Day 21: Slumber Party Essentials

What childhood would be complete with slumber parties? My parents actually went back and forth on them. They started out in favor of them, but they got a worse and worse reputation as time went on with my younger siblings. My kids like their own beds so much, I think it will be a while before it even comes up.

In speaking of slumber parties, I found this funny story/guide about throwing them. See if there’s anything you would add to Jimmy’s slumber party essentials. Enjoy!

Slumber Party
by Jimmy Patterson
It was weighing heavy on her mind. She wanted to ask a really important question, but she wasn’t exactly sure how to word it.

Finally, she mustered the necessary courage.

“Dad,” she said. “Can I ask you a really, really important question?”

“Absolutely, sweetheart,” I said, a calm assuredness in my tone, hoping to convey the proper concern.

“Can I have a slumber party on my birthday?”

I smiled, knowing how much intestinal fortitude it took for her to ask that question.

“That’s an easy one,” I told her. “Beats me, ask your mother.”

Whew. I was off the hook. Relieved of an important decision by the finest three words ever strung together for fathers around the world.

Ask … your … mother. Few things sound as sweet.

Apparently, mom said yes, because about 6 o’clock the next Friday, what seemed like every 12-year-old girl in town piled into our house. There was so much preteen spark and excitement coursing through our house we had enough energy for a manned mission to Mars.

I guess what disturbed me most about the entire evening was, at about the same time all these giddy girls came walking through the door, Mrs. P also came home from work, announcing that she was really afraid she was coming down with the stomach flu that had been going around at work.

Last time I saw her, she was blazing a trail to the bedroom. I saw the door shut, I heard the lock click. A few minutes later I heard the water running and then I knew … I would be alone that night in a house with an uncomfortably large number of 12-year-old girls.

Just shoot me now.

After the initial panic subsided, I came to emotional grips with the night that lie before me, I was actually able to formulate a plan for the evening that I hope dads everywhere will find beneficial.

First, tell your wife you hope there’s no chance she’ll be sick that night. Promise her a trip to Cancun. It’s worth it. Dads were not invented to preside over 12-year-old female slumber parties. They are unequipped to go it alone.

As for the girls, all of them were running around my house screaming something indecipherable about Hanson and, ouch, I still get shudders down my spine thinking about it all. I’ve had hernia repairs that have been more tolerable.

If you do find yourself in charge of large amounts of 12-year-olds, let me offer these suggestions for a party that even Martha Stewart would be envy:

1. Pizza. Just buy a lot of it. Make absolutely certain not to ask the girls what kind of pizza they want. For sanity’s sake, just get everyone pepperoni. If they don’t like pepperoni they can pick it off and throw it at the dorky boy that they really like on the bus the next Monday morning.

2. Soda. Be practical here and just hire someone who drives a delivery truck, have him back it up to the house and run a hose through the front door, a door which will no doubt remain open for the entire course of the party. Doors, of course, are not necessary on houses that contain children.

3. Videos. When your daughter turns 12, the days when the family could sit down and watch a warm message-laden movie like “Shane” or “Old Yeller” or “Shaggy Dog” are over. For movies to make any sense to a 12-year-old these days, there has to be a lot of gross bodily functions emanating and a lot of preteen boys playing hockey. The movie also must contain one hunk o’ the month. For 12-year-olds, Jonathan Taylor Thomas is out. Leonardo Di Caprio is the guy. At least until February.

4. An exhaust fan. This is perhaps the most essential piece of slumber party equipment. When a group of 12-year-old females congregate for the purpose of a birthday party, the birthday girl will get a lifetime supply of fingernail polish. And with fingernail polish comes lots of fingernail polish fumes. The kind that give you really big headaches.

5. Extra-Strength Pain Reliever. Buy it by the boatload.

6. Coffee. Develop an intimate friendship with that guy from South America who’s in those commercials, always showing up in grocery store aisles with his donkey. Don’t bother to mix the coffee grounds with water. Just sprinkle the entire pound on top of your corn flakes.

7a. Chips. If given the opportunity, 12-year-old females will literally inhale a Frito factory. Get every 12-year-old in town over at your house and your gonna need a lot of chips.

7b. Popcorn. When these 12-year-old girls are done eating a path through every bag of chips in your house, they will next proceed to the popcorn. I’m 38. I no longer understand how or why the human body is capable of processing pound after pound of salt. It’s baffling, and disturbing to behold.

7c. Chocolate. After the chips and the popcorn are gone, these little debutantes will next move to chocolate. Anything not nailed down that is chocolate will be sniffed out by their highly-sensitive pre-teen noses.

Here’s hoping your kid has a happy birthday this year, and you are given enough of a chance to escape to a foreign land when your wife mentions a stomach bug going around anywhere near the date of your daughter’s birthday.

A Little About Jimmy Patterson
My name is Jimmy Patterson. I write a weekly parenting humor column for the Midland (Texas) Reporter-Telegram, and have been for five years. My work has also been published in family newsmagazines from San Angelo, Texas, to Atlanta. I have recieved reprint requests from parenting club newsletter editors from Iowa to Chicago, and from San Francisco to Australia and Nova Scotia.

My columns feature stories from a dad’s point of view, about my three kids, who range in age from 5 to 13. While it is true that my columns are about my family, I believe their popularity and humor stems more from the fact that what I actually do is write about everyone’s family. Situations in which a lot of families find themselves.

Please feel free to send Jimmy your comments about his work!




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