The Real Houdini

Back when the Infantile Delinquent was stealing cars my mother said that rather than calling him Irish 1, which was what I called him at the time, I should call him Houdini.  I thought about it but then I came up with Infantile Delinquent and I thought that was pretty clever (and then bythelbs came up with InfaDel and that was even cleverer and a lot of fun) so I went with Infantile Delinquent instead.

And now I know I made a good choice.  Sure the Infadel steals cars but only those that are left unlocked.  Or those to which he has access to the keys, which is pretty precocious for a two-year-old but not quite as impressive as his sister who opens this 102_0819from the other side of the door.  (That’s not a stain on the door jamb, it’s just unpainted wood from where the hinges used to be before I turned the door around.  Long story.)

Sean and I sleep in the basement in our house.  All the kids sleep upstairs.  Most of the time.  But the kids are horrible sleepers and all of them with the exception of the Pea would prefer to sleep in our bed.  The Princess and the InfaDel feel so strongly about this that they will sneak down stairs in the middle of the night to do so.  The Baby probably would too but he can’t get out of his crib.  Yet.  (He’s only barely one after all) So he doesn’t.

In an effort to not have four people in our bed every night  we started locking the basement door.  That was effective for all of maybe one night.  Then the Princess realized that by inserting a screwdriver along the striker plate (the plate that lets the door close without your having to turn the knob.  Yes, I had to look that up.) she could pop that sucker right open.

So after waking up to find the Princess in our bed 2 or 3 (or 20 or 30) times we installed the very fancy hook and eye latch.

Before we proceed let me point out a few features of the hook and eye.

It’s placed high on the door.  I’m 5’7″ and I took this picture standing, notice how you’re looking up at the latch?

There’s a backstop (looked that one up too) between the edge of the door and the latch so anything that’s going to open that latch has to turn a corner.  (You can’t really see it in this picture but in the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that the backstop on this particular door is backwards because when I turned the door around I was too lazy to pull off the backstop and turn it around too.)

This particular latch has a spring loaded lock on it.  You drop the latch into place and then pull the lock thingy back and  it’s supposed to secure the latch into place. (This feature is not very effective, it’s easy to unlatch the thing without pulling back the lock.  But it has to add some resistance right?)

The latch stopped the Princess for all of two nights.


At first we thought that we were forgetting to latch it.  Nope.

Maybe she was just jimmying the door and the latch was coming off?  No.

I wondered if she was somehow getting a screwdriver in there so I tried it.  That didn’t work either.

So finally we asked her.

She carries a chair down the stairs and stands on it.  Then she takes a paperback book and slides the cover between the door and the frame.  The cover of the book easily turns the corner (Made slightly easier by the backward backstop but still…) and with the book cover lifts the latch.  She then inserts a screwdriver between the door and the striker plate, because we often engage both the latch and the lock (why, I have no idea because obviously neither are doing any good)  and unlocks the door.  She then carries the chair back upstairs, puts the book and the screwdriver away (the only time she ever cleans up after herself) and them comes back downstairs and climbs into bed with us.

It really is too bad she’s an evil genius.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jen
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 00:09:53

    We too have engaged the use of hook and eye latches in our home. My husband can open the one on the bathroom door from the outside, but even I can’t manage it.

    Tell your daughter I’m impressed. And I may be using her technique next time Hubby’s in the shower when someone has to go.

  2. Kristina
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 08:58:01

    She must really, really love you.

  3. Julie
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 09:40:58


  4. Annette
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 10:06:46

    That’s what I was thinking–she’s a genius child!

  5. bythelbs
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 10:44:32

    A future Ms. MacGyver. Or felon. Good luck with that.

    And where are all of these screwdrivers coming from? Sounds like you need a screwdriver safe. And a paperback book safe. In your bedroom. Behind the backwards hook and eye locked door.

  6. Steph @ Diapers and Divinity
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 11:01:22

    She should be the pretty girl in a Bond movie (but with more clothes on).

  7. Melanie J
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 14:01:53

    This is totally going to be Baby G before very long. Yesterday he figured out how to unwrap and eat the gum in my purse. Every single piece. And he can’t even walk yet. Sheesh.

    Your daughter is impressive.

  8. Diary
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 14:23:35

    Brilliant little Child. You have one smarty pants on your hands. Have you ever tried telling her that she is not allowed to sleep in your bed? It worked with my kids.

  9. Alison @ hairlinefracture
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 15:57:01

    Holy moly. I am glad my kids aren’t that smart.

  10. debbie
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 17:27:57

    She has a brilliant future ahead of her. I wonder if she will use her skills for good or evil:)

  11. madhousewife
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 17:45:13

    Very smart! I’m impressed. Also glad that she doesn’t live with me, because I’m not that smart.

  12. Catherine
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 09:36:14

    Someday your children will rule the world.

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