I'm a wuss about sleepovers for my kids.
I don't really like them at my house, owing to my love of sleep and the fact that we're already loaded with kids. And I don't really like them at other people's house, owing to my own experience at sleepovers. I watched movies I shouldn't have watched, played games I shouldn't have played, did things I shouldn't have done. For sure, the smaller sleepovers with my besties were innocent fun. But the bigger groups were loads o' trouble. (And don't even get started on this topic with Corey. If he had his way, our kids would never attend sleepovers at all. Ever. The end.)
Because of this, my older kids, ages 11 and 8, are just inching their way into the world of overnights. Long ago, we established 8 as the magic age when sleepovers were allowed. But even when Natalie hit the age of accountability, she wasn't eager to spend the night away from her family. Therefore, Natalie's sleepover birthday party extravaganza this year was only the second sleepover of her life. And Connor has only gone to one, and it was a sleepover with his best friend at his friend's house a few weeks ago.
Which brings us to last night.
Connor attended a sleepover birthday party of a school friend. (His second sleepover! He! Was! So! Excited!) (Also, maybe I offer this little tip? When your eight-year-old says he's packed for the sleepover, it's always wise to ask to see the contents of his bag. By doing this, I discovered Connor had packed a backpack full of toys for the party - no pajamas, no clothes, no clean underwear, no toothbrush. Oy.)
The plan was to go to a trampoline park, then head home for pizza, a movie and bed. I don't know this family very well, but I knew most of the other boys who were invited, which helped. And once I found out Connor's best friend was going, I relaxed even more.
But I didn't follow my gut instincts and call to check in with the mom after the initial RSVP. So it wasn't until I talked to another mom, who happens to be one of my dearest friends, that I heard the feature presentation for the evening was the movie "Jaws."
I almost flipped a gasket.
Connor is a sensitive soul. He's sweet and funny and imaginative, and maybe because of that, he's really disturbed by tension in movies. Until this year, we couldn't even watch most Disney movies in our home. The bad guys were just too scary for our children.
Showing "Jaws" to him would mean a year of nightmares. No. No! Not happening.
Thankfully, my friend who first heard the news had the same reaction. When asked, she gently told the sleepover mom that "Jaws" would probably be too disturbing for her eight-year-old, and if the birthday boy really wanted to see that movie at his party, her son could be picked up early instead of spending the night.
Good call. At press time, "Jaws" was off the party line-up. Hopefully, a more suitable choice for eight-year-old boys will be chosen.
But geez. Am I out of line here? Generally speaking, I'm more of a free-range parent than a helicopter parent. But handing over my child to a family I don't know well freaks me out. And we have years of sleepovers to go.
Cue the Jaws theme music.