One morning last week I was engaged in the kitchen, packing lunch bags for daycare and pouring much needed coffee into travel mugs. The kids had been fed and were spending the last few minutes before we had to leave playing in the family room. As I was snapping the covers on the mugs, Sofia came running with an alert.
“Dominic is outside.”
When it comes to that kind of tattling, I know I can take my daughter at her word. As I raced through the rooms towards the door, I glanced out the windows and spied my son moving about the front lawn. He was running in circles with his arms waving through the air. A wide smile stretched across his face, which was turned upward and basking in the warmth of the sun. Though the windows were shut I could still hear him whooping in utter jubilation; celebrating the triumphant break from his indoor prison to the freedom of the springtime air.
Note to self: The Boy has figured out doorknobs.
I could not help but pause a moment to watch him enjoy himself, until a car passed him only 10 feet away. That danger led me to bring his solo adventure to an abrupt end, accompanied by an earful of scolding.
My reprimand was apparently most ineffective, because that evening when he got home the door continued to swing open. I became completely panicked by this scenario. I had long ago created a masterful enclosure with gates positioned perfectly to allow for maximum space. They have a wide berth consisting of three rooms to safely romp around without reaching stairs, cabinets or any other un-baby proofed setting; the exception being a door to the outside.
What was I going to do? I could not possibly barricade the door. Can I just tell you that it was a full twenty four hours of brainstorming and internal dialogue, which included the installation of grandiose and expensive alarm systems that beep whenever a door is opened, before I remembered that there is a very simple baby proofing solution? Is it a testament to my recently elevated stress levels, lack of sleep, or overall mommy-fried brain that a $2.99 door knob safety cover completely eluded me? If I am going to claim any defense, it is simply because we never needed them before. I can complain all I want about my daughter’s feisty demeanor, but the girl never tried to open a door or cabinet that she should not. The idea of going outside alone is simply not the least bit tempting to her, and never was.
Thanks to my sister in law I did not have to spend a dime. Her kids had long ago figured out how to manipulate knob covers. They were therefore rendered useless and offered to me upon word of my new dilemma. I graciously scooped them up and popped those babies on to each door that leads to no good. I sat in wait for his next attempt, and as expected did not have to wait long.
Yesterday evening after dinner my husband ventured out into the yard to do some twilight landscaping. Dominic watched him leave and quickly tried to follow suit. He pawed in vain at the covered knob as it turned fruitlessly under his finger tips.
“I have you now!” I jeered at his defeat. Perhaps I overdid it with the boasting, because what I did not expect was his reaction. He turned to the door and let out one long woeful cry that even Darth Vader could not do justice:
He then turned to me, his two year old face fraught with betrayal, and stated simply, “Mommy, I am mad you.” He then dissolved to the floor in a heap of inconsolable sobs. I picked him up and cradled him in my arms. His tear strewn face nuzzled against my neck and I whispered, “Sorry, Little Dude. I hear that someday you’ll thank me.”