Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Safety Tips from the Spectacularly Unprepared

I never have figured out how to properly baby-proof. I have too many babies, of varying ages, and far too much clutter to keep contained. The solution in our home has therefore been to stage certain baby-certified areas and keep the children within unless we have many, many adults around to supervise each as they wander free in areas that aren't technically danger-free (not that achieving danger-freeness is really possible, anyway).

Therefore, though I suppose that one of the things we should have done upon moving in was check each lock to make sure it could actually be opened with a key when necessary, it never really occurred to us to do so. The problems with Abby and Michael's bedroom have taught valuable lessons in recent days as well, but theirs is a special case. The lock for their room is on the outside.

Our upstairs bathroom, like any other you might find, has a lock on the inside. However, it's of the simple push variety, not unlike the kind I've been able to break with a simple bobby pin in every scenario I've ever encountered that required it. So, it was with great shock that Tom discovered our simple push lock was not so simple, and he discovered it at a time that Michael managed to lock himself inside.

We're still scratching our heads as to why the mechanism didn't work. It's possibly an issue of the doorknob not properly fitting with the door frame, because it popped open on a test run after-the-fact when we held it open from the door. It did not, however, release on any of the occasions that we tried it while the door was shut.

That first occasion was in the moments following an unexpected slam of the door, and the childish laughter that rang out from behind it, as Tom was exiting the shower with Michael. After trying a few times, without success, to release Michael from the bathroom, Tom came to me. I, of course, was far from helpful and began to panic as soon as I realized that I didn't have some magic touch that Tom was lacking. I instantly began running horrifying scenarios in my head, knowing full-well how un-babyproofed that room was, and in how many ways he could hurt himself within. Most terrifying was the knowledge that the toilet was wide open, and though it may have been my head playing tricks on me, I was quite sure I heard a quiet splash.

Then, nothing. No laughter, no sound of drawers opening, no clang of the toilet paper canister lid, not even the shuffle of little feet along the floor. I dropped to my hands and knees, peering fruitlessly beneath the door, searching for a moving shadow that I could not see. Before I knew it, however, fueled by a rush of adrenaline likely fueled by my own primal reaction, there came Tom with a power saw.

Clothed only in a damp towel and still dripping, he cut through the upper portion of the door like a madman as Mia screamed from her booster seat in the dining room, and Abby began to startle in the living room behind us. Seeming eternity found a swift ending in the cut-off of the power tool and the sound of the door section as it slammed to the ground.

Suddenly, the door was open, and there stood Michael, naked and gleaming. The glow of the warm bathroom lights behind him, he bore a classic grin and twinkly eyes, the only one among us to have found humor in the whole situation. And he was just fine.

Our door, not so much.

If you have any plans to visit us anytime soon, you might want to know that our bathroom has a special feature now.

But there's one thing we've learned from all of this, and that is: The time to determine whether your lock actually functions as it should is not when your young child has managed to enclose himself in a room alone.

Well and truly noted.