Released On 28th Apr 2022
Linda's blog: Small Pleasures
Over recent weeks our 9 year old daughter’s excitement has grown as she prepared for her first sleepover at a friend's house. There was much talk about what they were going to do, how many TV programmes they were going to watch and when they would finally turn out the light. I listened and felt energised by her enthusiasm. I even managed to only interrupt once when I selfishly pleaded with her not to stay up until 6 am as planned because I knew she’d inflict her bad temper on us.
The 6 year old wasted no time in asking when she could have a sleepover with her best friend. "When you're 9", I said, confidently explaining that’s fair. She was not at all impressed and wailed that this was far too long to wait. She complained violently, fuelled in part by the 9 year old gleefully gloating about how much fun she was going to have. Trying to avoid a full sibling battle, I quickly intervened and said the 6 year old was going to have "so much" fun with me and Daddy. I said this slowly as I desperately tried to think of something suitably significant that we could do. I had literally nothing planned.
Luckily, I needn't have worried: she seized the opportunity to take control and asked if she could have a sleepover in our room. So far so easy: I agreed, happy to be able to move on. Well I have to say that her plan, beautiful in its simplicity, worked to a tee. A mattress on the floor of our room was made up into a bed and she chose 3 toys ("1 to cuddle and 1 to put on each ear so I don't hear Daddy's snoring"), she chose a film to watch and had a bowl of popcorn ("the proper toffee stuff mummy, not the one you make") and then a strawberry milkshake before bed. My husband wasn't convinced she should have a midnight feast and almost persuaded me to tell her in the morning that we couldn't wake her up, but I called my sister in Australia and finished the call at just the right time. I did feel rather mean trying to wake her from a cozy slumber but her Cheshire cat grin made it worthwhile, especially as she could see from the clock it really was midnight! In the morning we had her choice of eggs and before we knew it, the 9 year old was back.
The girls proceeded to compare notes and concluded that they had each had the better time. Win win. I went to bed that night reminding myself to look at things through my children's eyes. Their imagination beats mine any day and I treasure these days when small pleasures still provide such joy.
Linda is a lawyer who has two primary school-age children. She and her husband work full time and juggle the school run and everything else between them.