Items 1-3 are simply backstory. I keep wondering if my 13yo is capable of handling an emergency, especially one involving younger siblings. Don't get me wrong, he's a fabulous kid - they all are. But they are a challenge some days. Today would be one such day.
Reasons we still might need a sitter when a Parental Unit is not available:
1. One of the middle children (and no, I'm not suggesting Wonder Boy) might decide to lose his mind and become... hostile... toward all known life in the household.
2. Said child might earn enough X's on his behavior chart to warrant hard labor.
3. Inmate will have a tantrum about shoveling rock. When the suggestion is made that, since it is too hard to shovel the rock, he just bend over and pick up the rocks and toss them into the wheelbarrow, the inmate could declare "this consequence is stupid."
Here's the part that makes me think the older kids aren't ready to be trusted alone together. Emergencies do happen, after all:
4. While the Person In Charge is explaining to the remaining cherubs that the Inmate is serving his time out outside, crying and something resembling a scream might be heard. Still not entirely calm from dealing with the events leading to items 1-3 on this list, the Person In Charge must try to keep cool.
5. Grievously Injured Inmate might present a bloody foot and expect something resembling First Aid be performed. This requires the Person In Charge to calm the Grievously Injured Inmate, encourage him strongly not to wake his sleeping sister, and keep the other middle child calm as well. The wailing and bleeding will make this hard to do.
6. This is when it gets dicey. If the 13yo is the Person In Charge, he will have to leave the Grievously Injured Inmate soaking his foot in a tub of cold water and crying in search of medical supplies to perform First Aid. Ideally, he would dash up the stairs and locate the hydrogen peroxide, 2 clean washcloths, a bandage and antibiotic ointment, retrieve them and dash back to the Inmate's side. These are things that any responsible parent knows should be easily accessible, right? If the Parental Unit is the Person In Charge, she might delegate the gopher duties to the 13yo and tell him exactly where the supplies are located - she would then remain with the middle children and apply firm pressure to the Grievously Injured Inmate's toe. It seems fairly straightforward.
If the 13yo is the Person In Charge, he really couldn't have the luxury of not being able to find the First Aid supplies. Right? RIGHT?
Today the Parental Unit had to dash up the stairs, leaving the 13yo with the Grievously Injured Inmate. Lo and behold, there were the ointment and bandages! (I will give him partial credit for locating the peroxide... but only because he yelled down that there wasn't any and I yelled back that it was the giant brown bottle staring him in the face.) The Recently Paroled Inmate is now sporting a lovely bandage on his pinky toe and is milking his injury for all it's worth.
In light of today's episode, I just don't think they're ready for self-containment. Not yet.