleepover was set to go down at the O’Neill residence, there were a number of factors to consider when issuing an invitation. It would need to be a child who was:

  1. Comfortable in our home.
  2. Had more or less the same bedtime as Joshua.
  3. Lived close enough that his mom could be on stand-by to pick him up in the middle of the night just in case he wanted to go home.

Shaquille and Joshua playing cowboysJosh invited his best friend Shaquille of which we approved because he fit all the criteria above so blended in quite seamlessly into our routine at home.

The two boys are very comfortable in each others homes thanks to regular play dates and never tire of each other even though they are in the same class. They refer to each other as “cousins” (no blood relation) not friends.

We hosted the big event on a Friday night which ensured that both sets of parents had perfect boys for an entire week since we could use the impending sleepover for behavior modification. 😉

Dinner time

Dinner time

For dinner I cooked a roast chicken, corn on the cob (or as we say “mielies“), and bread rolls which after a few hours of playtime was wolfed down.

Bedtime preparations went without incident except for Alex trying to barricade the bathroom door while Shaquille was in the shower (with chopsticks).

Alexandra barricading the door with a tiny wooden spoonMr. A and I are always game for some juvenile behavior so we spent quite a bit of time after lights out switching off the night light and slamming the door, laughing at the ensuing screeches and screams!

I sent regular updates to his parents via text message just to reassure them that everything was going well with a photo or two included. Mr. A and I set up a big sleeping area on the floor of little sister’s room so they could all sleep together on a pile of mattresses. At around midnight we had to go back into the room to untangle the three sets of sleeping limbs and tuck them in again.

IMG_0198Alexandra was surprisingly OK with the fact that Josh had a friend over. Mainly due to the fact that Josh went out of his way to include her in any games although she always seemed to be the bad guy in every game. I had also prepared a few things for us to do together just in case which did come in handy. While the boys played cowboys outside we were in the kitchen baking, something we always enjoy doing together.

IMG_0158So all in all our first sleepover was a great success and all three kids had a fabulous time together. So much so that we had to extend the pick up time to lunchtime the next day.

Despite my frazzled hair, chipped nail polish and the bags under all my eyes I think all in all our sleepover was a huge success and what’s more … I lived to blog about it!

Some wisdom to impart after our first sleepover

  1. It really does help when the kids have similar bedtimes because they tend to get tired at the same time. The boys bedtimes in both homes is 8 o’ clock so we extended it a bit to 9 o’ clock and everyone was ready to go down when it was time for lights out.
  2. Ask the parents to bring along any special pillow or teddy and find out beforehand about any allergies or special dietary requirements.If you need to cater for a special dietary requirement then rather only prepare that kind of food so all the kids can eat the same thing.
  3. Reassure the parents regularly during the course of the evening – one or two text messages should suffice.
  4. Tell the friend he can phone his mom anytime (our little guest refused saying he was “still having fun”).
  5. Give the friend lots of privacy at bath time but also offer to assist with anything if necessary and remind him that you are used to boys.
  6. Before lights out remind the friend of where the bathroom is.
  7. Plan ahead for activities to occupy your youngest child just in case he/she feels left out.
  8. Leave a night light on outside the room just in case the little buddy wakes up to find himself in a strange environment and gets scared.
Breakfast a festive affair

Breakfast – a festive affair


Shaquille, Joshua and Alexandra are still friends in the morning