A Toddler, A Van, An Adventure, No Plan!

As you might have guessed from my hoarding post, my family occasionally misplaces things.   Last week we misplaced our final set of minivan keys.  You’d think I would have made a copy when we were down to one set.  Nope!

I knew some set of keys had to show up soon, except I couldn’t go anywhere until then.

This Monday, while I was getting frustrated with my immobility, my one-year-old, Dax, was happy to be home.  This gave him the opportunity to follow his latest obsession–our minivan.

He was watching and waiting.  Any sign that the door leading to our garage was cracked open and he was ready to bolt (lightning fast) straight for the van.

I usually grab my giggling, then crying, baby out of the van after only a minute or two.  This time, however, I was cleaning up the kitchen and sent my seven-year-old, Dani, to extricate him.

But!  Instead of coming back with my crying little guy she yells, “Maw-um, Dax locked himself in the van!”

I ran out to the garage.

“Who shut the doors!?!”

“Mase.”  I see my smiling three-year-old, Mase, peek his head around the outside back corner of the van.

Thankfully, it wasn’t too hot, but I was still a bit concerned.

Dax was NOT concerned.  He was the happiest I’d seen him as he giggled, jumped, and squirmed around in that van.  He couldn’t believe I was letting him play!

 When my five-year-old daughter, Evie, saw the predicament, she started jumping around, giddy to have some entertainment. 

Dani took charge.  “What are we going to do!?!  I’ll call 911 right now Mom.  Or we could break a window!”  We held off on window breaking and 911.   I knew I could call a locksmith, but those keys had to be somewhere!

I had my kids try to lure Dax to the door lock, while I searched.  I was having no luck and started to get irked.  Dani came back inside, “Mom, you just need to say a prayer to find your keys.”

“In a minute Dani.”

“Mom, that’s what you would tell us.  You really need to say a prayer.”

“In a minute!”  Enter sudden guilt.


I half-heartedly prayed, requesting key location assistance.

After my prayer, I immediately went to check on my toddler.  Dax was still as jovial as could be.  When he saw me, he bolted over to the door furthest away from me.  My partying dude didn’t want me to get him out yet!

Dax started pushing buttons.  Then, a beautiful sound.  The door unlocked.  Then quickly locked.  Ahhh!  Then unlocked.  “Open the door!” 

I had the kids open every van door, just on the off chance this would happen again.

We all headed inside, except for Mase.  He straggled behind and guess what he brought me just a few minutes later?  My keys.

I’m adding this a couple of hours after posting:  Mase found the keys in the van.  I’m so glad Dax unlocked the doors!

This photo was NOT taken on the day of the lockup.
Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Making multiple copies of our van key.


  1. Anonymous says:

    goodness, I would have had a major panic attack…and what a testament to your parenting to have your daughter say "say a prayer". I love how God swwops in even when we are half hearted in our efforts..


  2. Sandy -- As Told By Mommy says:

    Oh, that is so cute! Its kids that helps us slow down and realize the simple solution to the problem! What a cute little boy in that pic!

  3. 1HecticMommy says:

    Oh MY!!!!!! What a story, I bet you were in such a panic! And so cute of Dani to suggest calling 911 or breaking a window, smart girl ๐Ÿ™‚ This is one of those laugh about it after the fact sort of things.

  4. Johanson Family says:

    There is never a dull moment in your house!! HAHA! That is too funny.. a lil' scary but still… funny. Where the heck were the keys all that time!? I cant find our remote currently. Pretty sure my daughter stashed it somewhere. i am going to say a lil' prayer now and hope it appears!

  5. Mommy Inconsistent says:

    I once let my 'lil one play in the front seat while I vacuumed out the car…what fun it was to put everything back to where it should be and discover all the buttons, knobs, etc that he fiddled with..luckily nothing was broken. Glad you got your 'lil guy out without having to call 911 and glad you found your keys!

  6. Amanda @ Gratefully Growing in Grace says:

    Ah, prayer. God always comes through!
    You have a great bunch of kids, GGM!

  7. SO scary! This is seriously one of my biggest fears. Glad it turned out OK AND you got your keys back!

  8. Lisa @ Two Bears Farm says:

    Oh that is so funny! Glad it was all okay though ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Ahh so glad you got your keys and baby back!!

  10. god works in mysterious ways dont he!! Awesome that yall were able to get him out of the van and find the keys woo hoo ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Oh my goodness! Glad you "found" your keys! This post made me laugh, but I'm sure you weren't laughing at the time.

  12. my favourite is when I come outside in the morning to start the van….and nothing. dead in the driveway. Daddy likes to let the kids play inside while he washes, cuts the grass, fiddles around in the garage….texts. they always leave the headlights on….always.
    sorry, no beach today kiddos. mommy's off for a second cup of coffee now. play quietly amongst yourselves.

  13. So where were the keys?

  14. We are always losing stuff at our house too! Where did he find them?

  15. OMG, that is too funny. I would have freaked out. LOVED how you stayed calm. So, where were the keys?

  16. OH MY! That was some adventure. Glad it all worked out. Too cute & wise that Dani suggested you say a prayer. =) Never had a kid locked in a car but did get locked out of my apt by a toddler, twice.

  17. Babblin' Brooke says:

    That is too funny! Glad you were able to get him out without having to call someone. It looks like he had a blast!

  18. GrumpyJaxMomOf3 says:

    You and keys…. I swear you are always losing those things ๐Ÿ™‚ As of yet…. my kids have never locked themselves in any vehicle, but I knock on wood as I say that.

  19. All that keeps running through my head right now is the long line of threats my mom would have made if that had been me!

    I'm glad that the kids are safe and you got your keys back!

  20. An Irish Italian Blessing says:

    SO glad you found your keys and Dax looks pretty stinkin happy sittin in the mini van, i can only imagine how happy he was you were locked out. That's gonna be a great story to tell him when he's older ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. momnextdoor says:

    Thank goodness you didn't have to call 911! I love how prepared Dani was! At least you know she can be relied upon in an emergency! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. I have had them lock themselves in the bathroom a few times. We did have to take the door off; which wasn't a happy moment. I am so happy it wasn't hot; because you would have had to call 911. I know the experience wasn't funny; but I did smile over the lost keys and the prayers. I have found items through prayer; but not all of the time. Perhaps there is a lesson somewhere it that one.
    Keep on enjoying those moments!

  23. Oh jeeze! That is crazy! I'm glad that he unlocked the door!

    Today I put Marlee in the car, then had to run back into my friends house to get her hat, and I had turned on the car, thinking the air was on, but oh no, it wasn't. She was a hot little girl-thankfully it hadn't taken too long to find her hat! Kids and cars can be scary!

  24. Help! Mama Remote... says:

    Rotfl at the unlock and lock part. Wow I'm picturing all of thiss happening and it takes our kids to remind us of what we teach them.

  25. oh My GOODNESS! That must have been panicky. (!) Praise the Lord that he is okay. ๐Ÿ˜€


  26. WhisperingWriter says:

    My daughter would probably lock herself in.

    She once locked herself in the bathroom. And she locked me out of the house.

  27. Mom of 12 says:

    The prayer thing works at my house too. We have lost so many things…grumpy…prayer…found! Gratitude. I'm glad someone is watching out for us. Have a happy day!

  28. Am I Really Grown Up? says:

    I once locked my daughter in the car and had to call the police to come and get her out. The door locks weren't working properly and wouldn't actually unlock when she pushed the button. I felt so dumb until the cop told me that he does it 5-10 times every single day!

  29. That is quite a story! I would have been so stressed out. I love that you baby reminded you to pray. Cute pic by the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Texas Type A Mom says:

    You are so lucky it's not hotter there – it's over 100 degrees in our car right now I'm sure. And that's in the garage. What a blessing you were able to get Dax out AND have your keys magically reappear!

  31. The Lymans says:

    I'm on my last set of keys too. I'm sure the other two sets are around here somewhere though… Adding that to my to do list! I'm glad all this happened in the comfort of your own garage!

  32. My goodness. The Lord answers prayers in mysterious ways, doesn't he?

    My kids have often reminded ME to pray as well. That's what we raise them for…to better us.

    Anyway…I'm glad it wasn't too hot. Funny little dude.

  33. What a funny, stressful, cute, horrifying, and sweet situation. Thanks for posting your trauma. It is fun to read.

  34. HaHa I love how you mentioned that the pic wasn't taken on the day of the lock-up lol, I really did not consider that you HAD stopped to take pictures during your frantic search…Glad you got him out, no harm done just a lesson learnt – to get new keys cut!!

  35. Rach (DonutsMama) says:

    Oh my goodness, I'm so glad he's ok! I would have been scared out of my mind!

  36. This so would happen to me! Glad everything worked out and the doors unlocked!

  37. That is one of my many fears, locking the keys in the car. But hey, at least you weren't left stranded somewhere away from home.

  38. Memorial Day weekend 2010 I locked my keys in the car twice… I wish I would have locked one of my kids in atleast they are old enough to open it now. The first lock out was very bad, we were down south visiting great-great-great grandma in Ephraim, 2 hours away. On a Friday night, on a holiday weekend. Fortunately I discovered I had roadside assistance on my insurance and the on call local mechanic laughed and drove the 20 miles to open them. The following Sunday we were at my mom's house only 15 minutes from home, but it was just a terrible reminder that I was a distracted momma that weekend. After the last lockout I left the back windows cracked, my dad helped me feed a paint roller on an extender he used to repaint the vaulted entryway and we were able to flip the automatic locks after 40 minutes of struggling.

  39. Too funny!!! My youngest locked me out of the house once when he was two, he thought it was very funny too! I love how the baby was so excited that you were "letting" him play!!

  40. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    I love that they wanted to pray! Glad the door was opened!

  41. Laura@livingabigstory says:

    The faith of children — I had an experience with lost keys at the park in a pile of woodchips (needle in a haystack?!). Buddy immediately said we needed to pray – but while he was praying to find the keys, I was praying that my little boy's faith would be rewarded. I still feel guilty that he had more faith than I did.

  42. That can be sooo scary! Kate locked us out of the house one when she was 2.5! Little stinkers.

  43. Glad you got him out and found the keys. I don'y have any extra keys. Yikes!

  44. I've prayed for keys and also locked cars as well ha ha. I am a scatter brain with my keys and always have been. It's always nice to have our children remind us of what we've taught them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. I love how God answers our prayers-even if we are not putting our full effort into the prayer. I hope to never experience my kiddos being locked in the vehicle-I would panic! You are much more calm than I am!

  46. I Am Not Superwoman says:

    OMG, Hayden did something similar to this a couple months ago. I was a basket case. Luckily after freaking out for a few mins I remembered that we had been having an issue with the one slider door where it wouldnt always lock. Thank god, that it didnt lock that time. Our keys were still in the ignition during this escapade. Car was off but I had got out of the car real quick to run back inside to grab something and turned around and out Hayden ran and jumped into the car. I dont recall praying at the time, I think I was swearing instead. Glad everything turned out ok and you found your keys. Now run to the locksmith and make 10 extra copies!

  47. Optimistic Mom says:

    Too cute! This is exactly why I have taught my son to unlock the door….you know just in case.
    The picture is so cute…..I like the caption. I was wondering. lol

  48. That Dani is one smart cookie ๐Ÿ˜‰ And yes I now want to run right out and copy my keys lol

  49. Beth Zimmerman says:

    And did you make more keys?

    My kids taught me a never to be forgotten lesson about prayer years ago. We had a cat who was diagnosed with leukemia. She was at deaths door and I would have had her put down but wanted to bring her home for the kids to say goodbye. They refused to tell her goodbye, said we should pray for her healing instead. I informed them that we could pray but God was going to say no because cats do not recover from feline leukemia! I think she went into remission immediately and I know that she lived many more years!

  50. I would have freaked out! I'm paranoid about my kids getting locked in the car. So, you ARE making a new set of keys now, right?

  51. blueviolet says:

    I couldn't help but crack up at how tickled he was about the situation!!!

  52. Sandra's Fiberworks says:

    I missed this one on last visit — that photo is a keeper! Daddy always lets the boys play in HIS car. Not mine. funny how parents can make different rules (like I allow them to run barefoot outside and he doesn't)
    I was laughing that my cuff reminds me of your seasickness band!

  53. Sandra's Fiberworks says:

    Don't know why I haven't seen your super cool tweet button before — maybe because it IS cool, and I'm looking for the boring generic twitter button like on mine. But ANYWAY, was glad to tweet you as you really are one of my favorite bloggers. Hope it gets you more followers!

  54. Lexie Loo & Dylan Too says:

    I would have panicked! Thank goodness you got them out and found the keys!

  55. Kids can put you through the ringer. It happened to my grandson. I was calm but my daughter started to panic. He eventually opened the door. Smiling ear to ear. Lesson learned. Leave one door open at all times when putting kids in the car. LOL

    It happens all the time. Great story for telling later on in life!!

  56. i lose stuff on a daily basis and my little one ends up being the one with whatever it is i am missing! cute blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

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