It was always difficult for me to let my children go to other peoples places for sleepovers. You never really know what people are like, don't know what goes on in their homes, yet here you are sending your child off for the night.
And I know a lot of people don't have an escape plan in place just in case they're at woolworths shopping with three small kids and a friend there for a sleepover, and a crazed gunman suddenly turns up. I know they don't because I've seen the looks on peoples faces when I told them that I did in fact have such a plan.
There have been numerous incidents over the years that have turned me into even more of a suffocatingly overprotective freak than I already was. Two examples.
Kimba was about 12 and went for a sleepover at her friends house. At about 9pm that night the doorbell rings and there she is on our verandah with her friend and mother of friend. The mother then says
My partner came home drunk from the club and went psycho
Apparently the boyfriend came home not only pissed, but pissed off that Mother wouldn't put all the girls in the car and go and pick him up. So when he arrived home the first thing he did was smash in the windscreen of her car. Then he went inside and started to shout and throw things and smash up stuff. So Mother took her two girls and Kimba out to the yard where she hid them in some bushes. It was at this point that Kimba said
I think I'd like to go home now.
Mother snuck into the house, got Kimbas bag, walked to a friends house who drove them to my place.
That friendship kind of sizzled out after that.
The Play Date
Kimba again, aged 6 this time. She went to a friends house for a play after school. When I went to pick her up the mother went in the house to get her then came out and said
Hmm, I don't know where they are
As I was standing there wondering what exactly she meant by that she pointed to the far horizon and said
Oh there they are
And I looked over the tennis courts, past the football ovals, across the golf course and there they were. Two tiny dots, dressed as fairies, flitting about in the twilight. So off I went to get her and she of course had been having a wonderful time she even told me that she
helped a man find his lost golf balls
Isn't that a line every mother wants to hear.
So after a few other incidents it got to the point where I almost had a small questionaire ready for parents to fill out before I let my kids go with them. Simple things such as
Do you have enough seatbelts in the car for all those kids?
Do you let your children play on the road – One woman looked at me as if I'd suffered a recent head injury when I asked her that one. She did laugh and say no though.
Do you let your 5 year old walk to the shops on her own?
Easy things really but you'd be amazed at the amount of people who get the wrong answer.
Of course my kids are all teenagers now so they can extract themselves from a dangerous situation (hopefully). And they're all much bigger than me so I'm hoping that they can save me from the crazed gunman from now on.