While some parents don't allow their kiddos to go on an overnight visit at a friend's house until they're much older, my family has always embraced the kid sleepover. In fact, our daughter had her first sleepover at her BFF's house when she was only 2 1/2. It was a family we loved and trusted (obviously), and it went so well she didn't want to go home when we arrived to pick her up.
Ever since then she's had more BFF sleepovers and branched out so much that I can't even count how many sleepovers she's gone on or hosted. But I do know the majority of those sleepovers included boys. Since her very first best friend was a boy (and that's who she's spent more overnights with than anyone), we didn't think twice about having other sleepovers when her toddler friend was of the opposite sex.
But now, I'm starting to get a little weirded out by the whole idea of sleeping over at a boy's house.
You see, the last time her best friend slept over was a few months ago, when she was 4. Since it was a long-distance, and week-long, sleepover, she actually did turn 5 while he was still here. But somehow 5 suddenly seems much older. And while I'll always allow sleepovers with this particular little boy, and the other boys we've already had sleepovers with, I'm not crazy about adding in any new dudes into our sleepover rotation. Mostly because these new guys are somehow different than the old ones.
Maybe it's just that my daughter's new friends are becoming friendly at an older age (the other boys she's known almost since birth), but the relationships seem less sibling-like and more "Ohhh, I like him!" Watching my daughter develop crushes on little boys is jarring enough, but the idea of inviting the guys over for a sleepover crosses a line in my mind that I'm shocked even exists. These kids are in pre-school, for Pete's sake. Why am I having this reaction?
Probably because my daughter is suddenly very interested in "boobies," and getting married, and one boy at her school has been kissing her. Also, the kid has always had little boy friends, but she's now leaning boy crazy. All of these things make me suddenly protective of her virtue. About eight years before I thought I would need to be.
So I find myself acting like a guardian at the gate of my daughter's innocence, bearing a sign that reads, "NO BOYS ALLOWED." And feeling like a crazy hypocrite, going against my need to not gender stereotype or identify. Because little boys will always be welcome at our house. In fact, some of my favorite friends of my daughter's are boys. They just won't be allowed in her bunk bed. And with that, I've just turned in my "liberal mom" card.
Do you have co-ed sleepovers?