Friday, March 4, 2011

Running Through Obstacles

When I started this running program a few weeks ago, I knew that there would be struggles. At the time, I thought the main struggle would be getting myself up and to the gym. I thought I'd just be looking for excuses. I thought that I'd get so tired and winded by the time I was up to running for five-minute stretches, that I'd just lie down in the middle of the track and declare, "Turns out I'm not a runner."

So when Tuesday of this week approached, I was pleasantly surprised that I was still looking forward to getting on the track. I packed up Little A, drove over to the gym, got changed, and took her up to the babysitting room.

When I signed up for a gym membership, a big motivation was the babysitting provided. I thought it would be a good way for her to socialize and for us to have some (very limited) time apart from each other. She did well the first few times, but a few weeks into it, I could see the slightly tortured looks on the babysitters' faces when I returned to pick her up.

"Did she cry the whole time?" I asked.

"Not if I was holding her," they'd answer.

She's a toddler, so technically she's old enough to just take one babysitting slot. They started putting her down for two spots, like an under-one-year old, because she had to be held the whole time.

My husband started calling her "Double Baby." Our needy, needy Double Baby. Still, it seemed a solution.

Then, on one trip to the gym and in the middle of a strength-training class, one of the babysitters found me. She'd been crying the whole time (Ada, not the babysitter). I had to abandon the class.

The next time, I tried to spend more time with her in the babysitting room before I left. I even tried to run around the track pushing her stroller, but she didn't want to ride in the stroller, she wanted to walk. I left the gym, having spent an hour and a half trying to get her to 1) not cling to me or 2) at least do what I wanted her to do, like sit in the stroller. I was disconsolate. I glimpsed flashes of my old life, when I could happily attend a yoga class or go for a walk without having to account for a 23 pound Double Baby.

We were mad at each other the rest of the day.

The next morning, I woke up early and went to a yoga class, leaving Ada in her dad's care. I breathed, I stretched, I laid on the floor and did absolutely nothing. I didn't even think about Ada until the last few moments of class when I sat up for a final "Namaste."

We had a much better day. I'd started out with time for myself so I was better able to focus on her when I was with her. We drew and bought a new toy and read books. I didn't resent that she was "getting in the way" of what I wanted or needed to do. As I walked with her up the stairs for the 50th time, I remembered, "She doesn't have glimpses of her 'life before.' This is all she knows."

My gut tells me that I can't take her to babysitting at the gym for at least a few weeks (maybe a few months). She's learning to walk and teething and is, after all, a Double Baby. And, for the time being, taking her there stresses both of us out more than it's really worth. Dad and I have arranged for how I can still get my alone time each day and, thankfully, a really generous friend who understands that moms sometimes need time away from kids has offered to take her for an hour here or there so that I can keep up with the running.

Was I using her as an excuse to not run that day? Possibly. Regardless, though, we've both worked passed it. Obstacle removed. No more excuses. Run.

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