My Daughter Holds the Key to My Heart

Ava woodland gardens

My daughter Ava is rather partial to keys.   This has become extremely apparent over her (nearly) 6 years.  In times gone by I have had to employ locksmiths to replace locks and keys at two houses due to her fondness of those tempting shiny silver and gold “trinkets” and her fascination with being able to get through a door or cupboard and close it again with a lock, time and time again.  She has spent possibly an amount of whole days, maybe weeks of her young life just opening and closing, locking and unlocking and she is well and truly “locked” into another world whilst she’s performing this task!   I’m not sure where this key fixation comes from but the magical keys seem to be the most attractive and enticing thing to her, almost more than any other toys we have bought her.

There was the time when we visited my sister.  Ava spent quite a lot of time by the back door in her “happy 2013-05-30 13.11.10key world” and whilst we thought we were keeping an eye on her, once we had gone home I received “the call” to let me know that they had searched the house over and over to no avail – the keys were gone and they couldn’t get out into the garden.  Not great in the height of summer for anyone, especially when they had load of washing to put out to dry.  So a locksmith was summoned the day after, I was a couple of hundred pounds lighter, yet thankfully my sister had freedom again!

On another occasion we visited a friend who had a beautiful (and really expensive) mahogany wardrobe which contained the entire collection of clothes, nappies and other day-to-day gubbins  required for her 1 year old daughter.  Again, imagine her dismay that when we left she needed to change her daughters nappy and the key was gone.  Locksmith number two was employed and more embarrassed apologies given by me.  The “triple fantastic” time came shortly after, we went to look at a house for sale and the owner let my children sit downstairs whilst showing my husband and I around the first floor of the property.  Sadly the 2013-05-30 13.11.07house wasn’t for us and even more sadly we received a call from the estate agent the day after to ask if we could check and see if either of our children had taken the keys!  The poor woman had been unable to go out all day that Sunday after we left  as she couldn’t lock her door – Ava struck again!  Luckily for me, this time the estate agent had insurance to cover this type of damage but it remains to be said – the girl is incorrigible with keys and a rather typical pattern is emerging here.  My husband has a wardrobe in our dressing room which had  a key – again we were foiled by the child and have, what I consider ruined this gorgeous piece of furniture by adding a magnetic strip, therefore relinquishing the need for keys due to an incident when a suit was needed in a hurry and a break-in occurred once again.

We have bought many “secret diaries” with attached padlock and various locking type of toys, trinket boxes, etc etc for Ava, and generally  these toys are locked shut and defunct within hours of arriving back at our house due to lost/misplaced keys, so we have given them a miss for a year or so in the hope that my beautiful girl would grow out of the phase of the key.  I find the frustration is just too great and whilst I have tried to persuade her to part with the provided “spare” for safekeeping by me she will never agree and so another toy bites the dust.

This week my husband bought the children some presents whilst we were shopping in Kingston, my son chose Bakugan, which may as well be under lock and key to me, as try as I might I just don’t get it!  However, we decided that Ava could have the pretty girlie pink box she wanted so much – complete with padlock and key, surely she had grown up enough to be allowed a toy like this now?  The toys were to be given to them as a reward for good behaviour and a half term treat.

The day before we gave them the toys I needed to go to the supermarket for a quick top up on supplies and dashed about trying to get the essentials as fast as I could – after all no children want to go shopping, especially on their school holiday.  When we arrived back at the house, imagine my surprise that they had managed to take home about 10 keys off the sardine cans – naughty little creatures ;)  Now maybe I should consider that bad behaviour but I couldn’t help but find it funny, although as an after-thought they were given a small grilling for their minor misdemeanour.

So we get to the day of the “present giving”

Funnily enough (and rather ironic) the day before I gave them the presents I had my own key incident.  Whilst rushing around between house and outdoor office trying to find art materials I’d saved for the children, I managed to drop the only remaining key to my office on the decking and this time it fell clean through – imagine my dismay!  I had had some very good news that morning though, so let the frustration pass and knew I’d resolve the issue – god knows – I’ve had enough experience in sorting out all matters key.  The tricky thing with this one is that it’s a  specialist key, I was unable to have a spare cut anywhere when I tried before, hence only having one now. (I can’t imagine where the other key went – can you?!)

I hatched a plan and asked a friend who is a carpenter to come over and cut out a small part of the decking with a jigsaw – which he did.  As he arrived I had just given the kids their gifts and was feeling a little torn as I helped him with the extension lead through the kitchen window and made him a cup of tea for his time and trouble in assisting me.  Yes – you guessed it, when I arrived back into the dining room, no more than five minutes after giving the new padlocked trinket box to Ava she had done it again!  The box was locked shut, I asked her where the keys were and not surprisingly she said “in the box!” Aaaaargh!  God help me, I just couldn’t believe it.

It took me nearly half an hour to pick that little sparkly bejewelled padlock, and guess what I used?  One of the sardine can keys from the supermarket!

The finale is a classic – less than 24 hours after receiving the present, she had broken the padlock and we are back to stage one again.  Bless.


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