Thursday, April 22, 2010

Child endangerment

I knew it would happen sometime. I mean, letting a kid who likes to push buttons play with the keys and the keyless remote is probably not the best idea if you actually want to avoid locking your child inside the car.

I took Sylvia to the sitter's today for the first time this week (she's had a bad cold all week). The sitter asked if she could borrow the car seat so they could go to a park, which was fine, so I went to pull out the car seat. I took Sylvia with me because she's been a little clingy, and let her loose in the car with the car keys to keep her occupied while I unclipped the car seat. I've acquired Sylvia's cold (though mine is significantly less intense) so I was not thinking the best today. I pulled the car seat out and took it to the other car and was chatting with Kim while she installed the car seat. Then I heard my car honk once.

So, the panic button on my keyless remote causes the horn to honk three times. Honking just once, on the other hand, means the doors are locked. I looked at Kim and said, "I think my child just locked herself in the car."

Yeah, so I was hoping I'd left the car door open, but of course I had responsibly closed it behind me. Oops. Kim followed me over and we both stared at my child, happily playing at driving inside the locked car with no apparent interest in doing anything other than playing. Still, I was reasonably hopeful Sylvia would just keep pushing buttons until she hit the right one and then we'd have a few minute delay to our activities and a funny story to tell. For several minutes she was quite happy to push the lock button or put the key into the ignition and then turn the steering wheel. Eventually she found the tissues and pulled every last one of them from the dispenser.

At about that point she got bored and wanted me to get her out or join her. I was still relatively amused, but slowly realizing my child was unlikely to get herself out. We kept trying to get her to push other buttons or pull up the lock on the door, or roll down a window--anything that would give us access to the interior of the car, but she was only interested in the lock button or in touching the same place on the window we were pointing to. She got frustrated with my inability to get in and tossed the keys on the floor and then started pulling the anti-theft warning sticker off the window. Eventually she picked the keys back up, pushed the lock button a few more times for good measure, and tossed them on the back seat.

Have I mentioned Sylvia was sick? By this time she was frustrated enough to cry and, along with her tears, a sticky, streaky slick of snot covered her upper lip. I don't know why putting her mouth against the glass would do anything, but she left long arcs of snot on the window as she moved back and forth.

I finally decided to just call Derrick and have him bring the keys. Two minutes later, Sylvia hit the unlock button on the car door and I rushed in, which set off the car alarm, but hey, I got my child out. Derrick showed up shortly after and we sent him home without having him even turn off the truck.

Incredibly, when we got home this evening, Sylvia asked for the keys so she could go out and play in the car again.


  1. oh hilarious! You wrote it so well, and of course Sylvia would unlock the car as soon as you get Derrik on his way. I can just see Sylvia in the car in each description you gave, pulling out tissues, snotting up the window.

  2. Knowing your husband was only 5 minutes away really eased the tension on that whole situation. This will be a funny story to tell for years to come, and you can always brag at what a smart kid Sylvia is to figure out how to unlock the door by herself...finally.