Since E’s Daddy has started going away for work, I’ve started noticing a definite move in his favouritism between the parents – where I used to somewhat get a bit more of the love and adoration (probably thanks to me being the one who made dinner, to be fair), since we’ve started having a whole lot more one-on-one time he’s rapidly gotten rather bored of me. His reaction to Granny dropping him off after a sleepover at hers the other day was to freak out at the thought of being left alone with me. Harsh, kid, harsh. You need a thick skin to parent toddlers, that’s for sure. It’s so damn easy to be made feel like the Worst Mammy On The Planet (trademark pending) by someone just higher than two feet tall. This week though, I think I may have earned a little bit of the wrath.
We live in a lovely apartment complex which is gated and secure and has more codes to get into it than Fort Knox. Unfortunately, that means that when the robots do occasionally go rogue and start refusing to accept the codes, it can become quite difficult to gain access to our apartment. This was my discovery on Sunday evening when, of course, the property management were out of office, leaving me to gain access through the (needing multiple codes) carpark, so it was no surprise when the postman started gesturing in the window for me to open the door for him. I was getting E ready to head to the shop before he was to head off for the day with his Granny, for a day of fun with his best friend, Coco the dog, so he was all set (apart from shoes) to go. Strapped into the buggy, I decided to leave him in the kitchen momentarily while I went out to open the door. Being a good tenant, a nice person, helping the postman do his job.
I may have been being a nice person, but I hadn’t had coffee and my brain wasn’t working quite as well as it could be. I’m going to use the excuse that my sleep pattern and pain meds are completely messed up this week so I’d not slept since 4.30 the previous afternoon and had been entertaining a toddler since 6.11am. Stupid choices were made. Stupid choices like not bringing the child into the hallway. Stupid choices like not bringing my keys with me. When we’ve got a door that locks and slams shut after you. This I realised two seconds after it slammed shut.
FUCK. Panic stations.
I ran out to the hallway and let the postman in. Sure, if I had managed to lock the toddler inside and made shite of my morning, I might as well get the good karma for being a nice person and letting the others in the building get their post. Karma did not shine upon me in the form of a random cheque worth millions in my name or other such niceness. Panic started properly kicking in.
Not only was the child strapped into the buggy, but because it was morning and our hallway is dark, he was staring into nothingness and to him, being ignored by me. His natural response was to roar. Loudly. Like “I’m-being-attacked” loudly. Shit.
I mentioned my plight to the postman. He didn’t look too phased until I pointed out that the 18 month old was alone. He started to panic too. It was 8.20am, chances were the management company were unlikely to be in the office yet. The roar was getting louder. In my head, neighbours were calling child services.
I ran up the drive to the office, first of all trying the patio door which I seem to be terrible at remembering to lock. Not that morning, oh no. Our apartment was impermeable. With a toddler held as prisoner screaming blue murder. To make matters worse, the running wasn’t the easiest of activities given what has now been diagnosed as a throat and chest infection had set in so things like breathing were a bit more difficult. It never rains but it pours.
I ring the doorbell on the intercom. No answer. Office is locked up with no lights on. Shit.
A car pulls up, a man gets out. It seems he works here. I explain my case to him. He sees my panic, and realises he hasn’t a clue where the spare key is, and has no mobile on him. He manages to get in contact with someone else on an office phone; they say the key is in their office. He exits their office with a key in hand, saying that it is the only key there. Right so, that must be it.
We walk back down quickly through the carpark. He makes a comment about how it’s likely the child has fallen asleep and I’ve nothing to worry about. Before we open the firedoor on our corridor I can hear him roaring. Right, not asleep then. Key goes into lock. Key will not turn. Seems that the only key in the office is not a key which will open my door. FUCK.
At this point I am envisioning having to break down the door. The other key holder is a 12 hour flight away and not due back for nearly two weeks; not exactly an easy rush home to help out. Office man says he’ll head back to look for another key. I start trying to reassure now hysterical toddler through the door. He is not amused by the fact that he can hear me through the door, after initial silence the roaring gets louder and starts to notably be to “Dadaaaaaaaaa”. Mama is clearly not deemed able to do any rescuing it seems. He’s not wrong, at that moment of time I was feeling rather shit at my job to be fair. I started thinking about those stories I’d read about parents locking their babies into cars and my thought process went “Well, at least they could bloody see them to make sure they’re okay! I don’t have a glass door! Anything could be happening!” (I’m not saying these are the thoughts of a sane woman. Panic does strange things to me). I consider singing through the door but think my neighbours may not appreciate a rendition of the Wheels On The Bus duetting with complete screaming.
Days go past. Seasons change. In actual fact from the minute I left the apartment less than ten minutes went by but I aged about five years every minute of it. How the hell was I going to explain this one? How was I going to get my baby out? Thankfully before I could make confessional phonecalls to Himself that I’d likely scarred our child for life, leaving him with abandonment issues Office Guy came back, panting, into the corridor. Explaining that it’s been a while since he’s tried any sort of running, he tries another key and VOILA the door opens.
He has never met a more grateful person. I restrained myself from hugging him – he had just done a nice thing, he didn’t need my panicked sweat-covered self any nearer to him.
I run in and give E a big hug. He bawls louder. Oh I’m in the bad books now and I deserve it. I put his shoes on, apologising profusely for being the worst mother on the planet, promising him I’ll never leave him alone again, telling him (and trying to convince myself) that everything is okay. That did a fat load of nothing. Time for Plan B, bribing with Liga.
Works every time. Bad Mammy. Oh well. There are worse vices. Most of them on the other side of a door.
And so that is my tale of how my toddler had a lock in and I had near heart failure.
How has your week been going?