It happened once already. We knew it was only a matter of time until it happened again. My 3-year-old daughter locked her bedroom door–the only door in the house for which we do not have a key.
When it happened the first time, our older daughter was in the room as well and we were able to explain how to unlock the door. But this time, our youngest was all by herself. I didn’t even realize that she could reach the lock until it was too late.
Our first effort was to explain how to unlock the door. This was the method that had worked with her older sister. But after a few frustrating moments of door knob jostling, it became apparent that she was just trying to turn the knob and not the lock. My skills to explain what was needed were sadly lacking.
We then tried the credit card trick to jimmy open the door, but my skills in such arcane arts are rusty at best.
So I decided to take decisive action. After making sure that my daughter was nowhere near the door (thanks to my wife getting her attention from outside of her window), like so many big, bad wolves, I huffed and I puffed and I kicked the door in.
The Pros of Kicking In a Door:
- I now know for a fact that I can open any interior door in my home, locked or unlocked, having previously only being theoretically sure that this was the case.
- My daughter safely got out of her room.
The Cons of Kicking In a Door:
- I now need to fix the door frame and replace the door.
- These things take time and money, both of which are limited commodities.
- The door and frame will look ugly until I can fix them.
The Things I Had Not Considered Until After the Fact:
- My wife is a better communicator than I, and she may have been able to explain what was needed to our daughter.
- There was no pressing need for the door to be opened when I broke in. My daughter was not crying, was not hungry, did not need the potty, and wasn’t locked in with any wild animals.
- *THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE* I had not communicated my plans to kick down the door to my wife, an action which (understandably) made her think that I was greatly disturbed at the time (which I wasn’t).
So here’s the lesson of the day, if you need to get into a locked room, use a firm kick (not a shoulder) near the door handle, BUT EXHAUST ALL OTHER OPTIONS FIRST. Also, communicate well with your spouse before taking any dramatic actions.