Word Count: 487
By Peg Scarano
How do you decide your children are old enough or mature enough to baby sit for their younger sibling? At 14 and 10, I believed it was time to put these two to the test with their 5 year-old sister. I had to go to work and their surrogate grandmother was unable to come that day. The hospital wasn’t far away so I gave the decision a green light.
We sat down and reviewed the house rules which included: the pool fence remains locked at all times when there is no adult present; no using the stove – only the microwave; know where each other are at all times; never be alone outside; make good choices; and feel free to call me if you have any questions. I went to work feeling fairly confident.
I received no calls and six hours later I returned home to find them all in the living room watching TV on the couch like little princesses. It worked! Look at the freedom at my fingertips now! My little girls matured into young, responsible ladies who could be trusted to stay home alone. Life was so good.
I then went about my business of starting supper, straightening up the deck and watering the outside plants. I saw a resin chair is missing from the deck. A quick scan of the yard found it sitting under my bedroom window. Upon further investigation, the screen was up and the window was open. My mind, like Sherlock’s, wanted to know why. The interrogation began immediately.
“So, girls – Why is the screen up in my bedroom window with a resin chair sitting beneath it?”
In less than a split second the youngest eagerly jumped up to explain, “I wanted to play a game and they were watching Days of Our Lives and got mad at me for bothering them so they locked me out of the house! I just had to figure out a way to get back inside because of the rule we shouldn’t ever be outside alone!”
If the other two were ostriches, their heads would have been buried three feet underground. I could feel them cringing with panic waiting for my internal combustion to ignite. I took several deep breaths while I am sure sparks were shooting from my eyes and finally said, “Well, it’s really easy to see who is the responsible one in this family and it certainly isn’t the two who should be the shining stars. Not only did you get caught, but the kid threw you both under the bus like a pro! I think you had better get out from under that bus and pick up the deck, close my window and water the plants.”
They took off like a shot, grateful that’s all I commanded while the youngest sat innocently watching Sesame Street with a smug grin on her face. She really was the bright one that day.