I knew it was only a matter of time before I made my first mommy mistake. We've all heard the stories about mommies who lose their kid in a store, drop the baby on its head, left the baby to roll off the couch, smash a kid's fingers in a door... the list goes on. I knew my mistake would come too. And it did. It happened on a sunny August day a few weeks ago...
The morning started like any other. I made plans to run two quick errands early before Jeremy had to drive to Albuquerque for school. It was about 9:30 AM and I went outside to put the carseat base back in my car. To my surprise, Jeremy had taken my car to work. No big deal, I'll just take his truck.
I had my keys in my hand when I went to the truck. It was unlocked. I installed the car seat base and went back inside to get Jenna and her diaper bag.
I put Jenna in the truck and threw the diaper bag and my purse in the truck. I was careful to keep my keys in my hand (because I've locked myself out before). I realized I forgot something inside, so I ran in really quickly to get it.
I came back out to the truck and pulled the door handle. LOCKED. No big deal, right? I had my keys in my hand. I looked down at my keys and searched for the key to the Toyota. It wasn't on my key ring. My heart sank and I felt a huge knot in my stomach. The blood felt like it was being drained from my body. I knew my baby was locked in the truck and I didn't have a key.
Frantically I ran back in the house and searched high and low every possible place a key could have been. Nothing. No key anywhere. I panicked. I tried to stay calm but the tears just started pouring out. Meanwhile, Jenna was sitting peacefully in her car seat looking at the dangly toys.
What to do next? I had no key and no phone. I panicked and was in a hysterical mess. I saw a huge rock in my yard (can you see where this is headed?)... I decided to try and break the window. (Looking back I realize this was really stupid). Jenna was in the back seat, so I picked a window farthest away from her in the front. She had the canopy up on the car seat, so I was hoping that would shield her from any glass.
I threw the rock at the window and it bounced right off. Damn! I tried again but harder. Nothing. I had no idea those windows are so hard to break unless you have a crow bar or hammer...So here I am with a scuffed up window still in tact and my baby still in the truck. Luckily it was only about 65 degrees outside and the truck was in the shade.
I decided I needed to find help (which is what I should have done in the first place). I ran across the street to a neighbor's house. She tried to calm me down (seeing as how I was hysterical) and she called a locksmith. He said he'd be there in 2 minutes. And he was. We anxiously waited for him to open the door. Jenna was still not crying at all.
He told me Toyota Tacomas are really hard to get into (Great, I thought). He fidgeted with the lock and his special tools for about 5 minutes. That was the longest 5 minutes of my life. He still couldn't get in. Jenna started crying. Mommy started crying again.
Poor locksmith felt so bad. He quickly grabbed some other tools that pry open the door so he could put a stick in to pull up the lock. Finally it worked. I grabbed that baby out the truck so quickly and pulled her to my chest, both of us in tears. She'd only been in there 20 minutes tops and it wasn't hot at all.
I spent the next several hours holding my baby, crying, feeling like a bad mommy, and playing the whole situation over and over in my head. I was tempted to blame my husband because I always keep a key to his truck on my key ring and I had a feeling that he took it off and used it and didn't put it back. But blame didn't make me feel better. I can't remember how the doors locked... I'm not sure if I accidentally pushed a button while I was loading up all of the stuff, or if I pushed the lock out of habit. Either way, it's my fault. I locked her in.
I feel even more guilty because not only did I lock my baby in the car, I scuffed up my hubby's window and now need to get it fixed AND had to pay a locksmith. I have an expensive mistake on my hands. Thank God the baby is okay. Thank God it wasn't hot outside. Thank God my neighbor was home and the locksmith came so fast. But I realize I need to quit beating myself up about it.
I debated posting this because it is quite humiliating and I feel so terrible about it. I get teary even mentioning it or thinking about it. But I spent some time reading other mom's blogs on their mistakes and it made me feel better. It made me feel human.
So to all those moms out there who've made a mistake - try to be gentle on yourself. We all have done it or will do it at some point. We can only hope our little ones are safe and sound. Try not to be so hard on yourself. Accidents happen.
FROM PARENTS.COM - What to do if you lock your kid in the car
There's nothing like the sinking realization that your keys are inside the car with a young child snapped into her car seat. Smile, and wave to the kiddo while you figure out your next move.
What You're Going to Do: Assuming your phone isn't in the car, call for help. Depending on where you are (a crowded mall parking lot, your own driveway), you have a few possibilities: Dial 911, and some locksmiths will dispatch free assistance when a child is trapped in a vehicle. But rescue may be even closer than a phone call, since some security officers have lockout tools. If you don't have a phone, enlist a friend or a passerby to get assistance for you. Don't leave the car!
If it's a warm day, cover the windshield and windows with blankets or newspaper to keep it from getting too hot inside. Obviously, leave gaps so you can see the kid and she can see you. Continue to smile, wave, and make faces. It is urgent that you get your child out of the car as soon as possible. If you're in a remote location without a means of getting help quickly, breaking a window is your only option. Pick the window that's farthest from your child, and get your hands on a heavy rock, a tire iron, or another hammerlike object. Be prepared to use a lot of force -- car windows are meant to be hard to break, but the corners are weaker so aim for one of them.
Lesson Learned: It's really easy to lose track of your keys when you're juggling small children. Forgive yourself and trust that the memory will keep you from ever doing it again. Don't forget to tell your tale to all your friends -- in vivid detail.