Home Alone

Earlier this week, 7yo Drake woke at 7:30 a.m., said he felt like throwing up, and promptly did. I set the timer for an hour, but he threw up again before it went off. An hour after that, though, he kept sips of water, then juice, then mushy food, then bland food, down when dispensed charily at appropriate intervals. (I am queen of the barfing protocol. I’ve had to be considering what touchy stomachs my boys have. But, knock wood, we’ve never had to take them in for dehydration.)

Tuesday is usually the day I have to myself for writing and making plans, like the tea a neighbor had invited me to. Just before 1 p.m., I weighed my options, then asked Drake if he’d be OK if I went a block away to tea. He said he’d like to come with me, which wasn’t ideal as she had two younger kids at her house that I didn’t want to potentially expose to a virus. I told him he could have an hour of computer games while I was gone. He rapidly agreed to stay home.

We practiced using the phone, both answering and calling. I quizzed him on what to do in an emergency as well as what qualified as emergencies–pretty much burglars, blood, or fire. We discussed trust and responsibility. And then I locked the house and went over to my friend’s house for tea. I called after 30 minutes, though I had to call twice to get him to answer; he said he couldn’t find the handset. And I came home promptly after an hour. To find him in the exact same spot I’d left him in, playing a game called Crazy Taxi.

I’m sure some parents would think leaving a 7yo alone for an hour while I was a block away was no big deal, while others might think I’m shockingly neglectful. I fall somewhere in the middle. I tried it; it went well for both of us. My experiment returned meaningful results, albeit within a particular set of circumstances. I don’t think we’ll need to repeat this on a regular basis, but I thought it was a promising start.

2 Responses to “Home Alone”

  1. Kate Says:

    This is very interesting to me, because with D I often think about how easy it would be to run up to the store (about three blocks away, before it closed) and leave him home. He’s six. I know I could have the same conversations as you had, leave him with some tv, and he would be fine for 15 or 30 minutes. At the same time, I have a sinking feeling there is no way I would feel the same way about leaving TR (now almost two) in a few years. I very much think the nature of the child is a big aspect of this experiment.

  2. girldetective Says:

    Yes, the nature of the child, and of the situation. Would I leave both boys in 2 years when the younger is 7? I dunno–the opportunity for mischief and mayhem would be increased dramatically.