How do you know when your baby has become a toddler? Some would say it’s when they begin walking and talking. I’d say it’s when they start making mischief.
The other day, I was home with Chloe (16 months) and my mother-in-law. We stepped outside the front door for some fresh air, with Chloe toddling just behind us in the doorway. So there we were, chatting away, enjoying the balmy weather, admiring the progress on the new house being built nearby, when Chloe got a big idea.
Before I could say, “Wow, look at those gross motor skills!” she slammed the door in our shocked faces. Did I mention the door locks automatically? Did I mention our keys were inside?
The next 10 seconds felt like 30 minutes. My baby. Alone inside the house. With no way to get to her. Here comes the panic!
I paced the walkway while trying to kick start my sleep-deprived mom brain and run all the possibilities: Could I get in through the garage? Nope, locked from the inside. Any open windows today? No, A/C on full blast. Who else has our key? Nobody close enough. Chloe interrupted the spinning top in my brain, plaintively calling for Mama from behind the door. I bolted to the nearby construction site.
My mother-in-law, bless her, sang nursery rhymes through the door to keep Chloe from wandering off to find the kitchen knives. I returned with a burly construction worker carrying a crowbar. “Break it!” I shrieked, pointing to the front window. He shattered the glass, then helped me climb through, miraculously without cutting myself. I snatched Chloe and opened the door. Glass everywhere, but not on the baby.
When I called Dave, it was partly to inform (broken window, repairs needed) and partly for TLC. My heart was still beating out of my chest. I wanted him to stroke my emotions and chill me out. And when he was done fixing me, I wanted him to congratulate me on my quick thinking and give me a medal, or at least a World’s Best Mom coffee mug. But that’s not at all how it went. It went more like this: “Wait, what? How could that have happened? Wasn’t there a smaller window you could break?”
Not only was he not impressed with my superhero-like reflexes, but he clearly thought there was something less destructive–and expensive–I could have done to solve the problem.
That’s why it was totally amazing when the very next day–I am not making this up–Chloe locked Dave out of the house. It was less dramatic, since his keys were in his pocket (and even if they weren’t, he could have easily crawled through our now demolished window). But it proved that this sort of thing could happen to anyone, not just me.
High five, Chloe. You’re a toddler now.