Friday, March 16, 2012

To sleep or not to sleep, that is the question

I need some perspective and advice. Perhaps I'm looking for someone or some people to knock me upside the head and saying I'm being way too uptight, which I would actually appreciate. So if you see the other side on this, please say something.

I have a daughter, she's 3.5 years old. She's a delightful little girl, but she's scared of her own shadow. When people meet her for the first (or tenth) time, she is very reserved, and most people think she's mute unless she's had a few hours to warm up. If my husband or I is around, she tends to cling to us.

She goes to daycare full-time. She tends to talk about 4 girls - I, J, K and M - quite a bit. She's had a crush on Daniel for 2 years, but he left school, so now she has replaced Daniel with Colin.

Of their little girl group, "Iggy" tends to be the ringleader. We get to hear about what Iggy likes, that Iggy told her that she wouldn't be Julia's friend if Julia didn't do something for her, etc. Even though I'm only there for drop off in the morning, I hear the other girls talk about Iggy with similar reverence. It's irritating. So I always make a point to talk and ask about the other girls to show Julia that ALL of her friends need to be included.

On Wednesday Julia got an invitation to J's birthday party this Saturday (as in, tomorrow). It seemed like short notice. The invitation said that the party started at 3pm and was a sleepover.

1. J is turning 4 years old.
2. I've never met J's parents.
3. Who in the heck has a 20 hour party for a 4 year old?

My only response to this is, "What the heck????" 

On Wednesday night I call the number listed and leave a message wanting to know about the time of the party. Perhaps this is a pretend sleepover. Possibility, right?

On Thursday at lunch time the mother calls me back. It IS a sleepover. They're having a pizza place come and deliver little pizzas that they can hand make, she's having a liquid nitrogen ice cream place (Subzero, if you've heard of them) come do a demonstration, cake, watch movies, and then they're theoretically supposed to all sleep over. The mother wants to get each of the girls special princess jammies to wear during the party. The mother said that only 3 girls have been invited: Julia, Iggy and M. This is perhaps the best part for me because if it was 20 toddlers who were invited, I knew it would be a complete disaster but with a smaller group it would likely be more manageable.

My response was that we've never left Julia alone at a birthday party. (Am I being completely overprotective?) She's only slept 2 nights away from us, and those were both with S's parents. (Am I being completely overprotective?) I'm not sure how she would do for that long, and I worry about her freaking out. (And I worry about leaving her at a stranger's house for that long - again, am I being too overprotective?) I really want to ask, "What are you smoking to think this is a good idea?" Somehow I came up with enough self-discipline to not ask that.

The way I ended the call was I said we'd come on Saturday, but I'm not sure how Julia would do with me leaving her there, so I asked if we could play it by ear. If she was comfortable, then I'd leave her there for a bit. But since she's never slept away from us, I wasn't sure that she would do well overnight. The mother understood... (but I'm sure she thought I was an overprotective, paranoid person)

So then I asked Julia about this whole thing. First thing she asked: "Is Iggy going?" Sigh, that's a separate issue. She said she wanted to go to the party. She asked if M and K and Colin were going. I say that the party's for girls. She then tells me M and K are girls. The mother had only told me that M, Iggy and Julia were invited, so then there's the issue of K not being invited. So in theory now Julia could talk about it at school on Friday, and now K's feelings could be hurt. (UGH!) How do I backpedal with a 3 year old to tell her not to talk? I am not prepared for the start of girl drama and who is or is not invited to parties.......

Then I talk about this me leaving her at the party and the potential sleepover. In her words, "You can leave for a little bit, Mommy, but can you pick me up?"

I hate to disappoint the birthday girl because I'm an overprotective worrywart. I'm happy Julia's social circle is widening, and I want to encourage other, non-Iggy friends. But my gut is telling me to make this a short party visit. Selfishly, I don't want my whole Saturday afternoon and evening to be babysitting a group of 3- and 4- year olds at someone else's house. And if I am there, I don't want Julia to cling to me; I want her to play with her friends. But on the other hand, I'm really not cool with leaving unless she's comfortable and I don't get weird vibes from the parents.

Alas, please tell me I'm crazy.

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