My 17-month-old son is experiencing some massive separation anxiety when I’m not around. He’s fine with family members but I’ve recently realized that he transforms into a screaming maniac when left with non-family folks. Today, however, was a game-changer.
Two weeks ago, I went to the gym (yes, you read that correctly) and put him in the childcare room. He screamed for fifteen minutes straight and the staff ended up calling my name over the loud speaker to come get him. I felt horrible seeing him bawling his brains out, but I knew I had to keep at it. This is good for him, I said.
Last week, I tried again (yes, you read that correctly, I went back to the gym). He cried for 5 minutes then was distracted by toys and the staff. Success! And by success, I mean that I worked out for 20 minutes then read a magazine for 10 while pretending to bicycle.
Today, when I returned (yes, you read that correctly, I went back 3 times!!! How impressive is that??), the boy was on to my plan. The second I dropped him off he started crying. I stayed focus and went to the treadmill. After briskly walking for twenty minutes while trying to figure out if I was actually skinnier than anyone there, I heard my name again on the loud speaker. I dropped the F-bomb loudly because my head phones were on (which means that I suddenly turned 80 years old and forgot that people can actually hear me).
When I got down to the childcare room, my son was completely hyperventilating. They said he hadn’t stopped crying the entire time and now couldn’t breathe. I held him tight, promised I would never work out again and only eat ice cream, and rocked him until he calmed down. When I finally pulled his face from out of my snot-covered shoulder, there it was – the world’s snarkiest grin possible right there on his face. It was at that moment it hit me. I was played. Played by a 17-month-old.
So game on kid. Bring it on. I’m going to take you down. I only wish I didn’t have to go to the gym and fake working out to do it…