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I locked my baby in the bedroom

Written by Karen van Beek


We moved into a new house when I was on maternity leave with my son. He was 4 months old. Shortly after we moved in, the hot water system broke completely - this seems to happen whenever we move house. Good excuse to get a continuous flow one anyway, hey?!


When the plumber, Greg, arrived at the front door, the baby was asleep in the main bedroom at the front of the house but was just waking up. My two ridiculously enthusiastic boxers where bouncing around at the front door, waiting to lick somebody new. Sensing that Greg wasn’t into that, I opened the bedroom door and shoved the dogs in with the baby and closed the door so that I could greet Greg in a somewhat civilised fashion.


I showed Greg the plumber through to the back of the house so he could go and start working and then came back to get my son up and change his nappy. I went to open the bedroom door. I turned the knob, and… nothing, it slipped without doing whatever doorknobs are supposed to do.


I couldn’t get in. I start running through the risks in my head: dogs locked in a room with the baby - I know my dogs very well, I didn’t see this as a big problem; baby suddenly learning to roll off the bed - possible but highly unlikely for my little one at this point; baby suddenly deciding he was hungry and screaming the neighbourhood down - very possible. At 4 months postpartum, my mummy protective vibes were still in full force, and the thought of him screaming and me not being able to get to him was almost too much for me to take.


Within seconds, my mind moved on to how do I get in, there were 2 windows and I was certain both were latched so this was not an option. My next thought went to a jig saw tool my husband had mentioned, out of context, a few days ago. I had no idea what it looked like or where it was, but surely this could help. The door’s well-being was not considered as I moved through the options. I was panicking pretty hard and felt myself running out of viable options, so I went to the nearest person available to me: plumber Greg.


I went outside, breathless with anxiety and fumbled through an explanation of what was going on, apologising every 5 seconds for being a crazy woman. Greg was more than happy to help with the door and reassured me that my reaction was perfectly normal for a new mother (how sweet is this guy?).


He rushed back through the house and started working on the door with a very large screwdriver. After what seemed like ages and no progress, I mentioned the jig saw. Greg didn’t seem interested. I pushed: “I honestly do not care about this door - I can get a new one”. Greg looked at me to check if I was serious (I was) before he forcibly removed the doorknob from the door with the giant screwdriver, and we were in.


The dogs were sitting patiently behind the door and the baby was babbling to himself on the bed - all 3 of them oblivious to any of the drama. And then... I hugged the plumber.

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