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Posted by on Jan 10, 2011 in Life, Love | 7 comments

Toddler 1, Mammy Nil

Toddler 1, Mammy Nil

Today I learned that Little Man can now turn a key in a lock. Unfortunately, he was on one side of the door and I was on the other when I learned this. And it was completely and utterly my fault.

I needed to check the casserole in the oven in the kitchen. First, I tried putting Little Man in his high chair while I checked it – but he was having none of it. He squealed and squirmed, and wriggled and jiggled, and refused to be strapped in. So next I tried placing a chair between the oven and him, but he kept pushing the chair out of the way, and heading straight for the oven. So finally, I sat him down in the sitting room with his toys, and then ran to the kitchen, closing the door to keep him out.

As I raced to open the oven door and check on the casserole, I heard the pad, pad, pad of his little feet walking towards the door. Casserole checked. Back in the oven. Click. What was that???

I opened the kitchen door to see what the noise was. At least I tried to. To my horror, it wouldn’t open. And that’s when I realised what had happened. Little Man had turned the key in the lock. “What a clever boy, you turned the key,” I said through the keyhole. “Can you do it again for Mammy?”

“Please Little Man, turn the key.” I was pleading with him. “Turn the key baby, good boy.” Nothing.

I was starting to panic at this stage. I ran through the options in my head. Other doors. Right – the front door. No good, the keys to that were hanging in the door in the hall. Back door. Oh my god. The keys were hanging in the back door too. Neither of those doors can be opened from the outside while the keys are in the inside.

I was definitely panicking now. I phoned Charlie. “Before I say anything, Little Man is okay. But we have a problem…” Charlie told me he was on his way. But in the meantime, I found a screwdriver in the kitchen, and used it to take the handle off the door. Now I could see the locking mechanism properly. God damnit. Why did I never learn how to pick a lock? Now that I could see it, I had no idea how to unlock it. But I had an idea. If I could push the key out, I could simply use a spare door key to unlock the door. And thankfully we keep all the spare door keys in the kitchen.

My selection of keys

I poked at it with the screwdriver – frantically it must be said. Then my heart leapt. Success. The key turned just enough to straighten it in the lock. And then it turned back. What? I tried again. Straightened it. And it turned back. Oh no! Little Man was trying to help by using his new-found skills to turn the key. Every time I turned it, he turned it back before I could push it out.

Through the keyhole

I needed to try a different tactic. I climbed out the kitchen window and ran to the back door, which is a patio door looking into the sitting room. Of course, I had no shoes on, and it was raining. I knocked on the back door and Little Man came wandering into the sitting room and over to the door. He was crying at this stage. That made two of us! Poor little guy kept putting his hands up to be picked up, but of course the door was locked and I had no way to open it. I knew Charlie was on the way at this stage, so I decided the best thing to do was to keep Little Man entertained and in my sights.

I hopped and danced and sang, and played peek-a-boo as though my life depended on it. When Little Man started to lose interest, I resorted to playing In the Night Garden videos on my iPhone and showing them to him through the window. God bless Iggle Piggle – he’s the only thing that can keep Little Man’s attention for five minutes.

Within 15 minutes, Charlie had arrived to save the day. He picked up a spade, climbed through the kitchen window, and used it to break the panel on the door so that he could reach through and unlock it. Panic over. He picked Little Man up and came to the back door to let me in. I didn’t stop shaking for an hour. The first thing I did on getting back indoors was run around and take all the keys out of all the doors!

The aftermath

So I learned a few lessons today:
1. If you’re going to close a door in the house, make sure the toddler is on the same side of the door as you, no matter what is going on.
2. Never leave the key in a locked door.
3. Keep a spare key somewhere accessible.
4. Always have a phone within reach. (Thank God I had my iPhone in my pocket!)
And last but not least…
5. Never ever underestimate Little Man.


  1. Oh my god, such an ordeal!!! This post really lives up to the blog title, Adventures in Parenting 🙂

  2. Alls well that ends well.

  3. Sure does Jules! I think I’m gonna need to re-dye my hair next weekend to cover the new grey hairs that I got today!

  4. Crazy and scary! My heart was racing just reading this entry. It must have seemed like an eternity! Funny to think of him trying to help you with the lock though… I think a couple of glasses of wine are called for!

  5. Oh he was trying his best to help Tammy. The poor thing. It was awful. Even at the back door he was trying to turn the keys that were left in it but he couldn’t reach them.

  6. your house layout sounds exactly like ours. Same thing happened to me last Winter. Except we were all together on the other side of the door. Long story. In the wind up, and half a bottle of soap later trying to work the lock, a saw was used to cut the jammed lock thingy to open the door. I almost cried too at the image of Little Man holding his arms up to be held.

    • The thing that got me was that I was managing to turn the key a bit and then he was turning it back, trying his best to help. I wasn’t right for a long time afterwards!!


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