Today in order to give Andy a break (aka: a chance to clean the floors of our apartment without a 19 month old to wrangle simultaneously), I took Mayzie along to the gym with me. This was the second time I had taken her, but it did not go so well this time as last for at least two reasons. First let me tell you about the babysitting room, and then I’ll get to the reasons.
My gym here, like the one I went to at home, has a babysitting room filled with toys, other kids to play with, and a couple of babysitters to watch all the munchkins while their parents sweat some stress out. The room at my gym now is actually bigger than our entire apartment here is, and has an attached bathroom with cubbies for the kids to keep their stuff in, parking spots for strollers, a gigantic changing table, a breastfeeding chair with magazines, and other kid accoutrement. There is no television in this room, unlike the one at our home gym, and there are almost always two or more babysitters there, also unlike at home. When we arrived at the room, there were 5 kids there already. 2 were infants (one of which was asleep), 2 were at least 3 years old, and 1 was around the same age as Mayzie.
I signed Mayzie in on the sheet, and proceeded to get her settled in by having her help me put her coat and things in the cubby. We got out her snack that I had packed, and she sat down at the table to eat it. I gave the babysitter a few instructions, said goodbye, and went to the changing room. I changed into my clothes and walked to the weight machines. I finished 2 sets of leg presses on the machine, and then the loudspeaker came on in the gym asking for “Mayzie’s mother to please come to the front desk.” First the adorable 19 year old behind the desk said it in German and then tried to start to say it in English. He looked notably relieved when I arrived at the front desk before he could get the whole thing out. I winked at him and told him that I understand German perfectly well and he doesn’t have to practice his English for my sake. The time elapsed from when I signed Mayzie in to when I picked her up at the front desk was approximately 10 minutes!
The babysitter announced that Mayzie just would NOT stop crying and I had to take her immediately as she handed her to me. 10 minutes of crying?!?!?! That was all it took for you to give up lady? 10 minutes of crying?!?!?! Surely you are not a parent, as 10 minutes of screaming crying is a fairly typical thing for a 19 month old to do when they don’t get their way. I surely hear at LEAST 10 minutes of crying every day, typically MORE!
When we went back to the babysitting room, 1 baby was gone, but the other 4 previously mentioned kids were still there. I took a quick assessment and realized that all of these children were being quiet. None of them were crying at all, and one of the babysitters pointed out the fact that one of them comes every day to the babysitting room—as if that was supposed to make me and my screaming child who obviously has abandonment issues feel better. What really gets me about this whole thing, is that this was NOT the first time I had brought Mayzie to the babysitting room alone. Last time I brought her, she played quietly in the room for more than 1.5 hours, and they never had to make some announcement for me to come console her.
We left as quickly as possible, and I was pretty much fuming the entire walk to the bus stop, for 5 minutes at the bus stop, for 10 minutes on the bus, and for at least 20 minutes after we got home. This is the deal: I pay for the gym. I pay for the gym so that I can go sweat some of my stress out. I need to be able to take my kids there sometimes and not to worry that I won’t actually be able to work out because the babysitters can’t handle them. There were TWO babysitters and 6 children, and they couldn’t handle a crying kid for more than 10 minutes!
I will admit two mistakes in this process:
1. I opted out of bringing the stinky monkey this second time. I had brought him along last time, so perhaps he would have been the calming factor that she needed this time too. I just really don’t like the idea of him leaving the house to possibly escape never to be seen again. Just the thought makes me shudder!
2. I wrote down that I would stay for 2 hours. Perhaps the very thought of having to deal with a crying Mayzie for 2 hours would be too much to bear, but honestly, I only wrote that down so I wouldn’t feel obligated to rush through my work-out and shower to get back as quickly as possible.
I am also wondering what the policy at the gym IS on crying kids. If they come to get me after only 10 minutes of crying, then do they only take well-adjusted, non-sick, un-faze-able kids? Perhaps Mayzie is not Germanified quite enough yet to qualify to hang out in the super-cool babysitting room at my gym alone. Next time, we’ll take her with her monkey and her sister so that hopefully Mama can have an actual workout instead of 40 measly leg presses and an angry dash to the bus stop.