We have a gym just minutes away from our home. It's a decent gym with a nursery where kiddos can play while parents workout. And what's even better, my sister is a fitness instructor there so guess who gets to work out without forking over the price of a membership? It's really nice.
But, there's only one problem.
Oia hates the nursery.
Workouts are an hour. It's the only me time I get. On average, just twice a week. Since Rob is rarely home before 6pm, I have no choice but to take Oia to the nursery. It's not a busy gym and most times Oia is the only child, maybe occasionally one other child is in there at the same time. You'd think that would be the perfect scenario for her; an adult all to herself but noooooo...
The moment I walk into the building, her demeanor changes. She squeezes me tighter, she looks with caution and knows something is up. I know most kids her age experience separation anxiety but this to me seems extreme.
I never make a big deal that mommy is leaving or that I'm going 'bye-bye'. I feel the best approach is a stealthy one so the drop off is loving but quick. (I have tried to stick around in the nursery to play for a few minutes before leaving but that didn't work either). Instantly, she's screaming. Screaming bloody murder.
The workout studio has a two-way window into the nursery. Little ones can't see into the studio as the window is too high but I can peek over and check on Oia as I feel necessary; which is all the time. When your child is crying inconsolably and the reason is because you left, it's very hard to concentrate, much less enjoy anything you are trying to do. In addition, when you hear your child screaming through a wall and over the blaring workout music in the next room, you're heart tells you to skip the workout and save your baby. But how in the heck do you help your child overcome a severe case of separation anxiety when you swoop in right away with rescuing arms?
So what is supposed to be enjoyable for me is far from it. It's an emotionally draining hour for the both of us. My mind wonders here, there, and everywhere the entire time. I'm analyzing the situation. I'm thinking... Is this time for me really worth Oia's misery? Is my daughter interfering with others who are here to work out in peace? Should I just stop now? Dear God, what triggers a seizure? Could it be emotional stress from screaming at the top of your lungs for an hour? What in the heck is she going to do come August when I drop her off at preschool for a few hours? Oia needs a healthy mom, right? Stay here and stick this out, she'll be fine. Maybe if I give it just 5 more minutes, she'll be alright...if not, then I'll leave...just 5 more minutes...
And 'just 5 more minutes' after 5 more minutes turns into an hour later. I make it through the workout and Oia's still crying. Once she sees me again, she still can't completely calm herself down. She wraps her little arms around my neck and hugs me as tight as she did just before I left her but with a red and runny nose, bloodshot eyes and tear covered glasses; she is crushed. Absolutely crushed. I always thank the staff for their patience but they swear it's no big deal to them, even asking to bring her back and try it again.
I've taken Oia now about 5-6 times. Other times, Rob comes home slightly early which saves her from the hour of torture. Each time she goes through it, it's the same outcome and it doesn't appear to be getting better anytime soon.
Everyone says 'Oh, she'll get used to it'....but when? Preschool is roughly 8 weeks away.
Tough love sucks.