Earlier this week I was home alone with Annie and having an utterly uneventful day when, in a couple seconds, it went from “yawn” to “HOLY CRAP WHAT DO I DO NOW?!” because Annie locked me out of the house.
It all started when I decided to be proactive while Heather was gone and do some of our laundry (I’ll never make that mistake again). I left Annie sitting on the couch watching an episode of “Dora the Explorer,” then took a load into the garage where our washer and dryer are. Not even ten seconds later I suddenly heard a “click” on the other side of the door leading into the house. Alarmed, I tried the door knob and found it was locked. I stared, confused, until I heard:
“I touched the door, Dada!”
Once the realization of what happened settled in, I frantically reached into my pocket and found that, since I was just hanging out around the house in my pajama bottoms, I didn’t have my house keys or my phone. My heart leaped into my throat.
“Annabel,” I said attempting to sound as calm and sweet as possible. “Can you turn the lock back the other way?”
“Can I come in the garage, Dada?”
“Not until you turn the lock back the other way.”
I put my ear to the door and heard her little hand fumbling on the door.
Oh please, oh please, oh please.
But then she said, “I can’t do it.”
“You have to, honey, otherwise I won’ be able to get back inside. I’ll be locked in here.”
That’s when Annie burst into tears.
Good one, Dad. Real good.
“I’m just kidding,” I lied. “Everything’s fine. I’ll be right in!”
In a flash I considered my options, none of which were desirable, then decided that my “best” one would be to knock on a neighbor’s door (in my pajama bottoms, no less) and say, “My three old just locked me out of the house and now she’s in there all alone with the dog. Can I use your phone to call my wife?” Talk about awkward. Also awkward? Calling my wife and telling her about of this.
I was about to do just that until I remembered that a few days earlier Heather had taught Annie how to open the door to the backyard to let Rigby out. It had taken Annie about fifty tries that day, but eventually she managed to open the door.
Bingo! I opened the garage door, ran around to the front of the house, then peeked through the window at Annie who still stood at the door to the garage, confused. I knocked on the window.
“Annie! Go let Rigby out!”
Annie nodded and ran toward the back door as I sprinted around the house into the backyard. I then coached her on opening the door. “Turn the lock on the door, sweetie. You can do it! Just like with Mommy!”
For the next several agonizing minutes I peered through the window, wishing and hoping, as Annie tried in vain to unlock the door. At one point it dawned on me that this was exactly what the pirates in the jail cell on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride at Disneyland must feel like waiting on that dog to bring them the keys.
Eventually, lo and behold, the door clicked open. Phew!
I picked Annie up and smothered her with kisses, then laughed with relief at the fact that no one would ever have to know about this since I’d made it back inside no harm no foul. That night, though, as Heather read Annie her bedtime story, Annie suddenly blurted out “Mama! Dada got locked in the garage today!”
Busted. Thanks a lot, kid.
Most doors can be opened with a credit card or similarly slim tool as long as the dead bolt is not locked. Handy trick I picked up after locking myself out a few times. (Once with my kids when the youngest was a baby and the oldest had to pee, so I told him to go around the side of the house and handle business only to turn around and see him w/ pants around ankles in the front yard, business out as cars went by!) It can take some doing, but can usually be done..
I have since gotten a combination lock for the door. Enter your code and it unlocks. Between that and the push button start on my vehicle, I no longer lose my keys 30,000 x’s a day as they are always in my purse and my kids have much more peaceful house w/o mommy tearing it up looking for keys.
The credit card trick saved me one time. I had just popped a cake in the oven and my baby, who was a year old was glued to Elmo on tv. I took that opportunity to dash to the mailbox. As I went out, I pulled the door shut and immediately realized that out of habit I had locked the door before I shut it. I freaked for a few seconds before remembering my neighbor telling me one time that in his college days he had become a pro of getting his drunk, locked out buddies back into their apartments with a credit card. I ran to his house in a total panic, and sure enough, he was able to use a credit card to get me back in…..before baby ever lost interest in Elmo!
Aww, poor you, that must have been stressful! I hate to laugh but since everything turned out fine… My mom accidentally locked me in the car when I was about two. She tried to explain to me how to unlock it but I just kept smiling and laughing at her frantic motions. She finally had to call AAA. She was traumatized, I apparently thought it was hilarious!
That happened to me when my son was about 18 months old. I went to the basement to do laundry (not a walkout) and he locked the door by turning a little button. The front door was open with just a screen door (because it was such a nice day) and I was scared. I did have a phone so I called 911 and they did not think it was an emergency and would not come! None of my neighbors were home and my family was in a different town. I kept talking to him so he would not go out the front door. I talked him through how to open the door and he finally did! Lesson learned, hope you have hidden the spare key by now!
So funny! Thanks for sharing. My children tattle on me, too. I once dropped a container of detergent at the grocery store and my 2 year old told my husband about it later at dinner. “Mommy dropped something at the store today!” My husband loves it when the kids tattle on me! This week my four year old told my husband, “Mommy ran over some buses today in the car!” I quickly corrected and told her, “Mommy drove next to some buses in the car today. I did not run over them.”
That is hilarious!
Ha! Scary but priceless. My 15 month toddler locked my MIL on the back deck when she went to take the recycling out…in January…in Maryland…without a coat. Fortunately we live in townhouses so she climbed onto the neighbor’s deck and scared the bejesus out of them by knocking on their back door. No one had a key and Noah couldn’t turn it back so my MIL and the little boy next door climbed back onto our deck and entertained Noah by doing silly dances until I got home…a half an hour later. My neighbor let me know, I flew into the house yelling at her to please stay with my preschooler still in the car. And since that day they have had a key because oh my holy hell.
Thank god the TV was in the same room as the deck door and all hail the power of Dora.
Totally happened to me when my daughter was 18 months old. I had gone out onto the deck (that was 2 stories above ground and had no steps to go down) for 1 minute tops and when I turned around and I saw her playing with the doorknob. I didn’t have my phone on me at the time either.
I immediately went over to the door and she had locked it. She was on the inside and I was stuck outside. I tried to tell her to unlock it but she didn’t understand.
Long story short, I was out there for 3 hours before someone finally heard me screaming and came through my front door (via credit card) and unlocked the door.
Thankfully my daughter had stayed in front of the door the whole time and actually fell asleep in front of it. Talk about relieved.
Erin L says:
The same thing happened to my neighbor and my husband had to break a window so she could get in. After that incident we bought one of these for her and one for us http://m.homedepot.com/p/LockState-KeyDock-Wall-Mount-5-Key-Lock-Box-Safe/203276499/
I second the vote for the combination lock. Which will be great as Annie gets older— no worries about her losing her key…..
The combination operates a deadbolt so its very safe……. You should do at least one door with it….. JMHO
We recently installed a keypad deadbolt on our front door. We’re in the process of having a lot of work done no our house and we didn’t want contractors running all over town with copies of our keys. As soon as they are finished, their codes are deleted. Plus, I don’t lock myself out.
If you’ve got a keyed entry from the garage to the house, hide a key somewhere in the garage. Hide it in a very odd, weird place so it can’t be randomly found! I have a fear of locking myself out of the house while in the garage so I’ve given this a lot of thought!!
I’ll just sit here and be jealous for a bit because here where I live…..our washing machine would laugh at us for leaving it out in the garage. The thing would freeze up in November and not thaw until April.
Oh goodness! Glad Annie was able to come through and everything worked out fine. My grandmother was locked out of her house by a child she used to babysit — and as he was refusing to even come near the door, she actually broke the glass of a window to get back inside! It was all a “prank” the kid was pulling, but there were no cell phones back then . . . and she was stuck. Pretty sure my grandfather was none too happy about that one.
Totally did that right after we moved in a new house and my 1 year old was napping. I had to run to the neighbors and call my husband to come home and let me in! After that we got some hide-a-key boxes to stashed one in the garage and one at a neighbors house!
I once picked up my niece from daycare when she was 2. She started crying as I put her into the car so I handed her my keys to distract it. When I went to get the keys back I realised it would be easier if I walked around the other side. So I closed the door and started to walk around the back of the car when I heard a click. She managed to accidentally click on the central locking. Given that she was barely 2 she couldn’t understand my instructions to press the button again. It was cool outside but I thought if she realised she was locked in she would freak out, I called road side assistance but they were going to take 40 minutes to come so I called an local emergency locksmith who came within 10 minutes and charged me over $100 for the 5 min call out.
I was working and got a panicked call from my husband that he had locked our 6 month old baby in the car at the post office. He had opened his door,unlocked the car, opened the back door and not realizing it- locked the doors again before he shut the front door. When he shut the back door and went to get into the front he couldn’t get in. And the keys were on the front street. I was about 30 minutes away and drove as fast as I could. He was totally panicked, but luckily our son only started crying a few minutes before I got there. I think I have rarely seen my husband that upset.
@Jenb, your comment reminded me of this!:
Voice of experience here, while you’re thinking about locks and keys I recommend you evaluate the bathroom door to see if it’s possible for Annie to lock herself in there by mistake.
My little sister did that at our grandparents’ house when she was 2!!! The whole family was standing on the other side of the door trying to explain to her what she needed to do to get back out. Funny memory now, but I know my dad and stepmom were panicked at the time!
When my son was 18 months, he locked himself into the bedroom of our two room suite at a hotel. The room had once been two separate rooms and the door was still the original door with an ancient dead bolt lock. I called the desk and they had no clue what to do and sent a a young maintenance man up. He had no clue, couldn’t get the lock or door off so they called 911. It was the the 70-something door man that let in the firemen that knew the answer and shared it with the firemen as they came up. Apparently, when they had remodeled, the locks were stripped so any key would work and he was the only one still around from those days. Thankfully, he shared that because the door was metal at the core as on old fire door and the firemen said they would of had to take the door with the frame or go through the wall.
My son was content the entire time because he had unsupervised access to a toilet to flush. He flushed three rolls of toilet paper, but was otherwise unaware.
This happened to me the other day! My 2.5 YO locked me, my 4.5 YO and my 7 month old baby in the garage after coming home from preschool. Luckily he was able to figure out how to turn the lock back so the whole thing only lasted about 2 minutes but I was already getting my phone out to dial my parents to come over!
I have already spoken to him numerous times about not touching the locks on any of the doors (he LOVES to play with the bathroom locks, luckily ours have a hole in them that you can use a paper clip to unlock from the outside, you better believe I am awesome at that by now!) so to me, it was downright diabolical (you know, in a 2.5 YO sort of way) as he was laughing hysterically on the other side of the door.
The next day my husband took the handle lock out and switched the deadbolt to a key-only lock. Now we keep the key up high right next to the door to keep the door locked and we also hid an extra in the garage, just in case.
This is so funny because I had a very similar thing happen to me. I had just lectured my 2.5 year old on never, ever, EVER opening the garage door to the backyard. (To be honest, I can’t remember why anymore, but obviously there had been some issue.) I had just put my baby boy down for a nap and was about to put my 2.5 year old down too (thank GOODNESS I hadn’t yet) when I went outside to take the garbage out. Our garage door to the backyard locks automatically unless you turn the door lock specifically to not lock. I usually did this automatically so I wouldn’t get locked out, but this one time I didn’t and promptly locked myself out. So now I had a baby sleeping and a 2.5 year old alone in the house. I went to the back door slider and tried to talk my 2.5 year old through the process of removing the security lock and then unlocking the door to open it for me, but of course, she didn’t understand and couldn’t really do it. The front door had an extra latch way up high that was locked and she couldn’t reach or unlock (the reason for the lock in the first place). I was beginning to panic and swear that I never thought to hide an extra key outside when I remembered the garage door that I had told her NEVER to open was very easy to open for a child and didn’t have to have a lock turned in order to open from the inside. I told my daughter (through the glass door) to go to the garage door and let mommy in. She told me that I told her never, EVER to open that door. (The ONE time she actually listens to me.) With some persuasion she finally opened the door for me. Whew! You can be sure I hid an extra key outside that very afternoon!
This reminds me of one piece of parenting advice someone gave me once: “Never use the word ‘never’ with your kids, unless you want to be eating those words later”.
Don’t you just love when you are loxk outside and your kid is your only way back in. My son who is 4 can unlock the door but he turns evet lock on the door, so we unlocks the lock and locks the unlock one. So leaving you in the same situation you started in.
Just the other day my son and i where out side and we went to go inside and the door was lock well i got my keys out and went to unlock it and un that time my son manage to stick his tongue to a medal poll and rip it back off, it bleed and he cried.
Expat Mom says:
We built our house room by room and so the two bedrooms have “outside” doors. Here in Guatemala, that means you need a key to get into them from the outside and the inside was a pull lever to open it. We had lost the key to the boys’ room, so we had the lock set so the door couldn’t be closed completely. My then 2 year old was in the bedroom and he somehow managed to get the door shut. We could NOT get him to figure out how to open it again. He wasn’t strong enough to pull the lever and there were no windows or anything to the room. We ended up telling him to go sit on his bed while we broke the window in the door and then had to get a kid from next door reach through the decorative scrollwork to pull the lever. It was horrible and took over an hour to get the poor kid out. He was hysterical.
The next day, I made my husband get the doors fixed so we could open them from the outside without a key.