Thursday, January 27, 2011

Breaking and Entering

I had to break into my house today . . . with a baby strapped to my chest and a three-year-old accomplice.

But let me back up, and start at the beginning.

I knew today would be a hectic day, but the morning began like many others, trying to coax B into going back to sleep after she woke up at 6 am. Didn’t work. So I turned my attentions to J. We’ve just recently implemented a new morning trick to try and help him be more responsible about getting himself out of bed and dressed. The nagging from us and the screeching from him just needs to end. So, I grab the clothes he’s going to wear for the day and I put them in the dryer to get nice and toasty. Then I tell him it’s time to get up. If he does so with minimal protest and dallying, his clothes will be wonderfully warm when he puts them on. He loves that feeling. If he drags his feet too much, or spends too much time grunting or burrowing under his blanket, his clothes will be left out to get cold. Either way, his choice.

Except today was different. He needed a bath. Really needed a bath. So we kicked into high gear and managed to get him ready for school on time and I sent him out the door with Shaggy and S. First sigh of relief.

Next, I had to turn my focus to R. I had to get her ready so we could be at the school for an awards ceremony. K, S, and J were all getting various academic/citizenship awards today. All at different times. Shaggy was going to cover the first one, which started just after school. Which left me home to get myself, R and baby B ready to go to the next one.

Turned out that R needed a bath, as well. Any day where I have to give two baths before 8 am very rarely makes my ‘really great day’ list.

But whatever. You do what you have to. I managed to throw the sheets in the wash and get us all ready, with some help from K who was still home waiting for her delayed foggy day bus . We’ve had foggy days all week. I could really get used to having her around in the morning. Usually she leaves before the rest of us are awake.

Anyway, I strapped the baby to my chest, made sure we all had jackets, checked that I had my camera and my keys, and we headed out the door to walk over to the school. J was super excited about getting some awards and made me promise to be there in time to see him. We left the house with just enough time to get there. Second sigh of relief.

We were able to see J get his awards. R took on the role of ‘clap cop,’ making sure I clapped each time a kid’s name was announced. She scowled and reprimanded me if she looked over to find me not clapping, and beamed encouragingly at me when I was clapping. What would I do without her?

The baby enjoyed feeling like she was being held constantly, so she refrained from fussing even though she was tired. And I even managed to take some pictures of my proud student. Third sigh of relief.

As we were walking home, I was thinking about how the whole morning went pretty well, despite the two bath thing. And I started to feel good about my ability to manage all the little details of the day, to make sure nothing was forgotten.

That’s when I realized that I didn’t have a key to my front door. Oh, I had my keys in my pocket, all right. They just didn’t have a key to my front door on them.

My pesky little brother, who visited us recently, stole it. Even carried it across multiple state lines. Ok, he didn’t mean to. And I don’t usually consider him all that pesky . . . at least not anymore. But, he couldn’t just be content to hang out with his big sister and her five kids. Nooooo! Instead, he felt the need to go out and paint the town. So I gave him a key so he could get back in when he was done. And how does he repay my kindness and hospitality? He steals my key. Nice.

Here he is the next morning trying to sleep in.  He pretty much succeeded (which is actually quite a feat since there were 6 people tromping through his bedroom) until he heard my camera shutter.  Funny how such a little sound could cause him to wake up so suddenly and so fully.  The opportunity to collect blackmail material is just so rare these days, I couldn't pass up this photo op with the glorious, manly bedding.  And I probably would have happily kept this photo to myself . . . except for the stolen key thing and the events that followed.
When I realized a few weeks back that he had stolen my key and asked him to mail it back, he just laughed and asked me if it wouldn’t just be easier for me to go have a copy made. Ummm, yeah. Easier for who?

Obviously, I didn’t get to the key copy shop quite yet. Which I should have remembered. But I didn’t. So I will continue to blame my pesky little brother for my unfortunate predicament.

But pesky little brothers aside, I still had to figure out how to get into my house. Call my husband to come home and let me in. Obvious solution.

Except I left my cell phone on the kitchen counter. Did I mention how good I was feeling about my ability to remember all the details? Yeah . . . never mind.

I got to my door and hoped against hope that somehow, I had forgotten the little detail of locking it. No such luck.

I went to check the gate which leads to our back yard. Because somewhere hidden back there, was a spare key.

It used to be pretty easy to open the gate. You just had to reach around and slide open the lock. But that was before mischief puppy Penny broke down our fence, forcing us to put up a new one. Because that’s when Shaggy decided to turn our back yard into Fort Knox. He built a new gate, which was really tall and had multiple locks on the inside of it. Making it impossible for someone to open from the outside to break in.

The only problem was, on this day, I really needed to break in. I had no cell phone, no food, a now sleeping baby strapped to me, and a three-year-old who just wanted to go inside for snacks and toys. None of my neighbors seemed to be home. But I did see a group of very well dressed Jehovah Witnesses down at the end of my street. I decided that if I hadn’t managed to break in before they got to my house, I would plead for their mercy and ask to use a phone.

As they continued knocking on doors, I told R that I needed her to climb over the gate and unlock it for me. She tends to go with the flow pretty well, so she said ok.

I picked her up (Did I mention that I have a baby strapped to my chest?) and heaved her high enough to shove her feet over the top of the gate. By this time she has changed her mind and cries to me that she doesn’t want to do it. But I couldn’t get her back over. She was dangling too far down the other side of the gate. I was holding her up by her wrists, trying to explain how she could put her feet on the cross bar and then hop down. She’s too busy crying to really hear me. I’m losing my grip on her wrists, so I swung her out a little and just dropped her. She immediately crumpled to the ground and started crying even harder.

Brilliant. Now she was stuck on that side. I was stuck on this side. She could have had a broken leg or something, but I couldn’t get to her to assess her injuries or even to comfort her. It was one of those moments that make you feel like the worst Mommy ever.

I snuck a peak at the Jehovah Witnesses. They were still far away. Good. Fourth sigh of relief. Wouldn’t want them to witness this.

I turned back to my crying child and sent soothing and comforting words through the gate. After a few minutes, her crying quieted and she was able to actually hear what I was saying. Fifth sigh of relief. No hospital trip.

I explained where she should look to find the other latches and what she should do to open them. She was still whimpering a little and told me no, that she didn’t want to do it. I couldn’t really blame her, considering that the last time she agreed to help me, I dropped her over a fence.

But eventually, she stopped crying, found the latch, and managed to open it after only a few failed fumbles. Sixth sigh of relief. I decided R was a good little accomplice after all, and I gave her a big hug, making sure she knew that I couldn’t have done this without her.

We retrieved the key, which I hid after the last time I was locked out of my house. Totally not my fault. But that’s another story.

This story has a happier ending. No almost broken windows. No locksmith. Just a few scrapes and worst-mother-ever moments. But those are easily lost in bowls of ice cream, with oreos and hot fudge added for good measure.

1 comment:

Mom said...

John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans." Sounds like one of those days but I too have discovered that ice cream is the world's greatest comfort food.