Like all parenting horror stories that start scary, but end well, this one begins with “I only left him alone for ONE MINUTE.” It’s the reason I am gracefully resigning from the running for the prestigious title of ‘Supermom’. It’s a risk I am willing to take if it means another mother will feel less alone in feeling like a terrible mother.
It all started on an ordinary day…
It was a regular weekday morning; my 18-month-old son and I were hanging out in-between playing with his toys, doing laundry and checking my emails once in a while.
I am a working-at-home mom, so the mornings when he isn’t at the babysitter’s house, I try to squeeze in an email or two when he is watching cartoons, eating a snack or playing nicely by himself.
As Levi grew older and became such a happy, compliant child, I grew to trust him a little more and more. He follows instructions often and promptly and doesn’t desire destroying our things or the house too much. If the bathroom door is left open, he closes it so I don’t worry about things being thrown down the toilet.
But I think I trusted him a little too much.
That morning, we were upstairs and I’m writing an email while he walks the other way down the hallway into our bedroom. No big deal – there are always toys in there and he loves to hang like a monkey off the treadmill handles.
I left him alone in my bedroom, still able to hear him, for just one minute. ONE MINUTE. Apparently, being able to hear him doesn’t matter…I’ve learned that now.
After ONE MINUTE, the email now sent, I went see what Levi was doing. He was in the bathroom. He likes to play with the drawer and the key that locks it. Not ideal, but I wasn’t too worried, probably because I had been lucky…until then.
He had the door partly closed, so I push it open and it moved only half an inch. I was confused – why won’t it open? I look down and the cabinet drawer is open which is right next to the door, and it’s blocking it. It won’t open more than the width of my pinky finger.
“Close the drawer for Mommy! Push. Push the drawer. Close the drawer! PUSH THE DRAWER FOR MOMMY!!” The louder I yelled, and the more I pushed the door, the more he laughed! How do you tell a toddler, “This isn’t a game!”?
To my horror, he starts grabbing through the cupboard (how did I forget to lock it?), and rifles through my make-up bag. Terror sets in as I worry he will choke on something, ingest toxic chemicals, be stuck in there for hours or drown in the toilet!
I grabbed the phone to call my neighbor. She has a baby – maybe she’ll have an idea. It rang once and I hung up as I panicked realizing there’s no time to ask for help, I need to DO something, and do it right now!
I karate-kick the door in (thanks kickboxing training in my pre-baby days). I kicked a hole in the door and kicked it until the drawer came out of the cabinet, taking the side of the cabinet with it.
Phew! I got in.
I look around…a demolished bathroom and a toddler screaming in terror at the door smashing in. Now sobbing and shaking uncontrollably, I hear the sound of my concerned neighbor calling back to find out why I hung up.
After relaying the short version of what just happened, I held my son very tightly while I cried into his hair and he fell asleep in my arms. My neighbor came over to console me through the aftermath.
To this day, we haven’t fixed the bathroom and my son is never alone in any bathroom for even a second. We haven’t had a repeat situation so far and I hope we never do. But have no fear – my Ninja Mommy outfit is on standby in case of parenting emergencies.