My Saturday started with a 6.5 mile run, something I’d never done before. Proud of my accomplishment I figured there was nothing else I couldn’t do. I could get my house clean and, of course, my children would merrily cooperate because why wouldn’t they do that for a mother who could run so very far?Without even stopping. In only one hour.
But my eleven year old had other ideas that had less to do with helping and more to do with sleeping. And I was okay with that since she didn’t do a lot of sleeping during the week. I had just run six and one half miles, so I had no doubt she could wake up and joyfully go about her chores once she decided to roll out of bed. The fact she’d never actually done such a thing before didn’t deter me from believing she could and would that day. Because, after all, I had run all those miles.
Let’s just say the morning did not go as planned. Or imagined. Instead, by eleven o’clock my husband was attempting to remove said daughter’s bedroom door from it’s hinges after it had been slammed one too many times. (Something that must be genetic, because by the time I was sixteen my door frame was literally falling apart from abuse). We’ve heard from countless parents of teens and pre-teens that bedroom doors “just pop right off the hinges” and “it’s easy.”
Well, it’s not. At least not for us. The screwdriver got stuck in the hinge thingamajig and the eleven year old got sent to the garage until she could stop using ugly words.
She was there for really a long time. And I was sorely tempted to lock her in there for the rest of the day. Judge me all you want for that. If you think I’m a terrible parent, you’re probably onto something. You also probably don’t have a hormonal preteen who’s been giving you hell since pre-conception, but who you love to death anyway.
Anyhow, the day did get better and by the time we went to the church BBQ at the park, she was in fine spirits. We all had a great time, in fact. Chatting with friends, eating chicken and salad, playing at the park, busting open a pinata. Good times, readers. Good times.
Until the sun went down and we were ready to go. It was then we noticed we hadn’t seen Girl 2 in quite some time. But we didn’t worry too much because she’s pretty responsible that one. She’s not a wanderer and if she leaves in a huff she always cries loud enough to let us know where she is.
But when I saw the friend I thought she was with, then I did worry. When the friend said G2 had gone to the bathroom with G1 and she hadn’t seen her since, then I worried a little more. So I asked Girl 1 if she knew where her sister was.
“We went to the bathroom and then I waited for her, but she never came out so I left,” she replied.
“How long ago was that?” I asked.
“I don’t know, but it was still light out,” she answered.
And then I panicked.
I looked down at the bathroom doors, saw a man come through one and every bad story I’d ever heard about little girls in bathrooms flashed through my mind.
By this time my friend Bethany had run down to the stalls to see if Girl 2 was still in one. She heard crying coming from one, but couldn’t tell what the crier was saying and kept asking if it was Girl 2 in there. The crier finally spit out that it was and that she couldn’t get out. And that she was alone.
Am I a terrible mother for being relieved? To the point of laughing a little? Because she is my kid I’ve never really thought about locking away, yet this wasn’t the first time she’d gotten herself locked in somewhere. Plus, even though I felt really bad for her, I could smile because what I’d imagined had been so much worse.
The bathroom doors had both a deadbolt and a magnetic lock that requires a key card to open. Usually it opens automatically from the inside, but this time it was stuck. Girl 2 couldn’t open it from the inside and we couldn’t open it from the outside. So after about thirty seconds of trying we called 911 and told G2 the firemen were on their way.
They arrived a few minutes later and went to work. First there was some discussion as to how they should accomplish their rescue–something I thought they could have perhaps discussed on the way over, but whatever. Then they tried the key card. It didn’t work. So they tried kicking the door, followed by the key card again. Still no luck. So you know what they tried next?
Hinges. Because those babies just pop right off.
Except when they don’t. Not even for firemen.
There next plan of action was to call Public Works to see if they had some magic way to get in so they wouldn’t have to bust up the door. Which was very considerate to all of us due paying members fo the community who would have to replace the expensive door. But my baby was the one stuck on the other side of that stupid door, so I didn’t really care how much it cost.
But I didn’t really say anything because, after all, she was safe. We just kept telling her “five more minutes.” I did slide a lollipop through the crack at the bottom of the door for her. Because, you know, she needed sustenance. And I wasn’t entirely sure she had actually eaten dinner. Also, it was starting to look like we’d be there for a while.
Then very nice cop showed up to help out the very nice policeman. Some of the boys there suggested he shoot down the door and I thought that was a pretty good idea. Aside from the bullets richochetting through the 3 x 3 cement bathroom my little one couldn’t get out of. Instead he called the community parks association (SAMLARC) and informed them they needed to get someone to the park within the next five to ten minutes or the firemen would be breaking down the door.
Then an eternity passed. I made a little joke to the cop about not being able to lock Girl 2 in the closet anymore and luckily he laughed. Apparently he thought I was joking. I didn’t mention anything about garages or older daughters and near acts of parental desperation.
And just when I was about to kindly suggest that they BREAK DOWN THE DAMN DOOR!! the firemen brought out the big tools.
They had the handle broken off that door by about the time the SAMLARC guy showed up. Which is to say, in about five minutes. It’s all the other stuff that took an hour. Making Girl 2’s trip to the bathroom the equivalent of Gilligan’s three hour tour.
If only she’d worn her gingham shirt and put her hair in pigtails, she would have been a dead ringer for Mary Ann.
Also, the only other time I’ve seen her face this red is when I accidentally locked her in the car at Target when she was two and I was eleven and half months pregnant and looked like an elephant. But that is another, equally entertaining, story.
And it’s physically impossible for my husband to keep his eyes open in a picture.
But the lesson learned on Saturday is this: Hinges do not just “pop off.”
We’ve got the pictures and the screwdriver that’s still stuck in Girl 1’s door to prove it.