Sydney has fallen in love with my keys--specifically the key to my car, which comes equipped with a variety of buttons and lights and which has consequently provided loads of accumulated entertainment since it was added to the play repertoire last week. Car rides have become rather hysterical, as she does not yet understand that the key has to be in the ignition in order for the car to run, which is why I found myself in a state of frustration and general stupidity yesterday afternoon as we pulled up to our house.
"Mom-eee!" she'd screamed, the entire way home. "Keys! Please keys!"
"Not now, baby," I'd said, soothingly, calmly, over and over and over. "When we get home."
So, when we got home, and I pulled the keys from the ignition, I reached around and handed them to her. (It pains me just to write this.) I had promised her the keys when we got home, and here we were at home, and damn it, I was tired of explaining to a 2-year-old the finer points of car mechanics and patience and overall decorum. So I handed her the keys, got out of the car, and was walking around the back to get her out, when...
You probably saw it coming a mile away, right? I didn't. For some reason, it never occurred to me that she might lock herself in. With the keys that I handed to her. Like a total freakin' idiot.
Before you could say "worst nightmare" I was on the phone with Cade, begging him not to be mad at me, commanding him to leave work immediately with the spare key, trying to keep the hysterical voice at bay, the one that was screaming about the heat, and the dangers of dehydration, and the woman I knew at Tulane whose 3 year-old son died in a locked car in the middle of a parking lot in the middle of the summer in New Orleans, several years ago.
"Calm down," Cade said, not mad at all but--gasp!--laughing. "Nothing's going to happen. You're standing right there."
And it was true, I was standing right there, with my head pressed against the window, begging my child to push the button, no not that button, the other one, yes, yes--no, the other one, yes, now press it again, one more time, keep pressing, that's a good girl, mommy loves you, keep pressing...
And so on. She, of course, thought the whole thing was hilarious. "Hi, mommy!" she said, laughing and tapping on the window separating the two of us. "Push a button!" "Mommy outside!" "Sydney inna car!"
After a few minutes and way too many worried glances from passers-by, she finally pushed the correct button and unlocked the door. I called Cade and told him the news, then hustled her inside for some air-conditioning and fluids. She settled down to play, completely unfazed, while I huffed and shuddered and cursed myself for such a--what's the word?--thoughtless mistake.
Lesson learned, I guess. Why do I always seem to have to learn the hard way?