One calm weekday morning Elliot and Kevin were playing in their room. The other house males were taking a shower. Mum was getting dressed.
The great escape begins
Unbeknown to all but themselves Elliot and Kevin had begun a ‘great escape’. The retractable baby gate was their target to overcome.
Limits of the standard metal baby gate
Some months earlier they had worked out how to climb over the standard metal gate. A pile of toys and a gymnastically fit Kevin had made getting over that gate simple. A retractable gate, with nowhere to grip was moved in.
The retractable baby gate has limits too
The retractable gate had been working well. The boys had not sussed out how to open the lock. Until ……..
Kevin worked out that it was possible to slide out underneath the gate when the retraction was not 100% tight. Elliot followed. They quietly took the steps downstairs. Kevin made it to the lounge to continue to play with the toys left out from the last evening. Elliot aimed for the kitchen.
The enticement of the washing machine
Elliot has always had an interest in the washing machine. He liked it when it was working, when it was full, when it was empty. He LOVED it when it was spinning. Today it was still. It was full of washed clothing ready to be hung out.
Elliot had watched Mum and Dad hang out clothes many times. He knew what to do. He pulled at the door handle. Nothing moved. He pulled harder, and harder and harder. Still no success. He could not get the washing out after all.
Mum arrives anxious and steaming
Then Mum arrived having heard clutter and bangs from the lounge which did not sound like Dustin’s usual lego building pre-school activity.
Elliot pointed to the washing machine. ‘Washing clean’ … Mum looked at the door he was yanking hard. Her desire to continue the reprimands she had begun with Kevin, who was now in her arms, stopped. The door looked to be at a strange angle.
Toddler Ingenuity Costs
Rapid checks revealed it was never going to open. ££ signs flashed before her eyes.
‘Elliot you have broken the washing machine. You must not come downstairs without Mum or Dad. I have told you over and over not to play with the washing machine’. Voices tone rising…’Now look what you have done.’ Elliot stood silently. ‘What do you say?’ ‘Sorry Mummy’. A detailed account of the implications…toddler style..followed.
Repair and replacement
Over the next few days and a few online investigations later a solution was found. With a spare part Mum was able to repair the door herself. But before that she upgraded the retractable gate to a tall metal gate recommended for ‘dogs who like to jump’. She did not like to think of her gorgeous boys as ‘dogs’ but on this occasion ……..
- Try and keep ahead of the strategies for escape and natural investigation within any toddler child
- If you want to avoid unnecessary expenditure go straight to the tall, ‘dog resistant’, gate at the start
- Think hard about how escapees are reprimanded. Did you create the temptation? Is it just a little bit your fault or all theirs?