Happy Mother's Day?
May 12, 2021
I’ve always considered Mother’s Day as a time to honor our mothers. Even though my daughter was traveling out of state, she sent me some nice gifts and a sweet text message.
However, this past Sunday altered my view. Perhaps Mother’s Day is meant to be a test of mothering skills.
At the end of last year, my household expanded temporarily with the addition of granddaughter Kat and her two children. Brie will be four this month, and Isaiah will be two in June. My quiet home has become lively.
We tend to have different schedules so we don’t spend a lot of time together. They wake up around 6:30 a.m. whether Kat wants to or not. She goes to work at 8 a.m. and drops them at daycare before that. My days end late with press runs. On weekdays, they leave the house while I’m asleep, and I return when they are sleeping. We see each other more on weekends.
I went to bed about midnight Saturday night. Just after 6 a.m. I heard the children waking. Isaiah does not wake up quietly! I was falling back asleep when my cellphone rang. Nobody but a clueless telemarketer would call at 6:20 a.m. on Sunday. But when I looked at the phone, it was Kat!
She said that she and the kids couldn’t get the door open. They were stuck in the bedroom. She had fallen asleep in the kids’ room the night before. Usually she leaves their door slightly open, but lately Brie has been waking up and leaving. Kat closed the door fully to keep her in.
Now the door wasn’t locked but stuck. Over the years the house has settled a little, and the door fits too tightly on one corner. We couldn’t budge it.
After trying screwdrivers to get to the latch (I was able to pass Kat one under the door), we made no progress. “You’ll have to pull the pins on the door hinges,” I told Kat. Having never seen this procedure, she used her phone to check Google for instructions. Then she attacked the hinges.
Meanwhile, the kids reacted. Isaiah was worried because we were worried so he let out some wails seeking comfort. Brie had questions about what we were doing.
Kat was successful on the bottom hinge, but the top one resisted with an inch to go. After several more tries, that pin came out. But no matter how much I pushed and she pulled, the door still didn’t move.
Finally I tried using a hammer to give hard taps to the door on the hinge side. I started at the bottom and it began to move. As I neared the top, the door came loose. What a relief!
Released, Kat and the children went downstairs, and I tried unsuccessfully to go back to sleep. However, the mothering trials weren’t over.
After a half hour, I gave up and went down to the kitchen. As I looked in the cabinet for a breakfast idea, I felt unusual warmth on my arm. Looking around, I saw a glowing red burner on my electric kitchen range. Isaiah can’t resist pushing the buttons controlling the burners. I turned it off, but it triggered the smoke alarm. This triggered alarm from the kids. I grabbed a broom and used the handle to hit the reset.
After breakfast I went upstairs to dress for church. I heard Brie come up the stairs alone so checked to see what she was doing. She was looking through a drawer in her mother’s bedroom, which seemed harmless.
Later I heard her say, “Mom, I have something for you.” I expected her to go downstairs to her mother with the item, but she didn’t. It was quiet; too quiet. I went down the hallway to check, and met Brie coming from the bedroom. She was holding a small box of matches in one hand and a single match in the other. “I have fire for Mama,” she announced proudly as she attempted to strike the match on the box.
“No,” I exclaimed and reached for the matches. She handed them over willingly saying, “That’s a no-no.” The decades-old matches must have escaped my notice in a back corner of that drawer.
Things were quieter after lunch. I went to work while Kat and the kids took a much-needed nap. But the day wasn’t done.
That evening just before bedtime, Brie found a pair of scissors; we thought they were out of reach. Her mother found her in the family room. She managed to cut a couple of curly strands of her hair.
As the kids fell asleep that night, I found myself looking online for safety latches. One looked interesting. It uses a magnetic key that an adult can place against the cabinet door to unlock the latch. It comes with two keys.
How long before a kid found and lost those keys? How long before an observant toddler found the key hiding place and figured out how to use it? Is there any such thing as a toddler-proof cabinet lock?