Well, last night, close to 1am, I heard him calling for me. So I stumble out of bed and toward his room, only to notice that his voice isn't coming from his room...it is coming from downstairs.
Background: a couple weeks ago Chase figured out how to outsmart the toddler doorknob guards that I used to keep him in his room. His hands are just little and sticky enough to get behind the contraption and turn the knob to open it. So, I did what any responsible parent would do to keep him in his room during nap time: I turned the whole knob around so I could lock him in from the outside. Fire hazard? Perhaps. But the boy needs his naps.
That system works great when I remember to lock it. You know where this is going, right?
Last night, I put Chase to bed and he went right to sleep. And I closed the door and forgot to lock it. And then little man woke up in the middle of the night, let himself out of his room, and traipsed downstairs all by himself.
When I made it downstairs and picked him up (he was just sitting at the bottom of the stairs yelling, "Mommeee! Mommeeeeeeee!"), he looks at me and asks, "...Gabba...?" Um, no. No Yo Gabba Gabba at 1am, sir. Back to bed with you.
And as I was turning to carry his disappointed little self back to his room, I noticed that not only had I left his room door unlocked, but also the front door. No dead bolt, no knob lock- nothing. I got a pukey pit-of-my-stomach feeling. He could have (and would have, I am sure, if it had taken much longer for me to get downstairs) opened that front door and walked straight outside in the middle of the night, and no one would have known until morning.
I had a very hard time falling back to sleep with all of the scenarios racing through my mind. I still get sick to my stomach when I think about what could have happened.
It is so difficult and frustrating, when he has the physical capabilities of a 3 year old, and the urge for the independence of one (not that at three Ian was ready to walk around the neighborhood in the middle of the night by himself, but he could certainly walk next door by himself or play in the culdesac with visual supervision) but cognitively, he is right at about 2 years old and completely lacks any kind of fear of the unknown and has no concept about limits.
Constant vigilance, I tell you. Constant. Even while he sleeps. You can bet I will be putting that monitor back in his room full time so I can hear every little sound that child makes from now on.