Monday, 10 November 2008

Crap mummy

Ever have one of those surreal 'how did I get here' moments? I had one at 10am last Sunday morning; standing shivering outside my front door singing 'Old Macdonald' through the letterbox, with a toddler wearing an oversized fleece.

How had it happened? Read on and learn....

I forgot one of the golden rules of having small children; never, ever go outside without a key. And I wouldn't, normally, but in this case I thought I was just nipping out for a few seconds, to wipe some offending bird poo off our front window. However, once outside, I noticed (well, OK, remembered - I had been noticing for months) that the short pathway between the street and our front door was a disgrace; it seemed to have become the receptacle for not only about three years' worth of autumn leaves, but a tonne of random rubbish; crisp packets, old takeaway boxes knawed by foxes and weird bits of plastic piping (detritus from the Thames Water trench diggers, who have now thankfully departed).

So I went to get a broom, threw on an old fleece of The Doctor's, and started sweeping. Littleboy 1, who loves brooms, then rushed out holding another brush, and wanted to help.

It was at this point that Littleboy 2 came along and helpfully slammed the door shut on us.

The Doctor was out - he was on call and had gone briefly to the hospital - and I had no key, no mobile phone nor any suitable clothes to protect Littleboy1 (who was wearing jeans, t-shirt and socks) against the brisk November chill. The sky threatened rain. What to do?

I peered around our street. It was spookily silent, with most of the curtains closed. As mentioned previously, we live on the unfashionable edges of the real Nappy Valley, so most of our neighbours are not other families with small children who would have been up for hours at 10am on a Sunday. These days, the majority seem to be cheerful twentysomething Aussies who work in the City and party hard at weekends, and who are definitely going to be in bed on a Sunday morning. Even the handful of neighbours that we know quite well didn't appear to be around. And stupidly, we had not got around to giving anyone a spare key since the good friends we had in the street moved away three years ago.

Now, I knew that soon, The Doctor would be on his way home - but how long could we wait outside for? I began weighing up various scenarios - could I be prosecuted for leaving a nearly-two year old alone in the house - even if I could see him through the letterbox?

It was OK at first. Littleboy 2 was quite pleased with himself for slamming the door, and the two boys took great delight in passing stuff (bricks, lego, even the TV remote) to each other through the letterbox. But then he got bored, and started whimpering. He wanted a cuddle from Mummy. And, although he could see me through the letterbox, he could not understand why I was unable to get in. Meanwhile, Littleboy 1 (who kept excitedly repeating, 'we can't get in the house, Mummy') was getting cold, so I wrapped him in his dad's fleece.

Ten minutes now and no sign of the Doctor. Littleboy 2's whimpering escalated into full blown hysterical crying.

Eventually I picked up the shoe-less Littleboy 1 and marched up to one of the neighbouring Aussie houses - the only one that had a light on. A genial young Aussie bloke wearing shorts (or were they pyjamas?) and munching on a bowl of ceareal opened up and kindly let me use the phone. The Doctor assured me that he would be home within 15 minutes.

Littleboy 1 was offered the option of sitting and watching TV in the Aussie house, but became uncharacteristically shy and refused. So, we spent the next quarter of an hour standing on the doorstep, trying desperately to keep Littleboy 2 happy by singing songs through the letterbox. All I could see was his distressed little face peering up at me, and the moment I stopped singing it would crumple. So we went through Twinkle twinkle little star, Baa baa black sheep, Row, row row the boat - and all the farm animals I could think of in Old McDonald. By the time we were on 'monkey', The Doctor arrived home.

Littleboy 1 was most impressed by this adventure and spent the rest of the day explaining to people: "Mummy not got her key. I can't get in MY house. DADDY done it."

He has clearly got the measure of me. Yet again, crap mummy.

11 comments:

Iota said...

Poor you. What a horrible experience. And you're not a crap mummy - you dealt with it very well.

My daughter locked herself in a bedroom of the empty house we were looking round. It was a bad moment. The realtor phoned her office and told the handyman to come, but we knew it was going to be a while before he arrived, and I could hear daughter beginning to panic. Luckily she was nearly 3, and old enough to talk through the mechanics of how to unlock the door (although I spent the first minute telling her wrongly, having not studied the door handle carefully enough, and assuming it was the same as the ones in our own home, where she'd pulled the same trick a few days before!)

Has Blogger got some new policy of making their word verifications more like real words? This one is mullower.

Nota Bene said...

I've rung social services, and they say they'll be round in a jiffy....!

NB

Expat mum said...

Hardly a crap mummy when you kept hysterical tears at bay with the singing. Bless. I curse my front door on a daily basis as you need a key to lock it on leaving, but there's a reason!
(My word is pulcul!)

A Confused Take That Fan said...

AAh, we have all had moments like that. We got locked outside on a balcony in Portugal with our three year old and 7 month old inside. I banged on the window and had to shout loudly to wake up 3 year old who I had just put to bed, then talk through opening the door while giving the appearance of not panicking. She did it and was my hero. It's like the episode of Friends when Rachel and ROss get locked outside their apartment with baby inside.
I think you were very calm and brave. You are a great mummy. Lucky that husband was only 15 mins away!
My word verification is ovext??

Potty Mummy said...

Husband and I did that recently. I calmly persuaded Boy #1 to go and fetch a chair so he could open the door, and on making it inside realised I had been thinking about his being 2 years younger than he actually is as he had no problem reaching the lock in the first place...

nappy valley girl said...

Hi Iota - I think we've all done it. I know I locked myself in a bathroom aged 3 - it had a glass door and my mum had to smash it with a hammer to get me out...
Agree about word verification - the other day I had 'mogicat'!

NB - thanks, I'll of course be reporting your boy's breakfast table comment as well...

Expat Mum - well, if I was crap for forgetting the key, maybe I did make up for it with the singing...

CTTF - Ah, I'd forgotten the Friends episode. Yes, lucky that he wasn't far away this time - will have to give neighbours spare key before he goes to the US for a conference next month....

PM - it's amazing what they can get to if they want to. Littleboy 1 is currently obsessed with turning lights on, and can reach a surprisingly annoying number...

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Wow. You dealt with that really well. It would have been me who would have crumpled up crying...

Laura said...

Maybe you should read 'Alfie Gets In First' by Shirley Hughes to Littleboy 2. Luckily Alfie had the help of a windowcleaner to release him. Maybe you could give Littleboy 2 a schedule of when the window cleaner will be coming so he can plan his door slams slightly better.

You are not a crap mummy!

Laura x
http://www.arewenearlythereyetmummy.blogspot.com/

Dumdad said...

Nightmare! I think you coped well. I might have been tempted to smash a window to get in.

Susanna said...

Poor you!

Luckily (?) we both work at home and hardly leave.

At least the weather is not as cold as it could be!

Good description BTW, I could totally picture it!

Mom/Mum said...

Oh poor you.
but YOU ARE NOT A CRAP MUMMY. you hear me? (I'm singing it through your letterbox).
I think you handled it all very well and calmly considering the socks, no phone etc.
My littlest boy locked himself in our downstairs loo once and he and I totally panicked. i had to phone the hubs to get directions as to how to take the doorknob off so i could break in to rescus my screaming offspring.
Older son was most disappointed I didn't call the fireservice. He cried after his brother had been rescued because mean mummy hadn't needed the firestruck.
You just can't win sometimes can you?!
(btw - my word verification is gragdog....!)