“Eli locked in”. Above left, our bedroom door LOCKED. Above right, the view under that door – Eli’s little feet.
Most of the doors in our apartment have a keyhole on the outside, but on the inside there is a little knob which you turn to lock the door. It’s a funny moment as a parent when you look over at your child and they are playing with a door handle… You think, “Wait a minute, how the heck are they reaching that?!”. Eli can’t yet reach our door handles, but he can now reach those knobs which lock the doors. To be honest, I never really thought much about it since we close the doors to keep him out of those rooms anyway. Our bedroom has an ensuite bathroom, plenty of drawers to rummage through, and too many things that Eli can break/ eat/ choke on. A few days ago, after realizing that he has calmed down in our bedroom (ie. not some much in the pull-everything-apart stage) after being in there every morning with me while I got dressed, or clean, I decided that if I kept the ensuite door closed, and locked some of the drawers containing hard drives and passports, then he might be safe to casually wander into the room by himself. I started leaving our bedroom door open. I don’t mind him pulling open some of the drawers to explore their contents… that’s just what toddlers do.
Around midday last Friday, Eli went into my room and then shut the door. I thought nothing off it, since he likes to close doors. I then heard him playing with the lock, but again, I didn’t think too much about it since he’s always reaching for it but can’t reaching grab around it. A few minutes passed and I thought that I better go check on what he was doing in our bedroom. As I got to the door and tried to open it, I realized that he had figured out how to turn that knob. A few days before he could only reach up and touch it, but suddenly he was able to grab onto it and turn it. As you can imagine, he had walked away and was then playing in the room. I lay on the floor, looking under the door through the camera on my phone, trying to convince him to come back to the door and unlock it. He did stroll back to the door a few times, but he couldn’t quite figure out how to unlock it. I called Justin, who had just ended work and told him to hurry home. After hearing what had happened, he brought a Chinese man from the admin office downstairs to help us. You see, the hinges to this door are hidden and even though I had taken off the outside of the door handle, it did nothing to help me get in. Eli went between crying at the door, and just walking around the room pulling items of clothing as he went. I took a number of videos because I was sending them to Justin as the story unfolded. I have loaded three of them below…and as you will see, the third is very sad. Both Eli and I are lying on the floor, reaching under the door, just trying to touch each other’s fingers. The poor little guy was crying and confused. Justin and our kind Chinese rescuer arrived about 30 minutes later. This Chinese guy was IN A PANIC… I’m sure that if Eli wasn’t sitting behind the door, he would have body-slammed the door open. I love how Chinese people will do anything for children. I was happily just laying there waiting for help. I could see that Eli was fine, and I was completely calm. It really wasn’t a huge deal… but this Chinese guy looked like he was about to have a breakdown. He ended up removing the opaque glass section of our door. I was then able to reach through and unlock the door. Eli, who was carrying one of my bras around, gave me a huge grin as he saw my head poke through the hole where the glass once was.
Needless to say, Justin has now removed that knob from the inside of the door, and our door can no longer be locked. It now matches the upstairs door on Eli’s room because Nik and McKenzie (our friends who lived here before), also had to attempt a similar rescue effort when their son locked himself into his own room.
Boys will be boys!