Jessie’s First Sleepover At a Friend’s House! (And Learning Something New)

For the first time, Jessie went for a sleepover at a friend’s house.  Quite a few years ago she spent the night with a friend from church for a birthday sleepover in their camper–but I don’t count that in the same category because she slept with the mama, a friend of mine from church.

This time, Jessie packed for her overnight trip the day before, and she made a list in her phone of the things she needed to pack the next morning before leaving home.  Then, without a second thought about her mama, she spent the night with her friends.

Ready to go!

I’ve known Karen, her friend Melissa’s mama, for quite a few years and felt very comfortable with Jessie staying there even though Jessie had never been to their house before.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not a huge fan of sleepovers even with my typical kids for a whole host of reasons too much to outline in this blog post. But on this day, in these exact circumstances, with this particular friend in their particular home I felt very at peace about it.  Which is saying a lot 🙂

Okay, onto the sleepover.  There were four girls, all who had Down syndrome, all of whom Jessie has known for many years.  Jessie was thrilled to be included and didn’t express any hesitation about going or spending the night.

Remember when I blogged about becoming an accidental homeschooler?  We might not have done a lot of sit-down-at-the-table kind of homeschooling so far this year, but there are always so many opportunities for learning in our every day life.  This sleepover is one example.  Planning what to take, packing, making lists, checking them off, so much good stuff to learn in ordinary life experiences.

On Friday, Jessie and I talked over what she would need to take. Saturday, they had plans to go to Wal-Mart together so she wanted to take her purse and wallet with spending money.  Sunday, they were going to church so she wanted to pack a dress for that. Although she would be okay to skip one night without her cpap, she took it.  I worried if she didn’t that she might wake up throughout the night (what she did pre-CPAP) and then wake her friends up or think more about being away from home.

First, by herself, she packed everything she knew she needed in her overnight bag. Then, together we talked through what she had in her bag and what couldn’t be packed till the next morning (toothbrush, cpap etc).  As we talked, she made a note in her phone of anything she would need to do or pack the next morning.  I helped her spell anything she couldn’t.

She was spending the whole day Saturday with them and we planned to get up, get her remaining items and head out as quick as we could.  She’s not a morning person.  I wanted her to be able to get up and check her list and not have to think too much or have a lot of questions when we were in a rush to get out the door.

She did so great with making her list and checking it the next morning. She has already been packing for her overnight swim team trips and when she goes to her sister’s.  She was already doing well with that, but I’ve been mostly making her lists. By making the list herself, she has taken one more step toward independently packing and readying herself for a trip. And, she’s learning how to pack her CPAP, but it’s a very expensive machine, so that is still well supervised.  

Jessie had so much fun spending the day with her friends and her friend’s family. When they went to Wal-Mart she used her allowance to buy a new game, Gouey Louie.  I’ve played it with Jessie just last night.  One of the “boogers” is hooked inside and the others are loose.  The object is to pull the boogers out without making Louie’s brain pop out!  It’s a cute and very simple to play game.

Jessie giggles and giggles over this silly game.
Playing Gooey Louie!

When Jessie FaceTimed me while with all her girl friends, I told her if I had known they wanted to pick boogers I would have just let them all pick mine…which set them off giggling and cackling like crazy.

Karen told me that when Jessie got her CPAP mask on she easily and quickly went to sleep.  She had gotten up earlier than usual that morning and had a full and fun day so I had hoped she wouldn’t have any trouble going to sleep and she didn’t.  I was surprised that she didn’t even call me to tell me good night like she usually does at her sister’s.

She went to church with Melissa and her family and then had lunch with them before I picked her up.  She didn’t act in any hurry to leave when I got there either.

Jessie and Suzie at church.

When she got in the car I said, “So, tell me all about it! How was your sleepover?”  She replied with, ” I had a good time, that’s all.”  Sigh.  She did continue over the next few minutes with a trickle of details here and there but in general her description was anti climactic.  She had a good time, that’s all.

It was such a treat to have a little time where I wasn’t “on call”. Jordan and Josh had come home from a vacation and we spent a little time with them. Evan was out-of-town so it was just Jay and me at home at bedtime.  It felt weird, not to tuck Jessie in and put her cpap mask on.  But it felt nice too.  It is good to have a break now and then when she’s with someone we trust.

Her first sleepover was both a fun experience for her (and for me) and an opportunity to learn and grow.  Win-win.

I hope YOU’VE had a good week.  I say that often, but I really do mean it.  There’s a mama I’ve been following on Instagram recently.  She has a newborn just a few weeks old with DS who will soon have open heart surgery.  I will never forget as long as I live what it felt like to be in that place.  Then just a couple of days ago her precious baby started to have seizures.  My heart has been heavy and I’ve been praying for them.

I haven’t had every experience related to Down syndrome that there is.  But I’ve been on this DS journey for 17 years.  I genuinely love connecting with other mamas, celebrating their successes, and sharing their sorrows.  Whether by blog comments, Facebook or Instagram I love connecting with you and getting to know you better.

Till next week friends,


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