Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Anxiety Identified

I figured out what caused the anxiety that day. The Gym. And to be specific: the gym childcare.

It was a Tuesday when I went last time, and I had plans to go the next day too. But Wednesday came, and my daughter went down for her morning nap early, and we didn't get out of the house on time. Then Thursday we went back, but I kept the kids with me, and we visited the pool. No anxiety: we had a blast! The kiddie pool has fountains, slides, a basketball net! It's amazing, and the kids both loved it.

Meanwhile I'm concocting narratives to explain that disconcerting bout of anxiety to myself. None of them sound quite right, so I keep spinning stories. Days pass and the anxiety doesn't return.

Until yesterday, when I went and used the childcare again. It's just huge. And loud. And kind of a madhouse there. I dropped the kids the second time and went to the lap pool by myself where I swam a half mile.

I'd love to say that the feel of my arms slicing through the water and my feet flutter-kicking calmed me. And it did, kind of. I was a lap swimmer through college, and for a number of years afterwards. Then I became a fitness instructor and it fell by the wayside. I haven't swum laps since before we moved to our current city, which was 2004. It did feel good to do it again.

But every time I thought about my kids the anxiety would immediately begin again. And when I arrived to pick them up, my daughter's face was splotchy red and the staff was on the verge of coming to find me because she had been crying so hard, and they couldn't calm her.

I think most of that was bad timing. She had slept 13 straight hours the night before, so I didn't think she'd take her morning nap. Sorry, sweetie. The childcare is only open in the mornings, and she's in a transition where sometimes she naps and sometimes she doesn't.

My son, on the other hand, really enjoyed it the second time, crying only about the fact that he couldn't staaaaayyyyy when I came to pick him up. I think it's great he can have a chance to play with other kids (although he remains a little bitter about THAT BOY who beat him to the Thomas toy) since we can't swing preschool right now.

I'm not going to give it up entirely. I don't have a bad feeling about the place or the people; in fact, the staff seems very sweet. It's just scary. My kids used to be with a private sitter who I knew very well (we had been colleagues for a couple years before she retired and became my sitter), and she only had one other child there: her granddaughter, who was my son's age. So this big, huge place where my kids are separated into different rooms with what feels like a million other kids? It's a little intimidating.

But you know what else is intimidating? The 30 pounds I really, really want to lose. So let's keep moving forward, into the fear, shall we? Step by step, lap by lap, morning nap by morning nap. And hopefully we'll all come out the other end of this thing a little bit tougher, and a little bit less afraid.

1 comment:

  1. I understand the gym childcare dilemma. In our case, it was pretty crappy quality - almost no interaction from the staff and a TV on at all times. Yet I left my child there for the maximum of 2 hours from the time he was a baby until I quit the club just recently. When I quit, my son was truly bummed he couldn't go back. It was not ideal care (my husband called it 'warehousing', but in a life of loving family, good care, and fun experiences, I figured that up to an hour or two a day of safe but not enriching time would do no lasting harm. But the benefits to mom of the alone time (mostly exercise, but also some reading and relaxing) were pretty high. And I also have over 30 pounds to lose, though now it's closer to 25. I joined Weight Watchers a few weeks ago and so far, it's working. Good luck!