Add me to the list of moms who answer "YES!" to the question: Has your child ever locked you out of the house?
I told Matthew I'd be right back and went to get the mail, not closing the door all the way. It took less than a minute, especially in 30°F weather when I ran to the mailbox and ran back to the house. As I reached the front door, I heard the door close all the way, then I heard a *CLICK*!!
I tried the doorknob. I could turn it. Matthew had locked the deadbolt! He had never done this before. I never taught him that but I'm sure he's seen me lock the front door hundreds of times. I couldn't believe it! Obviously this boy has great fine motor skills.
There I was in the cold (luckily I had a jacket and scarf on), wide-eyed, heart pounding, looking in through the glass on the side of the front door. I didn't have the cordless house phone on me or my cellphone or a house key. I wanted to break down the door.
My sweet 3-year old was smiling at me through the glass and twisting the doorknob. He thought this was a game. Of course, he didn't know how to unlock the deadbolt. I could see Elizabeth was still happy in her jumperoo. I rang the doorbell and knocked on the door. That kept Matthew at the door where I could see him. The house was kid-proofed but it just made me feel better if I could see him.
Then I made a quick dash across the snow-patched lawn to our neighbor's. Thank goodness they were home! I used their phone to call my sister-in-law, who had a spare key and I knew she was out and about in our area at this time. No answer on her cellphone. Panic! I called Bill at work. He was 40 minutes away but he could make some calls for me.
I ran back to the house. Matthew was still at the door smiling at me when I knocked and rang the doorbell. Elizabeth was starting to pout in her jumperoo. Uh-oh! Maybe I can just break a window to get in??
One more call, I thought, and ran to the neighbor's and got a hold of my sister-in-law this time. She was 5 minutes away and on her way. Whew! In the meantime, I had asked our neighbor if they could try picking the garage door lock and perhaps I could get in that way. Our neighbor tried and tried but the lock wouldn't give.
Then my sister-in-law arrived. And she had a key to our house!! Whew! Quickly thanking the neighbor, I rushed to the front door with my rescuer. With one turn of the key in the lock, we were in!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Kris!!
I hugged Matthew tight. Elizabeth had just started crying so I got her out of her jumperoo and hugged her tight too.
This scary experience probably took 5 years off my life in the 15 minutes that I was locked out of the house.
Moral of the story:
Always be prepared and have a back-up plan that does not involve relying on other people or breaking down the door or breaking a window.
What if Kris wasn't nearby? What if my next-door neighbors weren't home? What if...
The plan of action:
- Have a house key on me at all times, especially when stepping outside for just a minute to grab the mail. I'm going to get a wrist or arm wallet so I can wear my house key all day.
- Hide a house key somewhere outside.
- Take along a cellphone or the cordless house phone.