Smartmom’s night in Hell with eight tweens

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Smartmom thinks that slumber parties for children under the age of 35 should be banned. Why would any parent want to sacrifice his or her sleep and sanity for an all-night gathering of pre-teen girls?

A couple of weeks back, Divorce Diva asked Smartmom if she’d be willing to help out during her 10-year-old’s slumber birthday party.

“It’ll be eight girls in all. Her private school requires that you either invite the entire class, all the girls, or only one child,” Divorce Diva explained.

Eight girls. That seemed a tad excessive. Smartmom, who has never hosted a slumber party for either Teen Spirit or the Oh So Feisty One, knows from anecdotal evidence that slumber parties are generally a bad idea. And if you must do it, keep it small.

Smartmom considered hanging up the phone and leaving it off the hook for at least 16 hours. But Divorce Diva could barely conceal her desperation.

“I NEED YOU,” she cried into the phone.

So, being the gullible, good-natured friend that she is, Smartmom relented.

Besides, OSFO was an invited guest and Smartmom thought it would be fun to be a fly on the wall — and a chance to hang out with her friend.

The girls were in their pajamas when Smartmom and OSFO arrived at Divorce Diva’s house in Ditmas Park at 6 pm. And because it was an American Girl slumber party, the dolls were in their pajamas, too.

The first activity, a video talk show, went well. The birthday girl interviewed all of the American Girl dolls, including the eight dolls that belonged to the birthday girl.

That’s 15 dolls and 15 interviews.

“So, who is your favorite person in the world?” the birthday girl asked Felicity, OSFO’s Revolutionary War era doll, who was dressed in a hot pink bathrobe.

“OSFO, of course,” OSFO answered in her doll’s voice.

After the talk show, the girls went upstairs to watch the video while Smartmom and Divorce Diva set up the Chinese food on the special party plates, as well as doll-sized plates for the dolls.

Some of the girls (not to mention the dolls) were picky eaters:

“I’ll just have miniature corn and water chestnuts,” one girl said. Smartmom groaned as she fished out the miniature corn and water chestnuts of one of the dishes.

“I don’t eat fish or seafood,” another girl said. Smartmom offered her a plate of Chinese broccoli. “I don’t eat green food either.”

When it was time for beverages, the girls screamed for root beer, orange soda or Sierra Mist, while holding up doll sized cups for their American Girl dolls.

Smartmom thought she might lose her mind. Instead, she served the girls — and the dolls — the soda they wanted and poured herself a tall glass of Trader Joe’s Merlot. Then a fight broke out between two highly hyperactive girls.

“You pig,” one girl said. “Haven’t you ever heard of a fork?” The other girl looked ready to cry. Instead she threw shoes. American Girl doll shoes, of course.

After the meltdown, er, dinner, the girls decided to play with their dolls in the birthday girl’s tiny third-floor bedroom. Like Sherpas, Divorce Diva and Smartmom carried 15 dolls and all manner of doll furniture, horse stables, wheelbarrows, and armoires filled with doll clothing to the bedroom upstairs.

Ready for a nap, Smartmom lay down on the couch while Divorce Diva got out the Harvey’s Bristol Cream and poured them each a glass. Yum.

Next up: beauty makeovers and a movie. Following a heated argument, the birthday girl got her way and the girls watched “Meet the Fockers” while applying mascara, eye shadow and rouge to the faces of girls and dolls alike.

All was quiet until one girl came screaming downstairs: “I just got the make-up today and now it’s ruined.”

Divorce Diva did her best to console the girl. “It’s really not that bad,” she purred while another child made it look like new again.

To no avail. The indignity of someone messing with her make-up kit was just too much. Soon the girl succumbed to a bout of acute homesickness that necessitated a call home.

When there was no answer, she tried her mother’s cellphone and left a pleading message.

“Can I have another glass of Merlot?” Smartmom asked pleadingly of Divorce Diva who was quick to oblige.

While they waited for a call from homesick girl’s mom (it never came, by the way), the girl pined for her beloved family dog, who died five years ago.

“I’ll never feel the soft fur of my dog ever again,” she said standing at the window staring at the stars like a Shakespearean heroine.

At midnight, Shoe Thrower, who has ADHD, came downstairs. “I can’t settle down,” she told them. “They’re making too much noise.”

Divorce Diva called the girl’s mother for advice. “Separate her from the other girls,” Shoe Thrower’s mom suggested, so the girl was sequestered in Divorce Diva’s comfortable bedroom in front of the TV.

The rest of the girls didn’t settle down quite so easily. They arranged and rearranged their sleeping bags — and the dolls’ sleeping bags — in the family room. Smartmom could tell they were planning for a long night.

“I’m not tired at all!” one girl said. “Neither am I,” OSFO chimed in.

Smartmom rolled her eyes. Even those who were obviously tired didn’t want to seem like wusses for going to sleep.

Everyone knows, you get a badge of honor if you stay up later than anyone else.

Smartmom retired to the guest room at 1 am hoping that it might inspire the girls to think about sleeping. But no such luck. At one point, a sleepy OSFO came into Smartmom’s solitary sanctuary.

“Would you like to sleep in here?” Smartmom said fearfully, pointing to the cozy, single bed. OSFO said no. Phew.

“Do you want to go home?”

“Nah, I want the goody bag,” she said and scurried out.

While Smartmom slept fitfully, there was noise, crying, and carrying on until 3:30 am, when Smartmom heard Divorce Diva desperately telling the girls, “I can’t take it anymore. I need some rest.”

In the morning, Smartmom found Divorce Diva throwing toaster waffles on the table and waiting for the girl’s parents to arrive.

The girls needed help finding their things and packing up.

“I can’t find Piggy,” one girl came running down the stairs in an obvious panic. Eight girls, 15 dolls and two moms searched the house high and low for a tiny pink stuffed animal.

Thankfully, Piggy was located, the girls ate breakfast, and their parents arrived just in the nick of time. Divorce Diva put on a good show.

It was lively, she told them. Never a dull moment. One by one, she handed the parents their child’s rolling suitcase and goody bag.

“You know, your daughter’s doll was incredibly well-behaved,” Divorce Diva told one dad. “She’s always welcome here,” she said handing him a beautifully coiffed Molly. “She can sleep over here anytime. Anytime.”

Louise Crawford, a Park Slope mom, also operates “Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn.”
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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