Samantha locked me in the basement today.
There is a door to the basement stairs that locks from the main level side of the door, but Sam had never touched it. She also had never even played with the push-button locks on any of the doors before. She’s not tall enough yet to actually turn a door handle enough to unlatch it. (Can you imagine how frustrating that must be for her, at 2.25 years old?) Well, yesterday she finally found the lock on the bathroom door. I was pretty happy that she could reach and use it, and she immediately figured out how to turn the handle just enough to pop the lock open. I have no idea how to unlock the door from the outside, so until I could figure out what to do, we decided to keep the bathroom door closed when it is not in use so she could not lock herself inside.
Now, we have a walk-out basement, which means that the only way into the back yard is through the basement sliding glass door, which means that I have to go down to the basement to let the dog out. When we first started looking for houses, I vetoed any house which didn’t have an exit to the back yard from the main level. But after finding out that you have to make about $300K a year to live in anyting but a hovel around here (where do all the underpaid federal employees live, I wonder?) I made some compromises. This house was perfect in so many ways that I figured I could handle running to the basement 5 times a day to let out the dog, until we build a new deck with stairs from the main level to the ground. It’s a huge hassle because 1) I have a knee problem that makes going down stairs very painful, to the point where sometimes I have to walk down backwards, and 2) I have a toddler who can’t be trusted on the stairs alone yet. Luckily, right as we were moving in here, Sam was getting to the point where she understood that stairs need to be treated with respect, and I just decided that I would leave her on the main level while I let out the dog. There was no way I was going to spend the 5 minutes it takes to get her up and down stairs every single time the dog needed to pee. She’s been careful, and the stairs are carpeted, so I figure it’s a risk we have to live with. The other choice would have been to close the door so she could not get to the stairs at all, but I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to hear her if something went wrong while I was down there, or maybe, just maybe, she’d figure out how to use the lock and lock me down there.
I must have been thrill seeking this evening because when I went to let out the dog, I closed the door. I have no idea why I did that, especially when I know she just figured out how to use the lock. And she put her new knowledge to use, of course. I heard her lock it and unlock it a half dozen times while I was down there and I figured I had a 50/50 chance she’d leave it unlocked. No such luck. I asked her to unlock the door and she started screaming. Oy vey.
I could get outside, but I couldn’t have gotten back in the front door because it was locked. I wasn’t too worried, though. There was a tiny hole in the doorknob, which I figured I could stick someting in to unlock the door. But I wanted Sam to unlock it. For 15 minutes, I asked her to unlock the door. I waited silently for a while. I made it a game. I told her I was watching TV without her. I tried to be supportive and encouraging. But she would not unlock that door. Finally I gave up and stuck a nail in the hole and was able to unlock the door. But damn if that girl didn’t know exactly what she was doing.