The worst day of her life. Let’s blame the cats.

Saturday are Sleep-In Days.  Seven-year old Grace is kind of getting the hang of that idea . . . after seven years of life.  She usually comes into our room and asks if she can use the master bathroom (I have no idea why she doesn’t just use the bathroom adjacent to her bedroom).  I always mutter, “Yes,” and go back to sleep.

And so it came to pass that on Saturday morning at 8:34 a.m. I was sound asleep when the telephone rang.

I reached for the phone, noted the unfamiliar name on caller-i.d. and said, “Hello?” in my most wide-awake voice.

“Hi, Mom.  This is Grace.  I’m at the neighbor’s house across the street, you know the one the boys helped?  I got locked out of the house.”

“Okay, I’ll be right there.”  What?  Huh?  WHAT?!  You WHAT?

I sprang out of bed faster than I ever have before, getting dressed while trying to explain to my husband what had happened.  I couldn’t quite understand how she got locked out and how she ended up across the street.  And furthermore, what kind of Mother am I to be sleeping while my baby girl is at the neighbor’s house?  What?!

By the time I opened the front door to go retrieve her, the neighbor-man was walking her back to our porch.  I thanked him for bringing her back and for helping, hugged her and closed the front door.

I peeked into the family room, saw our 11-year old son and said, “Were you here the whole time this was happening?”  And then he explained that her screaming woke him, but by the time he got on his coat and shoes, the phone rang, so he listened in and didn’t go looking for her.

She seemed remarkably calm despite her early morning adventure, so I hugged her again, asked a few questions and went back to bed.  Later, I put the whole story together.

It seems that Roy, one of the cats, wanted to go into the boys’ room.  (They were gone at a sleepover.)  She came downstairs to let the cat into the room.  While standing in the doorway, she heard the boys’ alarm clock ringing.  She decided to cross the room and turn off the alarm.

After she did that, she saw that Smokey, the crankiest cat in the world, was blocking her way back through the doorway.  Smokey has been known to swipe at people who walk too closely to her, so Grace decided that she would avoid Smokey by going out of the boys’ room through the other door, the door that leads outside.  She figured once she was outside she would go to the front door and reenter the house.

She realized her error when she reached the front door and discovered it locked.  She returned to the boys’ door and found it was also locked.  Although she was barefooted, she scampered across the driveway, into the backyard along the sidewalk and checked the patio door.  Locked.

At least she was wearing heavy fleece pajamas since the temperatures have been freezing overnight.

Now crying, she ran back to the front door.  However, our doorbell is broken.  She banged on the door, crying and now screaming.  The screaming woke Zach, but as I mentioned, he reacted a little slowly.  My husband and I continued to sleep through this whole ordeal since we keep a fan running in our room to block out noise and sleep with the door closed.  (See:  Fourth child; no need to monitor nighttime noises.  Please, we’re old.  Let us sleep.)

Seven-year old, barefooted Grace realized she was in some trouble.  So, within a few minutes she decided she should go next door to the neighbor’s house because she knows them.  When she reached the street–all the while crying and screaming–the neighbor across the street opened the door to investigate the shrieking.  He told me later he thought it was a cat.

She recognized the neighbor–the boys have done some yard work for him–so she headed across the street.  He told her to come in and she informed him she knew her phone number.  So she called us.  At that point, she sounded so completely rational and calm.  I am still impressed by her problem-solving skills–she analyzed her problem and came up with a solution all by herself.

Pretty amazing for a girl who had the “worst day” of her life–all in about ten minutes.

The moral of the story:  Better to get scratched by the cat than to lock yourself out of the house on a Saturday morning while your whole family is asleep and you are wearing only pink fleece pajamas and no shoes on a frozen December day.

[Note to self:  Get the doorbell fixed.]

10 thoughts on “The worst day of her life. Let’s blame the cats.

  1. Panic time! “Worst day of her entire life…” posting just after Grandma comes to stay with her…….scared me there for a minute! But, at least I am not barefoot, outside, in freezing cold weather.

    Nice neighbor man needs a plate of cookies!

    And kudos to Grace for knowing her home phone number and having enough calmness to call home. Glad all is well.


  2. Grace is 4 years older than Dylan but once he reached door knob-height we installed a chain lock high up the door he’ll have to be 16 to reach, ha! Once he could open a door at age 2 he’d be out of here faster than you could say boo. With Cooper’s adventurous spirit he’s also, at 20 months, jiggling the door knob around all the time too. Our street isn’t necessarily busy by any means but even so…I’d die if one of them got injured or killed on my watch! But good for Grace…very savvy little lady!


  3. I love this story, and your re-telling of it is brilliant.

    Unfortunately, almost the same thing happened to me when I was young. Except I was in only my underwear (I have no idea why) and my mom wasn’t home at all. My sister and I went next door and called her. I’ll have to ask her what she remembers about the story. All I remember is being mortified that I was running around the house in my undies and the neighbor girl, who I loathed, found out.


  4. Poor Grace! That is a funny story and brought back a memory of getting locked out of a house where I was house sitting. I too was in my pajamas. She is a very smart girl and will be a great memory for her.


  5. Poor little thing. I can understand that kind of thinking though: risk the cat or brave the freezing cold outside? I’m sure she’ll just stay out of their room from now on.


  6. Oh My Goodness…I had my hands covering my mouth the whole time I was reading this!! I was on the edge of my seat! She amazes me at how funny/smart she is, but what a scarey thing for a 7 year old. And I cannot even imagine the terror going through your mind when you heard her voice on the other end of the phone. I’m so glad all is well…but WOW! LOL. And BTW…Ted and I sleep with a fan on to block the noise too. It’s the only way we can sleep with teenagers staying up late, etc. We’re old too ;).


  7. I can relate…a few weeks ago I had swine flu and ran out of food, so decided to drive 3 blocks to McD’s for enough coffee, salads and snack wraps to get me through a day.

    The dog was on his leash so he’d go along. I put my purse on the car seat and turned around to unhook the leash from the tie-out, the dog jumped in the car, the leash caught on the door and pulled it shut and I heard the “Click”.

    My keys, my purse and my dog were all locked in the car. Thankfully I had forgotten my cell phone and (thankfully I think) my son had forgotten to lock the front window of the house…so it all worked out, but for 45 minutes Toby was wiping puppy snot on the inside of my car windows.


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