Ok so your little darling has been driving you nuts to host a sleepover. "Please Mum...It will be just like The Sleepover Club on TV" She looks at you with those big begging eyes that you always struggle not to cave into. Too late...you feel yourself caving and you begin to mentally prepare yourself for a very long night.
You know the show I'm talking about right? It's a children's series`based on the books written by six different authors. The stories follow five best friends who form 'The Sleepover Club' in which they take it in turns each week to host a sleepover. It is their very own secret society where no boys and no parents are allowed and it follows their day to day dealings with their arch enemies - three boys called the M&M's.
My 11 year old loves it and to be honest its a welcome break for me from constantly having the TV blasting out the 'Saddle Club' another equally annoying kids TV show revolving around a horse riding club. All good, light hearted fun really, just a little mentally brain damaging for the average parent.
Anyway I've hosted`many, many sleepovers over the years and to be honest they really aren't that bad apart from the odd giggle waking you at 4 am and a cranky, tired child the next day. On the whole they are generally worth the effort as the kids do thoroughly enjoy them not forgetting to mention they are a fun part of childhood.
However as some of you already know via twitter and facebook, we recently had our first very bad experience of sleepovers. My Daughter was invited to one by a friend from school who lives just around the corner from us but while she was there she was threatened with violence by her friends mother. I only found out about it because another little girl who also stayed over that night ran to my house and told me what had been going on.
The mother of my Daughters friend had been shouting and making my Daughter cry all evening and threatened her with violence several times. To say I was gob-smackingly stunned is an understatement as I had no previous concerns regarding the mother as although she isn't a friend of mine we had chatted on numerous occasions and she helps run an after school kids club. I guess I was very naive and now feel terribly guilty for feeding my 11 yr old to a wolf.
My first response on hearing the news`was an overwhelming surge of anger, usually I'm so laid back I actually walk horizontal but not on that day. Hell, no... on went my shoes, I grabbed`my door keys and stormed round to the house with my blood boiling and steam almost visible from my ears.
When the mother opened the door I asked her why she would do such a thing, "For God sake woman how can you treat a child so badly????" The mother couldn't answer, got defensive and proceeded to blame my Daughter telling me she had stuck her middle finger up at her child. How I kept my hands off her I really do not know...but swearing at her helped a whole lot. I then marched home, heart racing and called the police.
When I asked`my Daughter why she didn't come home and tell me what the crazy mother woman had been doing she said "Mum, I was` afraid she would shout at me even more and then you wouldn't let me play with my friend ever again" She was right, I certainly wont be letting her play with the little friend anymore but I do feel sad for her. Sad that she has lost a friend.
It got me thinking about how I could ever trust anyone with my kids again. I'm already constantly accused of being a little neurotic with my youngest and this has just pushed`me over the edge. Why should my child suffer due to some sad old bully who gets her kicks from terrorising children?
The answer is I can't let her suffer and the bully win. I will let her go to sleepovers but I will make damn sure they are only people I know and know really well. My Baby will have her mobile phone with her, full of credit and we will have a secret text code if she wants to come home and I will immediately collect her.
So Have you ever had a bad sleepover experience? Are you dreading the day your baby wants to go to sleepovers? Would love to hear your thoughts.