Dylan has started leaving his room in the morning before I wake up, which is something I have no experience in dealing with. Today he was in his brother’s room and they were happily playing together, but I can imagine more nefarious outcomes of Dylan’s early-hour wanderings. Like the fact that he knows how to open the front door, say. I’m not sure what the right solution is, though. Locking his door seems bad, or at least it seems like one of those parenting things you’d never admit to actually doing (even if you do) (like allowing your kid to eat fish sticks 4 days a week) (which of course does not happen at our house as my children subsist exclusively on locally-produced sustainably-harvested organic HA HA HA I CAN’T EVEN FINISH THAT SENTENCE).

Maybe I should just grease his doorknob, therefore making it difficult for him to escape while not technically locking him inside.

:::

On the subject of challenging toddler stages, I have a new potty training post up. It’s a video, and I had a terrible time recording it and had to edit out about a thousand “UHHHHs” and weird tangents and I’m fairly horrified at how I look and sound but anyway: video posted, come by if you want to laugh at me.

:::

That leads me to the last thing on my mind this morning, which is sponsorships and paid blogging and all that crap. I’ve been seeing a resurgence of talk about Selling Out and how we need to Charge What We’re Worth or We’ll All Going to Die in a Fire. Here’s what I suggest for every blogger who’s all worked up over this topic: learn how to set a fee. There’s a great freelance book that walks you through the process of determining your expenses, evaluating the work, and figuring out what kind of rate you should charge. Then you can do this crazy thing called minding your own business—and I mean that in the literal sense rather than the snarky one—and no one else’s arrangements need bother you at all. I don’t believe that having variety in the market devalues anyone’s potential. If anything, it makes room for very inexperienced people who wouldn’t have a shot otherwise.

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Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
12 years ago

I liked the potty training video. Even though I have an 8 year-old, he was VERY hard to potty train. He got the peeing down alright but he wouldn’t poop on the potty until he was 4.

Kris
12 years ago

I had the problem of the kid getting up before me, and heading out the door. I put a chain lock on the door, high enough he can’t reach it.

BeckyinRNO
12 years ago

Ah yes, the bedroom escape routine, very familar with that one! We ended up putting one of those security bars like they have in a hotel on our front door up high where Amelia couldn’t reach. You know the kind you have throw the bar across and then the door only opens about 3 inches. I thought that would be better then locking her in her room although is she keeps getting out of her bed at night to tell me to come sing her a lullaby I might reconsider.

Molly
Molly
12 years ago

Hey at least it is fish sticks instead of say, corn dogs and cream-filled donuts. I mean, the word fish implies a certain degree of healthfulness right there. And on the waking up and wandering, we installed hook & eye sets high up on the doors that lead to the outdoors because we figured we’d wake up if we heard them pushing a chair to the door to escape. Gonna check out the potty training. My bean’s teacher at school just shakes her head sadly when she tells me that he is ‘just not interested’ in using the potty. I’m hoping I can use the potty training stories to embarrass him when he’s getting married someday.

Amy
Amy
12 years ago

I would suggest getting one of those little ringing alarms that will sound when his bedroom door is opened. Or at least when the front door is opened. A good friend of mine recently had her two boys leave the house before she woke up (they even got past the “child-proof” door knob cover on the front door). They found the boys an hour later playing on the train tracks 3 blocks away. Apparently the boys heard the train that morning and decided to go see it.
So yeah. I would suggest getting an audible alarm.

Beth Fish
12 years ago

I have a child proof door handle cover on the inside of Owen’s door – same age as Owen almost exactly. Mia had the same thing until she was at least three. I consider it responsible parenting to have a place I can put him that I know is safe and that I know he cannot leave, but it also means his door is easy to open from the outside should there be some sort of emergency that meant we had to get in their quickly.

It also works great for those times he is being a little shithead and I need to not deal with him for five minutes.

Ang
Ang
12 years ago

We had a gate at the top of our stairs so if they had to get up (potty training!) they at least couldn’t get out of the house. Of course, I did NOT have climbers, so just the barrier was enough to keep them contained. Another friend actually put two of them up, one above the other, to stop climbing. Good luck!

Christine
Christine
12 years ago

You know when my grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease used to live with us my parents installed a slide lock high above where she could reach on the inside of our front door…because she was a wanderer. She was not coherent enough to realize there was a lock up there though, whereas Dylan might be and might bring over tools to get him to that height…

ugh. Good luck!

honeybecke
honeybecke
12 years ago

I totally admit to the baby proof knob over the knob (knob!) thing, too. It was the only way to keep my then 2 year old in his room at night. This was a better option than worrying about him wandering out the front door during the middle of the night (which I worried about like crazy until I sucked it up and got the knob)Anyhow, don’t feel bad if you lock him in because as we all know Safety First! D’oh!
OK, now a word about the video. I’ve been reading you for uh, how long? Years and then some more years. I don’t go to blogher or anything since I don’t uh, blog so I’ve never met you so watching you was WEIRD! But in a good way. Like a huh, so this is Linda kind of way.

honeybecke
honeybecke
12 years ago

Oh, and the video was extremely entertaining and fun. Thanks!

Anne
Anne
12 years ago

After switching from crib to bed our son decided that it was SO MUCH FUN to have free reign of the house in the middle of the night! Yikes! So yep, like other commenters we put a gate on our son’s door. He wasn’t a climber so he just stood there at the gate and yelled (cried, screamed), but at least he wasn’t wandering around the house in the middle of the night anymore. He soon got the message and the gate came down.

Isa
Isa
12 years ago

When my son was 2-3, he did the same thing. He also would leave his room at 2 in the morning and go wandering around the house. I did actually turn the lock around on his bedroom door for a while, and lock him in at night (bad mom, I know). He tried the door the first night and it didn’t open, so he went back to bed. That happened a few nights, and then he just quit trying and eventually I turned the doorknob back around. For the front door, I got one of these: http://tinyurl.com/2am9ary

Melissa
12 years ago

I keep a baby gate on the bedroom door until they are 4. The end. No escape (as long as they don’t climb). We put her to bed, tell her to be quiet, and put up the gate. The door is also mostly closed, but not fully and not locked. She almost ALWAYS gets up to try out her light, play little people or some other annoying OMGJUSTGOTOSLEEP something. The gate keeps her in, so even if we’re outside in the hot tub – ya, we do that – she’s safe in her room. The video wasn’t bad, and I’m a fan of pull-ups for this round of potty training, although the app seems like a little silly extra step. So. Good job :)

Sunshyn
12 years ago

Bell the doors! Can Dylan climb over a baby gate? You might gate his room at night to keep him in.

Nicole
Nicole
12 years ago

What camera do you have – your pictures are always so crisp and clear? Not to take away from your skills as a photographer – but capturing him jumping on the bed like that is crazy good!

Melissa
12 years ago

I should probably also mention that my husband walks and talks in his sleep, but he has yet to go outside. I’m a light sleeper, so I hear everything, so I’m not that concerned about them getting through the door without me knowing. My sister was a sleepwalker too, and when she was little my parents installed a small slideover-thing lock near the top of the door to prevent her from opening the front door at night.

agirlandaboy
12 years ago

Remember how Simon fashioned a wedge to keep Wombat’s door closed after he learned to climb out of his crib? In trying to convince a babysitter that she NEEDED to use the wedge if she wanted the kid to stay in his room, the line that ended up working was telling her to think of the room as just a really big crib. Still a cage, just bigger. Whoop-de-doo.

Andrea
12 years ago

I freely admit we lock our two year old in his room at night. He can open the front door, garage door, and get into all the bathroom/cleaner/booze cabinets. It’s just more peace of mind to lock him in.

We just used the standard doorknob with lock and turned it so the locking mechanism is on the outside. We leave the key on the top of the doorjamb in his room in case we lock ourselves (or grandma) in his room.

Brenna
Brenna
12 years ago

With our toddler, we first tried a baby gate across her doorway. She figured out how to open it. So we zip-tied it closed. She figured out how to climb it. So then we ignored the guilty feelings and started to lock the door (we could still open it quickly from the outside). Didn’t work anyway, she figured out how to unlock it in one naptime. Then we moved, and instead of trying to contain her in her room, we concentrated on keeping her in the house. So now we have deadbolts installed about 6 1/2 feet up on all external doors, plus a track lock for the sliding glass door.

June
12 years ago

We use a door knob cover on the inside for our 2-yo. So far, she knows how to open a door and knows how to take the cover off the knob, but she hasn’t quite put the 2 together just yet.

If you *do* go the route of putting a lock on the door, be sure to have a key hidden inside the room somewhere. I’ve heard that kids think it’s funny to lock Mom in a room (and/or can’t open the door once you’re locked in).

Jenny, Crash Test Mommy

One morning when she was 2, Emma, my now 8-year-old formerly known as The Escape Artist, DID get out of the house while the rest of us slept. When my husband and I realized that she was gone, my first instinct was to sprint to our neighbor’s backyard, as they have a swimming pool. The five seconds that it took me to get to the poolside and see that she was NOT, in fact, in the water dead, were the longest, most terrifying of my entire life. I will never forget that feeling. She was actually playing with the hydrangea bush on the other side of our house. And we installed metal door latches on both exterior doors that afternoon.

Re: Your comments about sponsorships and paid blogging — YESYESYES, totally, wholeheartedly agree. Minding one’s own business has become rather passe, no? Pity, that.

Nichole
12 years ago

We put a gate on my son’s door. He’ll be 3 in November. He hasn’t tried to get out the front door — the deadbolt on it is pretty tough to turn — but he does raid the pantry in the morning when we forget to put the gate up. He just plops down in front of the cabinet and surrounds himself with cereal boxes, then eats cereal by the fistful. Cute & annoying all at the same time!

Christina
12 years ago

Not sure I can help with the early morning wanderings. My five year old still ** STILL ** shouts to let us know he is up and can he get of bed. It sounds nice but it is almost always BEFORE six am and OMG just go watch TV kid and do not wake your sister! We created that monster so I must live with it. Also it makes me wonder what kinds of damage do you think he will have from whatever we did to cause him to NOT want to just get up and out of bed in the morning still? I have no idea how it even happened!

Ahhh anyway we have Grip ‘n Twist Door Knob Covers on our doors if you have a regular door knob. I know they make something similar for the other type of door handles as well (the lever type handle, non technical term I am sure…) They are on the garage door and front door.

Our five year old recently learned to use and open them but it still pretty hard for him. We love them. We feel like the kids cannot just walk out the door, we did not need to alter our doors in anyway and most importantly if there were a fire or emergency that we needed to get out of the house quickly these would not hinder the adults. I know… what about the kids. The plan would be that we each have our assigned child (yes we know which parent is supposed to have which child!) I think they were like $6 bucks for three maybe.

Maria
12 years ago

I hear you on rates and whatnot.

I think the only time it starts to creep into “other people’s business” in a way that’s worth at least discussing not behind people’s backs is when the entire tone of a website or narrative changes as a result of corporate sponsorship/influence. That sentence hurts my brain.

Bloggers and site owners don’t really owe their readers explanations when shit changes, but I think people need to accept that if you put content up on the web, it will be analyzed or bitched about at some point. Especially if it changes a lot.

The issue of “selling out” is being overplayed like crazy right now though. It feels like every other week it’s “omg don’t sell out” and the next it’s “omg do not do a damned thing without CHARGING WHAT YOU ARE WORTH LET THE MONIES FLOW IN.”

Your advice is solid, dude. And it makes me wonder how many people have no idea how freelancing usually works.

Maria
12 years ago

Oh, re: doors.

We put chains on all doors leading to the great outdoors when kid #2 figured out door opening exactly a year and a half earlier than kid #1 did. He’s still in a crib though.

Joanne
12 years ago

I remember reading that Matthew Baldwin (of DefectiveYeti) used Pam on his kid’s doorknob to make him stay in his room. When my five year old was around two, he started wandering and as his room is at the top of the stairs, we tried a gate and locking the doorknob and then finally just put a small hook and eye lock at the top of his door, on the outside. He has to know that at bedtime, he stays in his room and there was no other way for me to tell him. My daughters are still in cribs, but I have a hook and eye on their door for when they’re not. I’m not ashamed! :)

Annie
Annie
12 years ago

babyproof knob on inside of door (wrapped in electrical tape because babyproof knob is not, in fact, babyproof).

MRW
MRW
12 years ago

I am going to use some of these suggestions in about a year. My son never displayed any interest in leaving the house when he woke up before us. He’d hang out in his room and play. Even though my daughter is only 14 months old, I can tell she’s going to be the kind of kid that requires locks on all outside doors way up high because she already wants to throw open the doors and walk herself down the street. Ridiculous.

Emily
Emily
12 years ago

For our 2.5 year old we put a baby gate in her doorway. She can open the door and yell but she can’t get out. Our bedroom is downstairs so it was a safety issue as well.

yasmara
yasmara
12 years ago

We’re another family who put a childproofing doorknob cover on the inside of the door to thwart our escape artist 2nd child. You should also check any windows in his room – read this (if you haven’t already) & be petrified!

http://julia.typepad.com/julia/2010/09/say-what-melonhead.html

Maria
12 years ago

My suggestion: if possible corner off a hallway leading to the main part of the house with a gate. If you’re potty training you are going to want him to be able to get out of his room to go to the bathroom. That’s what we did with my daughter. She was contained enough to be safe, but also able to take those first steps towards going potty first thing in the morning once the whole process started to click.

NancyJ
NancyJ
12 years ago

My son was not a wanderer – in fact from 6 months old on he slept from 7pm to 7am. Yup, I’m BRAGGING!
Anyway….I agree with everyone about that lock real high up – so high he wouldn’t be able to reach it even by pulling a chair over to the door.

Kona
12 years ago

It just seemed unsafe to keep our son locked in his room, so we just put door handle covers on all of the rooms that we didn’t want him to be able to open. That way, he can’t go out the front door, or drown himself in the toilet or whatever. It works really well, and it just funnels him into our room, where he jumps on the bed and demands Elmo.

Courtney
Courtney
12 years ago

We put one of those childproof door handle things on the inside of our daughter’s bedroom door. She would knock in the morning and we would go get her. We have a few little stairs and I would rather lock her in her room than to wake up to her falling down those babies…or hanging out in the kitchen with knives.

Melissa
Melissa
12 years ago

We have these on all important doors: http://www.amazon.com/Safety-1st-Grip-Twist-Covers/dp/B00127CK6M/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1286308978&sr=8-4

That includes the 2 year old son’s bedroom door. Sure, locking in his room seem very Cinderella-evil-step-mom-ish, but the alternative? Him leaving his room, and opening the front door for a stroll? Him leaving his room and building a perilous stairway of chairs, blocks and cheerio boxes to the top of the fridge? Or God Forbid, him leaving his room, removing his diaper and creating poop art on my walls? No thank you. Kid can call for me on the baby monitor till he is old enough to scare the crap out of. “Getting out of bed without Momma will make all your toys catch on fire!!!!!!”

Nicole
Nicole
12 years ago

I didn’t read all the comments, but we put chain locks on our front and back doors. You just have to remember to use them!

fairydogmother
12 years ago

My parents put a small hook & eye latch on the outside of our bedroom doors when we were little. And if I ever find myself with three kids spaced 2 years apart I fully plan on keeping it in mind. Since I was a sleepwalker as an older child they also had chains on the inside of the front door, back door, and the door leading to the garage as well.

Mama Bub
12 years ago

Not that I’m admitting to doing this, but you can turn the door handle around so that it locks from the outside, not the inside. Again, not that I’m admitting this, but in case of a fire, I like to know exactly where to go to find my wandering child. Also, we have those locks up high on all of the exit doors, but he’s industrious enough to know to go get a stool or chair and unlock those to get out. Seems to me that the implied “badness” of locking him in his room is overridden by the danger of him getting out.

Not that I’m admitting to the lock.

angie
angie
12 years ago

I freely admit that we turned the doorknob around on my three year old’s door! He has figured out how to thwart us in every other attempt we made to keep him safely in his room. His room is on the second floor, and being that our house is very large (and we are downstairs), we can’t hear him once he’s out of range of the baby monitor. And since he LOVES to open the outside doors, we decided that locking him in his room at night was the safest choice for us.

To make it easier to swallow, I like to think of his room as a VERY large crib. ;)

Scott Dierdorf
12 years ago

You should tell Dylan that he is MORE than welcome to wander around before you are awake, because the dinosaur you hired to protect the living room at night gets really hungry and loves to have little kids for a snack.

Problem solved!

JCF
JCF
12 years ago

Ooh, I just read in one of the comments that someone put electrical tape on the babyproof doorknobs! I am so doing that IMMEDIATELY. We had those on all doors that we didn’t want the kids to have access to (cleaning closet, our bedroom, etc.), including the inside of the kids’ room, until my oldest learned how to karate chop the knob covers off. Now the 3yo and 2yo BURST into our bedroom at 6:30 am raring to go. They generally wake the baby in doing so as well. I much preferred when I woke up to them playing over the baby monitor and had 10 minutes to pry my eyes open before needing to be up and running full speed. Also, I like when the baby stays asleep, you know.

As for safety, we have a hotel bar-lock high up on our front door that we keep locked at all times when we are in the house. Luckily, our apartment opens up to a hallway which goes out to a playground. The kids can technically open the gate to the complex that goes out to a very busy street, but they would have a much longer way to walk between our door and the street than for your average suburban house.

Gigi
12 years ago

The way we stopped the late night/early morning wandering was to put a baby gate up in his doorway. That way he was effectively “locked in” without us having to actually lock him in.

Kara
Kara
12 years ago

The baby gates are a good idea, although both of my kids would have climbed right over them. Maybe greased baby gates… :):)

Angella
12 years ago

Book added to my Amazon cart that was in need of one more book to get me free shipping. Thanks, you.

I was a little surprised at the uproar on Twitter – I thought Mir’s post brought up great points for discussion but some people got ugly. It’s too bad, really. We should all be helping each other out (like you did with the book recommendation).

Julie
12 years ago

One of our daughters was a terrible wanderer, but because we were licensed foster parents we were forbidden to put locks on the bedroom doors. But basically the issue for us was to be able to hear when they were out so they didn’t end up at the farm across the street. Our simple solution was to prop one of those pants hangers with the two metal clips on the door handle. Ever drop one of those on a hardwood floor? The girls only had to hear that racket a couple of times before they stopped trying to come out.

ABDPBT
12 years ago

Re market rates, I actually agree about rates. I am not sure if you are referring to my post about $5 tweets or not, but since that has been lumped in with other posts on the topic, I felt I should clarify: when I criticized that program I was really criticizing the concept of sponsored tweets in general. I do not think they are a good idea at any price, personally. I don’t think they have a good market value, and I think you’re devaluing your OWN work by using them, regardless of what amount of money you get for them, provided you’re being asked to put them in your personal twitter stream.

This is just my opinion, as somebody who wants to be a professional blogger. It has nothing to do with what rate I hope to get or a worry that the actions of others will have an effect on my rates or anything like that. I think doing sponsored tweets is a bad use of a blogger’s *own* trust capital, it doesn’t have any effect on anybody else.

Stephanie
Stephanie
12 years ago

As weird as it may sound I’ve seen someone install a screen door on their childs bedroom instead of their regular door. It locks, but they don’t feel trapped. I’m thinking I may need to do this one day with my 18 month old who I believe it going to be our escaper.

Lori
Lori
12 years ago

We kept a baby gate on our kids’ bedroom door for at least two years. That way if they needed us, or needed to go to the bathroom, we could hear them when they called. But, they couldn’t escape. We always worried about them falling down our wooden staircase when it was dark. When my son got a little older and was able to attempt climbing the gate, we just stuck it up a little higher in the doorway, problem solved.

PS — Loved your Stir column about childbirth. So true. Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.

lindsay
lindsay
12 years ago

I like what you said about freelancing fees here. Agreed.

kakaty
12 years ago

Yep! childproof doorknob cover on the inside for us here. Thought of the room as a big crib. It was a year or so before she had the strength to open the door with the cover.