Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sibling sleepovers

An unexpected bonus of what my children might consider "loneliness" (aka, a reduction in availability of, and/or the lack of ability to convince Mom to drive 30 miles to hang out with, outside friends every day) is what I call the sibling sleepover (not to be confused with the ever-sacred family sleepover).

The sibling sleepover comes in various forms. The other night we had a huge thunderstorm - the kind that rattles even new windows and blows over mobile homes. I tossed and turned all night, finally falling back to a fitful sleep. I awoke in the morning, fully expecting to see a tailgate party of sleeping bags formed at the foot of my bed, with frightened little (and some big) faces waiting for my comforting motherly glance.

But no.

It took a while, but after wandering the house, I finally found Annie-6 sleeping soundly on the floor next to Libby-10. And Ruthie-4 in Allie's-14 bed.

I'm used to Allie and Libby having sleepovers - they have shared a room practically since Libby was born, and it was a constant source of irritation at our old house. Can we never have a decent bedtime around here?

But now that they have their own rooms (and because it's summer and I'm not having to raise the dead for school every morning), I appreciate watching their choice to enjoy each other's company. Oh, and it also helps that their bedroom is on the complete opposite end of the house from mine now. Anyway, even if they've argued earlier in the day, they somehow forget all that, sometime past 11:00. It makes me happy, but ugh, that's just way too late for my tired bod.

But it's not just the big girls. Allie-14 and Ruthie-4 had a sleepover the other night. I walked in to tell them to be quiet (again), and there's Ruthie, sitting on the bed while Allie and Libby sat on the floor looking expectantly up at her. Ruthie was making striking motions with her hand. After a few moments of silence and multiple repetitions of the motion, she finally said, "I'm lighting a candle!!" exasperated, like, Don't you know anything? I'd walked in on their game of charades.

The big girls are initiating the little girls in the art of nail-painting ("Would you like cheetah dots or tiger stripes?"), hair straightening, occasional makeup, and, of course, self-portraiture.
The little girls keep it fun because they are in awe of the big girls' ability to handle hot and dangerous hair appliances, and because they laugh at everything.

Last night the big kids were wound up, and this time, Neal-13 was in on the action. The last time I checked on them, the girls were reading him portions of Shaunti Feldman's book, For Young Women Only. All day he'd been the annoying brother, but, well, it was past 11:00, and suddenly he became a guy friend who could attest to everything about the adolescent male written in the book.

We had a very big thunderstorm again last night. All three big kids slept soundly through it, and I doubt they had so much as a thought of loneliness, all piled on the floor in sleeping bags... in Allie's room.


Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

Item Number One: Your girls are just SO gorgeous!

And B: I grew up with just one brother, and we pretty much hated each other until we were adults, so what you described is practically HEAVEN to me! I love that my girls get along most of the time and truth be told, I'm a little envious that they have each other.

Susanne said...

Ahhh, summertime. I love this kind of stuff too, but sometimes it's just really hard when I still have to be up early to work. But I can get them all in the basement, I say go for it.

Jen said...

I think its sweet how the big girls take care of the little ones on big sis stuff. You have such great kids Katharine. I hope your summer is going well.

Julie said...

How fun! Do you think my boys will ever want to just "sleep over?" Right now it seems they are all so competitive with one another. Do boys like "sleep overs?" Hmmmm that is a really good question.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lovely home, siblings are the best, special bonds.

My girls are 5, 3 and 1, and I am already seeing some of this, but can't wait to see them grow up and watch their interaction. I also have one called Libby, although I'm not sure if that's your daughters real name or blog name.

Julie said...


I think the pre-arranged marriage thing is a great idea for our children! ha ha How funny.

I should have more picture to post sometime this weekend of the addition progress - the contractors are here today! YIPPEE!

Yesterday we went and chose cabinets and doors.

Queen to my 3 Boys said...

Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog. I really do feel like royalty...mostly.

PastormacsAnn said...

I really like your new header! Your sibling sleepovers sounds wonderful. I love how your older kids love and appreciate their younger sisters.

Kelly said...

Love how your family enjoys hanging together! Sibling sleepovers are what inspired me to move our two girls, 9 and 11, into one room for the first time ever. Just this morning when I went in to check on them I found that they had slept together when one was firghtened fo the thunderstorm last night.
Even though they spend their fair share of time bickering, I think these sweet memories will outweigh the arguing in the long run.

Michelle @ Sew-Krafty said...

This just made me happy...really, really happy!

The Roaming Southerner said...

My brothers and I did that a lot. My brothers (younger than me) always camped out in each others rooms...and I never wanted to be left I would join in too.

We did this every year for Christmas Eve, until i got married. by that time, it was tradition

Kate said...

You know, the sibling bonding thing happened for us too when we moved to our rural community. I miss being able to hop in the car and be anywhere I need to be in five minutes but I would not trade the closeness that my kids share for anything.