*Disclaimer* If you happen to be reading this and your child spent the night at my house last night, don't worry. This was not inspired by the events of last night. :) Actually, they all did quite well.
Sleepovers are such a rite of passage. I know some parents frown on them and don't allow them, but I think they're great. In fact, I like them even more as a grown-up than I did as a kid. It is fun to welcome others into our house and life and to see the kids add another playmate or two or 21 to the mix. (You think I'm joking. I'm not. One year, one of my dear children took it upon herself to make 11 extra birthday invites besides the 10 I had given her for her party. Everyone invited came. And it was a sleepover. In the winter. That's right - 26 kids slept in my house that night - I say sleep loosely.)
It's fun, that is, as long as everyone can play by the house rules. It is funny to me how each of my kids at one point or another has assumed that because they have a friend over the rules no longer apply. Maybe they don't think that exactly, but they think that I wouldn't dare say anything to one of their friends who was crossing a line. Oh. They are so wrong.
It usually goes something like this:
Me: What are you guys doing?
My child: Oh, my friend just wants to *fill in the blank*
Me: And you told them that wasn't Ok, right?
My child: *look of horror* No! Mom, it really isn't a big deal just this once, right?
Me: Um, yes, it is. You tell them or I will.
My child: *elevated look of horror* You wouldn't!!
Me: Try me.
They rarely try me because I have no problem saying to unnamed child, "Excuse me, that is not ok in this house." I've even had, on occassion, a child who isn't mine try to take me on. "But, Mrs. Mihailoff, my Mom lets me!!! Can't we just this once???" I even once heard, "If you don't let us, I won't like you."
Funny how much power words like that used to hold over me when I was a kid. I used to wonder how my Mom could so boldly stand up to whichever "cool kid" happened to be spending the night. Now, I get it. It's because they aren't that cool. And also because I'm 38 and I make the mortgage payment. :)