Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cheap childcare for Cheerios Butt

My husband has gotten serious about his knee rehab, but don't tell him I said that b/c I'm pretty sure he thinks his knee is already rehabbed. I, on the other hand, beg to differ since he not only hasn't put any money down on any races, but hasn't even picked one yet. That and he's just been running sporadically here and there a couple miles at a time while casting longing looks whenever any talk of longer running ensues. (He had knee surgery this past summer and THAT takes some time to heal from no matter what my darling dear tells you.)

He got the family a three month membership at the local Rec Center the other day so he could complement his running with swimming. Cool by me, because that means now I can take the little girlies for a dip in the pool whenever cabin fever becomes unbearable. And here in the last remaining weeks of winter, that's getting to be the norm. "PLEASE, can I go to the park." "Let's just go outside mom." "Where are we going today?" "We HAVE to go SOMEWHERE!" But I digress.

So as I sat munching on a bowl of cereal (hurray for eating!) this morning with the littlest miss by my side munching her own tray full of cereal and the Queen of Cabin Fever lay on the very top edge of the couch watching the new Chugginton cartoon, I perused the Rec Center's Winter/Spring program brochure. Some pretty sweet stuff for the kiddos.

But, **SIGH**, also a lot of stuff I'd like to go do if only there was the time. In fact, I got to thinking, I'd really like to go do some swimming. I mean I was a lifeguard and swim instructor for a good ten years or so of my life and I wouldn't mind getting back in the pool to workout. I am after all, supposed to be doing more cross training these days right? But as quickly as the thought popped into my head, I brushed it aside. Where on earth was I going to fit THAT into my day? And I'd need to get a babysitter, which even as I type this I realize I have some terrific family members that will be reading this and talking right out loud to the screen saying "HELLO! I will watch the girls so you can go swim." I know. I know. I just hate to obligate you all to do so. It feels, well, selfish.

So I resolved myself to the idea that yeah, maybe I'll go every once in awhile and pop in for a swim if everything works out, the planets align or cows fly whatever. But a regular "swim day" is not going to happen.

Then...pause here for dramatic effect...I turned the page.

THEY HAVE CHILDCARE! And not just childcare, but CHEAP childcare. $10 for a month, unlimited visits, no more than 2 hours at a time. Pretty sure my heart beat a little faster at this point. I could drop one off at school and let the other one play supervised at the Rec Center for 1/2 an hour or 45 minutes. It's perfect. But can I do it?

You see, I'm a stay at home mom. And let me just preface this to say I am in no way looking for a fight on what's better, being a stay at home mom or a mom with a job. I realize there's some pretty passionate debate on both sides because let's face it nobody wants to be called a crappy mom. We all want what's best for our children and we strive to do whatever we think that is. There's pluses and minuses to both. What's best for me and my finally may or may not be what's best for yours. Quite frankly as moms we do what ever it takes to get the job done. For some moms it's being employed, others it's owning a business, others it's staying at home, and others something else I'm forgetting to mention.

I happen to have two daughters both of which had breathing problems as newborns. Whatever uncertainty I had in my head about staying home with my girls was gone the minute I watched my firstborn 10 day old child struggling to breath. When we were finally sent home, she had breathing treatments to receive and I was under doctors orders to keep a close eye on her. Any thought I may have ever had in my head about going back to work vanished. I just couldn't trust that someone else would keep an eye on her chest like I would. And they certainly shouldn't because that would mean they were neglecting the other children in their care.

That was me then and that has shaped in some way who I am and how I make parenting decisions today. It is what makes me leery of placing my little Miss in the childcare at the Rec Center. Overprotective? Probably. Do I care? Nope. My responsiblity is to my children not to what anyone else thinks.

So, I'm torn. Do I put her in? Don't I? I'm sure the fine people at the Rec Center have been thoroughly screened. And they must be time tested mother approved too b/c it's not a new program. The pool is right across from the childcare room. I SOOOO would like to swim. She'd probably have a blast with the other kids. It would only be for no more than an hour. I wouldn't have to obligate any family. It's cheap. But I'm just so dang skeptical of putting her in someone else's hands and walking away. It's not her. It's not them. It's TOTALLY me.

In the middle of all these ponderings, I glance over at Little Miss who flashes me a grin as she chews on her sippy cup and milk dribbles down her chin on to her pajamas and I notice her tray is empty of cereal for the third time. Breakfast is done. I wipe her face off and unbuckle her seat belt still lost in my thoughts about whether or not to venture into these unknown charted territories with my baby and I pick her up.

Now, there's always some crumb or mushed something stuck to her after meals so brushing her bottom off is not even a second thought for me when I pick her up out of her chair. It's a habit. But as I do so this time, I realize I am brushing and brushing and brushing and Cheerios are just falling everywhere. Honestly, there could not have been more Cheerios stuck on her butt if I had first dunked her bottom in a vat of glue or her pajamas had been made with sticky tape.

After about the fourth brush, I snapped out of my thoughts and finally took a look at her bottom and the mess all over the floor, then swung her back around and looked at her face. "What did you do baby? Did you even eat anything?" I asked. With her bright eyes and toothy little grin, she just giggled a little. She got me. I think too much.

I haven't officially decided what I'll do with Cheerios Butt just yet. But I do think I'll go take a little look myself and pick up the "parents handbook" (why do I hear that phrase in my thoughts as a deep voice followed by dum dum it's something particularly suspenseful?). Maybe see what Cheerios Butt thinks of the place. I mean if I get there and she's crying her head off, no sense in traumatizing the poor little thing just so I can swim. And on the flip side if she loves it and it seems pretty well run, then the decisions not quite so tough. See, the clever little cereal hider is right. I do think too much.

'Til next time...

P.S. I should maybe also mention that upon further consideration I have realized it's quite possible that my daughter was NOT hiding cheerios under her butt rather choosing a more perferred location to eat said cereal. In her little baby brilliance she has discovered that Cheerios (or puffs, berries, chicken or whatever other food I give her) placed on her bottom will eventually be brushed off onto the floor. Anything that is on the floor (and I do mean anything) will eventually end up in that child's mouth. It is her perferred eating place. Perhaps she likes the vastness of the floor as opposed to the table or her seat tray? She likes her food spread out or she doesn't want her various food items to touch. I don't know. But I will admit that I have from time to time considered just throwing all her food on the floor and letting her have at it. It's all ending up there anyway and I've never seen a speck of food on the floor she didn't want. Not true for foods on the table, tray or spoon. I resist but the thought has crossed my mind.


runnanna said...

What a hilarious AND honest post! We never get over worrying about that little "what if" voice in our heads. Why don't you all go as a family, and take turns with kids/laps? Little cereal butt and the princess would love it!

Staci Dombroski said...

Love this post! Our gym has childcare too and I always loved that they had a two way mirror so I could always check to see what was happening. I am always a little paranoid at the beginning, but then the kids started to beg me to go to the gym. It made it all worth it :-)

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

Great post! SO funny!

Sherri said...

LOL! Funny post!