When children become old enough to be left home without a parent, both good and bad things can come out of it. The good part as a parent, is that you dont have to lug all of your kids out with you. You get to go places without hearing arguing, you dont have to constantly redirect someone, and you have a moment of solitude. The bad part is what can happen at your home, without your leadership skills present. For starters, and the least of anyones worry, is that it could result in a messy house. However, there is also a risk of house fires, stabbings, robberies, and lets not forget the hundreds of phone calls that occur from the time you leave your driveway, until the time you return.
My children are just starting to reach the age where I can leave them alone at home for short periods. Generally speaking, if I leave them in front of the TV, they won't even notice Im gone. I pride myself on the fact that I believe, or hope rather, that I have prepared them for this day. On many occasions, I have instructed them when the only appropriate times are to call me (blood, fire, or death), but they still call to tattle…and ask “Where are you now”? I have told them to lock the door behind me, but I still open the door without the key when I arrive home. I have quizzed them so many times on what to do if a stranger comes to the door, but they've never had the opportunity to do what I told them NOT to do yet.
They know to call me if someone comes to the door when Im not there. They know to NEVER to answer the door for anyone…even the police. They have all their emergency numbers on the refrigerator, just in case, and have the phone with them at all times if they need to use it. THIS week, I got to see if they listened….I got to see if they would implement what I taught. The findings were surprising, and amusing all at the same time.
I left them alone last week for longer than I have before in the past…A total of One hour!! I had to take my oldest daughter to the dentist, and the kids were out of school for snow days!! I still took my little bitty, because she can reek some serious havoc…… She was no match for my two boys. It wasnt 15 minutes after getting to the office, that I got a phone call from my terrified son. I could barely understand him as he screamed “SOMEONE IS BANGING ON ALL OF THE WINDOWS IN THE FRONT OF THE HOUSE”! I assured him that no one was banging on the windows, and that it was probably just the neighbors. I suggested he open the blinds so he could see that no one was out there. He refused…. He was too scared!
I then made him wake his brother for support…..the brother that is half his size. After convincing him that it was okay to enter his brothers room just this one time, I got my other son on the phone. Annoyed, he woke himself up and opened the blinds….essentially saving the day. They both lived to tell the story.
A few days later, my daughter needed taken to practice. The school is located about 5 minutes away…so 10 minutes round trip. The other 3 children were watching a movie, so I told them I would be right back. “Yeah…K….MMMHMMs” were mumbled as I left. However, before I made my way back, I got a text from my neighbor friend, saying my terrified, barely understandable son was on the other end of her phone, saying someone was knocking on the door and wouldn't leave. I admit I was somewhat irritated, as it seemed like the same ploy as the other day, plus…I had just left!
As I entered my back door, my boys had run into the kitchen, talking over each other to tell the story. “The strange oriental man…. We didnt answer the door….. He could see us watching TV, but wouldnt leave.” They were frantic. I giggled at them, and told them they did a good job, then told them that its fairly normal for someone to keep knocking if they can see the people not answering the door.
Just as I put my things on the table, and as they started to calm down, my youngest daughter came in with a purpose. Her hair was braided, she had on a fancy dress with bows, her little tights were wadded up at her toes….just a cute little seven year old diva. The only difference was, she had a tough scowl on her face….AND she was carrying a butcher knife.!!!
I couldnt help but laugh out loud at her. I asked what she planned to do with it, and she angrily said “I dont know, but somebody told me if Im scared, and someones trying to break in, I should get a knife”! She had been standing in the living room directly in front of that door, just daring him to come in! This little cherub was going to defend her older, crying brothers. I couldnt have been more proud…..Of not just her, but all of them. They needed a little coaching, but they listened!
What I learned the most from this whole experience though, was that you cant always send two boys to do the job of one tiny little lady!