My day started off uneventful. I woke up with the kids and fed them oatmeal. Then we got dressed and headed out the door.
My friend – let’s call her Shawanda – and I have an informal babysitting agreement. During the week either she will drop off her two girls at my house for a few hours, or I will drop off Lance and Vivian at her house for a few hours. It’s a great little exchange and way for each of us to pursue some individual interests on uninterrupted time. Plus, our kids love playing together.
Today was my day so I dropped off my kids at her house and went on my way. I decided to start my free time by running a few miles on the treadmill. Afterward, I dipped my head into some writing documents.
All was going according to plan. When I finished writing I grabbed a quick shower and was on my way back out the door to retrieve the kids.
That’s when things got a little dicey.
I noticed a missed call from Shawanda – let’s now call her Shawanda Dangerous – as I was heading for the car. Then a text came in that read, “Hey friend. Vivi locked herself on my bedroom… She’s fine! I just may need your muscle to he the door open”
What?! On my bedroom?! Your muscle to he the door open?!
But I got the point: My baby was locked up and Shawanda Dangerous was frazzled.
Mind you, Vivian is two years old.
Before I go any further, I must note that I adore Shawanda Dangerous. We are stay-at-home-Mom friends. We are each others sanity at times and have a lot in common both as Moms and as young women in our thirties.
But this here was a situation!
Since I was already headed for the car the only thing I could do was drive over there and try to pick the lock and break in through the window with her.
When I got there I tried to pick the lock with a paper clip… a bobby pin… then a Phillips head screw driver… then various keys… then a nail… but all to no avail. At first I didn’t even want Vivian to know I was there because she wasn’t upset and we could hear or see her happily playing through the door and window.
The other kids had dragged a bunch of toys in the bedroom before Vivian got caged, which was keeping her busy. We, umm, think the older kids might have had something to do with her current situation, but don’t have any concrete proof that they were the ones who locked the door before it got closed. Kids will be kids?
Somehow I remained calm as I went outside to try to pry the window that Shawanda Dangerous couldn’t get open. Even though one window was not locked, it is eight degrees here today and the window was probably frozen shut.
Once at the window, Vivian immediately saw me, and wandered over.
She said, “Hi Mommy. I need out,” in about as sweet of a voice as you can get. I smiled and told her I knew and that I would get her out. On the inside though, I worried that now she would really want to get out and become frustrated by the obvious barriers.
But I also knew if I remained calm that she would remain calm. It’s kind of like when you are on an airplane and they tell you to secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. In my mind, I knew if I didn’t calm my own nerves she would lose it and then I would lose it and be of no help to either of us.
I put on my oxygen mask.
But the window wouldn’t budge.
I went back inside, and I started singing songs and making up little games with her through the door. Truly, she was fine… but how in the hell were we going to get her out?! I felt a rush of panic wash over my insides, but I brushed it aside.
Shawanda Dangerous started calling Mr. Shawanda. I started calling Jan. Eventually Jan showed up on the scene, and I breathed a sigh of relief certain that he could get the window open or pick the lock.
Nope. The bedroom was impenetrable.
Finally Shawanda Dangerous couldn’t take it anymore. She took matters into her own hands and called a locksmith. At this point, I was playing Where is Thumpkin? underneath the door and jamming my fingers through the crack to sing to each other and then “run and hide.”
Vivian ate it up.
Then we served her Ritz crackers and cheese through the crack underneath the door. She ate that up, too.
This whole time, the other kids were still involved and had turned the situation into a game of “entertain and rescue Vivian.” Lance and the little Shawandas passed toys back and forth with her and talked to her.
Between Shawanda Dangerous and I, one of us could either see Vivian from the window, or see her toes and fingers under the door. We held onto that small piece of positivity for calmness, which helped to a point. To no avail, even though I was convinced I could talk Vivian through turning the lock, she wasn’t interested.
Shawanda Dangerous got nervous again and was frantically running around picking up toys to calm her nerves. I was blogging in my head and taking pictures to calm mine. (We all have our coping mechanisms, yes?)
Only a few times during the whole debacle did Vivian get even remotely peeved and increase the intensity of her, “I need out,” requests. We resorted to gummy bears. I discussed their colors with her, we counted them, passed them back and forth, and we made up stories. Yes, I thought to myself, let’s make this potentially hazardous situation educational!
Then I found a small toy dog and slid him under the door. We sang How much is that doggie in the window? more times than I’d ever like to sing again. Vivian did the “Arff Arff’s” with such gusto that I couldn’t help but admire her attitude. Locked up and alone, her participation through a closed-door was nothing less than stellar.
Eventually, I started to get a little weary waiting for the locksmith. Shawanda Dangerous offered to slide her cell phone, with Daniel Tiger cued up, under the door to Vivian, but I declined since Vivian wasn’t crying. It might be a good last resort if she gets upset, I thought to myself. Never eat all the cookies in the cookie jar right away I reasoned in my head.
By now the other children were parked in front of the TV since their interests in the situation eventually wained . Well, except for Lance who came over, but only to pester for gummy bears and not out of concern for his sister in the least.
The kids, including Vivian’s, energy levels all lowered as nap time drew near. Then it was quiet in the bedroom. I kept trying to talk to Vivian, but I knew she wasn’t right at the door anymore. Shawanda Dangerous went out to the window to have a look-see and saw her near the nightstand laying half on the bed. Poor girl was probably ready for a nap!
Eventually the locksmith came, and one hour and 40 minutes later Vivian was rescued from the bedroom. One hour and 40 minutes and not one tear, ladies and gentleman.
When the door finally opened, there was Vivian. Her cute, happy and tired looking little face appeared with a smile. There was a pile of random small toys on the floor, lot’s of crumbs, and the obvious smell of a diaper that needed changing, but we celebrated.
We cheered and we hugged.
The Mommies cracked a Friday afternoon beer and toasted to the adventures of Motherhood. (And yes, I will still trust my friend with my kids again).
In fact, I think I’ll go back to calling her just Shawanda. Or maybe Shawanda Situation.
A few pictures to highlight the “situation” of the day…
Even the locksmith had to go through a few different set of tools and tricks to finally get the door to open. Ultimately, Shawanda Dangerous and Mr. Shawonda ended up with a new lock-less door knob.
And the trooper of the day award goes to…