Here’s a tip: 3 years old may be a little too young for your kid’s 1st sleepover. Or, at least it was for mine. That is, if you expect any sleeping to happen.
As I mentioned, we went to Benjamin’s parents’ house in New Hampshire last weekend with our friends who have a son in Owen’s preschool class. Owen was BEYOND excited about this trip. He’s always excited to go up there, but he was a million times more excited this time since he had a friend going too. The other family also has a toddler, and clearly we have Emmett, who is still getting up to eat at night, so between the 6 adults and 4 kids we had to do some creative thinking about how to share bedrooms in a way that would maximize sleep. Ultimately we decided to have Owen and his little buddy share a room.
We foolishly thought that even if the boys goofed off at bedtime and stayed up a little late that they would eventually conk out. Spoiler alert: Not so much.
On Friday we drove up during naptime to get as much quiet time as we could in the car. Both boys did pretty well. Owen (thoroughly Benadryled to combat his car-sickness) whined a bit and asked “how many minutes until we get there?” about a bazillion and a half times, and Emmett lost his shit near the end of the drive and screamed his head off for longer than I thought possible, but in the end, we got there only slightly bewildered by the 4 hour drive. We set up bedrooms (video monitors, sound machines and all of the other accoutrements that I feel silly traveling with, but also can’t live without), fed the kids and got them bathed and jammied.
The boys dutifully laid down their heads in their beds and we turned off the light. Not too long after that we heard their adorable little voices chattering away. Owen asked Jonah what he likes to eat for breakfast. He pestered him with questions about which way he was facing and if he was closing his eyes to fall asleep so he could do everything exactly the same way (funny tidbit: Jonah told him he sleeps with his eyes open, so Owen tried to do the same).
The chattering gave way to bed jumping. Their voices weren’t sounding so cute anymore. We intervened. Finally, after a couple extra hours of chatting, they fell asleep. We naively thought we were in the clear.
That night I saw every hour on the clock of my bedside table.
- 12:00pm Owen cried out for me that he couldn’t find his lovey in bed. I retrieved him and put both boys back to bed.
- 1:15am Emmett woke up and needed to be fed.
- 2:35am Boys are up again, daring each other to go out into the hallway and see what happens. You know what happened? I busted in their room and told them it was lights out. Quiet time. Close your eyes.
- 3:10am Still not asleep. Apparently I didn’t have my best “mom voice” on. I stepped up my game.
- 4:30am Emmett is up again to nurse. I tiptoe to his room and try not to make a peep while going to the bathroom.
- 5:15am Fail. Boys are up. Owen has to pee.
- 5:30am Giggles. Shrieks. Knocking on the inside of their door. The pitter patter of little feet outside my door. I send Benjamin in partly because I’m so tired I can barely move, and partly because I’m tired of being the only parent who is awake. I blame my supersonic mom ears.
- 6:00am I tell the boys they don’t have to sleep anymore, but they do have to play quietly in their room until the clock turns green (Owen is so militant about waiting until the clock turns green at home that he forced me to bring it to New Hampshire)
Finally we all got up. The good news? The view from the New Hampshire house windows is almost amazing enough to make you forget you haven’t slept a wink. Almost.
On Saturday we bundled up and went on a long hike (2+ hours). The boys walked the whole way. All of the parents smirked and thought, “Finally, they will sleep”.
(Side story: We had planned to have a snack and a rest at the summit, but when we got there it was COLD and WINDY and BITTER. I had to nurse Emmett and the kids needed a snack but it turned out to be a bit disastrous despite the amazing view. When we got to the top we realized it was the same trail and same spot I had hiked with Owen when he was the same age as Emmett, and I had a similar “nursing on a mountaintop” experience. Apparently I didn’t learn my lesson.)
When we got home, Owen was on the verge of a meltdown and I could feel it in my bones. I threw lunch at him and took him upstairs for a nap. They wanted to nap together but I knew that was not a good idea. I no longer trusted those two.
Thankfully, Owen’s protesting didn’t last too long and he succumbed to sleep. Jonah, on the other hand, did not. He’s pretty much dropped his nap at home and he just wouldn’t do it. I was impressed by his stubbornness, but quite glad that Owen couldn’t see what was going on. Don’t give him any ideas.
At bedtime Owen was so conflicted: he yearned for his normal routine but wanted so badly to do whatever Jonah was doing. The dads somehow got the kids to agree to a staggered bedtime (Jonah was beat early since he didn’t nap, and Owen wanted to have his wind-down tv time before bed), which ended up being the perfect way to eliminate the falling asleep shenanigans from the night before.
The boys each woke up a few times throughout the night and called for us (there’s something so sweet and innocent about Owen still crying for me and not caring that his friend was right there — no shame at all), but we all survived.
It was a wonderful little adventure, but I can’t say I’m planning the next sleepover anytime soon.