Thursday, 19 January 2012

Cookie monster

A word of advice to hostage negotiators: biscuits.

I spent last week studying for exams, literally locked in my bedroom. 

One evening I forgot to remove the key from the bedroom door and hide it from the kids. This same evening our postman delivered a dehumidifier, which Papa unwrapped using a paring knife that he forgot to put back in the kitchen.

Some regions have a wet season and a dry season. England has a wet season and a moldy season, thus the dehumidifier. 

Next morning at 9am, or 'late-o-clock' as it is known in pre-school parlance, Ali ran down the hallway and slammed the bedroom door. Then 'click'...she locked it. 

My heart plummeted to my toes. I called Papa in a flapping panic. I summoned some helpful neighbours by flapping about some more.

We gathered nervously outside the door and planned. Our first strategy was to try talking the self-holding hostage into releasing herself.

"Send one million unmarked biscuits."
"Ali, please unlock the door?"



Nada. Zip. 

We began to worry that the hostage had bound and gagged herself.

The guys talked about shouldering the door.

I dialed a locksmith. 

Then suddenly - hallelujah - she spoke!

 "Needa biscuit."

I stopped flapping long enough to slide a biscuit under the door.

"How about a biscuit in exchange for the keys?" 

Crunch, crunch, crunch. 


"Outa biscuit."

More flapping. Some swearing. Much gnashing of teeth. 

The guys tried a screwdriver to no avail. 

"No biscuit," commented Ali helpfully from the other side.   

Papa had a thought: "Can somebody get me a knife from the kitchen?"

Swoosh - the tip of a paring knife slid under the door. 

"Honey," squeaked Papa in falsetto, "why does our child have a knife?"

We remembered the dehumidifier. This memory triggered some swearing on the topic of remembering to return knives to the kitchen. And some swearing on the topic of remembering to remove keys from locks within child-reach.

Then we stopped swearing and wondered aloud if the paring knife was an olive branch. Was Ali now cooperating with verbal commands? Such a thing would be an exciting and unprecedented new milestone. 

"Ali, can you pull the keys out of the door?" 



"Nee. Da. Bis. Cuit."

The guys had the handle off the door now. But they found the key in a half-turned state, which made it difficult to push out. Papa dashed to the kitchen. Faced with a distinct lack of paring knives, he returned with the European substitute: a fondue fork. 

Two fondue fork jiggles later and pop - out came the keys.

Realizing that we had run out of biscuits, Ali changed tactics.

"Here you go," she said sweetly, pushing the keys under the door.  

Click: the door flew open.  Papa swooped in to scour the landscape for any sharp objects in a fifty mile radius. 

"Mama!" said my sweet, smiling cherub. 

"Ali!" said her gullable mama. 



  1. She is just far too clever! :) The fondue fork made me laugh too! Emma :)

  2. OMG I was on the edge of my seat. Thank goodness all ended well. And biscuits saved the day! Yay! We have a odd door in our house. That we have to be very careful of... it is our main in-and-out door to the garden and the world. If you shut it behind you without taking the key, you are locked out. I worry that one day Bibs is going to be on the wrong side with us on the other wrong side. For that reason we have keys buried in the garden. Great system I am sure you will agree.

  3. Oh my goodness, I can feel the tension in the air! I'm glad it worked out alright in the end and not too many biscuits were needed :)

    Hope the exams went/are going well too x

  4. Thanks Lindsey! Exams over, hurrah! We have now restocked on biscuits, and built a bomb shelter (for us).

  5. Very wise - I need to implement the keys-buried-in-garden strategy asap - will save loads on biscuits that way. Good luck, and happy (if vigilant) gardening :)

  6. Thanks Emma - that my two year old can already out-manuevre me like this doesn't bode well. I reckon at this rate it's only a matter of weeks before she locks ME in and takes full control of the biscuit cupboard...

  7. Wow, how awful must that have been. SO glad everything resolved.

  8. Thank you - twas a heart in toes moment for sure - we have a lot of those with a two-year old in the house :)

  9. Loved all the swearing! And that pic is perfect. I guess "the dog ate my homework" changes a bit after you have your own children... ;)

  10. It does indeed change - now it's more like: "The kid ate my dog." Which rather justifies all the swearing, right?

  11. Alexander residence24 January 2012 at 20:27

    Great post, so beautifully written. Glad it all turned out right in the end. My whole house is made up of doors with missing handles that lock themselves. Not sure what's worse, being locked out with child in or being locked in with my child in his bedroom.
    P.S I've moved a bit,, didn't want to lose touch x

  12. Thank you Penny :). I reckon as long as you make a cache of biscuits in every room, you will be safe for every to visit your new digs...