It’s cautionary tale time. You know, that time where you share your own failings for the benefit of those coming after you?

Today, I met my daughter and hubby in my lunch hour to go and see a Christmas show. It lasted for all of 15 minutes, leaving me with enough time to take missy into work for a visit. She was wearing the shoes one of my colleagues had given her and was in need of a face wipe so I thought it was a good time to take her in.

Missy is now a confident walker, happily leading the way into the lift to my office. We live in an apartment so she’s very familiar with lifts, walking straight to the mirrors that are often at the back of the elevator to give herself a smile, before pointing out the buttons to mumma. Another thing she likes to do is stand at the doors as they open. She likes to “help” doors open and close.

Now, while she often does this at home, she doesn’t get a hold of the doors or, if she does, they don’t move very quickly, allowing her enough time to move away. Today’s lifts did not. So, when little miss put her palm against the door, just as I went to pull her away, her hand rapidly went with the retracting door, finding itself wedged into the gap between the door and the frame.

I was horrified. I was in the lift alone, and my daughter’s hand disappeared before my eyes, as if in slow motion. She was screaming, tears streaming down her little face. And I was helpless. I pressed the button to get the doors to close, but they wouldn’t budge. I pulled her hand, and nothing. No matter what I tried, I could not get her hand out of the doors. So, what did I do? I screamed. I screamed and screamed for help until colleagues came bounding through the doors. I had visions of needing to get professionals in to help get my daughter’s hand out. She was hysterical. Of course, it only took moments to get her hand out. In fact, it happened so quickly that I found myself colouring with embarrassment as more colleagues arrived to help.

My daughter, thankfully, was OK. Her fingers were swollen and bruised, but no harm was done. A wonderful colleague put an arm around me – while missy might have been OK I was on the brink of a breakdown – and took me downstairs, got me some ice for missy’s hand and calmed me down, while telling me how she dealt with a horse that bit her daughter’s toe and wouldn’t let go. It helped to have another mumma watching my back.

I have since heard tales of this happening to many other toddlers. I heard one tale of a small child who had to be rescued from the same situation using a crowbar. Without intent to be patronising, there is a moral to the story. Watch your babies around lifts because you never know what can happen. And maybe my sharing this parent fail will help someone else avoid the drama. I haven’t felt that scared in a long time!

Next: My first work trip as a mum