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Things I've learned from holding one too many sleepovers this summer:
- Clean up right before the mother drops off her child, but leave the empty mop bucket in the corner so it looks like you didn't try too hard. She'll think you're an awesome housekeeper and must clean all the time if the bucket has a place of honor next to the kitchen table. Or, she'll see you for the farce you are. No matter!
- If said child and parent are to arrive at 5, start drinking at 4 and hide the glass in the cupboard when they knock on your door. The ensuing buzz will ease the transition quite nicely, but the mother will never know you're a drunkard.
- Arrange the sleepover on a night on which you must go out for a meeting or some errands, leaving your child and his friend with your loving husband for a few hours. At the very least, you won't have to listen to their whining. Better yet, hire a babysitter. Believe me, it will be money well spent.
- When you return home, randomly shoot nerf guns in their direction, shouting "duck, duck, goose!" and "hit the deck!" at the top of your lungs. The poor kid will think you're so crazy he won't dare cross you.
- For dinner, serve a traditional turkey with fixings. You'll have leftovers for days, when you're too worn out to cook, and the kids will crash before you know it. Just make sure it is cooked all the way through, or else you'll have vomit to clean up, too.
- Bake cookies, from scratch if possible, and fix a hearty breakfast so that the child goes and tells his mom that you are a much better cook than she.
- Arrange for the children to sleep outside. Call it camping if you wish. This way, you won't have to listen to their whispers and laughter all night long.
- If they are still too loud or sleeping in the backyard is impossible, ear plugs will become your best friends. Use them liberally. Duct tape, too, if necessary.
- Show the child your morning face. You know, the no-makeup, hair un-brushed, sleepy-eyed look. He'll never want to come back.
- When the child finally leaves your house, wholeheartedly agree that they must have your son over sometime soon, slam the door, and collapse. Send your own child to nap or clean up the mess he and his friend made and go rest. Congratulations, you survived! Now, will you take my own kid for a night or two?