If you have read any of my previous articles you know that my two-year old, Stella, is a child who looks absolutely angelic and (as Mary Poppins would put it) “absolutely perfect in every way” until you actually live with her for a few days, and then you realize you can’t relax, turn your head, or close your eyes while she is around, because she will get into stuff. And when I say “get into stuff,” I mean “make a total mess or your most prized possessions.”
This is a chronicle of what Stella accomplished on the first week after we got back from our summer vacation, taking advantage of mom (me) being kind of out of it from the suffocating heat and the jetlag …
On Monday, she wrote in pen and pencil on our new flat-screen TV, which we have only had for a few months. She has done it before and I have been doing my best to keep all pens, pencils, and other writing utensils away from any area she can reach, but somehow (How? Did she learn conjuring spells from Harry Potter? I’m starting to wonder.) she manages to find some, and unfortunately sometimes she gets into a creative session right there on the TV monitor.
This time it was really bad. So bad that I pretty much started hyperventilating when I saw it—DH is pretty mellow, but who know what can happen when you threaten a man’s treasured possessions? (Especially electronics?) And the stupid stuff won’t come off. DH just found instructions on the Web on how to handle writing on flat-screen TV monitors, so we are going to try those. Meanwhile I am watching TV with writing on it and crossing my fingers that the tips work.
Hey, maybe I can use this to get that console I like from Pottery Barn. (“Honey, we need to put the TV somewhere higher but still safe. Oh, look! This would work.” He he.) On second thought, it doesn’t seem sturdy enough to survive an attack from my toddler. So I’ll have to find another excuse to get it (darn).
On Tuesday, she somehow managed to open the sliding door in the kitchen and go out into the patio and down the steps in just a couple of minutes. Luckily I was quick enough because I could hear the silence (moms of toddlers will know what I’m talking about) and went to look in the living room, then her room, and then ran into the kitchen. I just about had a heart attack when I saw the door open. I ran out in my pjs (luckily I wear cute pjs), barefoot, and was so relieved to see her right away. I brought her in, told her why she couldn’t go out without telling me, while mentally kicking myself and vowing to always lock the door and place a chair in front of it so I can at least hear her if she ever tries it again.
On Wednesday, she locked herself in the bathroom. (Early privacy issues, I guess.) I was drawing her a bath, and stepped out for a second to grab a fresh towel from the linen closet, which is literally right next to the bathroom door. In a second she had closed the door and locked it before I could turn the knob. One of the things I hate about this apartment: the 70s touches. Our bathroom door only has a turner lock, which is much easier to turn than an actual key, and can’t be opened from the outside. This happened once before, only it was the weekend and my husband was home, so he got a kitchen chair and climbed into the bathroom window from the outside (which I can’t do because I’m too short).
This time it wasn’t as easy to handle. I tried to bribe her to come out of the bathroom, with ice cream, pizza, toys (not one of my proudest moments) ... nothing. So I ran upstairs and knocked on my neighbor’s door to see if he could help me or lend me a ladder. Not there. Then I called my husband and asked him how far from home he was—he was he was stuck in traffic. At which point I had no choice but calling 911. Thankfully they arrived quickly, and the young policeman climbed in through the window and unlocked the door.
Stella got scared and started crying. I was just about there myself when I picked her up. Then another cop came through my (messy) kitchen with a face like he was looking for something. (I’m guessing they thought I must be either high or a complete idiot—and I wasn’t high.) So I showed them exactly what happened, where the linen closet was, and when they saw how close I had been to the bathroom door and how quickly the stupid lock works, they went “Oooh, okay.”
They were actually laughing when they left the apartment.
I am not laughing. I am now completely paranoid and don’t ever leave Stella alone in a room. I close all doors (lock some) and keep her in the same room with me at all times. (Yes, at ALL times. Moms really have no privacy whatsoever.)
I was actually not going to post this, because I am still kicking myself that ANY of these things could happen. And the fact that they happened all in consecutive days, well, I realized I deserve the “Dumb mom of the month” award. I am usually so careful! But sometimes we underestimate our children, and all these things happened because I did that. Well, I get it. Believe it or now, I’m not normally this slow.
P.S. Is that laughing I hear? Is my misery amusing to you? Well, that’s just ... okay, really. I would be laughing too if it wasn’t happening to ME!