After 11 years of struggling with daycare, rearranging my work schedule, and generally freaking out, we decided it was time to let the boys come home after school on their own. After a week of planning and prepping like some kind of military exercise, I decide we are ready. On the three days a week I have to work, the plan goes like this:
1. Ride the bus home.
2. Call Mom.
3. Have a snack, but don't cook anything.
4. Practice music, watch TV, play video games until Mom comes home, but do not leave the house.
I was having huge anxiety over the whole deal but I figured at most they would be alone for 31.5 minutes three times a week. I am mentally unavailable for much longer periods of time even when I am physically present, so it should be fine, right?
Starting at about 3:30, I check my watch, then my phone, then my watch to see if they should be home yet. Finally at 3:50, I call home. Boy 2 answers.
Me: Are you both home?
Boy 2: Yes.
Me: Both of you? You forgot to call me. (They probably barely had their coats off at this point.)
Boy 2: Oh, I forgot.
Me: Okay, what are you doing now?
Boy 2: Cooking bacon.
Me: Cooking Bacon?? In the frying pan?
Boy 2: No, in the microwave.
Me: I will be home right away, maybe wait until I get there and can help you. I don't want you to start a fire.
My co-workers are laughing at me as I pack up in a frenzy and race home. When I arrive home the front door is open, the back door is open, there is uncooked bacon on the counter and not a kid in sight. Boy 1 eventually emerged from the office and using our super sharp detective skills, we correctly deduced that because of the snowstorm the night before, Boy 2 would be at the hill. I found him sprinting up the toboggan hill, unzipped jacket flapping around him.
In review: I told them to take the bus, call me, don't cook anything and don't leave the house. They took the bus, didn't call, cooked bacon and went to the toboggan hill. But, nothing bad happened. And they did take the bus. That's like a 25% success rate. Could be worse.
I thought "Screw it. Do what you want." So they came home, called me, had an apple and practiced their music until I came home. Do you know what this means?
Me either. Probably nothing.