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Put a Lock on That Door

Ah, the joys of toddlers in cribs. They can't come into your bedroom at -- ahem -- untimely moments. There are no fine-tuned preschool/elementary school ears listening to the rumblings in the other room with questions you'd rather not answer just yet.

Once they grow, you can imagine the conversation (okay, you caught me, I've had the conversation):

Son: Mommy, what was that noise?

Mommy: Mommy and Daddy

Son: What were you doing?

Mommy: Nothing important

Son: But I heard something.

Mommy: Mommy and Daddy were just playing. Go back to bed.

This must be why some parents prefer their bedroom to be on a different floor than the kids. There's more time to react to approaching innocent minds when naked in bed.

So, is one answer to lock your bedroom door? That's one suggestion made by a relationship psychotherapist on the BBC's Web site who also suggests shipping the kids off for an overnight stay with a trusted relative or making the most of the time after the kids go to sleep.

What do you do to get intimate time with your spouse/partner/significant other? Have your kids ever walked in on you during "cuddle time?" How have you handled it?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  August 16, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Elementary Schoolers , Preschoolers , Tweens
Previous: News of the Weird | Next: Name That Child

Comments


I think it is definitely a good idea to have a lock on the door when children become of a certain age where they could just "walk in"; in retrospect, I would've appreciated such consideration on my own parents' door when I was younger.

My husband and I are young, 22 years old each, and we 37 weeks pregnant with a baby girl, but we have already discussed this. Once she is old enough to have her own room and can walk, the door to our room will be locked. There has to be some room for intimacy and couple time. We were a couple BEFORE we were parents and we will be a couple AFTER she becomes an adult. Of course her needs will prevail above all. If she is crying or there seems to be something wrong, sex or not, we will be there to comfort her; but otherwise, I believe that parents should definitely take care of their own relationship as well as their kids; it shows their kids healthy romantic relationships are possible and what they should look like.

Posted by: Jasmine | August 16, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

When my now 9-year-old daughter was three, my husband and I never even shut the door at night, let alone lock the door. That all changed when, one night, while we were having sex, she apparently low-crawled into our bedroom like a stealth soldier and then jumped up next to the bed to "scare us."
OMG, I wanted to just die! Thankfully 3-year-olds buy most of what you sell them so it didn't seem like she thought it was unusual when she asked what we were doing that we answered with, "we were wrestling."

Now, with her and her 4-year-old brother in the house, our bedroom door gets locked if there's going to be any wrestling going on!

Posted by: I'd rather be anom on this one:-) | August 16, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm nervous locking the door for emergencies, etc (our son is still in a crib, but moving to a big boy bed soon). I'm not comfortable locking any door but the house entrances.

But closing the door (so it clicks) will give us enough time to um unravel before DS were to walk in.

When he was an infant we did learn to be much quieter as one of our intimacies woke the baby!

Posted by: mfd | August 16, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Lock the door!

If there's something seriously wrong with one of the kids, you'll know. You can stop what you're doing and rush to help - throwing on a robe won't even slow you down.

Side discussion: how did YOU figure out your parents actually had sex?

One of my wife's chores when she was in her early teens was to change all the sheets once a week. She pulled all the sheets off the beds (hers, her parents, her siblings...) and put clean sheets on.

Not long after we were married, we were changing the sheets on our own bed when a look of horror crossed her face. She pointed to the yellowish stains on the mattress pad from "material" that had seeped through the sheets. I grinned and said, "yes, you know what that is."

Her look of horror increased as she told me that she had seen stains like that before - on her parents' bed when she was younger, but never knew what they were. The one time she asked, her mother told her that they were left over from her father drinking beer in bed while watching the football game one time.

But of course, my wife had just realized, at the age of 24, what those stains had really been and how they had gotten there. It was a real shock to her!

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 16, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

"But closing the door (so it clicks) will give us enough time to um unravel before DS were to walk in. "

Most probably not.

Daughter walked in once at the beginning of a "session" (about 3 years old). She had no clue what was going on. Now, we lock and double-check the door.

Posted by: Father of 2 | August 16, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

"But closing the door (so it clicks) will give us enough time to um unravel before DS were to walk in. "

Most probably not."

Agree. And there are some sexual activites that cannot be easily explained away as "wrestling".

Posted by: hillary1 | August 16, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Sidenote

We also lock the bedroom door to avoid an audience of our pets!

Posted by: hillary1 | August 16, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't anyone teach their children not to enter their parents' room without knocking anymore? By the time a child is three, she is old enough to understand this rule. It's just good manners, so people should be teaching it regardless of whether they have a lock on the door.

Posted by: B | August 16, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

My partner and I made a firm rule that our room is off limits to the children. That was a tough one, as prior to our living together, his child was accustomed to having open access. But, I find that boundaries are a healthy thing and it has been a big help in maintaining harmony in our home. I think it's important to clearly define shared space and space that is not shared. Our room is on a separate floor and the door to that floor remains shut. If the children need to speak to us while we are there, they knock on the door and wait for us to respond before the door is opened. Simple.

Posted by: CarolB | August 16, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I've tried the lock thing, but the problem with that is, once a kid realizes the door is locked, they will favricate an emergency or simply stand outside the bedroom door an whine for something. Whatever it is, it destroys the mood.

I think it's easier just to teach the kid to knock before entering. When I was a kid the rule was not ever to knock on the bedroom door when it was closed unless I was bleeding. Hahaha! I still tease my mom about that one.

Just the other day my son knocked on the bedroom door and entered when I was laying on the bed with my wife. My wife told him quite sternly never to come in the bedroom without asking first. She demanded him to go back out, close the door, and try again.

So he did.

He knocked and politely asked if he could come in for a minute to talk about something.

My wife screamed "NO! GO AWAY!!!"

In conclusion, all my kids have learned to ask before entering... for their own protection. LOL!

Posted by: GutlessCoward | August 16, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

If you can get over your embarassment, the situation might present an excellent opportunity to have "the talk" with your child. You know the one I mean.

Posted by: David S | August 16, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat,

That's what towels are for...

Hillary,

Re: pets coming in at the wrong time...

Oh yes, I've had one of our cats leap up on my back when my wife and I were "busy" to find out what in the world was going on. It took us both quite a while to stop laughing at the absurdity of my reactions...

Posted by: johnl | August 16, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

B: Good question. We haven't taught our kids to knock on our door but probably should start with our 5-year-old. The problem is, I'm not yet comfortable enforcing that with 3-year-old. When he's having a respiratory attack in the middle of the night, I want him coming to me as fast as possible. Knocking and waiting delays that.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | August 16, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Is locking the door so difficult a solution to come up with? Why is this so baffling?

Posted by: Ryan | August 16, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

My parents always had their bedroom door closed and we were taught to knock before entering. But then again, my parents were very strict about their room being their space. My sister and I were never allowed to get into bed with them. If we had a nightmare or were scared of a thunderstorm, we were allowed to sleep in their room, but it had to be on the floor. My mom kept a blanket under their bed for this express purpose. I suppose it worked. The floor was generally so uncomfortable, that my sister and I would get over our issues pretty soon so that we could return to the comfort of our beds.

Posted by: gh | August 16, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

johnl

"Oh yes, I've had one of our cats leap up on my back when my wife and I were "busy" to find out what in the world was going on. It took us both quite a while to stop laughing at the absurdity of my reactions..."

Ouch!!!

Did you use the opportunity to have the "talk" with the cat?


Posted by: hillary1 | August 16, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Stacey

The problem is, I'm not yet comfortable enforcing that with 3-year-old. When he's having a respiratory attack in the middle of the night, I want him coming to me as fast as possible."

Where is the father?

Posted by: hillary1 | August 16, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Much like gh, my parents simply instilled in us a sense of space and privacy. No locked parental doors ever. And they only had one walk-in - my brother, who had had a nightmare when he was about 2 1/2. He didn't ask, and my parents didn't offer. Pretty straightforward.

We all knew as kids that if we had a really bad nightmare or the thunderstorms were really loud, then we could knock on the door and be comforted...but we'd be back in our own room after we were comforted. And honestly, my Mom was pretty good about hearing us in distress (especially me, who was nightmare prone for a while).

Actually, the one incident we laugh about now was my sister knocked and waited to come in. She then asked my mother why her nightgown was on inside out....

Posted by: Chasmosaur | August 16, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Hillary,

Fortunately the cat didn't feel the need to use his claws, but just the presence of a 15 pound cat landing on my back (actually a bit lower than my back) during our "entertainment time" was more than enough to throw me out of the mood!

Yes, I had a 'talk' with the cat; he didn't interrupt us again. One of the younger ones has jumped up beside us on the bed, though, and then "meows" loudly as if to ask "what the ??? are you two doing?". We just laugh at them and push them back off the bed...

Posted by: johnl | August 16, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

With an 8 year old and a 13 year old finding opportunity can be a challenge. When we do, we wait until the kids are asleep. The door is locked. When we are finished we unlock the door in case of emergencies. It is what we have done since the kids were very small. It never seemd that complicated.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Regarding comments about respiratory distress, uncomfortable locking just in case..... you don't have to lock to door ALL NIGHT. Just for enough time. Then, unlock the door. Unless 'enough' is 'all night', in which case - BRAVO!!

And, from gutless coward: I've tried the lock thing, but the problem with that is, once a kid realizes the door is locked, they will favricate an emergency or simply stand outside the bedroom door an whine for something. Whatever it is, it destroys the mood.

...Seems like you are striking when the mood hits, rather than delaying until the kids are asleep! doesn't seem very 'gutless' to me!

Posted by: door locker | August 16, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Johnl - you are lucky you have a cat. A cold, wet dog nose in the wrong place can put you out of the mood for weeks!

Posted by: sandy | August 16, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"A cold, wet dog nose in the wrong place can put you out of the mood for weeks!"

I think only mortality would do that to me. Nothing else has so far!

Posted by: John L | August 16, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

This is all very well when your children are small. When they are teenagers, it is a different world.

They stay up later than you do, so waiting until they are asleep is not an option.

Lock or no, they *know* what you are doing in there, if they are in the house.

The only way my husband and I can get that sort of time together is when both the teenagers are out of the house on evenings or weekends. And seldom are they both out at the same time.

Posted by: Grimm | August 16, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

My three siblings and I grew up in a very small house with paper thin walls. We would hear noises coming from our parents' bedroom, but never thought anything of it. We'd been taught not to go into their room if the door was closed, and they always closed it at night.

Until one night the bed slats shifted during one of these times we heard noises, and the entire mattress and box springs slammed down onto the floor, creating a VERY loud noise. There was dead silence from our parents' room for a time, then we could all hear them laughing over the incident.

Posted by: John L | August 16, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

My 2 year old is still in her crib, but we usually sneak down to the basement to avoid the noise issue (nobody wants to risk waking the little beastie!).

As a side note, I was flipping through my "Economist" a few months ago while she was sitting next to me, and happened to come upon a very graphic illustration of 2 people having sex. My DD pointed and said, "dancing!" Of course, I replied, "Yes! Dancing!"

Posted by: va | August 16, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with some of the previous commenters - why is locking the door such a problem? Why does having a kit make you a martyr? Anohter thing I don't understand - when a mother says she hasn't been to the bathroom alone in years. Um, again - door, lock?

Posted by: Me | August 16, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Me

"I have to agree with some of the previous commenters - why is locking the door such a problem? "

Trust me. After a woman has been caught in the act of fellatio with her husband - THE DOOR GETS LOCKED!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how I feel about locking my bedroom door. But then, my kids are little (6 & 2), very sound sleepers, and are in bed early. And I'll be honest - I don't feel comfortable having sex when they are awake in the house. They're too young to monitor themselves. I'm looking forward to that changing in the next three to five years.

As to the solo bathroom thing, Me, sometimes it's just easier to take care of your bathroom needs with the kids playing quietly on the floor rather than banging on the door. A better question is where's the papa, and why isn't he taking the children out of the bathroom for you when he's home?

Posted by: KR | August 16, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

KR

"I'm not sure how I feel about locking my bedroom door"

I am.

Trust me. After a woman has been caught in the act of fellatio with her husband - THE DOOR GETS LOCKED!


Posted by: hillary1 | August 16, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"better question is where's the papa, and why isn't he taking the children out of the bathroom for you when he's home?"

Posted by: KR | August 16, 2007 03:43 PM

Have to agree - that is a better question. Just never seemed to happen for my friends with kids, apparently.

Posted by: Me | August 16, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I'm now convinced (always "thought") my parents haven't had sex in about 28+ years (I'm 33)...I don't EVER remember their door being closed. I just remember my mom having a miscarriage when I was about 4 or 5, and I wasn't told about it until years later. I basically spent the night at a neighbors house.

Also explains why both are wound up pretty tight.

Posted by: WDC | August 16, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I go for hooks on bathroom doors that are way up high, 'cause that's another place I'd like a bit of privacy.

It's hard enough to maintain an intimate life without worrying about whether your "kids" will hear. For the most part once they get older they don't care -- or will be using the opportunity to get into some sort of trouble themselves. So I figure - have fun!

Posted by: RoseG | August 16, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Why should any one have a problem with locking the door at bedtime? Whether or not you are getting intimate in bed or simply need to sleep soundly, it is a good idea to lock the door for some privacy. May I suggest the use of a nice device called a "baby monitor" to make sure the kids are alright. In addition to keeping the bedroom door locked all children must learn to knock on the door before entering any bedroom except theirs.

Posted by: Smartie | August 16, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't get the need for a locked door. Teach them to respect a closed door and knock first. Teach them to respect "adult time."

And if they happen to hear or see- so what? Obviously they don't have an issue with it- don't make YOUR issues into THEIR issues. Just laugh, shoo them away, scold them and give a good talk later again about respecting a closed door.

I understand why somoene might WANT to lock the door, but I don't see the necessity of it.

Posted by: Liz D | August 16, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Um, Liz D, perhaps you don't understand small children. Do you have any? I agree about teaching them about closed doors, but the part you don't understand is that teaching small children is PROCESS. You can tell your 3 year old about not opening closed doors, but I assure you that telling him/her once will not stop them from ever doing it.

The best thing is to combine locked doors with teaching about closed doors. Still, though, for sex, I'd rather lock the door just in case the kid forgets (and small children often forget rules like that -- they're NOT miniature adults).

Posted by: Ryan | August 16, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

We have 5 kids under 8, we do not lock the door, just close it. If they are awake they know to knock-even my toddlers. That being said the only thing that ever happens in our room while they are awake is the occasional conversation. We have always waited until they were sleeping for intimacy. So far we have never had a "walk-in"

Posted by: MMW | August 17, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

OK, so why the need for privacy all of a sudden when you people are bathing with your children, going to the toilet with them, whipping out the old funbags to nurse them in public? You need privacy for bumping uglies but you do everything else in front of the kid(s). It doesn't make sense.

Why not close and lock the door. Teach the kid to knock on any closed door before entering. Teach them people need privacy once in a while.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

They are BREASTS, not fun bags! And they are for breast-feeding not expressly for your entertainment.

Nothing wrong with nursing in public, but if you are so immature as to call them fun bags maybe you don't get that.

Posted by: Breasts, not Funbags | August 17, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Well, Tootsie, I'll call them anything I like. Hooters, jugs, knockers, tits, boobs, headlights, fun bags, ta-tas. Hugh Hefner didn't build an empire on dairy cattle, they are solely for entertainment. If you brood mares want to keep whipping them out to feed your spawn, adolescents are going to stand around watching with their hands in their pockets. If you don't want to be the center of unwanted attention, do the sow act behind closed doors.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

sick, sick, sick. Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

Posted by: to 08:47 PM | August 20, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Nope, never kissed the *itch.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

You're training your child to be as prudish as you sound. Showing a child what a healthy, loving relationship looks like won't happen if you lock the door. Children grow into sexual adults. If they see their parents making love, and even ask about it, that's a good opportunity to give them an age-appropriate answer to their natural curiosity, rather than passing your discomfort on the subject on to the next generation. A toddler's grasp of the proceedings is going to be on a toddler's level of understanding--mommy and daddy have physical bodies, are close and happy.

Posted by: father-to-be | August 24, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

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