The other day Ricki announced to me as we were waiting for the bus, “(Give me the) Bus ticket, I want to go by myself.”
It just so happens that I often let her give her fare to the driver, and to sit by herself. But this time she was saying the sentence with a different intonation. She wanted complete independence.
“But Ricki, I also have to get home, I also need to ride the bus!”
So, reluctantly, she acquiesced to my use of public transportation. But I not only allowed her to pay, and sit alone. I purposely did not look in her direction. I did not indicate where to get off. She managed fine, as I had expected.
The following day she was again begging me to get on the bus entirely by herself, and I found myself again explaining that I also needed to get to the place we were traveling to. But I was puzzled at her insistence, her tone of demand.
I mentioned this to one of her brothers, and it seems that a family member had once or twice let her ride the bus alone. Entirely alone. I was absolutely “floored”. It is true that she knows were to get off, and acts nicely on the bus. HOWEVER, if someone would start up with her, if the bus would suddenly change its route, or if she would miss her stop, she would not be ready to handle such a situation. I DO NOT intend for Ricki to have escorts on the bus all of her life. Why do I usually let her pay and sit by herself? In fact, I have been pondering lately how I can teach her to handle the situation of a missed bus stop. (Any ideas are welcome…) But we are still not to the point that Ricki can go on the bus completely independently…
But I’m not worried. Ricki will see to it that we get there. She not only wants independence, she demands it. She just needs to know that independence comes coupled with responsibilities.