I should have known that once the overnights started, there would be no end to them.
It's a good thing I don't mind giggling, squealing little girls filling my house with their joyful sounds. It's an even better thing that I like her friends or I'd be on the verge of becoming a hermit.
Every weekend, she has been home since her slumber party last month, Boogie has had friends stay the night. I enjoy sitting back and watching these sometimes amusing social interactions between the girls. It brings back memories of my own childhood and wonderful weekends spent with either friends at my house or me at theirs.
But I now also understand why my mom was sometimes reluctant to give permission for a friend to stay the night. The addition of one extra kid sure can throw a weekend into turmoil at times. And one more kid can add up to a lot more dirty dishes.
Those girls seem to have a lot of fun hanging out, exploring the woods and just playing. I do put the kibosh on spending the whole weekend in front of the television or glued to a computer game. They aren't allowed on the Internet unless I'm right there with them and they are looking for something specific. There will be no random Googling or YouTubing by pre-teen girls on my watch! I don't want to be responsible for someone else's kid finding something inappropriate online.
Not once has any of the girls complained about being booted outside or being banned from spending hours vegging in front of a screen. I do allow as many movies as they want to watch in the evening. I'm not a complete ogre, but I do vet those movies before they are watched. I really don't want to deal with spooked girls after someone decided watching "Paranormal Activity" or "Saw" was a fine idea.
It's refreshing to see them outside, using their imaginations and being active. I've started asking parents to make sure they send "icky" clothes and shoes to our house for sleepovers because, if there is mud or water anywhere on the property, I guarantee those girls will find it. Bonus for me? The outdoor (or sometimes indoor, if the weather is cold or nasty) activity usually puts a damper on their desire to stay up till the wee hours, so I'm able to get some uninterrupted, quiet sleep on sleepover weekends.
It can be tough to be sure your kid has plenty of quality social time with her peers when you live in the middle of nowhere. I've always encouraged her to invite her friends over or accept invitations to go to friends' houses, but she never seemed very interested until this year.
It's like my socially shy little girl is finally crawling out of her cocoon and becoming quite the social butterfly. Her phone is constantly going off during the weekend with text alerts from her friends (yes, I read her texts to be sure there are no inappropriate texts) and I have to smile. While texting is a bit different form of communication, it isn't that far off from the weekend and after-school hours I spent with the phone cord stretched as far as I could to get away from the central area of the house so I could have giggling, all-important conversations with my friends. I enjoy seeing it happening through a mom's eyes. It's a whole new perspective.
It's kind of fun, this whole parenting thing. Sure, there are some not-so-fun parts, but watching my daughter grow up reminds me constantly of my own childhood, and she often makes me realize that I sometimes take life far, far too seriously.