Our salvation depends on him.
The him being a diaper clad toddler who looked, if anything, satisfied to be in the car all alone, waving at us through the window with a grin on his face and the keys in his hands.
We're not totally screwed here, I tried to reassure myself.
He's two years old and very verbal for his age.
I looked at him, hopefully. "Alex, can you open the door?"
He tried putting the keys in the CD drive.
Oh no. We are so totally screwed here.
How it happened: the long and the short of it: my bad. Of course, my bad.
Keys are not my friend.
In fact, if I had a dime for every time I've said the sentence "I'm locked out" I would have at least a dollar. Maybe two.
Every time we go to that McDonalds on our way home from the lake, I end up being the one who goes in, gets the food and takes the kids to the washroom. My husband, by virtue of having a bladder of steel, by virtue of being some kind of a camel hybrid, always manages to skirt this duty. "I don't have to go, I'll just wait in here," he says with an "And I'll get the Quarter Pounder meal" trailing later. So this time I beat him to the punch. I said I didn't have to go the bathroom.
Of course, I did.
But I wanted to be the one to wait leisurely in the car.
Except that it wasn't that leisurely being trapped in the car with a toddler who was beginning to smell vaguely like swamp water, a dog who alternated between panting and lunging at me, and the Retro hour playing on the radio (Up next: Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo). And I really did have to go the bathroom.
Time stretched interminably on.
Finally, I plucked the keys from the ignition and went inside. I spotted my crew waiting in an impossibly long line and ducked to the bathroom. The line didn't look that appealing, either. So then I walked back to the car, unlocked it, heard the happy 'chirp chirp' of the locks disengaging and then decided that I needed to give Alex a diaper change. I laid him down on the backseat, which he resisted. I gave him the set of keys, which he happily took. I got the grim task of changing his diaper out of the way. Then closed the door behind me to toss the diaper in the garbage and climb into the front seat.
Except that when I got to the front door, it was firmly locked. And there sat Alex with the keys beside him.
It was impossible.
"Alex! Push the Button!" I kept on insisting, but the more I said it the less interest he had in the keys. I looked furtively at the small crowd of onlookers, who looked furtively back at me.
I was relieved to see the rest of my family come skipping along, displaying happily their crinkly and grease splotched bags of food.
Until my husband registered the situation.
By this point, I was laughing at the situation. One of those "if I didn't laugh I would cry" things. My husband was not laughing.
"You locked our baby in the car? What the hell, Randine?"
"It was an accident! And can't you unlock the doors without a coat hanger or something."
"Yes. Cuz you can totally do that with electronic locks. And cuz you can totally get a coat hanger at McDonalds!"
We managed to talk him through the process of unlocking the doors. When we pulled him out it was like we had rescued him from a well or something. We were hugging him and kissing him and saying "You did it, baby. You got out," we said as we smoothed his downy white-blond hair. The onlookers were laughing and smiling and clapping.
He was more humble about it.
"I have my fries now?"
"Yes, you have your fries now," we told him.
But even all the way my husband was all pissy about it.
Like, who hasn't locked their baby in a car in a McDonalds parking lot.
Excuse me, Mr. High and Mighty.
"Next time we'll go through the drive through," he said.