When we asked our daughter what kind of party she'd like for her ninth birthday, Sophie didn't hesitate: "A sleepover with, like, makeovers for everybody with facials and hair and nails and pizza, and we'll give everybody Aero Beds with their names MONOGRAMMED on them in fancy hot pink thread, and we'll go to the water slide and the bowling alley and maybe a movie afterward."
"Excuse me, but did you just get adopted by Brad and Angelina, and I haven't heard about it yet?"
"Huh? No. Oh, and we can get a lady to come and give everybody henna tattoos for their arms and ankles and belly buttons and then a really big one all the way around their NECKS! And we can PIERCE EACH OTHER'S EARS!"
"Well," I began lamely, "as long as you're keeping things within reason."
By this time, my daughter was making a list of supplies that would be needed.
"We can rent a popcorn machine and a slushy machine and have a make-your-own sundae bar and we can make s'mores!"
"Won't all that junk food make everybody hurl?"
"No," she said. "Nobody ever gets sick at a sleepover. They're too much FUN!"
"What about the kid who got the 104-degree fever at the last one and thought she was Willy Wonka?"
"Oh, that was just one time."
Finally, on the appointed day, nine little girls arrived with sleeping bags, Aero Beds, and apparently, 18 pairs of pajamas apiece. (I'm still finding towels and pajama bottoms everywhere but inside my toaster oven.) Some of these kids had more luggage than Ivana Trump.
We downsized the party after I explained some parents might not be thrilled the next morning to discover their daughters were freshly tattooed and pierced.
"What about spray tans?" Sophie asked. "That would be cool."
At the party, we realized that 9-year-old girls have very short attention spans.
"When are we eating?"
"Can she open presents now?"
"Is my arm broken? It really hurts."
"I'm going to ask you for two hamburgers but I'm really just going to eat one small bite and say it's 'too hamburgery.'"
(Crying) "She said I liked a boy!"
By 1 a.m., my official lights-out, we realized that one little girl didn't have her fan for "white noise."
"I can't sleep without it. You can call my mom and dad," she said cheerily. "They won't mind bringing it across town."
Channeling the wisdom of my foremothers, I put her sleeping bag in the tub and turned on the bathroom fan. Perfect.