I locked Eleanor in the car today. With my car keys.
I’m not sure how it happened, but I buckled Eleanor in her car seat, threw my car keys in the front seat (which I often do so I don’t accidentally loose them amongst the groceries), and closed the door. Which LOCKED. All I can think is that the key fob locking button got pushed when I tossed the key into the seat. But, whatever. Toddler, locked car, no keys. We’re here now.
So there I was, staving off panic. What can I do??? I had a phone, so I could call for help, either from Tony or from AAA, but it was cold, and I wasn’t about to leave Eleanor in the car by herself to take Saralyn inside to warm up. And I had all these groceries. I said to myself, let’s see if I can get a toddler to pull a Houdini.
So, there I am at noon on Sunday in the Kroger parking lot (regretting getting that front row parking space) shouting at Eleanor to wiggle out of her car seat. Elly threw the shoulder strap off and then thought the best plan of escape was to slide down… to the point where her arms were above her head and the lap belt was under her armpits. Then she flipped onto her tummy, and started heading north again. She got stuck a few times, and that was the most frightening part for me. I would have hated for Elly to get into a panic and me not get to her. But she was a real pro. She wiggled till she got free. Then I talked her into the front seat, where we played a rousing game of “no, not that button.”
Eleanor, for all her curiosity, is not good at finding things. If you say, “Hand me the widget on the floor, and she doesn’t know what a widget is, she can’t be directed to it. She doesn’t do very will with “no, that’s a whatsit, move your hand down. The widget is one down from the whatsit.” Her hand just goes waving around. At one point she put her hand on the electronic door lock toggle, which she just mashed on downward, locking the already locked locks. I gave up on that tactic, and tried to get Eleanor to pull up the individual lock on the drivers door. Frustratingly full of failure, that one. Then I got the brainwave, have her pick up the keys and push the much more familiar to her fob buttons. That took about 30 seconds. I said, “Pick up Mommy’s keys,” and she did. “Now grab the biggest part.” Now, as demonstrated from Eleanor’s cookie selections, she KNOWS how to pick the biggest. “Now push the SMALL button.”
I know it took only about 10 minutes, but it felt longer. I was just glad no one called the police on me. I felt STOOPID. But, as I often find, the kind people of the world make it a place really worth living. Saralyn was being entertained on the other side of the car by a lady who I was inconveniencing (I had wheeled Saralyn over to her side of the car, and the cart was blocking the driver’s side door of this lady’s car.) She was sweetly making doe eyes when I came around after my crisis ended. She said, “Honey, this happens to the best of us,” and was SO patient while I got everyone and everything out of her way.
Keeping calm and the kindness of strangers: that’s what I’m thankful for today.
SO, I feel like there should be a CONTEST now:
Tell me your best tale of crisis and how a stranger helped you out. Tony and I will pick the best tale and the winner will get bragging rights, and a little gifty mailed to you. Leave your story in the comments section by 5PM Sunday the 7th. And… GO!