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Martin and I think we shall try and spot some shooting stars tonight, if I can stay awake until it's dark enough. It's fairly clear and the sunset is a lovely glowing orange against the blue. It's turned all the little clouds pink.

Karin is spending the night with a teammate friend in Södra Sandby, the next village over. As glad as I am that she has made so many good friends on her soccer team and is finally reveling in girl friendships and everything that goes along with them, it makes me crazy when she calls me up at the end of the day, when she should have been HOME ALREADY and asks if she can sleep over at a friend's house that she is already at. Am I alone in this? I think at least a day's notice is simple courtesy, both for the family she is sleeping at and for us. I think I'm being a little over-sensitive but she's spent the night away SO much since she started playing soccer in Sandby that I'm a little nervous all the parents are wondering why she doesn't want to go home.

I told her since she didn't have any overnight stuff with her she would have to bike home from Sandby first and fetch it. I already feel like we drive to Sandby EVERY SINGLE DAY either for groceries or soccer or whatever, and with gas at over $100 a tank, it's a bit much to be doing any extra unnecessary driving when it's only a 20-minute bike ride away and the sun is shining. Okay, she said, I'll come home and get my stuff.

2 hours later she still wasn't home and when I called her, she said her friend's mom was going to drive her home to get her stuff. ACK!

NO!! I said. That's not fair to them, I explained. If I don't want to drive over, why should her friend's parents have to do it, just because she's too lazy to get on her bike?? I told her I would drive her back, in that case, but she needed to bike home right away. (and I was getting angrier by the second on the phone).

Okay, she said. Okay, okaaaay.

Then her friend's FATHER called me (ACK! ACK!!) and said, really, it was no problem for them to run her home to fetch her stuff and ACK ACK ACK. Okay, I said, capitulating. Thanks a lot kid, for making me look like the bad guy.

So THEN, she and her friend's mom AND her friend AND her other friend (who is also spending the night there) all showed up...and the 3 of them were obviously bodyguards to make sure I didn't eat Karin alive when she got in the door. Talk about embarrassing! I had a very nice chat with the mom while the girls packed up Karin's stuff and at one point, Karin called out from the bedroom, "Mom, Sara digs you!" while the other girls giggled and I retorted, "Even though I'm so MEAN??" Heh.

I gave her a hug and a kiss as she went out the door and whispered in her ear, "You'd better be home tomorrow night, missie, OR ELSE."

Shooting Star Belated Birthday Wishes to Russell!
mood: amused
music: Tiny Tower tunes from the iPad


I fall soundly on your side because my mother had a very firm rule: if you ask me if you can have a friend sleep over in front of the friend, the answer will always be NO. In general this really meant you had to have asked at least a day in advance. Though I have met parents who seem not to care. By that I mean they don't mind hosting a kid on the spur of the moment and they usually seem to feel it makes their lives easier to have their own kid occupied.

Ingrid is still young enough that we haven't had this problem but your post reminds me to set that expectation early. I was just telling G yesterday that I don't mind if I get a reputation as a total hard-ass of a mom amongst her friends. It'll come in handy when she wants an easy out, she can always say that her mom won't let her and people will believe it. ;-)

Well, sleeping over on a school night is definitely out unless there are extenuating circumstances. This whole summer has been one big back-and-forth sleepover party for Karin, so it's hard to say no just because it's the last week and I am back at work.

But I agree, the expectations need to be clearer!

Even with the good excuse that my parents were getting divorced and my mom started working when I was nine years old, there was no sleeping over at friends on school nights until I was maybe 14 or 15. On weekends and vacations my BFF and I were absolutely inseparable and I am glad we got that time together, since we both moved when we were 12. I think that homework and being able to make sure that Karin gets a proper sleep is reason enough for her to come home. In retrospect I am more grateful to my mom for the rules she imposed rather than the lack of structure that took over altogether when we moved to Sweden, but that's just me. You and your kids have much more twp-way communication going on than I ever had with my parents.
Maybe you can have Karin's friend's family over for dinner one night and just make sure you are all on the same page and that it really is no bother to them?

We have the same rule: no sleeping over on school nights. She's in her last week of summer vacation and it's been non-stop sleepovers for 10 weeks, basically.

As for having the friend's parents over for dinner, I doubt that will happen, though you never know. We're just getting to know some of the soccer families, and they've all been hanging out for years as their girls have been playing together for a long time. Plus we don't live in the same village, ...we'll see :)

From Megsie

Oooooooh. I am glad I am not Karin. I would be just as furious. We are still in the "play-date" stage, but we are heading into 4th grade, and I know it is just a matter of time before all of this starts. I do that looking lovingly and whispering threats as well, I am glad I am in good company. I hope you have a good night sans a kid, to me that sounds delightful, my kids are driving me NUTS! (Trying to work, you know...)

Re: From Megsie

We're having a talk about the whole thing tonight, just so that everything is clear expectation-wise on both our sides. :) Urgh. Wish me luck!

If it's of any comfort at all, this is the story of my life, especially during every school holiday in the past 12 months. It's when the children arrange everything by text message and tell the parents, as though the other parent has already agreed.

Last night I said a firm 'No' (school starts tomorrow) and I was informed my daughter's young friend wanted me to know she was 'suicidal'! Just as well I have a sense of humour!

haha! We already have the not-on-a-school-night rule at least, but this is all new to us as well, because Karin was never friends with this many girls before!

I do not blame you at all for being a bit mad.

Isabel's friends have started asking to come with us home after school - she's at Fritids - but I prefer to have that arranged the day before. We usually have errands to run after pick-up and having a friend tag along is a big deal sometimes.
Plus it's only recently that we thought to get a third car seat for any errant friends who wants to come with us.

I'm thinking I need to be a bit more relaxed about it, but I still prefer to be with just my own kids after school and catch up with them. We get precious little time together as it is any way with activities, dinner, bath and sooner than I like to think - homework.

Isabel has a class mate who *always* asks if she can come with us home and when I say No she questions me about why and what we are doing that she can't tag along. If I say we have no car seat she says she doesn't need one, and I say she does in our car (she's a tiny think - shorter than Sofia). So she says she can use Isabel's and doesn't really get it when I say that if she does then Isabel won't have a seat.
Also when I ask Isabel if she wants A to come with us she just shrugs and says Ok.
That is not the answer that will let her come with us. If Isabel's not into it then why should I be?

Also - I got the DVD in the post. Glad you enjoyed it!

Sounds like there might be some issues there with Isabel's classmate...I hope she wants to go with you because she really likes Isabel and wants to be with the rest of you, and not because she doesn't want to go home for some reason.

And thanks again for the DVD loan! :)

Actually I'm not sure. If I say no she'll jump on the next parent to come and ask to come with them home.
Maybe she just doesn't like it at Fritids.

I did let her come home with us once but when I called her mother to ask if it was ok she said they had other plans and it wouldn't work out so it never happened after all.
Maybe when school starts again.

I would be mad too. I get mad enough when the friends around here have Erik over for dinner without asking me. Or they ask me and I say no (because I don't want him to be a mooch and it hasn't been arranged ahead of time or anything). I am really not looking forward to the days of sleepovers. I like the rule Ellen stated about asking at least a day ahead, though I kind of agree with the parents that sometimes it is better to have your kid occupied, but that can be dangerous since you never know what friend it will be.

I think that was part of my mom's opposition, there were some kids she didn't really like and while she could tolerate them for a couple of hours, she didn't want to have them over all night. On the other hand, she didn't want to get into fights (with my oldest sister in particular) over why this friend could but that one couldn't, especially if said friend was in earshot. Hence the rule.

There were also enough of us that one could easily see why she didn't want any extra kids sprung on her after a long day. Carrie, I can't believe people give Erik dinner without talking to you! Heads would roll!

These are all (at least for now) really great girls, so I'm not so worried about that side of things, and they are all, including Karin, in the throes of adolescent BFF-madness (which I totally get), but still. Time to sit down and have a talk!

Oh boy.... so glad my kidlets are all grown up now. And I assure you Liz, someday yours will be too!
I guess the part about staying the night so often is part of the summer fun frenzy, and will taper down when school starts.
We did not sleep over on school nights, nor did my kids, with one or two special exceptions over the years, with extenuating circumstances.

I would have been mad too, both at my child, and a little perturbed at the other parents. If Karin riding home to get her stuff was a condition of her staying over then you got undermined by them. Not cool. They could have checked in with you to see if it worked rather than running with the kids. Possible that Karin got caught up in the other family's thing?
Communicating clearly on all sides seems to get rather muddled in these situations and with different family mores. Don't feel like the bad guy.

Well, hope you enjoyed the meteors.

I agree with you...I was very taken aback by the dad calling me, especially after I thought I had made it very clear to Karin that the condition was that she bike home to fetch her stuff. Things ARE very different here culturally...parents are MUCH more permissive than I am comfortable with sometimes. :)

I was fairly permissive (well in some ways/ about some things), but I still would not have liked the feeling of my conditions being undermined. I think maybe I would have said to the other dad that it wasn't about their trouble in driving over, but that I wanted my daughter to take responsibility herself for coming home and getting her own things.
I can see how the girls might get caught up in the moment of their fun and plan making, however, a lot of time was spent in all this hullabaloo ... probably enough time for Karin to ride home and get her things, yes?
I say I would have spoken to the dad about it, but probably, the first time I too would have caved... then thought about it, and decided what to do in future and had a talk with my child.
AH yes, glad they are all grown up now, but you enjoy it while you can Liz!

I actually did say something similar to the dad when I was on the phone with him, but apparently not firmly enough :)


Hmm I can understand your point. But from being a kid that used to sleep over at my friends', it would not have been possible to say a day in advance! LOL! Because the question always came up when we were playing and having a good time that we didn't want to end. We ALWAYS asked the parents of the house first if it was ok. Once they said it was ok, I asked my dad for permission. Most of the time he said yes if it's ok with the other parents. Most of the time those parents said yes too and that they would be happy to have me spend the night. But then I was never a "difficult" child so I guess that came into it as well. I was always polite and always asked for permission about anything and never bothered the rest of the family unless my friend did so to speak, and asked if I can help clear the table or something if I had dinner there as well.

However I never slept over at a friend's house on school nights. That never happened. There was not even any use to try to ask, not my parents or my friends' parents would allow sleep overs on school nights. :)

The reason why not so many friends slept over at my place was that I shared bedroom with my parents- well dad and his girlfriend (yes... it's true... it was horrible... :( )and we had such a small apartment. But sometimes I had my closest friends over night.

But my friends were always welcome to stay for dinner. If they were at my house when dad served dinner he always offered them to eat too. He did not like to ask me to come to dinner and have my friend "wait in my room". It was no trouble for him to put on another plate...

Of course sometimes my friends said "no, thank you. I will have dinner at home later". And then that was fine! :)

I really liked that about my father, because that happened sometimes when I was at other friends' houses, that I had to wait in the room while the family had dinner. I was not even asked if it was ok to wait in the room or anything. It was just "NN, come to dinner!" or they opened the door and told my friend to come and eat. I felt invisible. Not that I expected to be served dinner - it was just a feeling of "you are not part of us, you are not even worthy an "excuse us while we eat" comment. I couldn't put this into words back then, I just felt so much like an outsider. They wouldn't treat any adult guests that way!

My dad had a strong rule about dinner though, we always had dinner at 6 pm. If I was out and would not be home for dinner, I had to call him before 6. The few times I didn't and was late, he let me know he was not happy. LOL! Same thing if I spent the day at a friend's house and had dinner there, I had to call home before 6.

I feel sad for the child in one of the comments that kept insisting coming home to them.. Seems that child does not want to go home... Probably more to it than a "child of trouble" I think... Not that that is the responsibility of another family, but it just makes me sad to think about that child. Probably not a very happy one. :(

Not all children are blessed with parents like you. :)


Nope, not on school nights here either, and now that summer is winding down, there won't be so much of this.

I can't believe you had to share a bedroom with your dad and his girlfriend: EEK!!!

Most of the time, when the kids have had friends over when it's dinner time, we ask but they always say they either have already eaten or will eat at home later, so we end up eating while they are in the playroom hanging out. Sometimes they eat with us, but not so often. I think it's weird myself, but I try to always at least ASK them :)

Yikes. I would have been hopping mad about the bike rule being undermined. Also, the whole family showing up unexpected would not have helped my mood. I admire you for getting a good chat out of it anyway! I hope your talk with Karin goes well and that you guys can avoid similar frustration in the future.

P.S. - I loved impromptu sleepovers as a tween and teen, and some of my best memories from childhood are from those spur-of-the-moment nights. Hopefully, you guys can work out the kinks in a way you can both live with. :)

Believe me, she gets TONS of spur-of-the-moment stuff. No shortage of spontaneity around here, in fact, quite the opposite!

I feel for you, L,. and I hope that by now you and Karin have revisited the sleepover rules. I'm glad that my son is now an adult, but I remember that the process(es)involved in sleepovers were awkward to go through most of the time, for me and my son- as I'm sure it was for the other side. It didn't matter that my son didn't have to go far as his best friend was our next door neighbor. It didn't matter that the standing rule of no sleepovers on schooldays; only on Friday and Saturday nights and holidays, were adhered to. But that permission process was quite "involved." There were times when my son and his friend would "use" each other to ask permission from the parents(my son would go and ask his friend's parents and vice versa,)hoping that they would be more likely to get a positive answer that way. Still us parents had to call each other back and forth to confirm that everything was o.k. Not easy for me.

Good luck!

Yep, I now what you mean about the process being 'involved'. :) We've had the talk and hopefully it did not go in one ear and out the other :) She's a good kid, and means well, and wants to be responsible, so that helps!

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