Tag Archives: sleepover

Feeling Clingy

Over the summertime, my son started becoming extra clingy.  I would be in the next room, and he would call out to make sure that I was still there.  He wouldn’t go to his dad’s house without a fight because he didn’t want to leave me.  He was constantly worried that I was going to abandon him, or that I might die.  So I wrote an article about it, and got a lot of feedback from other parents that were going through the same thing.  And it appeared that it was going on with kids around the same age as my son. 

Here’s one comment in particular:

My 8 year old daughter seems to be going through this. There was no event that seemed to have caused it aside from turning 8. She refuses to go to her dad’s house, and hasn’t been able to have a sleep over. She has tantrums about going to her father’s a week in advance. She constantly asks to sleep in my bed. She can’t be on the second floor of the house without someone else being there unless she is somehow preoccupied. It’s hard to help her cope because I feel suffocated. I’d love to hear some advice.
by Kim

It appears that this really is just an age thing.  Maybe this is the age that they suddenly become more aware of the world around them and realize that things aren’t always safe.  That can be a scary thing for a kid to become aware of.  It seems like they magnify the negative parts of the world that they are not only worried about their own safety, they are worried about the safety of their parents.  For kids of a single parent, they worry about what will happen to their main parent if they leave them.  My son has actually said this to me, that he is afraid that I might die while he’s not with me.  So it makes him nervous to go to his dad’s house.  And he is also afraid that I might have left him if I’m not right around him.  He’s 9 now, and he still does the periodic check ins to make sure I’m still in the house.  But it has definitely decreased since I wrote this blog.  And while he will call me about 5 times on average when he’s at his dad’s house, he now feels comfortable going.

My advice for Kim?  Humor your daughter and let her do her check-ins.  If visits with her dad are too much for her, maybe decrease some of the overnights, or stick around (if you and your ex get along) for a little while before leaving.  Let her call you as much as she wants at first, and then start setting appointments for when she can call you so that you are sure to be available for her when she calls, and are still able to enjoy your kid-free time.  For nighttime, maybe set up one night a week that she can sleep with you so she has something to look forward to.  Give her a night light if she doesn’t have one, and maybe a “lovey” – a special stuffed animal to keep her safe.  Reward her when she has slept in her own bed at night.  I know it’s suffocating, but this really is just a phase.  And the safer she feels, the faster she will move through this phase…and then move onto another phase that is equally frustrating. 

Thoughts?

Birthday parties

My daughter’s birthday is tomorrow, and my son’s is this Friday. And we are still in the works for planning their birthday parties. In past years we have had numerous sleepovers, a couple of outside slip n slide events, a day over at Scandia, and have let the Funky Monkey take over and do all the work. There have been some years that have cost me a fortune (though not as much, apparently, as some celebrity parents), and some years where I allowed only the minimum to keep things in a tight budget.

It seems that when kids are young, there is a competition to throw the most memorable and fun party, complete with gift bags of the latest accesories. There is nothing worse than a mom coming to pick up her child, and overhearing how much the party sucked. I admit, I fell into the trap, and felt like I needed to go all out to make sure that every kid was well sugared up after playing tons of activities I had been putting together for months. Birthday parties left me exhausted, and I dreaded them each year.

Now that the kids are older, their requirements are a lot less than before. They don’t need jumping houses or pinatas. They don’t want to be greeted by a clown or play in a ball pit. But they do want to invite their friends and have fun. And for the most part, fun involves as little interaction from me. So we have more slumber parties, invite fewer kids, and do one fun activity such as the movies, dinner out, or miniature golf and racecars. And then I tuck them in and let them keep the noise level at a low roar, and go to bed. Painless (except for the occasional threats that there will be no more slumber parties if they don’t stop jumping on the couch) and affordable.

What are some of the things you do for your child for their birthday parties?
Do you have a limit on how many friends they can invite?
And what exactly do you put in those dang gift bags?

Oh, and if you are looking for a birthday party that will top the Jones’, be sure to check out Over The Top Productions, a company that specializes in birthday bashes for your precious little one that will only cost you a cool $10,000 or more. For that price, maybe they’ll remember turning 2….

(Join the discussion in the forums about birthday party ideas)

Kids Cleaning

“Crissi!” the neighbor kid called from downstairs.

“Yeah?” I asked, immersed in my work on the computer.

“Today’s Monday, the night I spend the night!” he exclaimed.

“Yes, it is,” I said.

“But my cousin is spending the night too,” he said.

“Oh, that’s too bad –“  I started, assuming he meant over at his house.

“So we can probably fit a third sleeping bag over there,” he said, pointing to a spot on the kids’ cleaned bedroom floor.

“Um, ok…” I said.

“So now you’ll have three boys spending the night!” he said happily before bounding down the stairs.

I think I got swindled.

The rule I made for my son was that the house had to be cleaned if he wanted his new best friend (and now his cousin, sigh) to spend the night.  He put his clothes away, and reluctantly (meaning he was already crying) went in the bedroom to clean it up.  His sister went downstairs and he threw a fit because he thought she was going to start playing his video games.  But all she was doing was getting her clothes.  Then, in the bedroom, there was more fighting.  She wanted it done a certain way.  He wanted to just throw everything in random boxes so that the middle of the room was cleared.  He came out in tears because he couldn’t work with that kind of pressure.  I told him that it would be easier if he just followed her direction because I didn’t want everything thrown in random boxes either.  She finally left the room and started cleaning the bathroom instead, followed by the dining room.  And he succeeded in making the room look clean on his own AND throwing everything in random boxes.

And my house is almost completely clean, and I didn’t have to do anything.

“I can’t wait till my toddler can clean,” my friend emailed me today, adding that her toddler did clear off the sink before my friend wiped it down.

As busy moms, it seems at times (in my case, ALL the time) that there is too much to do to finish up in one afternoon.  As soon as one room is clean and you’re onto the next, the precious angels are soaking up the novelty of a clean room, and messing it up in the process.  The work is never done, especially if you are the only one doing it.

This is where bringing the kids in is incredibly valuable.  At 11 and 8, my kids are capable of a lot more than they used to be able to do.  My son helps me take out the garbage, can sort laundry, and can sweep the kitchen floor.  My daughter can fold laundry, fill up the dishwasher, and make sense of random messes by making logical piles for me to sort through.  And it all saves time for me when I have to get down and dirty into the housework.  Even a toddler clearing off a bathroom counter one piece at a time is much like having a prep cook in a kitchen: it paves the way for the bigger job we have to do by chipping away at the menial tasks.

So don’t be afraid to get your kids to help you out…..even if they cry.  Truth is, eventually they’ll learn, like my daughter, that it’s just best to clean without arguing and get it done quickly, and that crying about it just slows the process down. Not only that, eventually it helps them to take pride in the house and keep it clean for a longer period of time.  I’ll let you know when that happens.

Alright, off to prepare for a sleepover with three boys…..

(As a girl, I have always called overnight parties “slumber parties”.  I recently got my hand kindly slapped by a dad when I referred to my son’s overnight that way.  For any moms that are confused like I was, “slumber parties” are for girls, “sleepovers” are for boys.  Now you know.)