Monday, November 24, 2008

Sweet Sixteenth Summary

Ahh, the birthday weekend is behind us. What a relief...!

First, Blondechick had a sleepover with 6 of her girlfriends. This was an extra-special, one-time only thing, because our family rule is: No sleepovers* (with rare exceptions). But it did seem like a fitting celebration of her sixteenth birthday, especially in a new town with all-new friends. All the girls are ones she has become friends with at school, just in the last 10 weeks or so. We had only met one or two of them, and we were looking to meeting the rest.

(And can you believe, most of the girls were just dropped off, for the night, at a perfect stranger's house! Out of six girls, only one mom had met us before, and only one mom came in with her daughter to meet us!)

So the girls came over after dinner on Friday night, and soon a couple of boys had crashed the party. (Nice boys, so we let them stay. :) They showed each other funny YouTube videos and laughed loudly for a couple of hours; then the boys were picked up and the "pajama party" began. (I threw out that phrase once as a synonym for "sleepover" and the girls thought it was hilariously quaint.)

They let me watch a movie with them, because I had never seen it (and because I came bearing brownies); it was Mean Girls, which some of them had memorized! It's about a homeschooled girl who goes to school for the first time (like Blondechick!) as an eleventh grader and gets involved in a plot to bring down "The Plastics," the most popular girls in the school. She gets sucked into their phony ways, ruins all her relationships, repents and all of them are magically repaired with no harm done, apparently. It's a movie with a lot of characters that are fun to make fun of. (But you would need to screen it to see if it's okay for your family.)

Then I went to bed and the girls stayed up for many more hours...but they were up early enough the next morning for a mid-morning brunch. Then it was showers for all, and a day-long primping session (involving super-spiffy dresses and lots of hairspray).

First the boys arrived, dressed in shirts and ties, and all 15 of us (Blondechick and friends, plus Bantam13, Papa Rooster and me), piled into our 15-passenger van, its windows decorated with "Happy Birthday," "Sweet 16," etc. in pink and silver window paint. Then PR and I played DJ, putting in CD's at Blondechick's direction, and blasting the music while the kids sang along.

When we arrived at our destination, Olive Garden, we hit a snag: there would be a 35 minute wait for a party our size, and we didn't have that much time, since we had a movie to catch. Undeterred, we squeezed back into the van and went to Steak and Shake instead, where our waitress asked everyone in the whole restaurant to help her out in singing "Happy Birthday" to Blondechick.

Next we headed over to the movie theater to be nearly first in line for the movie Twilight, which had just opened the night before. It is based on the enormously popular book series about a girl who falls in love with a teenage vampire. I had read enough Christian bloggers' book reviews to be comfortable with the storyline, and we all enjoyed the movie. (I thought it portrayed powerfully the archetypal tension: is the masculine dangerous or trustworthy, or simultaneously both?)

I took everyone home afterwards, first dropping off Papa Rooster (who had a sermon to preach the next morning!), and the one boy who had driven himself to our house. It took nearly an hour to make the circuit, but it was interesting to see where everyone lived and I got to know some of the kids a little bit more as the group got smaller and smaller. PR and I concluded that BC has picked out a really nice group of friends. They're energetic and fun without being obnoxious; they were polite to us and good-natured with each other.

After church on Sunday, even though she was exhausted, I took Blondechick to a mall where it was the last day of a jewelry sale, to buy her a purity ring, which she requested. We had seen the perfect thing in their catalog at an excellent price, because instead of diamonds, this ring has white created sapphire baguettes twisted around a yellow gold band. (Unfortunately, we had to get a rain check, but I have to go back anyway because they're fixing my wedding band; on the routine clean and check, they discovered a loose baguette.) But they did show us the ring and it's just what she wants, so we're happy.

Then I dropped her off at a movie theater to meet a friend from our neighborhood who has been trying to take her to see High School Musical 3 for her birthday, and we keep having to reschedule. (Might as well get it all over with this weekend, we thought!)

So Blondechick16 had a very full birthday weekend. We usually only allow one event per weekend, so this was quite unusual! That's a rule we've only made since she started school, and she told me the other day.... Oh yes, on Wednesday, when she had a half-day of school, I took her out to lunch for her birthday (on Red Robin!; if you have one near you, sign up for the Birthday Club!) and we had a great talk. She told me was that she's come to appreciate the "one thing per weekend" rule--that we're right, she does need some down-time on the weekends, and that rule is a great excuse to pick and choose which events she most wants to go to, without hurting anyone's feelings. So that was nice to hear!

Now it's back to school and real-life, again. I'm sure she's tired today!!

And my other kids...are playing outside in the FIRST SNOW!!!!

School will begin after lunch today.

*We have multiple reasons for making this rule. First, our own memories of sleepovers indicate that generally, not much good happens after midnight when adults are not present. Second, in our years in the healing ministry and in PR's years in church ministry, we have heard tale after tale of abuse that happened "at a friend's house": an older brother, a father, a mother's boyfriend; pornographic movies at the other house, viewed or homemade, or other pornographic materials; even sexually aware and curious children--we've had some "situations" that occurred under our own roof, with friends over during the daytime! Third, it's difficult to say that our kids can go to sleepovers at this house and not this one, without offending someone or confusing our kids, and it's hard, in a new town where we don't know many of our kids' friends' families, to even make that call. Fourth and finally, we have a lot of children, and we don't like dealing with grouchy, cranky, sleep-deprived kids. It's amazing how three perfectly good days can be ruined just for three hours past midnight!


Momma Smith said...

What fun!!! It sounds like a good time was had by all and you and PR got to know her friends... We'll definitely be picking up some of those tips on weekend scheduling as well as the 'no sleepover' rule.

Linds said...

I think that your lovely daughter must have had a beautiful weekend. And how lovely that you got to know her friends at the same time. I think you are doing an amazing job as parents, Jeanne!

Melinda said...

First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your beautiful daughter.

I totally agree with your sleepover rule and we will most likely adopt that rule for our youngest when she gets to the sleepover age.

We've seen "Mean Girls" here too and found it entertaining, if a bit unrealistic. My older girls, ages 19 and 16 are both eager to see "Twilight" after devouring all 4 novels in record time.

I too am always surprised by the disinterest so many parents show in who their kids are with. I would never have dropped off my kids at someone else's house without meeting the parents at least briefly.

Glad your daughter had such a wonderful weekend!

Susan said...

my parents had a no sleepover rule for us growing up for exactly the same reasons--and that was 30+ years ago! not sure if that's what kept me out of trouble, but i'm sure it helped! i love reading about your parenting ideas. with your guidance, BC16 is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside!

Rosa said...

If you (and Blondechick) enjoyed Twilight, you really should check out the books! I really did not care for the movie, mostly because the books have so much more depth in them. (I can see that it would be very difficult to put all of it in a film!)

I'm happy to hear that the occasion was a success! =)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great birthday!! Glad to hear she has made friends.

Jen in Seattle

Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

Wow. I'm exhausted just reading all that. I'm glad you had fun. :)

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TwoSquareMeals said...

Sounds like a fantastic birthday! Y'all are great parents.

The no-sleepover rule is new to me. Since our boys are still little, we hadn't even thought about it. But it sounds like a wise idea. I can't recall much good coming out of sleepovers. I'm curious, does that also mean that can't have just one friend spend the night or is it just for a group?

At A Hen's Pace said...

Two Square--

For us, that means no sleepovers at all, neither in groups or one at a time, because even just one at a time still raises all the questions like, why only at our house, or why this child and not that one, and of course there's still the sleep deprivation to deal with. (Times six, potentially, for us, 'cause if one gets a sleepover, they all want one!)

We do make exceptions, for example if we are helping out a friend by keeping their kids for a weekend, or a friend is helping US out for the weekend. We'll bring a friend with us camping sometimes, and they'll have sleepovers with cousins on visits. And as they've gotten older we've made a few exceptions like this one for BC's party. But having the norm be "no sleepovers" has been very helpful.

Everyone--thanks for all the birthday wishes...

And Blondechick has started the first Twilight book already!


Rosa said...

Ooh! I'm so excited for her! She'll love the books!!! =)