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Locked Out This Time


“But I want to take a bath.”

“Tyler, there’s no reason for you to take a bath this morning, and your brother really needs to take a shower. He has sesame sauce all over him. There’s no time for baths, he’s taking a quick shower, and you can take a bath tonight.”

“But I –”

“You have your answer, Tyler.”

He furrows his brow in a blend of indignance and resignantion, and he sulks from my room.

Just before I pop into a shower of my own, I hear Tucker dripping his way down the hall. I throw on the red, fluffy, plush robe Robb gave me for Christmas a million years ago.

Tuck needs some help with shampoo. You bet, kiddo.

As we go back to the boys’ bathroom, I glance into their bedroom to see Tyler in his bottom bunk, snuggled in with his back to me. A smart choice, I commend. When the morning plan is altered against what you had in mind, just press the snooze button for a while.

I open the door to the bathroom, except the bathroom door wouldn’t open. It’s locked.

Tyler had turned the knob on the inside in a little snitty fit of revenge, intending to lock his brother into the bathroom for his blessed, enviable shower. That’s really a kind of fruitless revenge, since Tuck could simply turn the knob from the inside and let himself out. Still, in five-year-old terms, this delayed exit was enough of a payback.

But it didn’t play out as Tyler envisioned.

Instead, Tucker turned on the shower, came to ask for help, and closed the door behind him. Now all of us are locked out of the bathroom.

The plus side: we are safe. The down side: water is running and running and running and running on the other side of this locked door.

I look into Tyler’s bedroom. He’s now facing me, and the wheels are turning.

“Tyler, did you lock the door? Did you lock this bathroom door?”

“Oh, Mommy! I forgot that story!”

“That story” would be this one.

This is so dejavu.
Except Tyler isn’t a baby,
this wasn’t an accident,
everyone is safe,
the water bill is soaring by the moment,
and I can only hope it hasn’t left the bath tub.

“Mommy, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry….” on repeat.

“We’re never going to get in there. Never. Not ever,” Tucker hangs his head.

I feel the top of each doorframe, looking for that special tool that pops the lock and saves the day in moments like this. It’s nowhere.

I get a bobby pin from my bathroom, and I bend it into various contortions to obey me and unlock this blasted door. No dice.

Water, water, water.

“Mommy, you look like a queen in that red robe.”

Well, thank you, son. It’s made for winter wear. Today is July 11. I’m freaking hot. Plus, there’s some adrenaline and frustration temperature in play.

“Mommy, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…”

Thank you, Tyler. I sincerely hope you are. We will make amends later.

“Tuck, could you get dressed? Don’t worry about finishing the shower. Just please get dressed and go choose your breakfast.”

“But, Mommy, breakfast is your job.”

I look at him with the screwdriver in my hand. “Hey, Tuck, what job am I doing right now?”

“Oh, that’s right. I forgot.” He forgot.

I command Tyler to get dressed in the clothes I’ve laid out for him, with a stern warning to please not talk, don’t disagree, and simply comply with the wardrobe. You’ve played every last one of your bargaining chips this morning.

I am debating between turning off the water supply to the whole house. This would at least buy me some time.

I think about unscrewing the entire doorknob. And it seems like I should be able to figure that out.

It actually crosses my mind to call Robb. He would know what to do. I’ll think about not calling him later.

I fidget with the damn bobby pin and the screwdriver. Tyler watches me with his pajama shirt half-off, hung up in that awkward pose over his head and under one arm.
Tucker comes back upstairs with a plate piled high with the cake Tyler and I made yesterday. A funfetti bundt cake with frosting and sprinkles.

“That’s breakfast?”

“Yep. And I’d like to have another piece after this one.”

Oh, Tricia, stop fooling yourself. Stop acting like it matters, like you weren’t planning on the very same breakfast option under the umbrella of Adult Privileges. Add some blueberries and yogurt, and call it balanced.

I’m carrying on with this inner dialogue as I’m fidgeting with the screwdriver in the doorknob. And then I feel the give. The click. The release.

I got it. I got it. I did it.

We all rush into the bathroom, which is now a sauna. No spillage, thankfully. But a very nice steam treatment for the walls, windows, mirror, and now my hair and face.

Tyler wipes the mirror with a towel. “I’m sorry, Mommy.”

He’s near tears. “I forgot the story, Mommy. I forgot.”

I gather him on my lap. “Buddy, what’s the rule about locking doors in our house?”

“Don’t do it.”

“Right. There’s no reason. Ever. If a door is closed, we’ll give each other privacy. But there’s no reason to lock it. Especially not because you are angry.”

“I’m sorry, Mommy.”

“I forgive you, kiddo.” I rest my chin on the top of his head.

“It’s okay,” he says, momentarily confusing which of us is asking forgiveness. “I mean, thank you. Thank you, Mommy.”

I shift my tone, unwilling to surrender the entire morning to this chaos.

“Let’s have some breakfast. Tuck, I have some blueberries for you.”

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. It’s so weird and random the times that it just flashes in my brain to make that quick phone call. “I just gotta tell him real quick,” or “He’ll know what to do.” It makes me feel crazy. I’m sorry about your morning. Sounds like a tough one.

  2. The same sesame sauce from the bag of Asian Spring Mix “ice pack”? 🙂
    I love the grace you have for those boys of yours. Thanks for being a good example of the “adding-blueberries-with-cake breakfast” mom, I appreciate that (and glad you got into the bathroom without too much incident!) 🙂

  3. Okay now I am worn out.

  4. Oh, the hassle. You really handled it. And off topic, but still must be said: I *love* the noun, ‘funfetti’. I hope that’s a Tricia-original because it’s brilliant. No matter when, no matter what, I always enjoy your blog. If I commented every time I think *love* this one, it would simply get ridiculous.

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