Friday, October 16, 2009

The post in which I ask the question, "Do you think I'm neurotic?"

For my birthday, my husband hooked our family up with a membership to the YMCA. It was my request mainly because I saw it as an opportunity for Linus to spend time being supervised by someone who is not family while forcing me to actually do something good for myself. (Read: Not piddling around on Twitter. It's really hard to tweet on a treadmill. Believe me, I tried.)

The thing is, I've only been once and it just might be because I'm neurotic, overprotective, or paranoid. So here's what I need you to do. Read the following scenario and tell me what you think I should do. K? Thanks.


Upon arriving at the gym for the first time, I am completely lost. I stumble my way to the front desk with Linus balanced precariously on my hip. I explain that I'm new and am unsure what to do. I watch as others enter the front doors. Some stopping at the desk for a locker key and towel, others just wandering on in. The key keeper suggests I first take Linus upstairs and get him settled in at the Y-Playhouse (gym daycare).

Walking in, I make eye contact with the adult in charge. Glancing around, I see about 8-10 kids ranging in age from 3 months to 4 years. While telling Linus what's going on and talking to him about the area, I wander over to the lady in charge. I explain to her that it's our first time and I'm unsure what to do. She shows me the sign-in sheet, hands me a bracelet name tag (the kind you get at bars to show if your legal), and instructs me to put L's name on both. I do this and am then required to leave my photo i.d. so they can find me if they need me. I quickly spurt out some questions about leaving a diaper and how they locate me if he's not adjusting to which she responds, "Ah, he's your first, isn't he?" I nod to confirm and then tell her in what gym room I plan to exercise. She explains that my photo i.d. will allow them to find me should it be necessary. I head out to exercise.

Everything goes great. I get in 45 minutes on the treadmill before heading for the showers. On my way to the shower, I walk by and see Linus playing contentedly. So I go shower.

Once cleaned up, I head back upstairs to reclaim my child. Upon appearing at the door, I notice Linus is doing his hyperventilation crying (he got that from me) that he does only when extremely upset. Realizing I may have pushed it for the first time, I scoop him up and start comforting him. I look to the supervisor with inquiring eyes but she offers no explanation. I therefore ask her directly and she confirms that he started looking out the door about 10 minutes earlier and was getting upset. It's completely logical and even if it was because she had to discipline him, I wouldn't have a problem with it. He does need to learn that not everyone does things like mommy. This isn't really where I'm concerned.

My concern lies in the fact that after calming Linus down, I gathered up our things and left leaving my photo i.d. behind. Aside from the obvious pain-in-the-buttness of leaving it behind, I realized on my way home that the i.d. was the only way the staff could confirm that I was indeed Linus's guardian, and nobody checked or even required me to sign him out. Now, part of me wants to say that the staff remembered me since we had some interaction at drop-off, but another part of me says, "So what? They should have still checked."

So here's where I ask you, what should I do? Is it paranoid to think that they aren't checking and my child, who by the way has NO stranger danger, could be at risk? Do you think I've watched too much local news and made for tv movies? Or do you think I should be genuinely concerned?

I hate to be the obnoxious, overprotective mom but I know at the public school where I worked, we took more precautions than just remembering.

Am I crazy? What's the policy on check-out at your gym, daycare, or MMO?


Midwest Mom said...

I will admit that the Y was my first foray into the world of "someone else" taking care of my child, too.

I will mention a couple of things about your story.

1)You had a personal interaction with the caregiver at the beginning of Linus' stay there. It was a great move. Since there were only 8-10 kids involved, odds are she remembered you.

2) The fact that you came in and comforted Linus when he was freaking out is better than DNA, fingerprint identification, or any photo in proving that you are, in fact, his mother. Bad guys don't want any part of the kid screaming his lungs out. (I'm kidding, of course, but you know what I mean.)

If I were you, I'd give it a try one more time. And this time, I'd mention that last time no one checked your ID. Odds are, it won't be a problem again.

(And BTW, I would check on my kids *several* times during my workout. I'm not a drop-and-dash type of parent.)

Good luck with it. (And you're not neurotic... just careful, and that's a good thing.)

- Julia at Midwest Moms

corrie said...

I'm trying to remember the first time or two that I dropped Lily off, because after a bit I was a regular, and the caregivers certainly knew me and Lily well. I know they didn't check my photo ID. I wore a bracelet, and Lily wore a corresponding bracelet, so that was how to verify that we belonged to each other. But honestly I don't think they checked that either. There were never too many kids in there, and they seemed to remember faces and who belonged with who. I don't think I gave it much thought. I think part of their security is in the fact that you have to have a gym membership card to enter the facility at all, and they enforce that strictly.

As for the crying, they actually did track me down once, b/c Lily was pretty unconsolable, and even they knew that was not like her. If she was just a little clingy, fussy, they were good about trying to calm her and engage her in an activity (or just cuddle her), so they didn't have to interrupt my workout. They also didn't do diapers there (well, one kind lady usually did it for me as a favor, but it was not really their policy), so if she needed to be changed, they would send someone after me.

I feel very lucky that we had a couple of fantastic ladies in the Child Watch program at our community center. Lily really grew to like them. There were a couple of times, when there were subs in there (usually young teenaged girls), that I was not so comfortable, and neither was Lil. So I went so far as to check the staffing schedule to try to be there on the same days as my favorites.

Early on, I did some "walk-by" checks (staying out of view) to see how she was doing, and she always seemed to be adjusting fine.

Enjoy your "you" time!

Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

Being a fellow neurotic, I'm refraining from commenting and just learning from others.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Julia has great advice. I agree that no crying kid will be comforted by a strange adult--at our church we do wristbands to ensure safety, but a kids yelling "Mommy!" is always a good cue as to whether or not people belong together--and since he was upset, they may not have wanted to disrupt the scene further on your way out.
First times with kids are always tough, so be gentle on yourself. And trust your gut.

Anonymous said...

Abby, I would have probably been upset too, but I always try to refer to the "supervisor". Check with her and see what the policy is and she if she could follow through and find out why it wasn't followed - as you expected it to be. But I think checking back once in awhile to see that he was doing ok would put you at ease too. (out of sight of course) I think it is typical for kids in a first time situation to feel uneasy (especially when he is in new surroundings and doesn't know anyone). But a few times and he should feel at ease. Don't give up. Remember why you are doing this! To give you some "me time" and also to get Linus used to new situations too. Good luck. Terry B.

Miche said...

I think you are being fine, but I would give it another go-and maybe mention how no one checked your id last time and check to make sure they actually want it (Im sure that will get them checking for it) Also, since you had such great interaction with the care giver, and Linus may have been the only new kid, AND you came to get him, she probably remembered you both really well.

So definitely try again and see how you feel after that. If you still feel uneasy after another trip or two, then go with your guts.

Sorry this is so long too-but I think this Wed or Thurs I'm going to go to the science museum near you guys, so if you would like to go together with the kids just let me know. Take care!

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