Monday, October 27, 2014

Lock Out

I was thinking this morning of a funny story I never shared here. It happened just about a year ago, in one of the first few weeks after Elliott was born. I was on my own – Keith was back to work, my mom had gone home, it was just the boys and I. The stars were aligning and Elliott was fed and sleepy as Colter's nap time approached. I left Colter downstairs to finish his afternoon cartoon as I took Elliott up, changed him and swaddled him, and laid him down to nap.

I retrieved Colter from downstairs when his cartoon ended and took him up to use the potty. In the upheaval of Elliott's arrival, Colter decided the potty was going to be our biggest battleground. After a bit of whining and pleading (probably on both our parts), I decided to just close the door and let him take care of his business. When the door is latched, the knob is stiff enough that he couldn't turn it at the time. I went downstairs to wait him out for a bit.

Less than ten minutes later, I returned to see how he was making out. I turned the knob and pushed, only to find I couldn't open the door. I tried again and again but obviously that didn't change anything. The door was locked.

You see, in our 90-plus-year-old house, the doors each have a skeleton key for locking them. Most of the keys hang on a nail in each doorframe, but we had always left the bathroom one in the lock for convenience. Colter, in his grumping about, had managed to turn the key and lock me out of the bathroom. And lock himself in.

As I took a few deep breaths and peered under the door at Colter's toes, I was not yet panicking. If he could lock it, certainly he could unlock it. Right? I convinced him to give it a try, but those little two-year-old fingers just couldn't manage to get that tight lock unlocked. He got a little upset at first, but soon found plenty to explore in the cabinet under the sink.

Meanwhile, I was thinking up all manner of things to open the door.

If I put a key in from the other side, could I manage to open it? Nope, the key on the inside was in the way. No surprise there.

Was there a way to get in the window? Well, even if I got the ladder all the way up there, the window was locked and the storm window was down. That's out.

How about the hinges? Nope. They were on the inside of the door.

Ok, I'll take the knob and plate off and see what I can do. I went down to the work bench in the basement to gather tools: screwdrivers, Allen wrenches, picks, whatever I thought might be helpful.

In the midst of all this, I was still asking Colter to keep trying to unlock the door. I also slid a spoon under, instructing him to put the handle of it through the loop of the key, hoping he could gain a little leverage to turn it. I promised a cookie if he opened the door. He did what I asked, but still couldn't get it unlocked.

Oh, and at one point I heard him chewing and frantically asked, "What are you eating?!? Take it out of your mouth!" Visions of calling 911 and firemen chopping down the solid wood door crossed my mind. Finally, he slid the cap of a little sample tube of lotion for Elliott under the door. You know, the perfect size for choking on.

Seeing no quick fix to the problem after I had the plate off, I texted Keith to call me. I also called my dad, hoping that in the realm of his experiences was something that would help me and Colter out of this jam. He laughed, but had no save-the-day ideas.

About now Colter decided to sit down and poop. On the potty, thank goodness.

Keith called me and I let him know what was going on. I told him I'd work on it for awhile, not to come home just yet, but he decided to head straight home. Oh, and this little escapade pulled him out of a meeting just weeks after he started his new position at work. After awhile of fiddling with some little picks and tiny screwdrivers, I hadn't even budged the lock.

Finally, an hour or so into this ordeal, Keith arrived home. Seeing no other options, he drilled several holes around the lock mechanism so that we could put skinny screwdrivers in and push the key around, unlocking the door. Approximately an hour and half after being shut in the bathroom, Colter was freed. He promptly requested the cookie he had been promised.

Amazingly enough, he still went down for a nap. But by then, Elliott was up, though thankfully he had slept through the whole thing and I wasn't dealing with a crying baby in the midst of all of it.

If you are visiting and want to lock the bathroom door, the key now resides on top of the medicine cabinet. Please don't make us come in after you.

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