On Mondays and Tuesdays, my wife leaves for work at the crack of dawn, and I have the sole responsibility of getting the kids up and dressed, not to mention making myself somewhat presentable, before the nanny arrives. Usually, I try to get out of bed a few minutes before the kids wake up so I can grab a quick shower and throw on some clothes prior to the unbridled chaos that is my two toddlers’ morning routine.
This morning I was a little slow, and my kids were up and hollering for attention from their rooms before I had a chance to shower or dress. So I got them ready and then brought them into my room so I could bathe quickly in the attached bathroom while they played peacefully on the floor.
“Played peacefully on the floor.” Okay, even I cracked up at that line. Those two haven’t played “peacefully” for more than two minutes since they learned that their parents weren’t really going to sell them to the next passing gypsy caravan if they misbehaved. But as parents, we all tend to delude ourselves when it’s convenient. And then things usually get very inconvenient.
Case in point, this morning. I was just getting out of the shower, still dripping wet, when I saw the bathroom door swing closed, obviously pushed from the outside by a pair of tiny hands.
And then, click.
I should back up and tell you that the door handle on our master bathroom is reversed. When we did some renovations a couple years ago, we moved a wall in the bathroom but re-used the same door. However, because we changed the orientation of the wall, the door had to be put back on in reverse from its original setup, meaning its hinges and handle are now on the opposite side from their original position. No big deal, except that the current arrangement allows you to lock someone in the bathroom as opposed to locking people out of it. Fixing the handle has been on my list, along with about 4,000 other home-improvement tasks that I systematically procrastinate so that I can do, well, just about anything else. This practice came back to haunt me in a big way this morning.
I dried off and wrapped the towel around my waist. Then I walked over to the door and grasped the handle. Sure enough, locked.
I knocked, which seemed ridiculous, but I thought it best to start with the polite, soft-handed approach.
“Hey, kids. Can you let daddy out please?”
I heard only muffled giggling, followed by some scampering across the bedroom.
“Knock, knock. Hey, guys. I have a fun game! It starts with pushing the button in the middle of the door knob!”
More giggling. No pushing of the lock button.
“Hey! Who wants a special surprise? Open up the door, and daddy’s got one for you!”
It dawned on me that this last statement sounded more than a little creepy coming from a guy wearing nothing but a towel. Whatever. I needed out of that bathroom before the little monsters found their way into my office and started e-mailing my clients.
“Guys? Can you hear daddy?”
More giggling and scampering, followed by a small crash and then something that sounded like metal hitting metal. This couldn’t be good.
Then I heard some breathing close to the door.
“Hello? Who’s that? Hey, kiddo, can you push the pretty button on that really cool silver knob?”
The breathing got a little louder, and then I heard the distinct sound of nails scratching at the door, followed by what sounded like a tongue licking the carpet at the base of the door.
Damnit, it was the dog. That wasn’t going to be any help at all.
At this point, I couldn’t hear the kids anymore, and they weren’t responding to my repeated appeals. The dog seemed to have settled in on the other side of the door, loyally guarding me inside my lavatory prison cell, or perhaps protecting the lock from being disabled as revenge for switching her to that new health food. Hard to tell. Either way, there were no creatures with opposable thumbs on hand to open the door.
So I just stood there in my towel feeling awfully stupid.
And that’s the way our nanny found me about 20 minutes later. She seemed utterly confused and more than a little horrified. I apologized. I explained. She just shook her head. I begged her not to tell my wife. She just looked at me with a wry expression.
On a completely unrelated note, the nanny now makes about $3 more an hour.