Latchkey Kids

I had a house key at Ane’s age, and a few times a week, there was an hour or two where the Major and Ressis and I all had to behave at home alone, and no one ever died.

I can see Ressis saying “YOU LOCKED ME IN THE GARAGE” but the point is, she’s still alive to complain about that one (one!) incident.

Ane got a house key last school year, to be used on those days when I was running late getting home with the boys from Tad’s ABA sessions on Fridays.  But there is a big difference between watching yourself, and being alone in the house and “watching” your autistic younger brother as well.

But that is exactly what we had to do yesterday.

Rerun was invited to be part of ABA Boot Camp.  This is something the university puts on to train new therapists, and they like having kids to practice on – and they don’t necessarily have to be on the autism spectrum, either.  Rerun is at a good age for this.  However, the session runs until 3 pm.  Not a problem… until I remembered that the kids have early release this year on Wednesdays, and they get out of school at 2:05.

The Webmaster couldn’t work from home – he needed to save that for today, and Ane’s last cross country meet – and I couldn’t be in two places at once, and everyone else was either working or at school or busy.

So, after consulting with the Webmaster and Little Mo’s mom, we came up with a plan.

Ane would let herself in when she got home from school.  Little Mo’s mom, who is on our “approved” list of people who are able to pick Tad up at the bus stop, would get Tad off the bus and walk him home.  She would also be home in case of an emergency, but Ane and Tad would be on their own for about an hour to an hour and a half (depending on traffic), until I got back with Rerun and Thumper.

Ane was to call me on my cell when she got home, and then call me when Tad got home.  (Little Mo’s mom thoughtfully texted me as well.)

I left each of them a note, and gave Tad permission to play on the iPad.  I even baked cookies, poured two glasses of chocolate milk (and left them in the fridge), and printed up Ane’s spelling list for her to work on.  I also specifically told Ane that even though she was “in charge,” she was NOT to enforce rules on Tad.  If he broke the rules (and I’m talking about our rules for using the iPad, not playing with matches), then she could tell me about it when I got home.

When I called Ane from the parking lot at ABA to tell her that I was on my way home, she said, “Do you want me to tell you now what Tad is doing, or do you want me to wait?”

I told her to wait.

When I got home, she handed me a list that she’d written of the transgressions he’d committed.

Rule-breaking aside, the experiment worked pretty well.  However, I am glad that it is one that we don’t plan on repeating with any kind of regularity.  It’s too stressful on the adults.

Rerun had a good time at Boot Camp, and Thumper enjoyed playing with the toys there (which I cleaned before letting him play with them).

Happy Thumper

Tad was kind of miffed that Rerun was going to go “play” with his therapist, though.  When I told him where we were going to be, and why I wouldn’t be home after school, he huffed, “Rerun can’t play with her!  That’s MY job!”

I won’t be telling him that Rerun gets to play with her today, too.

One Response to “Latchkey Kids”

  1. Ressis
    October 24th, 2013 08:14

    I’m still traumatized.