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Still in the running.

March 24, 2011

So let’s just get right to it.  Earlier this week, I locked my baby in my car.  If you work for CPS, the real story is that  he locked himself in the car…thanks to me.

It was a beautiful day – a rare crisp, low-humidity day in Houston that inspires you to plan all sorts of fun activities with your first-born as soon as you pick him up from daycare.  As we walked out to my car, I chatted with him about his day and listened to his usual response to every question with, “Bulldozah.”  He was chomping on a green apple.  He prefers them over red ones.

I swung him into LaVerne (my mini cooper, of course) and fumbled around trying to strap Genghis into his car seat while holding onto my keys.  The jingle of the keys was too much for him and he grabbed them out of my hands to play.  I was grateful for the full use of two hands, but after a few seconds, I thought better of letting Genghis play with my keys.  So I took them away from him and threw them in the driver’s seat.  You know what happens next.

The realization that he had locked the doors before I took the keys away from him hit me like a freight train right in the ovaries.  I went through 18 different scenarios in my head within the span of 5 seconds:  I calculated the time it would take to borrow a car to go home, get the spare keys and drive back – too long.  Call 911 – cell phone is in locked car and it wasn’t quite an emergency just yet.  Find a hard object to break the window – but how to contain the shattered glass to keep Genghis safe?  I turned and ran-walked into the daycare while all those thoughts faded away and one thought came screaming into my head:  I LOCKED MY CHILD IN THE CAR.

So I went straight up to the Director and said, slowly and clearly, “My child has locked himself in my car.  What is the protocol for a situation like this?”  I felt slightly guilty for passing the blame, but I was distracted by other things to really take some time to analyze the source of the guilt.  She called the Rice police department who told me they didn’t have the tools to help me and gave me the number to a wrecker.  I had to bite my tongue.  HOW DOES A COLLEGE CAMPUS NOT HAVE TOOLS TO JIMMY A LOCK?  Isn’t there statistical evidence that shows college kids lock themselves out of their cars ALL THE TIME???  Anyway, we called the Rice-contracted wrecker and he’s five minutes away.

Meanwhile, the Director grabbed one of Genghis’ teachers to stand outside the car window to keep him company.  I kept out of his line of sight because a) if he sees me, he might get upset that I’m on the other side of the window, and b) I’m too embarrassed to show my face to him.  When the wrecker arrived, the first thing he said was, “I’ve never unlocked one of these cars before.”  Great.  Thanks for the public service announcement.  I’m glad I could provide something more challenging than a Toyota Camry, which apparently would only take him 15 seconds.

The wrecker struggles with it.  Genghis freaks out.  He’s now in full panic mode, screaming, tears streaking down his face.  I keep it together until the teacher says, “Uh oh.  I think he’s hot.”  Now I’m panicking and wondering how much time I give the wrecker before I take that metal jimmy from him and smash my window with it.  Meanwhile, it’s Grand Central Station at the daycare parking lot and all these parents are walking by with their children, these pathetic half-smiles on their faces.  Like, “Yea, that really sucks to be you.  I understand how that can happen, but did you really do that to your kid?”  And I’m screaming in my head, “DON’T LOOK AT ME!  DON’T LOOK AT ME UNLESS YOU CAN GET MY BABY OUT OF THE CAR.”

Finally, FINALLY, the door popped open and I grabbed Genghis and apologized profusely.  Through the tears, he hiccuped and said, “Bulldozahhhhh.”

The wrecker doesn’t take a cent from me, despite my insistence.  I give him a hug instead.  And Genghis gives him a high-five.  It gives me hope that there are good tow truck drivers in this world after all.

I’m thankful that this incident happened on campus.  I’m thankful for the level-headed manner in which the Director handled the situation to keep me calm.  I’m thankful that the wrecker could break into LaVerne in under ten minutes.  I’m thankful for my baby who will have no memory of this incident.

Still in the running for Parent of the Year Award.  For my next trick I’m going to teach Genghis how to run with scissors.

bulldozah.

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2 Comments
  1. You rock, Judy. Our kid broke a leg at one. You’re definitely still in the running.

  2. Uncle JB permalink

    Pro Tip: delete this post before he can read, which will likely be some time in April.

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