Friday, May 10, 2013

She's only 6.

I have to remind myself of that sometimes. She is only 6. Sometimes she may seem like she's 6 going on 10 or even 16, but really, she's 6 going on 7.

Tonight we tried a sleepover. One of those milestones, really. You know, the, "You're such a big girl now!" kind of things. It was her first one with a friend. It was just the 2 of them. She went to the friend's house early evening and was ready to go. See?
Yes, pillow in hand, dolls ready to play, blankie, Friendly and Pinky all ready to snuggle. Everything was set. And then the phone rang. Just before 10:00. Sobbing on the other end. "Mommy...please come and pick me up! I just want to come home. I want you and Daddy to pick me up and then I can be with you and sleep!" Reasoning with a sobbing 6 year old on the other end of the phone, on a Friday no less, is impossible. Both J and I tried talking to her with no avail. Lori tried coaxing her back into bed for another 15 minutes and then another phone call-we were on our way to pick her up.

I kept going through the situation in my head. Did I do that when I was little? How old was I the first time I slept at a friend's house? What does Lydia think? What does Lori think? I didn't prep her enough. We never talked about what to do if you're scared. It didn't even cross my mind that she would react this way. Think about her personality: outgoing, loud, talkative, social, happy...all things that would direct a parent into thinking she would be fine at a friend's house. A good friend's house, no less. Lydia is someone who we practically spent the summer with at the pool. It seemed like a logical first sleepover.

But maybe she wasn't ready.

Maybe my 6 year old wasn't ready. My spunky, outgoing, fearless honey wasn't ready. J started taking a different angle...think about her and nightmares, movies, scary music, scary characters in books...and it makes a little bit of sense. I suppose there are those things that at night, when you are cozy in your own bed, they don't seem quite as bad. But if you're at someone else's house where you don't have a fan or a sound machine (oops), you hear all of the different noises in the house. You hear your friend breathing. You're not so sure about where you are anymore. Maybe that was it.

It's a tough position to be in as a parent. You want to be gentle so as to not scar your child for life. You want them to want to have sleepovers with friends. But on the other hand you also want them to understand how it feels on the other side; to be able to say, "I'm sorry it didn't work this time."To think about the other person and their family too.

But then again, she's only 6.


This certainly isn't the first parenting moment when I go crazy with scenarios. And it certainly won't be the last. All I know is I have a sleeping 6 year old girl who hasn't moved in her bed since I tucked her in, kissed and hugged her, said I love you, shut off the light and closed the door. I hope Lydia is doing the same right now.
And we'll definitely "try it again another time, (Mommy)." Love you sweet nugget.

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