My daughter was excited when the invitation to her friend’s slumber party arrived. This is a good friend and she loves slumber parties, so the party was a slam dunk…for her. For me, it was confusing, not because I was afraid to send her away for the night – she’s done plenty of sleep overs before – but because her friend is a boy. It was a coed slumber party – if two girls among a group of boys counts as coed.
I like the birthday boy, I’m happy he thought to include my daughter, and I trust his family, which were all marks on the favorable side in my mental pros vs. cons list. My daughter had been to a coed sleep over before, but that was during the summer before first grade, which is a much more unisex stage. Now, as third graders turning nine, the innocence is wearing off a little. They’ve had sex ed in school and crushes have been formed, both of which I considered cons. I decided it would be safest to keep my daughter home from the sleepover portion of the party, news she seemed to take okay. I explained my reasons and told her she could still go to the dinner and movies with the kids, but that I’d pick her up before bedtime. She dropped her head and shoulders, and said okay.
My decision was justified and I stayed firm…until I completely caved in at the last minute.
The phone rang at 9:15 p.m. and the birthday boy’s dad told me the movie was over, but my daughter wanted to talk to me. “Mom, everyone is staying,” she said in a voice mixed with just the right amounts of sweetness and sadness. “Can I stay?” My husband stood firm as I wavered. I imagined her leaving alone while the rest of the gang continued on with the party. I know these kids well. They are probably soon to be asleep, so what was I afraid would happen? My daughter’s best friend – also a boy – was there and I trust that kid implicitly. He is always reminding my daughter of right and wrong and cautioning her against mischief. I wouldn’t have considered letting her stay without this boy there.
“Let her stay,” I told my husband.
“What?” he held his finger over the phone mouthpiece while I explained. Finally, he went along with it.
Luckily it went as expected. The kids were asleep within an hour and the two girls at the party slept in their own room. My daughter goes to a small private school and beginning in fourth grade, there is only one class per grade. This makes it more likely that she will continue to be invited to boy’s birthday parties, but I think third grade is the last year I will allow coed her to participate in sleepovers. While I trust the kids, they are all getting older and sometimes stuff happens. As I reminded her before the party, some decisions she won’t understand until she is an adult. Now it’s up to me to stand firm.