Friday, March 14, 2008

Power failure

Last week I left the middle kids home alone while Erin, Fiona and I went to Nelson. Erin had a piano lesson, and then had a session scheduled with an accompanist to record a piece for a video audition. She did a dynamite job, nailing it on the first try through -- no rehearsal. I'll post it sometime. We talked to the accompanist whom, wonder of wonders, seems willing to be persuaded to take Fiona on as a piano student in the fall. Fiona is thrilled!

Since we'd stayed in Nelson a little longer than usual, I called home to check in with the middle kids. They were fine. But a little glum, because the power had gone out. No computer, no TV, no transportation, no creative inspiring mother at home (not!) to put them to work or at least join them in a board game or read aloud to them.

"It's okay, though," Sophie said. "We made a fire to keep warm, and we've lit a bunch of candles. Noah's napping and I'm reading. I'll probably go split some kindling for a while."

Righto, I thought. Sounded fine to me. "Okay, just remember no crazy flips and rolls on the gym mats while you've got open flames around, right?" This earned some sort of "duh!" response from Sophie. Obviously this safety consideration was self-evident to her. "We'll be home in an hour and a half. You know who to call if you need anything?"

It was only after I hung up that I realized that to a lot of people living outside our rural subculture of self-reliance, it would probably seem just a little bit dangerous for a 9-year-old to be home alone manning a woodstove, lighting candles and using a hatchet, all with her mother's blessing.

All was of course well when I arrived home. The kids had the house cozy and warm.


  1. I have to admit I was a little freaked out when I read it, but I figured those were the standard tools in your life, so if it didn't bother you I wasn't going to worry either. My kids can work their way around some scary power tools, it's all about what you teach them. Good job, mamma

  2. LOL That is exactly what I was thinking! And then I instantly thought *How cool is that for the kids. Complete trust in them... and their confidence to be so self reliant*

  3. Isn't it amazing what kids can do, when we let them do what they can. And they do it responsibly, too!

  4. Anonymous9:52 pm

    That's fantastic. I aspire to have such a nine-year-old one day!

  5. It's funny I didn't even think that there might be something wrong with the story until you remarked at the end. I guess it does seem natural to me that kids growing up around those things would use them.

  6. Anonymous8:36 am

    hi there
    im just listening to erin playing that wonderful piece and read "power failure" dont know what it was (music, hormones, the wish to be able to live like that) but i had tears come to me. lol!

    i think its wonderful what your doing with your life, your kids. i am an unschooing mother in the very beginnings. my ds is 13 months and if i can offer him a life anywhere near as relaxed and beautiful as you do your kids ill be very happy.

    all the best

    petra and william (from UK)
    xxx (


This blog is moving to archive-only status. Please consider posting comments instead at the active version of the blog at

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.