This morning, my nearly-three-year-old son Bernie woke up at about 5 a.m., came into our bedroom, and spent nearly two hours crawling all over us on our bed. Finally, in desperation, Jen put on a Blue’s Clues video on the bedroom TV. No effect — Bernie continued to jump around, yell, sing, talk to himself, and kick the wall.
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I got the baby gate, put it up in the doorway to our room, and put him on the other side of it. As I turned to go back to bed, I shut the bedroom door … and discovered that Bernie had taken the knob off the door. Jen and I were now locked in the bedroom.
We live in a house built in 1902. The doors are original to the house, and many have missing or broken knobs, so very few of them actually shut. The door to the computer room, for instance, can only be opened with a butter knife. Thinking that maybe the bedroom door could be opened that way, Jen and I began calling through the door to Bernie, asking him to get a butter knife. He said “No!” and went into his own room. We heard his door shut.
We began to tear apart our bedroom — which usually looks like someone has already torn it apart. We were searching for some sort of implement to use to open the door. We tried a pen, a small screwdriver, a marker, a wooden clothespin, a plastic clothes hanger, part of a sewing machine … nothing worked. Then I remembered that there was a kitchen knife in the top drawer of one of our dressers. This dresser used to be in the computer room in our old apartment, which also had a door that could only be opened with a knife. I used to keep the knife in the dresser in case I ever got locked in the room. I tore open the dresser drawer, grabbed the knife, and discovered that it didn’t fit into the locking mechanism of the bedroom door.
Now we were starting to get desperate. Our bedroom is on the second floor, and it overlooks the porch roof. I considered climbing out the window, walking across the porch roof, and swinging down onto the porch. I went to the closet, got my fedora, leather jacket and whip, and cued John Williams to start the orchestra.
OK, I actually looked out the window, saw that it was raining, considered my lack of shoes, and decided against the Indiana Jones moment.
We thought about whom we could call. My sister lives close by, but she and my mom were on the way to Massachusetts. My dad was home — nearly 45 minutes away. We have friends close by, but even if they came, what could they do?
It was right about then that I remembered that the closet door in the bedroom had the same kind of knob as the bedroom door. I also remembered that it was loose. I reached over, yanked it out of the door, and used half of it to turn the lock in the bedroom door. We were free!
After a few hours of sober reflection, I feel I’ve learned an important parenting lesson from the ordeal. It is this:
Always keep a fire axe in your bedroom.