Noah to the Rescue

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An inspiring story for new moms from Chicken Soup for the Soul

“Now, as always, the most automated appliance in a household is the mother.”

~Beverly Jones

Everyone, at one time or another, gets locked out. You get locked out of the car, out of the house, out of the office. Generally, people don’t get locked in. But, as a new mom, I did just that. I got locked in the nursery.

Before we were parents to a human baby, we were pet-parents to two cantankerous cats and a spoiled dog. In preparing for the birth of our first child, I read all the books, listened to all the advice, and followed all the expert recommendations so our baby would have the best start. In an attempt to keep the cats (and their hair) out of the crib, we took the advice of a couple further down the road of childrearing and installed a screen door on the nursery. It solved the problem of keeping the cats out and the baby in, and still allowed air and sound to escape.

One bright spring morning, I rocked and nursed my four-month-old baby for his first feeding of the day. My husband stirred in the next room, dressed, and stopped by the nursery on his way to work. Pushing open the screen door, he leaned in for a kiss from me.

“I probably won’t be home for lunch today. Are you two going to be alright on your own?”

I grinned and cocked an eyebrow at him. “Oh, I think we’ll manage. Especially since only one of us eats solid food.”

“I’ll see you at dinner.” He planted a kiss on the top of our son’s head, earning himself a toothless, sloppy grin.

Without his audience, my baby returned to nursing as I slowly rocked. I heard my husband’s truck pull out of the driveway and closed my eyes, leaning my head against the back of the rocker, enjoying the warm sunlight pouring in through the windows. A few moments later, my eyes flew open as I registered the metallic sound I’d heard just after my husband left the room. It was the unmistakable sound of a little metal hook sliding into a little round circle on the outside of the door.

I finished nursing the baby, quickly made my way to the door, and gave it a tug. Locked. Trying not to panic, I assessed the situation. My four-month-old baby and I were locked in a second-story bedroom with no chance of escape until at least ten hours later when my husband returned for dinner. No phone, no food, and no bathroom. Our closest neighbors lived too far to hear my yell even if they could pick the dead-bolted doors. Thankfully, at least my son’s food, entertainment, and diapers were within reach.

I changed his diaper, wound up the mobile hanging from his crib, and placed him underneath. As he cooed and kicked, I tried to figure out what to do. Lord, help me think of something!

Minutes passed. I shook the door thinking maybe I could dislodge the hook. Nothing. I examined the hinges, wondering if I could take the door apart. Nope. I pulled the door toward me and tried to wedge my finger in the gap. Not gonna do it. But if I could find something longer and thinner, it just might work.

I looked in the closets hoping to find a wire hanger, but cute plastic baby hangers mocked me. I tried the end of the bulb syringe, but it buckled under the pressure. Finally, my eyes fell on a small, stuffed patchwork figure of Noah, surrounded by plush animals, two by two, sitting on the dresser. In his little hand, he held a black wire staff. Yes! I slid the staff from his grip, pulled the door toward me once again to create a gap, and pushed the wire toward the hook closure. I pushed up, but the hook didn’t budge. Loosening my hold on the door a little, I tried again. This time that little bit of slack allowed me to shove the hook up and out of the hole, springing me from my pint-sized prison.

That day, as a new mom, I learned that there were going to be times when I’d have to rely solely on myself and my wits. I learned that over the next eighteen years or more, I would need to be resourceful. I also learned that, when faced with adversity, I would need to be creative and use things and situations to my (and my child’s) advantage.

I also learned to prop the door open when I entered the nursery. And I made sure that as long as the screen door stayed on the nursery, Noah never left the room while I was still inside.

 ~Nikki Studebaker Barcus, from Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms