Dear First Year Nanny,
I must share a rather funny story about my first year as a nanny. I’m hoping this experience will ease your mind about when the unexpected happens and hopefully reassure you that YOU CAN DO THIS!
Joshua and I went into the backyard to play and take in some sunshine. Mindful to stay connected, I took the family home phone outside (no access to a cell phone back in the day). Joshua was 18 months with a cheery playful spirit. I declared playtime was officially over and that it was time to go inside the house. I opened the sliding glass door and Joshua stepped into the family room. I quickly remembered that I had left the phone in the backyard. So I closed the sliding glass door and walked quickly over to the patio table to retrieve the phone.
As I turned around to go back into the house, I saw Joshua’s little hand reach up to the lock latch and pull down the lever. NO HE DIDN’T! Joshua just looked at me and smiled. I pulled on the door hoping that Joshua hadn’t actually locked the door. Unfortunately, I was out, he was in! I couldn’t believe I was locked out of the house by an 18 month old child. This couldn’t be happening.
At first I did what I thought would be a quick fix. I gestured to Joshua and demonstrated how I needed him to push the lever up. Joshua just looked at me dumbfounded. I kept repeating the direction and the hand gesture hoping he would unlock the door. I imagined he had figured out “I am in, you are out” and he had the audacity to laugh. He started rolling around on the carpet by the front door in the living room. He ran a marathon between the sliding doors to the front door for several minutes. He was having an independent play day blast.
Realizing new found freedom, he was determined not to open the door. He knew that pushing the lever up meant returning to toddler status and the loss of self-directed independence. Defeated, I had to bite the bullet and call his mother. Remorsefully, I explained that I was locked out of the house and that her son was in the home alone. His mother found the entire situation funny and headed home to let me back in the home.
Can you imagine how embarrassing that moment was?
Embarrassing moments will happen. Laugh at them and move on. It’s okay to make mistakes if you remember to learn from them. Mistakes will help you grow professionally. Tip of the day: Always keep a phone and the house key on you when playing in the yard. You never know when a toddler might lock you out of the house. LOL.