Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Don't Try This At Home

Carter and Griffin take naps in the afternoon. If it were solely up to me, they would maintain this habit well into adolescence. Griffin is a relatively compliant child. He sleeps when we tell him it is naptime - for several hours, usually. Sometimes he even asks to go to bed. Carter, on the other hand, has been a holy terror since he exited the womb. For a while he refused to stay in bed, much less his room for the designated hour of rest. When he did stay in his room, he would be possessed by the right-hand side of his brain, whereupon he would compulsively decorate the place with whatever medium was available to him. Since his room is basically void of any and all art supplies, this required him to manufacture and then produce his medium of choice. And that, dear friends, is where I will end this part of the story. Except that to say, the stars in my crown one day are going to be GINORMOUS.

When Carter wasn’t playing slave to his creative juices, he would wait until he heard us downstairs thereby confirming the coast was clear. He would then silently creep from his room into another upstairs room and wreak havoc. It was the silent part that was the concern because although our house is for the most part child-proofed, there are some areas that would require us to install a gigantic metal locker in them in order for them to be completely safe that’s just not practical. One of those is our master bathroom. Every child safety device we’ve tried in there, he has defeated within days. Yet, that was seemingly his favorite room. We'd hear him up there only if he accidentally dropped or rattled something. Not much inspires panic as effectively as a child in your master bathroom.

We tried all the usual tricks to get him to stay in his room; threats, bribes, Jeff would even sit outside his door for 30 minutes at a stretch waiting for him to open the door. But Carter even got wise to that. It was not unlike him to pretend to be asleep just until Jeff checked on him and left. Then he would sneak out. It was about that time that we had another family with 3-kids over for dinner and were able to ask them what they were doing that was working. Parenting, for me, is a unique blend of strategizing and blatantly stealing other parents’ ideas. I’m sure prayer should be in there somewhere too, but in this case it did not have the desired outcome - that being an angel with a sword prepared to smite Carter down if he dare even touch the door. Because that is specifically what I requested.

Anyway, the much smarter parents we dined with happily said they were locking theirs in. That sounded ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT to us. So the next day we went out and got a couple of locking doorknobs and Jeff installed them. Worked like a charm. Nap time resumed in our home without incident. Until today.

I put all three kids down for naps at 1:30pm and headed downstairs to work for a couple of hours. All was blissfully quiet for about 45 minutes, but then out of the corner of my eye I saw a little person trying awfully hard to sneak past me down the stairs. I probably wouldn't have noticed him, but he was wearing a Tennessee orange jacket that's not exactly subtle. Here, I'll give you a visual.
Yeah, I know. Bright huh? And stealth is usually his strong suit. I'm sure it was just an ever-so-brief lapse in judgement.

Obviously, I had forgotten to lock Carter’s door. What normally happens at nap time is that we set a timer for an hour or so. When Carter hears the timer, regardless of whether or not he has slept, he knows he can leave the room and come downstairs to play. But if he makes noise, or we hear him running around, or he needs to come out of his room for any reason before the timer dings, we start the timer over again from the beginning. He knows the drill, and for the most part it is fairly effective. In this case, the timer had not gone off, so I marched him back up the stairs, pushing in on the lock as I entered the room to make sure I didn’t forget to lock it on my way out.

And then I closed the door behind me.

To be continued… as if it’s even necessary.

(For those of you concerned about fire safety, I promise we just keep the doors locked until we know without a shadow of a doubt that they are truly asleep. This usually requires a physical manifestation such as drooling.)


  1. My, my my ...

    Assuming your computer is not in Carters romm, we can at least assume you made it out safely!

    What a great story!

  2. Just how did you get out?!!!

  3. Locking the kids inside is BRILLIANT.

  4. Can't wait to hear the rest of your story! (Came here from the link at Toddled Dredge...) Congrats on running into a long lost friend. Must have been weird!

  5. I linked over here from Veronica Mitchell's blog and noticed that you have Scott and Karen Hansen on your blogroll...

    We spent two weeks in TZ with Scott and Karen in 2003 and know them well. Small world huh?

  6. We have done this. We just turn the door knob around and lock them inside. I even go as far as to say "the monkeys are in their cages for the night". Just a hint though. We use the lock that comes with the little tiny key that we keep above the door frame. When we switched the knob around, we moved the key to the inside of the door. Just in case...

    Here from Veronica's...can't wait to hear the rest of the story.

  7. also here from toddled dredge...looking fwd to exploring your blog more....we used baby gates with our oldest. unfortunately now he knows how to take it down and he's potty trained so we can't lock or barricade him in his room. :(

  8. Melanie! How are you? I found your blog through Donna G. I love it - it reflects your witty, creative humor and sarcasm. You're kid stories are cracking me up. I just finished potty training my 2 year old... oh the joys. Keep posting - I'll be reading!

    Love Lori (Peeters)

  9. ok, girl it's been three weeks since we have heard from you. Did you lock yourself in the room and Jeff won't let you out?