I managed to get myself stuck yesterday. Looking back on it, it wasn't the most major crisis ever, but it sure FELT like a huge deal at the time. But never fear, my dear daughter came to my rescue and saved the day! :) I am very blessed that Sarah is 1) obedient (most of the time--she is by no means perfect. But at least she did obey yesterday when it really counted!) 2) persistent and 3) capable of doing exactly what I needed her to do in my hour of need!
You may be very curious by now if you haven't already heard the story. :) So as Monk would say, "Here's what happened." Sarah and I were on our way to Greeneville for Kindermusik. However, I needed gas before we made the drive. I only ever use pay at the pump. I do not like the hassle of taking Sarah out of the car seat to go inside to pay, and I like leaving her by herself in the car even less. So, although my beloved Dave Ramsey recommends cash for everything, when it comes to buying gas I am debit card at the pump all the way.
I usually leave the keys in ignition while I pump gas, so that Sarah can listen to music. I don't lock the doors, because I'm standing right there. You can probably guess what's coming now. You're right: I locked the keys in the car. With Sarah still sitting strapped in her car seat. :( It has been literally years since I have done this. The two times most recent were right after Nelson and I got married, and right after I was hired to teach preschool at Head Start. I guess you could call those times of high stress that scrambled my brain cells a bit. But I got in the habit of always carrying a spare key in my purse, just in case I needed it after locking up my keys.
However, we acquired the Taurus that I drive now fairly recently, and I didn't have the spare purse key yet. So there I was, stuck outside the car with Sarah trapped inside. And like most mothers, I panicked completely. I frantically called Nelson, who really wasn't in a good position to help. He works in Bristol, not Kingsport, and so was 40 minutes away with his key. And although he was perfectly willing to come to the rescue, he was at work and he was right in the middle of something.
But he at least was thinking more clearly than I was, and he came up with the idea of seeing if Sarah could get out of her car seat and unlock the door for me. So I (yelling through the window) told Sarah to undo the chest clip on her seat.
She struggled with this. Sarah can snap the clip shut like a pro, but pulling it apart is much harder. I really didn't think at first she was going to be able to do it. But after several minutes of struggling, she did manage to get the clip unhooked. Step 1 accomplished.
But she still needed to reach down to press the button to release the harness over her head. And although she tried, she simply could not reach it. At all. Sarah is small for her age, and her arms just don't stretch that far. I thought we were truly stuck now.
But again, Nelson came up with a solution. "See if she can wiggle out of the shoulder straps, then pull her legs up and climb out over the harness." So once again, I called instructions and encouragement to Sarah. Once again, she wrestled with following through, looking for all the world like she simply was not going to be able to accomplish it.
But she finally did it. Part of me still can't believe I taught her how to how to climb out of her car seat, but desperate times call her desperate measures. After a solid fifteen minutes of struggle, she made it out of that seat. I told her to come unlock the door.
I really only expected her to pull up the lock on the door to the backseat. I could take it from there. But if Sarah does something, she does it completely. She climbed up to the front seat so she could hit the button to unlock all the doors. She got to the front seat and tried to figure out which button it was she was supposed to push. I told to her to look at the door and find the letter U. "Once you've found the U, push it!" That did it. She studied the buttons, found the U, and unlocked the doors! Whew! I think I almost collapsed in relief.
Sarah was soooo proud of herself for doing the job, even though it was hard, and saving her mommy. I was pretty proud of her too! Not to mention extremely grateful.
And thanks to my mom, I now have my spare purse key for the Taurus. :)