Monday, Jan. 10, 2005 | 7:28 p.m.



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Still More Coolness

Are They Gone Yet?

I'm trying to decide if my emotional scars are sufficiently healed to post about this weekend. I kid. Sort of.

I learn from my mistakes, right? Let me share.

Lesson One: Know the children you invite to sleep at your house. Gab was allowed to invite nine girls -- thank the gods only seven showed up. Of the eight girls total (including Gab), only three of them were fully known quantities -- one was partial. The other four? A complete mystery. On Friday, that is. By Saturday morning, I had discovered that two of them were actually shrieking harpies in disguise, the partial was prone to being sucked into the cacophony and the other two were quiet and polite. They can come back anytime. The harpies? I'd have to think long and hard about having them for another sleepover. Maybe a party ... held somewhere else. Like an airport tarmac where I wouldn't notice the noise.

Lesson Two: Limit the number of sleepover attendees. If I had allowed for her to invite the nine, but limit the sleepover amount to, say, four, it would have been fine. Why? Because I know two of the four would have been Deeda's kids and the other two would have been outnumbered. There were so many girl bodies here that they took up two bedrooms. And they kept segregating into groups of four anyway, complete with the political angst that seems to be unavoidable for girls, so it probably would have felt the same for Gab anyway. And gods! The food those kids consumed! Gab came in at about 1 AM saying she was feeling nervous and crazy. Yeah. Like Cornholio in Beavis and Butthead! I told her to go breathe deeply and only come see me if someone was bleeding from an eye.

Lesson Three: Steel your heart and check your calendar when your doe-eyed nine-year-old pleads with you to have a sleepover. I had a planning meeting for a ritual theater piece at 10 AM on Saturday morning. I think I barged in like a drill sargeant, amped on laying down the law for little girls and a lack of sleep. After about ten minutes of my tisky-taskiness, my gentle cohorts said plaintively, "Can we ground?" Oh yes. I was jittery all day, as a matter of fact, and not only did I have that meeting at 10, but I had another evening gathering planned with coven members. I got by on caffeine and ... sheer will.

What went well... the activities and general fun of doing a spy/mystery party. We had games that went well and Deeda's oldest daughter appreciated my witty memos and clues with a spritely smile that warmed my little mom-writer heart. And they let Nina play with them frequently, which was a wholly surprising and unexpected development. Perhaps they didn't notice as her shrieking and laughing blended right in. And Gab did have a great time.

To recap... planned theme party with appreciative guests who play with babies, good. Too many participants for too long on a day when something else is planned, bad.

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