Friday, 23 March 2012
Our minion is all grow’d up
It’s amazing how years of operating under a particular set of circumstances makes you forget certain options when you’re problem-solving. After 13 years of arranging the constant care of one’s minions, from birth, it feels unnatural to incorporate “no supervision” into the repertoire. Yet it shouldn’t be, and it’s a prompt to start thinking outside the “minor” box in a range of different minion-related matters.
Mrs G and I have been preparing for the coming school holidays, and since we both work full-time, we have to arrange care for the minions. Grandparents have never been a reliable option, as they’re variously not local, fully occupied with running businesses or still teaching. A series of school changes means that we don’t know any of the minions’ friends’ parents well enough yet to consider them as holiday carers.
So, we got the local YMCA vacation care program details, and that all looked OK, and we started filling out the enrolment forms. At that point I noticed that the program is “for primary school aged children only”, and we have a secondary aged minion. Uh-oh, spaghettios!
Now, while we do usually try to conserve our leave to take reasonable breaks as a family, it is accepted that sometimes we have to use it to cover school holidays. The problem this time around is that Mrs G and I have both recently started new jobs, and we have very little leave accrued. What to do?
It was around this point that Mrs G realised that our eldest minion is about to be 13 and is probably old enough to simply be left at home for the odd day here and there. True enough. Allowing this possibility very quickly sorted out the logistics of the holidays. The fact that we got as far through our planning process as we did before working out there was another option is the wonder of the thing. I got to pondering whether it was because we are less permissive with our minions than our parents were with us, or whether we'd just forgotten to adjust our expectations as our eldest got, well, older.
When I think about it, at that age I was reasonably often left alone during school holidays, to entertain myself and find my own lunch, etc. I had a key, in case I went out on my bike to visit some fellow minions, or to go get a Mars Bar. From the age of 12 I would take myself to swimming training (summer) or hockey training (winter) on a bike, several kilometres away, sometimes at 5.30 in the morning. While I don't think I'd be happy about our minion heading out at 5.30 in the morning on a bike to train just yet, I am reasonably comfortable with the idea that she can be trusted for a day by herself in the house. So I think we are simultaneously a bit less permissive and forgetful of her burgeoning maturity.
Trawling around the web, those nostalgic pieces comparing the technologies and freedoms of different generations are pretty common. I guess this is one of those moments for me.