Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Muuuuch better

I'm feeling much better these days. In fact, it only took a day or two for me to get out of my funk last week. About half of the scab fell off my nose, and I started seeing scar tissue, which was a big improvement. The rest of the scab just fell off today (I know, ewww!) and I'm finally starting to see what it will look like eventually. There's some lumpy spots still, around the edges (where the stitches were) but for the most part it's nice & smooth, and when the pink & lavender color fades, it will look very normal again, I think.

Memorial Day weekend was pretty mellow around here. Like most folks, we had a "staycation" instead of a "vacation." Gas is too darned expensive to go anywhere (over $60 to fill my tank this morning! OMG!). Plus, Mr Wonderful had to work -- hospitals don't close for holidays. So I filled my weekend with other fun things: watching the Indiana Jones movie, getting a pedicure, lunching with friends, and painting the last wall in Tomboy's room. Did I mention that she has three walls in her room painted ACID GREEN? Yeah, ugh. But that's what she chose - and it matches her bed linens perfectly. I painted the fourth wall chocolate brown yesterday, and I think it looks fantastic. It does a lot to offset the crazy green color. Now we just need to get some curtains, a rug, and some decorative stuff for the walls.

Oh yeah, and I bought a Playstation 3 yesterday. I know, I know. But it's got a blu-ray disc player built in, and I was planning on buying one of those anyway, so why not spend the extra $100 and get an upgraded video game player at the same time? It really is awesome; the graphics are incredible (especially hooked up to my HDTV with the HDMI cable!), and the new Guitar Hero III (which I also bought) is loads of fun for Mr Wonderful and the kids. We watched the pilot episode of LOST on the PS3 last night, just to see what it was like with a regular DVD, and the upgrade was amazing. You could see the forest reflected in Jack's eye in the opening shot.

Babydaddy and I are discussing the possibility of letting Rugrat be a "latchkey kid" next school year. It would be really nice to not have the daycare expense, but fourth grade still seems pretty young to me. In the meantime, he'll be out of daycare this summer, spending most of the time here with me, but I'm lining up some activities for him to do for a few of those weeks. He'll have sleep-away summer camp for a week in late July, and we've got our family camping trip in late June, but I'm also going to put him in some summer programs through the city. There will still be a lot of unscheduled time though, and one of the ways that he needs to show us that he's ready to be a latchkey kid is by entertaining himself for long periods of time without bugging me (since I'll be working). I'm not saying I need to have perfect silence and never hear from him, but I can't have him telling me he's bored every five minutes either. So this is one of our "tests."

Another thing we're working on is responsibility: he has a tendency to forget things at school sometimes (although he's been MUCH better this year than in previous years), so he needs to remember all of his stuff (backpack, lunchbox, homework, sweatshirt) every day through the end of the schoolyear. And even more importantly, I gave him a copy of the house key. He has to know where the key is at all times. I told him I will randomly check to see if he knows where the key is, and he has to always know, because if he loses his house key, he'd be locked out for hours.

And finally, there's the cell phone dilemma. Babydaddy doesn't have a landline, just a cell phone. And I would feel a lot better about Rugrat walking or riding his bike home alone if he had a cell phone with him, in case of emergencies. A landline would be fine once he's in the house, but if he got locked out (like if he lost his key) a cell phone would be preferable. And it wouldn't cost much to add him to my plan; I've got a family plan already. But nine and a half years old? That's awfully darn young to have a cell phone. And it's another huge responsibility. He might be ready for it, but I don't want to overload him with too many big responsibilities at once.

What do you think? Is fourth grade too young to spend a few hours home alone each day? It wouldn't be more than two or three hours a day, and he's a pretty level-headed kid. He seems to have outgrown a lot of his rambunctious impulsiveness in the past year or so. He's also very anxious to prove that he's ready and responsible enough to do this; it's something he really wants to do, not something we're pushing him into. How young were your kids when you first started leaving them home alone after school? And what about the cell phone issue? At what age and under what circumstances would you give your child a cell phone?


Laura said...

Hi there. I don't have kids so feel free to throw my 2 cents out the window but here goes. My parents gave me a key when I was in 4th grade and I think I turned out okay. I was required to call my mother at work as soon as my sister and I walked in the door to let her know we'd arrived safely. I remember the day I got the key very clearly. My father stressed the importance of the key and of keeping it safe. I wore it on a purple string around my neck and under my shirt (so no one could see it).

As for the cell phone, I don't know. On the one hand, 9.5 seems awfully young for a cell phone. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense to give him one for the specific reasons of emergency use only. I wonder if you get him a pay as you go phone instead of adding him to your account. Buy a $5.00 card now and then to charge up the phone. If he uses it up by making calls that are non-emergency, then make him pay for the next card with his allowance.

I'm glad you're feeling better and that your nose is now scab-free.

There's my input. Take it (or not) for what it's worth :)


Anonymous said...

Is it legal where you live to leave kids alone? Our law requires them to be at least 12 years old. Perhaps you could have him take a baby-sitting course to learn a bit about what to do in emergencies?

Snarkmeister said...

I did check, and according to WikiAnswers: "The age to stay at home alone is not legislated in most states, and not in California. As long as it is not endangering the child and they are capable of taking care of themselves there shouldn't be a problem."

So it is legal for him to be home alone, although 9 1/2 is still on the young side. I know that I, and many others I know, were latchkey kids at his age if not younger. The babysitting class is a *great* idea; I'll definitely look into that.