Locking up the pretties

3 Dec

Anyone who has had children knows there’s this phase they have when they’re two to five years old.  When they’re big enough and savvy enough to get into stuff, but still don’t have the proper judgment to know when they shouldn’t touch said stuff.  So they get into things, like your make up, or matches.  You deal with the inconvenience of keeping your knives up high and mourn that bottle of perfume someone just had to spray all of (and it’s always an almost full bottle of perfume.  Always.)  But eventually, they grow out of this phase and you can have a few nice things again.

Life with Maura means having had to deal this phase since she about three.  She’s eleven.  It’s a really long phase, especially coupled with the blocks of time her siblings went through it.  For years and years, we’ve lived with knife blocks on top of refrigerators, scissors hidden, upset siblings who have had their stuff swiped and broken by their sister.  We have worked around this never-ending phase, balancing between giving her enough freedom to learn and mature and not enough that she’s a hazard to us all, all while creating a semblance of normalcy to our house.

There have been some precious items of mine that I’ve kept on the high shelves – the old “out of sight, out of mind” plan, which does work for Maura on most occasions.  Of course, being short myself means I can’t always get to see these things, these precious little times, and then I forget about them as well.

So my new goal was to find the right cabinet for them.  I kept stalking thrift shops, in hope to find a pretty little china cabinet with a lock, but that never happened.  So I turned to my trusty friend, Ikea, who had a cabinet that was cute and lockable.  I stalked it, brought it home, a boy set it up for me, and I placed some of my pretties in there.  Then locked the door.


pretty cabinet


Maura eyed the cabinet.  “Oooo…” she said, staring at the wine glasses Josh dragged home from Prague for me as a present.  She reached for the door – because of course, Maura loves a pretty glass to drink from, even more if it’s a wine glass – and then realized she couldn’t get it opened.


pretty lock



“It’s locked Maura.  We can just look at them.” I said.

So we looked.

And then she carried on with life and left my pretties alone.  The little Bellek vases, the Waterford crystal from my grandmother, my colorful wine glasses from Prague, my Hummel Madonna and Child set.  All safe.  All visible.  All able to be enjoyed by the right people who know where the key is hidden.

I know have this idea for that Dream Home of mine, where I have locking glass from shelves where I can keep my writing stuff – all those notebooks of ideas and pages of half-written stories.  You know, Maura’s current favorite thing to get into, walk around with, stuff in her backpack, and write on?

Until then, they’re getting the “out of sight, out of mind” higher ground treatment.



8 Responses to “Locking up the pretties”

  1. Cathby December 3, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    Amen. It’s like having a perpetual toddler, but with the fine motor skills to get into things most toddlers can’t. In our case, we have to hide: all markers and pens, all string or anything with string on it (including shoe laces and jewelry), all food…. After a while, I just know what can’t come in the house, lest it be destroyed. [sigh]

    • phoebz4 December 3, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

      Her teacher sent a note home about practicing with Maura with coloring within the lines. Stupid me bought crayons.

      Luckily, I also had magic erasers. God bless the person who invented those!

  2. franhunne4u December 3, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

    I do not envy you! And I have to express my adoration for your inventiveness. And your patience. Thanks for IKEA and their lockable little cupboard.

    • phoebz4 December 3, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

      Aw thanks! My mom was a creative problem solver, and I learned a lot from her when it comes to these things.

  3. Dana D December 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

    Hopefully this sticks and Mara doesn’t get it into her head to bang on the glass of the new cabinet 🙂 Maybe some museum putty just in case?

    As for me, this is the first year I am “trying” to get out the ceramic nativity scene that my grandmother hand painted for me many years ago. I want it to be special to the kids too – which means getting it out at this time of year (they have never seen it in the past 12 yrs ;-), but I will also be heart broken if it gets broken. Wishing us all good luck!

  4. Renee Anne December 3, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

    I have reached the unfortunate stage with Little Man (4 years old) where he has figured out how to open the doors with the covers over the handle. It takes him a moment or five but he has figured it out. ::sigh::

  5. saracvt December 4, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    I have a lockable cookie jar–the seal was just meant to lock in freshness, but I stuck a padlock on it and put the key on my keyring, always in my pocket.

    And try washable crayons, markers, etc., for Maura. I won’t buy anything not washable because it’s just not worth it. The washable ones–which they should’ve grown out of already, but are still using at 11–really do come off with just a swipe of a baby wipe or wet paper towel. They have saved my walls and numerous pieces of furniture. They even have washable PAINT!

    • phoebz4 December 4, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

      I have always only bought washable crayons. But cheap landlord paint loves to hold onto everything! My dream house shall have the tough kitchen paint in ALL the rooms, lol!

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