Most states don’t have a law dictating how old a child needs to be to stay home alone. As a result, my 10-year-old daughter has become fixated on spreading her wings and enjoying unsupervised time getting into things, er, I mean being home without an adult present. Her brother is 12 and is allowed to stay at home for short periods of time, so naturally she feels she should have the same privileges.
Siblings. I get it, I really do, but that doesn’t mean I will cave to her constant nagging and allow it.
I’ve explained to my darling child that she is not as old as her brother and thus can’t do the things he is able to do. She’s bemoaned me with, “BUT WHY?” to which my standard mum response of, “Because I said so,” has now morphed into a solid, “No.” But based on my own experience of being a 10-year-old, there are the many reasons I will not allow her to stay alone.
1. Gorge herself on all the food I only let her eat in moderation, possibly to the point of throwing up, or worse blowing up into a balloon and floating away like Violet Beauregarde.
2. Burn the house down with the imaginary matches she will surely make appear from thin air.
3. Open the door for a dirty, rotten kidnapper.
4. Forget to put the dog outside, resulting in said dog pooing on my floor.
5. Forget to bring the dog in, resulting in the dog being eaten by foxes or disappearing forever through a hole dug under the fence.
6. Choke on some ridiculous object she puts in her mouth. (I swear that fake retainer I made from a paper clip was a good idea, until it wasn’t. Sorry, Mum.)
7. Leave the house without letting me know, leading me to believe she has been abducted by a dirty rotten kidnapper when I arrive home. (I may have forgotten to write a note in my haste to go play with a friend, Sorry Mum).
8. Buy an R-rated movie off Foxtel, which will give her nightmares for the next three years of her life. (I’m looking at you, Poltergeist.)
9. Walk into the woods that join our property and wind up lost, resulting in a Disney story outcome where she will be raised by talking wild animals and never question where her real family is.
10. Leave the sink water running until it overflows, causing the floor to rot and give way below it.
11. Shoot her brother’s Nerf gun and bust out a window, or her own eye.
12. Ice skate in her school shoes on the neighbour’s small pond, slipping and breaking a bone. (It was a lot of fun until that last moment, sorry Mum.)
13. Make a meal and leave my kitchen resembling the aftermath of some natural disaster.
14. Burn something in the microwave, which will somehow engulf the entire kitchen in flames while she leaves the house shrieking in horror. (I swear the smell of burnt popcorn takes forever to dissipate! Sorry, Mum.)
15. Have an egg fight with her brother on the front lawn. (Who knew eggs were so expensive?! Sorry, Mum.)
16. Paint her nails over my beige carpet, creating a beautiful rainbow of horror requiring entirely new carpet be installed. (Oops! Sorry Mum!)
17. Get into my makeup and attempt to rouge her cheeks like a lady of the night, but wind up looking like someone on a morning-after-uni-party walk of shame.
18. Fall down the stairs while walking in my sky-high stilettos.
19. Climb a tree to the top, and fall out of it breaking her shoulder. (You surprised me when you called my name, sorry Mum.)
20. Have friends over who will get seriously injured and sue our family, leaving us bankrupt and homeless.
21. Tell anyone who calls that she is home alone, practically inviting someone to rob my house and hurt her.
22. Forget all emergency protocol, even though we have reviewed it in detail.
23. Fall out of a second story window when she opens it to throw water balloons at the friend who has illegally come over in my absence.
24. Singe her hair when she leans over to eat a marshmallow she lit off the gas flames on the kitchen stove (At least it wasn’t just before school pictures! Sorry Mum.)
25. Overflow the toilet, making my home a verifiable cesspool.
My daughter would surely balk at this list and maybe I am just being an insane, overprotective parent. But I remember what I did when I was 10-years-old. Based on my shenanigans, she’s got years to go before she can stay home alone.
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