“Mom, I threw up”
These words drag me from the disorienting sludge of shortened slumber. As I crack the surface of 4 AM consciousness, my dread is joined by horror as I remember…
WE ARE HAVING A SLEEPOVER.
Ellen: There I was tip-toeing through a quagmire of adolescent bodies to the far corner of the basement with my 11 year old daughter solemnly guiding my footfalls as if we were traversing rope bridges on our way to golden treasure.
Erin: Wake up, Sister, because that seems awfully poetic for what actually went down.
Ellen: Okay, so I was stomping on fingers and crushing toes, crinkling my plastic grocery bags all the way, stumbling to get to the pile of chunder. There may have been some muttered swearing.
Erin: May have been?
Ellen: Whatever. While I deserve pity, you can hold onto it. As I’m dislodging dripping blankets and cleaning vomit off a foot attached to a miraculously still sleeping child, all by the glow of a dying flashlight, I had time to reflect that…
THIS WASN’T EVEN MY WORSE SLEEPOVER EXPERIENCE!
Erin: Get out!
Ellen: That prize belongs to the Sleepover of 2009 with the fake sleepwalking event.
Erin: Oh. My. Blessed. Psychopaths.
Ellen: Once again I am dragged from sleep, this time with the awful words “Clementine hurt herself.”
Erin: That is one bad wake-up.
Ellen: I know! I fly down the stairs to find Clementine on the floor twitching. Ten pairs of hysterical eyes turn towards me as I’m blasted with a cacophony of hysteria that blew my hair back.
Erin: Was she having a seizure!?!
Ellen: Just wait. Story was that Clementine was sleepwalking and then fell down on the ground twitching.
Erin: Holy crap! Were you freaking out?
Ellen: No, because I was in the presence of the most artfully laid out “passed out seizing person” I had ever seen. And her “seizures” were dissynchronous flailing.
Erin: In English, please.
Ellen: She wasn’t doing it right. She hadn’t even been asleep long enough to be in the stage of sleep for sleepwalking.
Erin: Score one for the MD.
Ellen: Um, no. My quick diagnosis was my undoing. I should have called her bluff and called her mom to pick her up, but all I could hear was the Siren song of my bed. So I went to peel her eyelid back, prompting her to spring higher than a June bug on a hot griddle, and proclaimed her a faker.
Erin: She was having a serious Tonya Harding moment.
Ellen: You got the picture right. But Clementine stuck to her story, the girls were freaked out, and many thought I was a bit of a slacker mom. Months later she came clean, but to this day I can’t understand why she would take a practical joke so far as to get me involved. She knew me well. She knew I did not suffer fools.
Erin: When I was a kid, we did everything in our power to keep the parents out of our business.
Ellen: I know. Crazy.
Erin: Well, I see your Münchausen Maestra and raise you some Male Melodrama. We still refer to the Guitar-Hero-Head-Bashing-Daniel-San-Channeling-Mommy-Tattling-Cluedog-Erin-Cell-Phone-Debacle of 2010 as the Mother of all Mishaps.
Ellen: Oh my. So drama is not only for girls and llamas?
Erin: Noooo! Less than TWO hours into my then 14 year old son’s sleepover birthday party, I receive not one but two phone calls from mothers.
Ellen: Come again?
Erin: It seems that in the ten minutes it took for me to set up the trough to feed the herd, Boregard allegedly kicked Bubba in the head while he was playing Guitar Hero.
Ellen: Well, I do understand the tendency to rock out whole-body-style during Guitar Hero, but . . .
Erin: Just wait. This gets better. So not only was there alleged physical violence, but both boys immediately called their Mommies UNBEKNOWNST TO ME who proceeded to then call me. At the same time. Yes, call-waiting was involved.
Ellen: At this point, were you checking for spy-cams?
Erin: I had a disorienting Twilight Zone moment for sure. The whole situation broke me. I now think, without any trace of irony, that we should relegate sleepovers to the status of renewing your license—once every four years.
Ellen: Awww, come on. There are ways to put lipstick on this pig.
Erin: Confiscate cellphones with the fervor of a TSA agent when confronted with 4 ounces of shampoo?
Ellen: No. Put your rubber gloves away, but you might want to have your plan in place for how you are going to handle technology before the guests bust down the door. Really it can all be summed up in one Sisterhood Secret . . .
Erin: Right! Always remind your child (before and during the party) that if things are getting out of hand, they can quietly slip away and get you to be the heavy without any indication that ratting out took place. A little reminder of the rules makes for an excellent escape hatch.
Ellen: In addition to that epic piece of advice that is good for more than just sleepovers, we’ll leave you with one more–Stock up on some ear plugs.
By Ellen Williams Erin Dymowski