Thursday, April 19, 2007

Crocodile Tears

My daughter has separation anxiety. She has a sixth sense about nurseries even
if she’s never been there. She starts
crying immediately and it is not a normal, run-of-the-mill cry. It’s an out and out sob, complete with
little gasps for air every couple of seconds and crocodile tears. I still consider her my baby and seeing her
like that is very difficult for me. I
have been putting the whole thing off because I just don’t want to deal with it
but the time has come. I’ve got to get
her acclimated to a nursery setting.

We recently joined our local YMCA to take advantage of
swimming lessons and the outdoor pool this summer. I would also like to put that money to work and use the
membership to workout in peace. I
usually get my exercise in the comfort of my home on my treadmill. It is anything but peaceful and has to be
strategically planned around naptimes. This has become increasingly difficult as my son is less apt to nap
these days. Forty-five minutes of
uninterrupted time on the elliptical machine in the gym would be like a
mini-vacation for me. I could rock out
to some tunes and work up a good sweat. It sounds like pure bliss.

I face a significant dilemma though. Do I get dressed, get the kids dressed,
drive the ten miles to the gym, put the kids in the nursery, hop on the machine
and get 8 minutes of a work-out in before the nursery staff comes and gets me
because my daughter will not stop crying? This sure does seem like a great deal of effort for 8 minutes of a
workout. What are my alternatives?  My son has swimming lessons on Tuesday and
Thursday mornings and I have to observe in case he has to go to the
bathroom. Yes, my location is dictated
by my son’s bladder during the 30 minutes of his swimming lessons. The viewing area for the pool is right
outside the nursery so it was the perfect opportunity to put my daughter in the
nursery for a trial run.

I dropped my son off at his lesson and walked over to the
nursery. My daughter started crying
before I even had the chance to sign her name on the sign-in sheet. I walked through the dutch door and entered the room that the two and under crowd is kept in.  I
put her down and tried to distract her with some toys. This did not work so I decided to break out
the big guns. I pulled out her
pacifier, her blanket and some fruit snacks. The staffer suggested that I put her in the high chair and I followed her advice.  I opened the fruit snacks, handed her her paci and bolted out of
there while she shrieked. I went out to
the glass window that leads to the pool and watched my son and waited. I expected a staffer to come out within ten
minutes. I waited and waited. Nothing. Surely she wasn’t OK? This was a
battle I fully expected to fight for at least a week. I was stunned. My son’s
lesson ended and I took him to the locker room, got him changed and he and I
caught the tail end of a “Wee Gym” class together. It was great.

After about 45 minutes total I went back into the
nursery. I found my daughter still
sitting in the high chair, blankie in hand and paci in mouth. She wasn’t crying and she seemed unscathed. She wasn’t having much fun but she wasn’t
miserable either. It was a
victory. Eventually, I would like her
to enjoy her time in the nursery and play with the other kids but for now I’ll
take what I can get. If getting 45
minutes of peaceful workout time means pacifying my child in a high chair with
gummies, then so be it. We’ll work on
the details later.


  1. yea tatum!!! Her and Elizabeth can cry together for the first 5 mins or so then play together. Elizabeth always cries and she goes to daycare two days a week so she is accustomed to the ins and outs of nurseries. She cries at church also and is always ok when I go and get here. I hope she does good next time.

  2. I am so happy to know I am not alone. I haven't even tried it yet, but already know the outcome. I will try what you did if Ben screams too.
    45 minutes sounds wonderful! Trey is too growing out of his naps, he might go down around 3pm, but that leaves about 1+ for me to jump on the treadmill or even rest and veg, or clean etc....
    I just need to do it, maybe do it, around th e Wee gym time, so I have an alternative if Ben won't stay. Trey will stay fine I know.
    Oh by the way, I love the new picture of you!