Well today marks another new milestone for the babies.
Announce it to the relatives, take pictures for the photo album and write it down in their baby books....
Today the twins got kicked out of Kid Care.
Ok, ok, they weren't really 'kicked out', more like politely asked to leave, but it sort of felt as if we were being kicked out and I am nearly positive that the Kid Care staff was relieved to see us go. Let's start at the beginning. Back in October I took the twins to the YMCA Kid Care a couple of times, a couple meaning two, and it went great both times. I was able to work out and swim laps and just have some alone time to myself. I was excited, giddy even over the possibilities the Y held for us. Yoga class, spinning, hot tub, Oh MY!
And then everything changed overnight. Oscar got sick, really sick and Nuala quickly followed suit. They only had a cold, a mere virus, but it was a complex strain of the most maniacal bug I have ever encountered and it held us prisoner for over 6 weeks.
There were numerous visits to the pediatrician and urgent care, multiple rounds of antibiotics for persistent double ear infections, too many sleepless nights to account for and a very miserable set of twins being cared for by an equally miserable mommy. The entire extravaganza was enough to have me swearing 100 times over that I would NEVER take them back to the Y Kid Care ever again, vile germ infested sesspool that it was! Even if the Y wasn't the origin of the germ, which let's face it the twins have 5 older siblings who are exposed to over 500 other kids a day, why on Earth would I ever take them back there, since I didn't know for sure where the illness stemmed from?
Why risk it?
It was right around this time that I also found out about Junebug, and so the sleep deprivation was suddenly coupled with sheer first trimester exhaustion. Not exactly the best motivation for slipping into your running shoes or signing up for pilates. Yoga would have to wait.
So now here we are a few months later, and apparently the horror of those 6 weeks has become nothing more than a faint memory, because this past Monday I decided to brave the Y, Kid Care and all and give it one more chance to prove it's usefulness on my credit card statement. I bundled up the babies, packed a diaper bag, got all the gear I would need (which was quite a bit) and went to join a water aerobics class. Just getting us all ready and out the door by 7:30am was a work out in and of itself, I mean the twins usually spend all day in their footie pajamas, what's the point in getting dressed really when you are staying in? Even a trip to Target doesn't warrant socks and shoes for them, we go pj's all the way around these parts!
Anyways, I get us all to the gym, struggling with my double side-by-side stroller (Anyone thinking about the Jeep double for tight fits, forget about it, it maneuvers like a nightmare!) until we finally arrived in the basement Kid Care room, where I agreed to pay a paltry $2 and hour for virtual strangers to look after the babies. Umm, yeah, this should have been a red flag, but I was on a roll, getting high off of freedom and adrenaline and water exercises. And they were only there for about an hour and a half. I mean this couldn't really be hurting them, right? Besides, all the other moms were doing it, and they seemed like responsible parents whose kids were all fine. Better than fine. Above average fine.....
The babies fussed a little during drop offs, but that was to be expected, right? I mean they would need an adjustment period, a little time to get used to their new surroundings, the new routine. Sure the room was a bit chaotic, but maybe that just made it more exciting and fun. Yeah, the staff wasn't overly friendly, but maybe they were just having a bad day (at 8:30 am, a half an hour into the work day) we're all allowed one once in a while.
Monday and Tuesday were heavenly. I got to work out and swim and then actually 'get ready' as in blow dry my hair and even curl my eye lashes! Things I certainly don't do during pajama days at home. I think there may have even been some mascara involved. I listened to music on Maija's iPod (thanks honey!) with the volume up as high as it would go and carved out some space that only I could occupy. I felt empowered and strong. When I picked the babies up they were playing and seemed content enough and we journeyed home for lunch and nap time. I was on a role by this part of the day, feeling invigorated from all those exercise endorphins, I was suddenly full of energy and could tackle the mountains of laundry and face off with the kitchen....bold and fearless. I even went out to dinner with some old girlfriends, something that is nearly unheard of for me, and was it ever delicious! Suddenly there was a semblance of balance reintroduced into my life as I began making time for just me.
Then today, we once again scrambled to get ready and out the door by 7:30am and once again after dropping the kids off at school, I slugged through rush hour traffic (who are all these people leaving downtown so early?!?) to get us out to the Y. Today was different though, Oscar began crying as soon as we got into the room, before I could even take his jacket off, and as if in duet Nuala began to whimper in dis-harmony with him. I engaged them with some toys, assured them as best I could that I would soon return and made a beeline for the locker room. I've worked with small kids before, I've been in a school setting, I know that the best way to handle the separation is to just leave. No dancing back and forth. No adding my own apprehensions to the mix, that's just confusing for children. So I left and on my way out of the locker room I stood outside the Kid Care room to listen for their cries, but it was quiet and I felt a bit of relief, glad that they had stopped crying so quickly. Or not. Within 20 minutes, just as I was really getting ready to amp up the speed on the tread mill, a staff member approached me and said that I would need to come downstairs.
"Oscar is inconsolable, and every time one of us approaches him he just screams louder".
And right then and there something snapped, bringing me back down from whatever euphoric freedom cloud I had hitch-hiked my way onto. My baby boy was INCONSOLABLE, and really who could blame him? Being left in a loud, overcrowded, chaotic room full of absolute strangers? Why did I ever think it would be ok to pay someone one measly dollar an hour to care for him? I'd even gone so far as to entertain the idea of buying the $20 monthly package which will get you unlimited care for the entire month! Imagine, I could take them there 10 hours a week all month long for TWENTY DOLLARS!!!! That's like a twenty five cents an hour for each baby. No wonder he was crying! If it seems too good to be true, then maybe it is! Sometimes you really do get what you pay for. Nuala had obviously been crying as well, her face was covered in tell tale splotches, and my heart just sank. Not because I was going to miss my Aqua Splash class, but because my babies were left feeling scared and alone.
I sat in the room with them for a while, played with them, watched what goes on there, and while it is not terrible, it is certainly no where close to the quality of care that my children deserve. "Just try again, they'll get used to it" said a well meaning staff member as we made our way to the door, but I'm just not sure. The place is clearly over crowded and understaffed, why should I make my kids get used to that? Even if they could, do I really want them to?
So once again we are house bound, but at least we are dressed for the day and I may even curl my eye lashes or paint my toe nails....FANCY that!
Oh and if anyone knows of a good nanny who can watch the babies a couple of hours a week so that I can go to the Y, could you send them my way? I'd even be willing to pay more than 25 cents an hour!