Where did they go?!?

My Toddler Is An Absolute Escape Artist


Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Getty Images, Stocksy

When I hop in the shower, a mental timer starts ticking immediately. I allow myself four minutes of washing, shampooing, conditioning — definitely not shaving or relaxing — before I need to dry off and resume my toddler-watching duties. It’s enough time to attain the minimum level of hygiene but not enough time for my toddler to form an elaborate escape... or so I thought. Because on this particular day, as soon as I stepped one foot out of the shower, dripping in water and attempting to grab my towel from the rack, I heard the downstairs door slam shut.

I threw my dirty clothes back on as I sprinted downstairs and out the side door. And there she was, sitting on her toddler bike in the middle of the driveway, attempting to fasten her My Little Pony helmet. (At least she is safety conscious, I guess.) She had made her way out of my room, despite the barricade of laundry baskets that I put in the doorway. She then maneuvered down the stairs and unlocked not one, but two doors to achieve her exit. She is a feisty, determined, talented escape artist.

I’m sticking to all the traditional safety suggestions, but I still have to keep my eye on her every minute to make sure she doesn’t bolt. Take our backyard, for example. It’s fenced in on all sides, with complicated gates guarding every exit and still, she finds her way out. I’ve seen her move the small, plastic backyard slide or one of the outdoor chairs over to the gate, climb on top, and jiggle the lock until it somehow releases. From there, she’s gone.

Then there are playgrounds and parks, ones that entertain most kids enough to keep them confined to a small area. She will find the one hole in the fence or hidden exit and before I know it I find her wandering the sidewalk rather than on the jungle gym where she was just moments prior. It’s wild!

And once she’s completed her defying disappearing act, she doesn’t respond to the typical parental commands. Like the countdown — you know, the “I’m going to count to five and when I am done if you are not back in the house, I am leaving you here forever.” She is totally unimpressed with my threats, staring me down like we are in the World Series of Poker and she’s holding a royal flush. Oftentimes, it makes her run even faster in the opposite direction. So I am usually left chasing her down, pulling a hammy on the way, and then alligator rolling her into grasp just to throw her kicking, flailing body on my hip to muscle her back to wherever we came from.

And while it can be a major safety concern, I’m also here to complain about its impact on my ability to relax! With four kids, I am pretty freaking tired — so when we are in the backyard or at a park, I really love when I can sit and get a break. But now my last and final weirdo is going to be a Houdini?! Feels unfair.

So before the summer is upon us I plan to rig up some overhead locks on the doors in our house that lead to the outside. Not aesthetically ideal, but hopefully helpful. I did Google “full yard dome enclosure” — in the hopes that Amazon has created some reasonably priced solution to my problem — to no avail. And I will drink more coffee in the hopes that maybe I can keep up with her quick moves and breakaway sprints. Wish me luck.

Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.