This happened in March, after we'd lived in Germany for about two months:
The door to our balcony has a lever on the side that flips up to lock the door and flips down to unlock the door. The entire door shifts down when it's locked so it's quite secure. We leave it unlocked all the time as we are on the second floor and no one can break in. I went out for a smoke this morning first thing, before even having breakfast, which is not something I normally do. However, for whatever reason, I grabbed my coat this morning, one cigarette from my pack and went outside to smoke it. Kate was already up, colouring and watching cartoons so I figured my minor deviation from the morning routine would not be noticed.
Before we moved to Germany, Kate never watched TV. It would be on and she wouldn't even look at it. She preferred to play with her toys while we watched our own shows. I think it has something to do with all the German cartoons, but our darling daughter is now addicted to the box.
Anyway, as soon as she realized where I was she stood at the door, asking to be let out, but of course I shook my head and said no. She seemed to accept this and wandered back to the living room and I went back to reading the magazine I had. Suddenly, I heard a thunk! And I froze.
No, no, no, she did not just do that, did she? Oh yes she had. Without me noticing, Kate had returned to the kitchen and had flipped the lever up, locking me outside and herself inside. This happened at 8:45 in the morning. I tried desperately with much crying and swearing to coax her to pull the bar down and she almost did it twice, but she gave up both times. She just did not have the strength to push it into place to unlock the door. I was stuck. And I panicked. I screamed, I shouted, I coaxed, I cried, I begged Kate to try again. Please baby, try again. She would not. While the lever was apparently fascinating five minutes before, it was of absolutely no interest to her now.
Fortunately, I had our only cellphone on me, but who on earth would I call? Brad didn't have a phone and I didn't have many people I could call. Our fellow expats were away on a trip so they couldn't come. And it was not even 9:00 am. That is practically dawn to Europeans.
My best bet was Sonja, the girlfriend of one of Brad's co-workers, Marco. They were a great couple that we had quickly become friends with but Sonja worked late nights as a server at a local bar and she likely wouldn't appreciate an early morning phone call from a stupid woman she barely knew who had managed to get locked out on the balcony by her toddler. I waited until 9:30 and the entire time I was having anxiety attacks about what Kate might get into while she was unattended by her fabulously responsible mother.
When I finally reached Sonja, it was 9:45 and I'd been out there for an hour, alternately sobbing over my predicament and pounding on the door in the hopes that a sound thumping would dislodge the damn German engineering. No luck.
Kate spent that hour crying at the door to be let out to join me, playing with the curtain by putting it on her head and saying 'Hat!', sitting in front of the door with her feet up on the glass of the door, playing peekaboo and, finally, getting her shoes, like THAT was the reason that I wouldn't let her come out with me. She went into the living room to put her shoes on and when she succeeded, she gave me a big smile and lifted one foot and then the other to show me. When I still uncompromisingly would not let her out, she gave up and went to the living room with her shoes still on, sat on the couch and watched cartoons. She had a lovely time, while I sat on a plastic chair and cried.
Thankfully Sonja's grasp of English was good enough that it was possible to even explain the problem, and she called Marco, who told Brad (without explaining why) that he needed to return home immediately. Poor Brad flew home, imagining the worst only to find his furious, embarrassed wife locked outside and Kate happily watching German SpongeBob.
To make it even worse, Kate has been saying fuck loudly every time she gets mad today. She's also been telling Brad, complete with fake crying, how mummy cried today. Then she loudly says Fuck!
And before you EVEN start, I know I should quit smoking. I'm pretty sure, someone, somewhere, is about to give me the mother of the year award. Oh and they are calling me Rapunzel now.