Do you remember the good old days? When we played outside until darkness forced us home and a simple bag of shiny marbles to trade was The.Best.Thing.Ever?
If your answer is 'yes' then you may recall the innocent days of 'staying the night' with your BFF. These exciting events were a rarity; strictly limited to the school holidays and only your 'bestie' for company. The highlight was the midnight feast which generally consisted of 2 opal fruits, half an apple and a sponge finger which had been rattling around in the bottom of the biscuit barrel for over a week.
The 'feast' was consumed around 10 pm (because your mum was cleverer than us modern day mums and felt no guilt over tricking us into thinking it was indeed midnight) and we were tucked up and dreaming of sugar plum fairies well before the clock chimed twelve. Basically, we were easily pleased.
Thirty years on and things have changed somewhat. We now have 'The Sleepover', a red letter day in any Tween or Teen's diary and an event which fills every parent with horror at the mere suggestion. If you are currently living in the land of young children or perhaps no children at all, then let me introduce you to the rules of this little phenomenon....
1. The humble 'midnight feast' has been replaced with an endless flow of Haribo and popcorn which despite your best attempts to limit the consumption, appears to materialise like the overflowing porridge pot every time your back is turned.
2. Any attempts to restrict the guests to just one special friend will be thwarted. Immediately. What kind of party can you have with two?
3. Mums should be neither seen nor heard for the entire 24 hours (shorter if you can possibly get away with it). And they definitely should never, ever, send dad down in his pants to tell a room full of giggling girls to 'put a sock in it'!
4. The main mission of The Sleepover is to beat every classmates' previous record of 'getting as little sleep as possible' (it took 2 or 3 occasions for me to realise this).
5. The secondary mission is to completely ruin every other household member's remaining weekend hours by walking around like a zombie, biting the head off any unsuspecting individual who attempts eye contact. Woe betide anyone who dares to mention that tiredness might be contributing to said mood.
So there we have it, The Sleepover in all its ugly glory. If you have yet to reach this stage in your life, perhaps it's time that some brave parent pulled rank by refusing all sleepover requests. It may be too late to save the rest of us, but you can save yourself!