My favorite part about maternity leave is the frequent middle-of-the-day trips to the gym. I'm gonna come right out and admit that my efforts to make it to the gym 4 times each week are not so valiant. The truth is, my gym has childcare. Relatively CHEAP childcare. My gym also has showers. So the best (read: only) way to enjoy a child-free shower is to go to the gym. And...while I AM at the gym, heck, I might as well work out too, right? I'm trying to fathom the fact that there are people out there who go to the gym for the sole purpose of working out, without any ulterior motive.
Why childless showers are so coveted: Today when I tried to take a bath at home after my run around the neighborhood, Ryan insisted on being in the room with me and bringing me bath toys. Also as I soaked, he kept filling up a spray bottle with water and dumping it over my head. It was a nice gesture....
Sometimes, you'll find me lazing about on the benches in the adult-only locker room. By the way, adult-only locker rooms are basically the best thing ever invented. I'm not being a perv, I promise (and kudos to the brave souls who find the freedom and courage to walk around completely buck-naked. Since having my third c-section during which it seemed as if every single person in the entire hospital saw me naked, I've upgraded from changing in the bathroom stalls to discreetly changing in the corner of the room while facing the wall). I'm just soaking in the fact that I'm in a room WITHOUT MY CHILDREN while also being innocent of engaging in child neglect (best of both worlds!). Being able to get dressed without someone screaming or crying hysterically, is a totally under-rated luxury.
Ryan does not like going to childcare. He's pretty shy, which is surprising to me because he's generally very aggressive and physical. I feel bad dropping him off because every single time I do, he walks straight into the childcare room, plops down in the very center of the carpet, and just stares at me with a blank face until I leave. I've always wondered if he stays like that the entire time. That's how I always imagine him as I'm doing my workout and it makes me laugh and want to cry at the exact same time.
To reward Ryan for putting up with the horrors of a giant room full of nothing but toys and other children to play with, I let him pick out a snack at the vending machine after I'm done. He picks a snack, I pick a snack, and then we sit down at a table and hang out while I feed Jonathan.
Without fail, Ryan always asks me for bubble gum each time. And, just like every other time before, I tell him no. Then he settles on popcorn chips. He gets the salted flavor and I pick the sour cream and onion flavor. As the snacks free fall towards the vending machine opening, Ryan always reminds me that he HATES the snack that I picked out. "That's ok," I tell him. "They are for me. You have the salty kind."
So we sit down to enjoy our snacks and after he pops one chip into his mouth, Ryan always says, "Mommy, let's share our snacks!"
"Ok. I'll trade you one of mine for one of yours."
"Mommy, let's put our bags in the middle."
"Ok." He grabs my bag and places it in the middle. His bag is still clutched close to his chest. His grubby little hands periodically disappear into my bag of chips.
"Can I have another one of your chips Ryan, since we're sharing so nicely."
"Hmphhh. FINE." He sighs loudly and reluctantly and very slowly hands me a tiny sliver of broken chip as if there is a famine and he is giving away his last slice of bread.
"I like sharing." He says cheerfully as he pulls another chip out of my bag.
Before I know it, Ryan is holding two empty bags of chips. And I'm totally starving.