Return from dog walk to find 3yo locked door Refuses to open as I ’told her not to’ Everyone else in shower 20 mins I’ve been out there!
Teaching your children about security is important. Right?
There are so many dangers out there. Some real. The vast majority perceived. But still it's important to install caution into our kids. Just in case.
But then sometimes that caution gets turned back on you.
When talking to the children about their safety I find myself doing one of those things (there are actually so many of them) I vowed never to do. Harking back to the halcyon, rose tinted days of my childhood.
I grew up in an area very similar to the one in which we live now. Rural. Relatively remote. Narrow lanes between high hedges. Woods and copses interspersing fields and heath. A landscape into which my friends and I, from a relatively young age, would disappear all day. Taking a packed lunch and cycling away to find adventure, mostly imagined. Sometimes not.
Speaking with another parent a little while ago, she elucidated her fear for her children. "I don't let them play anywhere other than the back garden," she said. "I can see them there, you just don't know who is around these days. It's just not like when we were children."
I am concerned about the children's safety, fear of strangers isn't one of the concerns that tops my list though. What stops me allowing our children the same freedom I had at their respective ages is more the additional environmental dangers that abound. Speeding traffic. Thoughtless cyclists. In the autumn a seemingly vastly increased number of shoots around our small area.
Living in a remote spot as we do, I do try and instil caution in the children over any strangers who are about. Occasional door to door sales people. Lost hikers. All I'm sure are quite innocuous, but equally could be scouting for suitable, remote, homes with less innocent intent.
To that end I've ensured that both children know not to open the door to strangers. Or, in the case of our three year old daughter, to anyone unless I open it first.
Which is how the dog and I found ourselves standing out in the rain for twenty minutes this morning.
I didn't really want to take the dog out. I was still in my pyjamas. He'd already been out for a wee. But our daughter decided it would be a good idea to put the lead on him.
Despite being the laziest dog in the world, he does get a little excited when he sees the lead. He gets more excited when he puts it on. It's just once we are outside the front door that our dog realises the down side of going for a walk. All that mud. Those scary stinging nettles. All that bother of having to cock you leg every few metres.
So out I went into the rain, in my pyjamas, with the dog.
Returning I found the door locked. It doesn't lock automatically, so someone must have done so from the inside.
I knocked. The culprit emerged. Our daughter visible through the opaque glass on the other side. "Let me in," I shouted.
"Not allowed!" She replied.
"Why not?" I asked.
"You said not to open door. You have to do it!" Our little girl was right. Those were indeed my instructions.
"I can't because you've locked the door!" I said.
"Not allowed," our little girl trilled breezily and began to walk away.
"Get Dad," I shouted.
"He's in the shower." Our daughter replied. "Going to watch Ben and Holly," she called as she disappeared from view.
My plaintive knocked echoed around the hall to no avail. The rain beginning to fall more heavily. The dog and I appearing all the more bedraggled.
Trying the back door was a failure. As was throwing stones at the upstairs shower-room window. The dog and I returned to the front door. To wait.
Finally, I saw J walk down the stairs. "What are you doing?" He asked, opening the door. The explanation was brief. His laughing lasted longer. Much longer.
The real problem being, of course, that remonstrating with our daughter wasn't really possible. She had, after all, followed instructions.
At least we'll know she'll remain safe if a stranger. Or indeed anyone. Comes knocking.