Monday, August 22, 2011


Like many moms, especially stay-at-home ones, I often feel trapped.  There are days when my house is my prison cell and my two young daughters are the arduous wardens preventing me from having meaningful communication with the outside world.  My prison guards are unwavering in their demands- requiring me to cook, clean, and play with them nearly every waking hour.  (I have already begun tunneling a hole with a spoon in the wall of my bedroom, behind an old Hollywood pin-up poster, and will soon be heading to Zihuatanejo.)

While this is only a metaphorical jail, this weekend I found myself truly trapped, and at the mercy of three little girls all under the age of five. 

Saturday morning started innocently enough- after my husband slept in we traded watching the children while the other ran (I went second).  When I returned from my workout, Ted had to make a speedy get-a-way to a meeting down in the Peninsula, and Maisy and Elana were playing well with Poppy (a friend's child who we were babysitting for the weekend).  Since the house was peaceful, and the childrens' needs were met, I decided to take a shower (I know, how selfish of me!).

I was not three minutes into the shower, when Maisy ran in screaming, "No Mommy!  Don't Shower!" 

Like any good mother, I pretended not to understand her.  Like any good toddler, she began to bang on the glass shower doors. 

From under the cascade of water pouring on me, I was able to calm down the fussy toddler and convince her to play "mommy" with the other girls.  Pleased with my expert parenting abilities, I continued my shower, even taking the opportunity to shave my legs.

As I was turning off the water, I actually smiled to myself, proud to accomplish bathing without using Dora.  But then I tried to open the shower doors... which Maisy had jammed during her tantrum. 

When the moment of confusion passed, panic began to rise in my throat like heartburn- I was trapped in the shower, naked, while three preschoolers ran amok in the house!  The doors would not move more than three inches and are made of glass (you know the kind that can shatter and cut you if mishandled).  Furthermore, my husband wasn't planning on being back for another four hours.  Slowly, I slid down to rest on the bathtub floor, while images of the children dancing barefoot on pieces of broken dishes and gorging on handful of Cheddar Bunnies filled my head. 

But then I remembered all those brave pets that have saved their owners my dialing 911.  Hell, if a Labrador can aide his master in a time of need, my four-year-old can surely help with this. 

I called Elana in from her game of "house".  "Elana, I am stuck in the shower and I need you to listen to me very carefully.  First, please go find my cell phone and bring it to me."  (Miraculously, I had actually left my cell phone in the place I told her to look.) 

"Next, can you reach my robe on the back of the bathroom door." Unable to reach the hook, Elana used her excellent problem solving skills and brought in her doll bed and a box to stand on.  (Another miracle- the opening was large enough to fit a terrycloth robe.)

Now to determine whom to call- 911 seemed a bit over dramatic.  My first two calls were to neighbors who did not pick up.  The third call was to friends that live a half mile away.  They picked up, the husband came over, and ten minutes later I was free.  The house was back under the control of an adult, potential disaster averted.

From every life mishap, I try to take away a little lesson- something to bring meaning in desperate times.  The lesson I learned from this is simple- it is better to be stinky and sweaty, than to bathe in a house of filled with toddlers.

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