What to Expect When You're Expecting 12-Year-Old Girls to Sleep Over

burned popcornIsn't it funny how once your kid officially hits the Terrible Tweens, you find yourself looking back at the once-challenging toddler years in a very different, rose-colored sort of way? Even the most exasperating moments seem, in retrospect, like charmingly slapstick snapshots from a family-friendly sitcom -- as if early childhood in its entirety can be summed up as one of those If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books, wherein one innocent lapse in judgment kicks off a snowball-type series of unfortunate, but cute, events. (Oh no! He's gonna want a glass of milk to go with it!)

The tween years, thus far (my daughter is 12 years old), are similar -- except for the fact that the unfortunate events following any lapses in parental judgment are less cute and more ... horrifying. And, to be fair, said events needn't follow any technically "bad" judgment calls -- any old reasonable decision can result in adolescent-created catastrophe. 


Take, for example, telling your daughter she can have a sleepover with her friends. Kids have sleepovers all the time! What could possibly go wrong?

The answer is: A lot. And you thought giving a mouse a cookie was asking for trouble!! Don't believe me? Here's a little story for you, inspired by true events from which I am still recovering (sorry, no adorable mice pictures):

If you give a tween girl a sleepover ...

1. She's gonna want to make microwave popcorn with her friends. Thinking that, after all, three 12-year-olds should be able to handle making microwave popcorn, you'll say "sure" and go to bed. Shortly thereafter, you'll awake to the alarming scent of scalded artificial butter flavoring and find a smoking, unopened bag of popcorn tossed into the hallway outside your apartment door. Apparently any previously learned fire safety rules are forgotten in the throes of tweenage panic. 

2. You will not see the inside of your bathroom for at least 24 hours. When it is, at last, unoccupied, the sink will be clogged and there will be extensive evidence of a serious liquid eyeliner accident.

3. An onslaught of confused pop culture references will make you feel very, very old. ("Hey, did you know the guy from How I Met Your Mother used to be on a TV show, like, 20 years ago?" "Um, you mean Doogie Howser, M.D.?" "OMG, you've heard of it??")

4. A variety of disturbing sound bites heard when passing by your daughter's locked bedroom door will make you feel even older. ("OMG, he's, like, only a 4." "Whatever! His voice is totally deep so he's at least a 7." "No way! Did you even SEE what he was wearing at the dance?? EWWWWWWWWW!")

5. You will forget what the sound of speech at reasonable decibel levels sounds like. Anything worth saying is worth SHRIEKING!!!! OMG!!!! 

Stay tuned for the sequel: "If You Give a Mom a Headache ... (She's Gonna Want a Margarita to Go With It)."

Have you experienced any hilarious sleepover hijinks at your house?

Image via Ryan Dickey/Flickr

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