8 For 8 (And Other Dangerous Party Games)
Many would be familiar with the ‘eight guests for turning eight’ rule when it comes to inviting guests to birthday parties. Following that logic, I’ll be inviting 42 friends to my own birthday in a few weeks’ time – mostly in the hope that they’ll all shout me a drink after the Friday night I just had.
You see, it turns out that the ‘eight for eight’ rule should only ever be applied to parties of two hours’ maximum during daylight hours and NOT, for example, a sleepover party, right? I mean someone would have to be completely unhinged to agree to that, right? RIGHT?
Try telling all that to the small red-headed girl whose big grey-blue eyes fills with tears at the mere thought of some of her friends missing out. Of course, when combined with our own children, this inability of mine to say “No” to my daughter left my partner and I in charge of a grand total of twelve children. Yes, twelve. And let me tell you now: you might *think* you know what twelve children look like but you can never really truly know until they are all standing in your lounge room whacking the crap out of each other with pillows.
As one mother dropped off her child, she surveyed the guests and proclaimed “Now that – THAT – is too many children.”
My heart sank. After all, this was a woman who had recently driven from Melbourne to Adelaide by herself with six children – and if she says there are too many children, you really know you’re in trouble.
“It’ll be fine,” one dad reassured me as he dropped his daughter off. “It’s only, uh, seventeen hours.”
“They’re bound to be asleep for at least three of them, right?” I replied, somewhat desperately.
“That’s it. Aim high!” the dad said as he left. I think he was laughing.
For the record, they were all asleep by 11:10pm – despite the living room being immediately dubbed by one guest as “THE ATTACK STADIUM!!” the minute the mattresses were laid down. I’d like to say this was due to my superior settling techniques (mostly involving sitting in the middle of the room and fiercely shooshing them like they were in the National Library or something) but was probably more down to pillow-crap-beating fatigue. Of course, they then woke up shouting at 6:13AM, like that radio the time I’d had it playing at full volume just before the power outage.
Anyhoo, after the kind of pancake cooking stint known only to short-order cooks in all-you-can-eat breakfast buffets, it was finally time. Time to get everyone ready to go. For the record, you can not start this process early enough. Not just because it soothes the sleep-deprived soul to know the end is approaching, but because it literally takes hours to locate belongings amidst the debris from the night before. It’s like the Where’s Wally Extreme Sports Edition. Or something.
Still, I’m glad to report that when the parents arrived, my partner and I were casually sitting on the couch drinking coffee with the kitchen looking cleaner than it was at the start of the party and all the guests’ stuff stacked neatly on the front porch with their shoes laid neatly beside them. I wish I could say we then led the children out, all singing and dressed in play clothes made from the lounge room curtains, but perhaps that could be our trick for next year…
Have you ever hosted a sleepover party and did you live to tell the tale?
The formerly fashionable NDM had three children and discovered that brown is the new black the hard way. The force behind the once-was-blog Not Drowning, Mothering, she now very occasionally writes for the sometimes-blog The NDM. In her spare time, she enjoys baking cakes, cyber-hassling advertising executives and collecting photos of unusual objects made out of paperclips.