Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Slumber Party

We're going to do something fun and exciting around the Authorial household tomorrow. The Kid is having The Friend over--for the night.

The first sleepover. The Kid said to me, "He's going to come over for a play date and to sleep--and playdate plus sleep equals sleepover!" He was real proud of this social math.

I have mixed feelings about this. I've been friends with The Friend's mom since sophomore year of college, and we've gotten our boys together whenever we can. We always hold kid-friendly Super Bowl and New Year's Eve parties--the kind of laid-back get-together where everyone understands that if it all goes south by the end of the first quarter and you have to bail, no one will hold it against you. The sleepover has only been a matter of time.

But that's not why I have mixed feelings. This is why:

Photo: Paramount Pictures, Lucasfilm Studios

What? You don't know what the heck that is or what it has to do with slumber parties? Well, this is my blog, so I'll tell you.

I went to my first slumber party when I was in first grade--about a year older than The Kid. I think it was Jessica P.'s birthday party, but I'm not sure about that.

I was a sheltered little girl (okay, the 'little' part is debatable, as I was the tallest kid in my grade for a long time), one who spent a lot of time reading books that were four grade levels above 1st. My folks let me read almost anything I wanted, but I didn't see a lot of movies or watch that much TV (except for Wheel of Fortune). Part of this had to do with my parents 'weird' ideas about parenting (most of which, sad to say, I've replicated with the kid--thereby completing the Circle of Parenting Life), but part of it undoubtedly was self-defense on my mother's behalf. I would get nightmares from Donald Duck cartoons. Really. I still can't watch suspense movies.

As the result of being a sort-of huge giant brainiac who liked to read, I didn't have a lot of friends. I'm sure my mother felt this slight personally, which is why she probably let me go to the birthday/slumber party. I'd been invited, after all. I don't remember much about the party until . . .

Photo: Paramount Pictures, Lucasfilm Studios


For some reason I've never fully grasped, Jessica's (?) folks popped in a VHS of Indiana Jones and the Ark of the Covenant. At a first-grade girls' slumber party. Really. Perhaps the 'newness' of the technology demanded that it be demonstrated--VHS players were still very expensive back then, and there had to be a "WOW" factor involved with having one in the house. (Yes, I'm old. Get over it.)

I don't remember much of the movie--until people started melting. Sure, they were bad guys and all, but that didn't change facts--they were melting.

Keep in mind that not only did I not have the ability to suspend disbelief--I was six--but that the imaginary world was shockingly real for me. I lived in make-believe worlds (and, surprisingly, still do). I had no concept that this was not real.

Everyone else at the party barely seemed to notice, making my terror that much more socially awkward. No one else was scared; therefore, I could not possibly admit to being horrified. And to have the parent on duty call my mommy to come get me? I already didn't have a lot of friends. Even I knew that bailing on the party would be the equivalent of social death-by-melting.

Photo: Paramount Pictures, Lucasfilm Studios

Indeed. Ah, the memories!

So I spent the rest of the slumber party curled in a ball in my sleeping bag--not sleeping--and praying for morning. I think I did doze off close to dawn, only to have my head stepped on when everyone else got up all perky and happy. In other words, the only way it could have been worse would have been if I had wet the sleeping bag, so score one for not sleeping. 

Thus marked a turning point in my social development (or lack thereof) as a kid. Years later, when I finally watched The Ark of the Covenant again, I had to hide my eyes through the whole scene. At least now, no one steps on my head in the morning.

So now I'm an Authorial Mom faced with hosting my first sleepover. It'll be loud, toys will be scattered to the four winds, but movies? Toy Story is as scary as it's going to get around here. 

I don't want to scar the kids for life!


Heather Snow said...

LOL...I, too, have sleepover memories. My friend's parents showed "A Nightmare on Elmstreet" and I, to this day, remember waking up in my sleeping bag, terrified...certain I heard Freddy Krueger's knifey claws scraping up the stairs from the 1920's scary basement (that indeed, still had an old boiler room in it).

Like, seriously remember it.

Have fun at the sleepover!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sara! I love your blog. I don't think this sleepover was at my house but, maybe. I don't really recall the first time I watched that Indiana Jones movie. I have a fondness for scary movies but I totally understand your nervousness! (Jessica P.)