Today we headed into DC to visit my sister-in-law and family. They are in town on vacation and we were headed to the Natural History museum for the afternoon.
The five youngest kids and I hopped on the metro and headed downtown. About two stops into our ride Cora started doing the potty dance. I had just taken her to the bathroom before we left so I figured she could hold it.
One stop later she was sobbing saying she couldn’t hold it any longer.
I realized that having a screaming four year old on the metro is not ideal for anyone so we got off at the next stop and tried to find a bathroom. I was a little nervous getting off with the kids since not all of the stops are in family friendly areas and I had no idea where a bathroom was in the station.
I asked an employee if they had a bathroom and they led me out a side gate so we didn’t have to get our tickets swiped. Then my older kids had to wait in a yucky hallway while I took Cora to the bathroom.
We got back on the metro and I was glad the excitement for our day was over.
We had a fun time at the museum and then we decided to grab dinner in the city.
My sister-in-law headed in one car with the girls and I took all the boys. We got to the restaurant first and got table. We waited for the girls to arrive. I saw them pull up and then waited for them to come in. It seemed like it was taking a really long time for them to get inside.
The hostess came up to the table and said,
“Are you with a group of little girls?”
I said I was and she told me I was needed at the front. I couldn’t figure out why they would need me, but I got up and walk back to the front of the restaurant.
When I arrived at the front I saw several people surrounding the revolving door. I walked closer and realized Cora was stuck in the door. Not just stuck but trapped.
Apparently as she was walking in she slipped and her foot became wedged between the door and the circular casing. Her whole body was trapped in one compartment and her foot was stuck in the compartment entering the restaurant. Her foot was acting like a door jam making it impossible to move the door in either direction.
She was hysterical. Actually she was beyond hysterical. She was uncooperative and completely out of control. I don’t blame her, she was face down on the ground, with her leg twisted in the other direction, trapped in this glass box.
The restaurant staff was working to get her free, but she screamed in pain every time they tried to turn her foot to get it out of the door. I walked out of the restaurant so she could see me and tried to calm her down. Seeing my face caused her to get even more upset.
After a few minutes I realized the only way to get her out was to get the boot off her foot. The boot was keeping her ankle and foot from being able to bend enough to maneuver it out of the door.
The problem was that her boot was a zip up boot with a velcro closure at the top. It is hard to unzip when you have access to it, let alone when you only have a few inches to get your hand through an opening and the boot zipper is facing the wall.
The manager and I worked to get the boot off.
Someone showed up with scissors. They were going to try and cut the weather stripping from around the door. I didn’t think that would work, but I was willing to try anything. Every minute that passed Cora became more and more upset. I was worried she might pass out from crying so hard.
All of a sudden I looked up and saw my seven year old standing outside the door. I couldn’t believe she was still outside. I yelled at her to get in the restaurant right this minute.
She threw her hands up in the air and said she couldn’t. That’s when I realized she was trapped in the other compartment of the revolving door. She had been standing there quietly the whole time, just waiting to be set free.
Two of my girls were trapped.
Someone called 911.
We continued to work to get the boot off begging Cora to help us.
I finally got the velcro opened and we went to work on the zipper. I realized that maybe I could cut the boot off, although I wasn’t sure how I could do it given the angle of the foot in the door.
I realized that I might have to break her ankle to get her out of the door.
I’m not one to panic in stressful situations, but I could feel panic coming over me. I knew Cora could survive trapped in the door for a long time, but the fact that she wouldn’t calm down and was face down on the ground made the situation feel so urgent.
Finally, and I would say miraculously, the boot came off. I don’t even remember what happened after that, but in a second her tiny foot was free from the door and she was slumped in my arms, sobbing quietly.
As soon as she was free the paramedics and fire truck showed up. The firemen came into the restaurant with a giant ax. Panic once again filled my body. I couldn’t imagine them having to break the glass on my girls to get them out. The thought of glass showering upon my girls upset me almost more than the entire ordeal.
I was so thankful we got her out before they arrived.
The paramedics checked her out and offered to take us to the hospital for x-rays. Cora seemed more traumatized than hurt (thank goodness for little flexible bones) so I declined a ride in an ambulance through the streets of DC at 5pm.
I finished my day by taking eight kids, thirteen and under, on the metro home for the night. (My niece and nephews are hanging out with us for a day)
I have a problem in that I think I can do pretty much anything if I put my mind to it. Taking eight kids on a metro was not the easiest thing I’ve ever done.
Things that came out of my mouth-
Stay in your seat.
Move next to your brother.
Stop getting up.
Get away from the door.
Ahhh… another day in the books and one day closer to not doing it alone.
My husband has been deployed to the Middle East for 274 days. These are my real thoughts expressing my heart during his absence. I appreciate your prayers and kind words as we cope, adapt, and carry on without him until August 2014. To read from the beginning, click here.