I suppose it was bound to happen eventually. Yesterday I went outside with the rubbish, heard the door close behind me, and realised I didn't have my keys in my pocket. This would be irritating enough, but while I was on the outside, G was firmly on the inside and stuck in the house on her own.
I pottered around the outside of the house and wondered what to do. I could hear G rattling about. But with all the curtains drawn, I didn't have much idea what she was doing, although it was a fair bet she's still too young for any Home Alone-style booby traps. I tried knocking on the glass door, and eventually she came toddling over. After some cajoling, I managed to convince her to bring her little chair towards the door. The conversation then went something like this:
Me: "Could you stand on your chair please?"
Me: "If you stand on your chair and open the door, daddy would be very happy."
I tried another tack.
Me: "Have you got a hungry tummy?"
Me: "Would you like some cake?"
Me: "If you stand on your chair and open the door, daddy will get you some cake."
Clearly, this was hopeless. Finding one of G's hairclips in my pocket, I had a go at picking the lock. After all, the door was just on the Yale rather than the main lock (which was unlocked), and I'd seen it work in films. This seemed like a brilliant idea as I managed to make the lock move a little, but I got too greedy and a bit of the clip snapped off, instantly rendering it a terrible idea. When Mrs J got home from work her key wouldn't fit, so we were now both stuck outside.
Mrs J's arrival at least managed to distract G from yet another game of building a house with her big Lego blocks. Using all her powers of persuasion, Mrs J even managed to convince G to stand on her chair. Unfortunately, she wasn't quite tall enough to reach the handle. But she was very clever to at least make the effort.
G had now been inside on her own for more than an hour, and Mrs J decided to ring the fire brigade to see if this counted as an emergency. Apparently it did. And so a little later a fire engine turned up, and some helpful firemen with a large box of tools were soon pondering the best way of breaking into our house.
Obviously I won't tell you how they managed it, in case you come round next week and steal my TV. But the presence of the fire brigade was particularly good for two reasons. G got to see a real fire engine, and it meant we didn't have to get an emergency locksmith or glazier at vast expense. The main fireman took G's name though ("they will ask me back at the station"), presumably to prove that we weren't just a couple of timewasters. So I wouldn't try the fire brigade next time you lock yourself out. Unless you've genuinely got a two-year-old inside, obviously.
Great Eastern, Hancock Street
11 hours ago