I have been taking Jack to the daycare at our gym since about mid October.
The first few times I dropped him off I sat him on the floor with some toys and the daycare staff. As soon as I stepped away the tears would start. Once I was out of sight I would wait till he stopped crying to head to the gym, the crying only lasted a moment. When I would return Jack would be sitting in a stroller eating a snack.
This became our gym routine, Jack sitting in a stroller eating a snack and me working out with my eyes constantly on the clock.
I worried that he would get upset and the daycare staff would come looking for me, I worried about leaving him for too long. I worried that my work out was unfair and unnecessary and that his few tears were not worth my 45 minutes on the elliptical.
But inside I knew I needed that workout. Some days it was the only thing that made me feel like myself. It revived me, it made me better. And since I decided to commit to going to the gym I had to commit to dropping Jack at the daycare.
I knew if just once I went back and picked him up and left the gym, that any future hope of him being happy at the gym would be gone. He would know that the crying worked and would continue to do it.
So every visit to the gym I would stand outside the daycare and wait the 30 seconds for the crying to stop and it always did.
The girls at the daycare told me this was enough. That I should be happy that he sits and snacks and barely cries. They assured me that it was normal and that I should consider myself lucky that he cries so little.
But I wanted more. I wanted him to enjoy the experience. I wanted Jack to play with the toys and the other kids. I wanted him to get out of the safety net of the stroller. I wanted him to have fun.
Then last Tuesday it happened.
I took an hour circuit training class. I was nervous, I usually only leave him for 45 minutes but the class took longer than I thought.
When I went in to the daycare I didn’t see the stroller but I heard Jack. Making his way through a group of kids there was Jack, crawling towards me with a smile on my face.
I wanted to cheer, I wanted to shout, I wanted to hug the hell out of the daycare lady. My boy was playing. It was such a small thing, a small step, a minor milestone but I was thrilled.
He had finally reached his comfort spot. The daycare lady told me that he, “was wiggling to get out so I put him on the floor and off he went”.
That’s my boy.