Saturday, December 18, 2010

Locked Out By 3-Year Old

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.

Never again!


Ron said...

My Son Aidan did that to me in the truck the other day. I had turned the truck off and took my keys.

mrsstrickland said...

Ah yes! A 3 year olds favorite game. Little Man does this to me all the time. I have taught him how to unlock the door also and make a game out of it when I am locked out.

Rochelle said...

Oh no, so not funny. Thankful your sister in law was there quickly with a backup key. A great lesson for all of us.

Debra said...

Oh how scary. Here is a tip: our garage has a keypad that can be used to open the door allowing access into the house. It's an easy thing to find, just search for "garage door opener keypad" and you'll see choices between about $20 and $40. Now that our kids are older they can reach it themselves and always get into the house, too, in a pinch. Great peace of mind. Oh, and you can always change the code on the keypad so as to allow a one-time access to someone. Hope that helps!

Looking Up said...

I have a key hidden outside somewhere "just in case". You never when a little one is gonna pull a fast one on you like that. Glad that everyone was OK. :)

skysenshi said...

Wow, that's really a lesson to be learned. Thank goodness, you were able to get in and the kids are safe.

Kelly said...

S-C-A-R-Y!! I'm taking notes (just sorry it was at your expense, Ria)!! Glad to hear that everything worked out well and that everyone remained unharmed!!