Hands down, the most difficult aspect of being overseas is being separated from family. Among our small ex-pat community here, our kids call the other adults Aunt & Uncle. It's culturally appropriate because Chinese kids call anyone about the same age as their parents ayi (aunt) or shu shu (uncle). But more than that, we are trying to simulate as much of a family atmosphere as we can. We're not trying to replace precious aunts & uncles back in the States (especially for the family who has a related Aunt Becca and Uncle Kevin in North Carolina), but we try to take our role as faux aunt & uncle very seriously. We want to invest & love on these kiddos as if they were are own.
So when certain members of our little circle find themselves solo parenting for 10 days or uncomfortably pregnant, it's time for Aunt Beck & Uncle Kev to step in for a wild night of preschool fun: a sleepover!
Really, it's not that difficult. Just google "balloon games for kids" and you've got yourself an evening's worth of entertainment.
And when that runs out, just let them ham it up on their own.
Just as long as our little friends are willing to eat peanut butter & jelly sandwiches on red bean bread (thanks for doing the shopping, Kev. Oh, house helper, when will you return!?!?) and sleep in rather cramped quarters, we have a jolly ol' time. A jolly ol' time including Sam deciding to address me as Becky since he so frequently hears his friends call me that.
The best part about slumber parties is being able to serve the other families here and making memories for the kids that we love so dearly. On a selfish note, the best part of slumber parties is that the subsequent nap & bedtimes go delightfully smoothly.