Thursday, June 21, 2007

Getting Locked Out

It was a fine spring day. We were up to our usual tricks...eating, napping, errands, playing, and so forth. I set all wee 20 lbs of him in his playpen for a minute while I went downstairs, keys in hand. I set them down as I got to the bottom of the stairs, but then I remembered I hadn't gotten the mail yet. So, I go outside, shut the door behind me...AND HAD A PANIC ATTACK!!!

Yes, the keys were on the stairs, and our door automatically locks. I didn't have my phone, which is the only way I know anyone's phone number any more. My husband was on a plane returning from a business trip. I knew this would happen one day, but honestly, I hoped it wouldn't. I realized I had to calm down and think it through. My son was in the playpen, so he was safe. I just had to get back in there before he realized I was gone and went into meltdown mode. I ran around the block to a local cafe and asked to borrow a phone and phone book. They didn't really want to give it over until I explained my situation, and only then with hesitation. Had they been scammed by panicked women looking to borrow a phone to call a locksmith? Did I really look like a threat? All 5 feet of me?

So, an employee lends me his cell phone and a phone book and I start looking for locksmiths who do emergency calls. The first one is on a call, but recommends another place. That second place said they could be over in 10 minutes. OMG!!! I return the phone and hightail it back to wait for the locksmith. Years later, he shows up (I'm sure it was no more than 10 minutes, but try and explain that to me in the moment) and he gets to work. The front door is a challenge, and we suspect the sliding door will be as well. So after 10 minutes of trying differnt things, he says we either have to try the back door, or take out the drills. I think he saw the pained look on my face, and I wondered "did I tell him there's a baby in there? I know I mentioned it to a lot of people, but was he one." So I say, holding back tears, "my son's in there." Now, he has a pained look on his face. I guess I hadn't told him. We go to the back door, he jumps the gate, and he's in within 30 seconds. He opens the front door and I run upstairs to see a crying little face. He had fallen asleep it seems until he heard the commotion.

I happily paid and tipped the locksmith and thanked him profusely, all the while holding my son tighter and tighter. Maybe subconsciously I was trying to make up for something? Or maybe I just didn't want to let go for fear of getting separated again. Either way, I didn't let go of him for a good while after that.

I'm reminded of this agonizing experience because of a recent post on Baby Toolkit. Getting locked out was hard for me, but at least I knew he was safe. After being on the fence about getting a playpen for him, I would recommend one to anyone simply for safety purposes. If you have to walk away or worse, you know he'll be safe. That's one less thing to panic about. The post goes into getting locked out of a car. That's a whole new level of panic. She gives some great info on what to do and what not to do. Most importantly, don't panic because you just can't think straight. Besides that, just keep the baby's best interest in mind...if you have to call 911, that's what they're there for. And as a preventative measure, hold your keys in your hand until you're in the drivers' seat. Seriously, the minute you set them down, they will get forgotten. Even my idiot-proof Jetta has almost locked me out (almost!).

Good Luck!


MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

OH NO. Too funny (now of course). You'll NEVER forget that (and neither will I)!