This past summer (June 2007), our oldest child, a son, was newly 12yrs old. In our state that is the legal minimum babysitting age/age you can leave your child home alone. So, the first time I went to the grocery story during summer break leaves me with this great story that makes us sound like white trash. Trailer trash. They make me proud.
Before going to the store, I told all the boys what the deal was. Rules, boundaries, phone numbers, instructions, whatnot. I thought by the time the oldest child is 12, they would be able to handle themselves for two hours while I hit the Safeway. At the time, the boys were 12, 10.5, & 8.5yrs old. We had not met our daughters yet, so they were not in the picture (thank God).
And they had been to the library the week before and checked out a Harry Houdini magic trick book. It went downhill from there.
I naively went to the grocery store. It was bliss. No phone calls, and no bratty kids with me. As I'm driving into our neighborhood with a big grin on my face and feeling so relaxed and accomplished, I come to our house and see horror. A lady in her 60's that I've never seen before is yelling in my yard, and running around my yard. Did I mention this lady in her sixties was in a swimsuit? That was the first horror. Secondly my next door neighbor is standing out on her deck looking at my home. This can't be good.
As I pull into the driveway, my 12yr old comes out of the garage waiving his arms around as he's screaming incoherently. I get out of the car, tell him to be quiet, and holler to the two ladies that I'm home and have it covered. The swimsuit goddess tells me "I heard blood curdling screaming all the way at my home. It didn't stop, so I came over. You're kids were running thru the garage, yard, beating each other up and screaming. Now I only see one kid, but there has still been blood curdling screaming coming from inside." Did I mention she lives A BLOCK AWAY AND HEARD THIS NOISE? I'm about ready to die at this point. She went home. I hollered over to the next door neighbor and she said she was standing there listening to the screaming.
Personally, I think if it was that bad, they should have just called the police. That probably would have straightened the kids out and scared them (as they should be by that point for behaving so badly).
I went inside the house with the 12yr old, and no one else is to be found. He said "I couldn't control him. I couldn't get him to stay in the house. I couldn't get him to go to his room.........." I finally told him to shut up and said "where are your brothers?" He wouldn't tell me. Within a second I heard the screaming, followed it, and found our 10yr old locked outside of our house, on the upstairs deck. He had been screaming from there. I let him in.
I drug the story out of them. It all started so innocently (not) with the 12yr old stating he wanted to tie up the 10yr old with rope to a chair, to see if he could escape like Harry Houdini. That just can't ever be good. Well, the 10yr old couldn't get himself out of the rope (of course), and the 12yr old wouldn't take the rope off. I'm still wondering how they were so ingenious to find rope, yet they don't have enough brains to figure out how to stay at home alone while behaving. Anyway, The 12yr old finally ripped off the rope as roughly as possible, leaving rope burns on the 10yr old, and leaving him in pain. So the 10yr old tried to beat up the 12yr old. They are the same size. So the screaming started at that point, followed by chasing each other and beating each other up all thru the house and front yard. Which finalized in the 12yr old locking the 10yr old outside of the house on the deck. Which led to the blood curdling screaming.
And where was the 8yr old during all this? Just trying to fly under the radar. He hid so he could stay out of it and remain uninjured. He's the smart one. Actually he's the one with Aspergers, yet he still has enough wherewithal to stay out of serious trouble. Unlike his older brothers.
At this point I decided they would never stay at home alone again. I drug them everywhere with my that summer, making it as unpleasant as possible for them. Ie.....long trips, car trips on hot days, etc. My goal was to show them that it will be so much more pleasant for them to just behave and have the privilege of staying home alone for a couple hours here and there.
I never left them home alone ever for the remainder of summer vacation.
They make me so proud.
In November my husband and I wanted to start going to a twice monthly Sunday evening group at church. I told the boys I could pay the babysitter at church to watch them there with the 2yr olds, or they could stay at home and behave. They chose to stay at home and behave. Haven't had a problem since.
Other than the fact that my neighbors think we are white trash with psycho children. Ah, it's all in a day at my house.