Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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Angel on Overtime

Tonight I thought I heard something in my hallway. I got up, looked, checked the stairs to the second floor, but there was nothing there. And why would there be? Our front door was locked and the kids had been in bed for two hours.

A few minutes later I heard my front door close. I bounded into the foyer and found my 4-year-old son in his undies walking in from the outside.



When pressed for a reason, ANY reason, he couldn’t give me one. He probably just wanted to see what was going on out there. Or to look at the flowers. Who knows!?

This one has been keeping his guardian angel busy lately. A couple weeks ago I had terrible food poisoning. Food poisoning isn’t great ever, but at 9 months pregnant, it’s even worse. I was nearly catatonic. My husband was upstairs working in his office. I noticed, through the haze, my father’s car pull up outside and this same 4-year-old hop out.

Turns out that he’d left the house and tried to walk a half mile away, through our peaceful neighborhood towards a busy road to get to a local gas station. Just took off. His grandpa happened to leave early that day and spotted the wayward child almost as he reached the roundabout at the busy road. If I hadn’t of been so sick, I would have been a wreck–I guess I was just a different wreck.

You hear those stories on the news of a kid wandering down the highway, or found by herself near a grocery store. And we all think “Tsk, tsk, where is that child’s mother?” You guys, I think I have that kid–I AM THAT MOTHER.

To answer your question: yes, he’s quick, quiet, independent, and can manage our deadbolt by himself.

I think I need to get one of those slide locks with a chain for the top of our door, right?

Have you had escapees at your house? How do you handle an independent child who thinks they can just take off whenever they get the urge? Any advice on corralling a child that doesn’t include a cage, some sort of chain, or a tracking device?

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Comments (14)

  1. LisaSpinella 03/02/2013 at 10:01 am

    My friend put an alarm on the front door… It’s LOUD! But it really worked! it even startled my god son and would distract him because the dogs would go crazy!

  2. Erin Oltmanns 06/16/2011 at 10:11 am

    My girl was so tall by 18 months that she could reach the door and deadbolt but could not understand the word “no”, so we have these suckers on our exterior doors. They will not break…trust me. The doorknob will tear out of the door, before this will fail.

  3. Amy 06/16/2011 at 9:44 am

    I’ve had two of those kind of kids. We demolished three of those chains at the top of the door because every time my husband came home from work he’d forget it was there and push against it so hard, after so many times it finally snapped.

  4. Mrs. Organic 06/15/2011 at 8:39 pm

    When my fourth child was 18 months old, I had someone from half a block away call and tell me they’d seen her headed for the park down the road. Now tell me, how does a 18 month old baby get out of a door with a deadbolt on it?

    That was the first in several escapes. I ended up putting a slide lock on the outside of her bedroom door because she also took off in the middle of the night. She is my deep thinker, my curious George. She’s 11 now and still wanders and explores everything, at least now I don’t have to worry so much and her midnight ventures involve reading by book-light.

  5. Miranda 06/15/2011 at 7:58 pm

    My kids don’t walk off but I myself did it as a kid all the time. I gave my mom at least three heart attacks!

    “hadn’t of” … My grammar goes downhill when I’m pregnant too 🙂

  6. Jennie 06/15/2011 at 10:52 am

    We had a seriously sneaky 2.5 yr old that scared us to death one night (though we didn’t find out the whole story until the next morning!!!!)

    We now have a wireless alarm on the front door (just $12 three yrs ago) and have armed it every night since then and have never had an escapee, our younger two never stood a chance 😉

  7. Shannon Nelson 06/15/2011 at 10:39 am

    We just installed a slider lock at the top of our front door. Not only was she opening the door and leaving but she was inviting both of our dogs to go with her.

  8. dbug 06/15/2011 at 10:20 am

    we have an alarm system on our house and it makes a little “ding ding” sound when one of the exterior doors is opened. it helped a LOT when our rosie was four. you can get those little noise makers at home depot, independent of an alarm system.

  9. Sisifo 06/15/2011 at 10:14 am

    My girls try to escape all the time. We have childproof doorknobs that they both know how to pop off (so much for childproof). So, we wrap them in tape. (That only stops them for about a minute while they pull the tape off.) We live in an apartment so we’re not allowed to put up one of those chain door stoppers, but I’m just not sure what else to do. Both the 4yo and the 2yo escaped while I was taking care of the baby yesterday morning. They both had a lecture (short, of course) and a time out. I just don’t know what else to do. Reading those reponses I’m going to look into the chimes.

  10. Erica Fehrman 06/15/2011 at 9:30 am

    Scary! Maybe try a door chime sensor. My parents have them and it actually helped alert them to an intruder, so it would probably help if someone’s trying to get OUT of the house, too.

  11. Kalli 06/15/2011 at 8:27 am

    I have no idea. Finagle one of those popped collar dudes you chased down on State Street a few years ago to install an alarm system for free? I believe in your ability to make this happen. You can be scary when necessary. Don’t poke the bear.

  12. Annie @ PhD in Parenting 06/15/2011 at 8:27 am

    We have friends whose 4 year old escaped through a window in the bedroom he was sleeping in at a cottage they had rented for their vacation. The people in the neighbouring cottage returned him.

    We have an alarm system in our house and we turn it on when we go to bed at night. Even if you don’t have an alarm system, I think you can get sensors that will beep if the door is opened.

    My worry with a lock that our children can’t open is that if there ever was a fire, I would like my 6 year old (whose room is closest to the door) to be able to escape without having to count on us to open the door for him.

  13. Cynedra 06/15/2011 at 6:30 am

    The sliding chain works only if you don’t have any furniture light enough to move to it. Hmmm, how do I know this? Experience of course. You think I’d notice my boys moving furniture to unlock the door and I did notice them moving the end table. I just didn’t think too much of it. Until I heard the door make a noise. My then 3 year old was still right there, but where did my 15 month old go. Glancing quickly out the door, I didn’t see anybody. Then running a quick scan of the entire house and him not turning up, I headed out the door, and food him toddling down the middle of the road. Made me glad we bought our house back in the middle of no where.

  14. Likely 06/15/2011 at 5:06 am

    oh my gosh. this is my oliver. It’s kind of horrifying. takes whatever he wants in the kitchen, leaves whenever he wants. leaves everyone at the father son campout and goes and sits in the car. One morning I woke up and had an awful feeling, no oliver in bed and the front door wide open. HE was half way down the street.

    freak out.

    and after talks and talks and talks, he isn’t really learning. alarm on the doors? that is what a friend told me. just a simple one that rings when the two parts of it aren’t connecting. I really should do this.

    I have so much more sympathy for moms with runaway independents. HE is the same way in the stores. DOES NOT CARE. Wouldn’t even care if he couldn’t find me for a half hour. It’s crazy. I think the deeper you get into motherhood the less judgmental you become.