Home Alone

A Blogging Friend asked on Facebook, “Is blogging dead?”

It inspired me to write a post.

It will prove that in my response, Yes, that blogging is indeed dead. At least here it is.

In nine more weekends, we will be in Florida taking our first full-on family vacation since sometime in 2007. I think. Maybe it was 2006. Both children are old enough for Disney, but Doodicus, being ten, will soon be outside of that realm and think it is all quite dull, or to quote him from this summer’s trip to the mountains, “Lame.”

With Doodicus now ten (by just a couple of days), I did something that may cause a furor with some of you: I left him alone with Aitch while I ran an errand in town. Before panties start twisting too much, I was only gone for 20 minutes. Yes, I know, it only takes a few seconds for shit to go wrong, but I trusted my son with this responsibility. And I have to tell you, he was so excited when I told him. He looked at me with wide eyes and said, “My first time home alone! Yes!” *fist pump* “I’ll help Aitch if she has to go potty or I will get her something to drink and I’ll watch her really closely!”

I may have deflated his excitement a bit when I told him that he’d hardly even realize I was gone. I noted that the clock in my car said 4:38 when I left and 4:55 when I pulled back into the garage.

His initial response to such responsibility was encouraging. As he gets older, that privilege always seems to turn into such a chore, and I guess it will be, since when he’s 17 and 18, he might be chauffeuring his 11 year-old, geeky sister around town. I am also hoping that his response will be just as pumped up when he and Aitch are presented with their personalized Mickey Mouse ears at Christmas, our way of telling them about this upcoming trip (that I STILL have yet to book flights for – I HATE doing that). I am worried he’ll lift the plastic ears attached to the felt beanie out of the box and think, “Oh, hell no. I am NOT wearing that!” and be so consumed by that alone that he’ll fail to let himself get excited.

I feel it’s my duty to those of you with young children: They go from age six to seventeen overnight and the wonder of New! and Fun! and Beauty! and Silliness! gets sucked right out of them. Don’t worry. They’ll get it back again at 21 when they go back to college and a pretty girl or cute boy catches their eye.

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8 thoughts on “Home Alone”

  1. I think it is a great thing for Dood to be able to feel important and responsible. When kids are given responsibility it not only builds character it builds self esteem. I am sure you heaped praise on him about what a great job he did (not letting the house implode for example) and he matured a teensy bit right then. (Though having sons, I can tell you first hand it won’t really affect the belching, farting, and remote control hogging—but inside he felt a burst of pride that he wouldn’t dare show you).

    Please do yourself a favor and have a video camera hidden, recording the mouse ear opening. You won’t regret it.

  2. My sister and I were walking ourselves to school at 7 and 8. Mom let us stay home alone when I was 10 – although she should have guessed we’d probably try to kill each other. (We did try. Many times) I think you might run into a little bit of trouble if you left Doodicus on his own, but throw his sister in the mix, and he’s going to step up. He wouldn’t let anything happen to her…at least, not yet. I’m sure he’ll love the trip – even if he tells you it’s lame.

  3. I think only you know your own kid well enough to know if they’re responsible enough to stay home alone. At his age, I was watching my 5 year old sister after school. I was 12 when I started babysitting and one of our babysitters is 13 and acts like a 17 year-old. I trust her implicitly. Like Electriclady said, you have to give them responsibility for them to learn to be responsible. Sure, things can go wrong. One time, when I was ten (my sister wasn’t home at that point), I had the neighbor boys over (get your mind out of the gutter) and we set our kitchen garbage can on fire (an accident), but hey, the house is still there.

  4. I was a latch key kid (remember those?) when I was 8 years old. My parents had to leave for work before I had to leave the house to walk to the bus stop. After school, I made the same walk home to an empty house. I think I was by myself about 2 hours before they came home.

    These days, my parents would probably be hauled off to jail for letting me do things like that!

    I think kids grow up too fast these days and yet in other ways, they are not allowed to grow up at all.

  5. My oh my AMEN on the rapid growth phase! I alternate between pride & regret at how quickly my Big Boy (13.5) is growing up…

    But yes, I myself got to stay “Home Alone” when my parents went out on the town starting at about age 10 – I LOVED it! It’s a little easier in this day & age, since Z can call me on my cell ph if anything worries him or goes amiss…

  6. Not dead. I’m happy to read this, my friend.

    When I was ten I was watching my younger brother and sister once a week while my parents went to their bowling league. And whenever we had a day off school as well, since both of my parents worked (at that point, anyway. My mother is genetically unable to hold down a job).

    It was good for me to learn responsibility. And I liked that my parents trusted me in that way, since they were usually all over me for everything else in my life. But I definitely think there’s a balance between teaching responsibility and expecting too much of kids.

    Sounds to me like you are being really thoughtful in how you approach how you give responsibility to Doodicus. And the growing up stuff in general. Scary how quickly it’s gone, and for me it’s not even been 4 years yet. So I hear you.

    xoxo

  7. No panties twisting here. When I was ten (and a half) (in sixth grade) I was responsible for getting myself and my brother home on the school bus, letting ourselves into the house, having a snack, and doing our homework (watching TV/goofing off) until my mom got home from work. I think you have to give kids responsibility if you want them to learn to be responsible.

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