Preschoolers Are Fast (or Why Your Deadbolts Should Be At Least 4' From The Floor And Too Sticky For A 3yr Old To Turn)
I'm laying at least part of the blame in this fiasco on getting new front doors installed last year: My youngest turns 3 in a few days. He's sound asleep at the moment and I'm always amazed at how peaceful he looks when he is at rest.
A generally easy-going kid, he has a twisted sense of humor and a penchant for unexpected mischief. Lately, this has been demonstrated in his love of locking everyone out of the house. The first couple times it happened to me, I was lucky -- it was hot, so our windows were open and screens are relatively easy to get through (something to remember, should I ever decide on a career shift from coffee roaster to cat burglar). Since then, if I go out, I make sure someone else is nearby in the house with him or I grab my keys.
This morning, when I was gardening and he was in and out of the house, I had my keys in my pocket and was smugly prepared when he inevitably locked the storm door and the inner steel door.
This afternoon, when he was upstairs playing in his brothers' room and I stepped out onto the porch to grab the mail, however, I was not.
What ensued pretty much ensures I've no hope of a successful career in crime and that my youngest, mildest kid, might actually be the one I'll have to watch the closest:
I had just opened the mailbox when I heard it: *click*. My heart dropped. I ran to the door and frantically tried the handle, hoping that it would somehow magically open the lock. My preschooler stood on the other side of the door, grinning up at me.
"I yocked you ouu-uut!"
I tried to bribe him to open it with the promise of Smarties. (Hey, it worked before!) Alas, he's on to that technique now and didn't bite. Same for hot chocolate, money, a trip to the shop to see his friend Donna, one of Phil's coveted butter tarts.. Didn't matter what I offered, I got that same grin followed by a "Nope! I yocked you out! I funny, Mama! Ha, ha, ha, ha!!"
I pleaded that I was cold (I was -- it's chilly out there today and I had no jacket. Or shoes!), I told him I needed to go to the bathroom, against my better judgement I even offered an afternoon cuddle with "nah" on the couch. No luck.
In fact, I suspect my desperation was beginning to show, as he became resolute in his victory, closed the inner door -- locking that one too, and wandered back to the couch to watch tv, ignoring my pounding on the door the entire time.
"Ah, ha!" I thought. "The tv! I will disconnect the antenna!" So I did, and then raced back to the door, offering to fix the tv if he'd only let me in. No dice. Instead, he decided to amuse himself by taking a crayon and drawing all over the screen on my laptop, pausing to shoot that grin at me over his shoulder.
Then I remembered our bathroom window upstairs -- maybe we forgot to close that one! I raced around the side of our house, got our ladder, climbed to the window and tried to pry it open. Ironically, it seems to be the only window in the house where the crank-out latch actually works. I let fly an impressive (even for me) string of cuss words at a second story height before descending the ladder and racing back around to the front of the house.
I knocked on the front door again, begging him to unlock the doors, only to see he'd moved on from desecrating my laptop to shaking the contents of his sippy cup out over the couch. More pleading, more knocking, some swearing, some banging, and still the doors remained locked. Worse? He smirked and refused to even look at me.
Game on, kid. Game. On.
I'd been outside for about 40 minutes at this point. I'd been laughed at by a pair of construction workers across the street, I'd had pedestrians on the sidewalk giving me queer looks as they tried to figure out what was going on, I was cold and I was pissed -- so pissed -- and really struggling to find the humor in the situation. (Did I mention it's cold out there today?)
I grabbed a pry bar and prepared to bring the drama to an end.
As I began dismantling the window frame for the kitchen door, I heard a tiny voice from the other side:
"Mama? I doh yet you in now. I unyock dah door."
Say wah? Not wanting him to change his mind, I raced around the house one more time, found the doors unlocked and the Boy Wonder leaning over the couch.
"I sweepy, Mama," he said, as his eyes started to close. He then fell asleep, standing up.
Apparently it is all fun and games until someone needs a nap.
Moral of this story? I need to find a place to hide a back-up set of keys.