(Here is where we found her one day - she had put herself in with the dog.)
When my children were four, I can remember them being a challenge. Four is a time in the lifespan where they understand many, many things. However, they do not always understand the consequences of their actions. So they have will, ability, and impulse working at high speed, but the frontal lobe, the center for higher reasoning, will not kick in fully for another twenty years. If you add intelligence to the mix you are apt to have a dynamic little dynamo of a four-year-old. Which is exactly what my great-niece is - a dynamic little dynamo.
My brother, her grandfather, is smitten, and very patient with his little sweetheart. He's protective of her and makes sure she has all her needs met. Her mother is a young mother, and hard working. Father not in the picture. Which has caused some problems lately as she wants to call her grandfather Daddy, like her cousins do to my nephew, their daddy. He keeps reminding her that he's Grampa, not Daddy. We all feel more than a little sad, when this is said.
Anyway, yesterday Lu and I dead-headed the hibiscus plants, gathered apples from the apple tree, read books, and watched The Backyardigans, stored on my computer (for emergencies with my grandson.) We were getting ready to leave, luggage in the car, saying our goodbyes when Lu grabbed my purse and started twisting and pulling. Fearing she would break the strap, I let go, thinking I would just get the purse back after she held it for a minute. Well, she immediately, in a flash, ran it over to the pantry, tossed it in, locked the door from the inside and pulled it closed! My purse was locked in the pantry. You need a key to open it. Well from the looks of dread on my brother and sister-in-law's face this was not going to be easy. The key had been missing for some time! A locksmith had to come out and open it the last time the pantry door had been locked. He'd charged $40, and because they are outside of Sacramento, probably more for the drive.
So for the next hour Lu and I read books while my husband, brother, and sister-in-law tried everything in the book to get that door open. Hangers, knives, thick pieces of plastic, credit cards, screwdrivers. Taking the door off the hinges was not an option, unfortunately. My brother finally sawed through the lock. The knob will need replacing, but my purse was freed!
After a great visit, wonderful swim, and a party with my family and cousins, we were finally on our way home. But I'm very honored that Lu liked her great-aunt enough to try to get her to stay a while longer, thinking she couldn't leave without her purse. And, it worked! She got an extra hour of story time.