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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 05.28.09
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

The sleepover rules

Please find below the household guidelines regarding sleepovers. These guidelines establish a protocol for non-resident children and their parents in order to make the sleepover experience as enjoyable as possible and to avoid unnecessary tantrums, crying jags and medical intervention.

Non-resident children and their parents are encouraged to adhere to these guidelines or risk being registered on the "that child" list, which could jeopardize their inclusion in all future sleepovers, birthday parties, play dates, excursions, etc.

1. Initiating the sleepover

a) Sleepover negotiations may be initiated by either the resident child or the non-resident child, whether openly or behind closed doors. However, neither party may threaten the other party with not being their friend any more unless a sleepover agreement is reached.

b) Only the resident child may ask the resident parent for a non-resident child to sleep over. Should the non-resident child run up to the resident parent and ask, "Can I sleep over?" the resident parent is completely justified in uttering a quick, defensive "No" and labeling the non-resident child as a pushy little so-and-so.

c) The resident parent has the final say in whether a sleepover will occur. Any reason for denial is valid, including but not restricted to: "It's a school night"; "There's too much going on tomorrow"; "I have a night of heavy drinking planned"; "I don't feel like it." And that's the end of the discussion.

d) The non-resident child MUST NOT ask his or her parent if he or she can sleep over at the resident child's house without first establishing contact and authorization for said sleepover from the resident parent. Should this nonetheless occur, the non-resident parent is PROHIBITED from saying, "It's okay with me," because it's not your house, is it? The fact that the non-resident parents are desperate to have a blissfully childless evening for the first time in God knows how long is not our problem.

e) There may be more than one sleepover guest only if both guests can demonstrate through sworn affidavits that they will not bicker, back-bite, exclude, gang up, belittle, ostracize, traumatize and/or cauterize any one of the resident or non-resident children.

2. Sleepover preparations

a) The sleepover guest will bring the following:

- pajamas

- change of clothes

- favorite stuffed animal or blanket (as required)

- toothbrush

- Ritalin (as required)

b) The resident parents must be advised of any special needs including but not limited to sleepwalking, grinding teeth, night terrors, abuse towards animals, food allergies, food fussiness, phobias, quirks, over-talkativeness, the compulsive need to pick up every breakable object in the house, an inability to respond to simple questions, or a tendency to hide in small spaces, jump out and scare the crap out of the resident parents.

3. The Sleepover Proper

a) The resident parent will remain flexible about sleeping arrangements but will draw the line at a fort made of all the pillows in the house.

b) The sleepover guest and resident child may chat for a while, hereby defined as a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of whenever the resident parent loses patience.

c) Should the sleepover guest tearfully state in the middle of the night that he or she wants to go home, the non-resident parents will be responsible for retrieving their child. They, after all, should have known this would happen.

4. Wrapping Up the Sleepover

a) The non-resident parents will pick up by child by noon, otherwise it counts as two sleepovers in the inter-family sleepover tally.

b) The sleepover guest will gather his or her things and leave quietly, without making a scene or hiding in the pillow fort.

c) The sleepover guest will not report to his or her parents that the resident parent yells too much, cooks yucky food, sleeps in Hulk Hogan boxers, etc. In turn, the resident parent will not confide what the sleepover guest said his or her parents hide under their bed. What happens at the sleepover stays at the sleepover.

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