A few days ago, my mom came over to my house for a visit. When I heard her car outside, I opened the front door and stepped out on the porch to greet her. With my hand still on the doorknob (I hadn’t turned the knob to release it), I closed the door. In the split second it took for me to close the door, I realized I had made a mistake. I needed to go back inside to grab my keys, just in case Nathan locked me out.
Nathan locked the deadbolt. WHILE MY HAND WAS STILL HOLDING THE KNOB. I hadn’t let go of it, so the door had not even latched closed. He was that fast.
My heart dropped down into my stomach.
Nathan giggled impishly behind the door.
My mom saw the look on my face and jumped out of her car. “Oh no!” she said. “Did he lock you out?” I didn’t even have to answer. I’m sure my blanched face was answer enough. Meanwhile, Nathan stood on the other side of the door, giggling as I peered through the glass.
“HI, MOMMY!” he laughed.
“NATHAN! Open the door, please,” I said through gritted teeth. Nathan flung the curtains over the door’s window to either side. “Mommy! Hello! How are you?” he sang. Then he clapped his hands while spinning around in a circle.
“I want you to open the door, that’s how I am!” I responded. “Nathan, turn the lock on the door the other way, please.”
Nathan jiggled the deadbolt, but to no avail. He didn’t understand what he had done. All he knew was that he now had the ENTIRE HOUSE TO HIMSELF. And what does a two-year-old who now has the ENTIRE HOUSE TO HIMSELF do? THEY RUN. They run around like a crazy little cracked-out bull. I watched hopelessly through the window as he tore through the living room and kitchen. Then I heard his little feet stomping their merry way into my bedroom.
I knocked on the door.
I heard little feet come running.
“Hello?” he said when he reached the door. I knocked again. He knocked back.
“Nathan, open this door please!” I beckoned.
“No please!” he replied as he knocked some more. Then he took off once again. I turned to my mom and asked her to keep an eye on him through the window while I borrowed her cell phone to call my husband.
No answer. Of course. Doesn’t that always happen?
So I did the only other thing I knew to do… I drove to Paul’s grandparents’ house (they live about 2-3 minutes away). I pulled up and saw Paul’s grandfather outside working. I rolled down the window.
“Nathan locked me out. Do you happen to have a spare key?”
He smiled and nodded his head. It was the smile of knowing. The smile of With a kid like yours, how did this not happen sooner? A smile of understanding and empathy. I wondered if the same thing had ever happened to him. I made a mental note to ask sometime. He walked inside and reemerged after a couple of minutes with the spare key.
“THANK YOU!” I said as I was leaving. He smiled that knowing smile.
I raced back to the house, heart pounding in my chest, praying to God that my child didn’t drown himself in the toilet. My mom was still standing on the porch. Somehow, she had managed to keep Nathan fairly interested in her conversation by enticing him to stay near the door by dangling one of his favorite outside toys in front of the window.
“Is he okay?” I called as I raced to the front door.
“He’s just fine,” my mom responded. She was so calm. “I just kept him by the door. Whenever he ran off, I knocked and he’d come running back.”
“I can’t believe he did this,” I said as I slid the key into the lock.
Finally, I was inside. My child ran up to me, arms wide open. “Hi, Mommy! Hello!” he called excitedly. He truly didn’t understand what all the hubbub was about. He only did what he’s seen me do time and time again when Paul leaves…. but he still had to be put into timeout because touching the door is off limits.
And this whole story is exactly the reason why he is not allowed to touch the door.