Friday, June 30, 2006

Kid Kamp Khaos - Supersized

I took the babies to the gym today even though my intuition told me not to. Of course if I always listened to my intuition, I'd never step foot outside.

Carolyn has been out of sorts the past few days because I think her molars are giving her trouble. She's been hypersensitive (if you couldn't tell from our post yesterday) - hardly eating - and has been running a low grade fever. Since the other two are fine, I'm blaming it on her teeth. Sometimes it can be so difficult to figure out why they are fussy.

In my book, when all else fails, it's teething.

Even though the little voice in my head said "stay home" I really, really, really, really, really, really wanted to get out of the house. But more than that, I wanted to go to the gym and get in a really good work out. It's bathing suit season and I have a ways to go before I feel comfortable strutting around with out wearing a huge sarong draped around my lower half. Also, I recently noticed I was almost as buoyant in our pool as the hippo at the Zoo.

So, I went to the gym. Intuition be damned.

Getting to the gym is a lot easier now than it was the first time I went. Although it's a major cardio workout just getting me and the babies fed, dressed, with our appropriate bags packed and out of the house ... before noon.

Today, I arrived at the gym at 9:10. I unloaded the babies from their stroller. William and Elizabeth take off running, exploring, having fun. Not surprisingly, Carolyn in her sensitive state, is holding on to the stroller. I pick her up and take her to play in the little kitchen. After about 10 minutes of getting her acclimated to the environment and talking with the five counselors at Kid Kamp (watching over 10 kids), I sense that I am in a good position to make my departure without anyone noticing that I've left being overly upset.

While all three are looking the other way - I run for the door. I don't stop running until I get upstairs in the gym and settled on a stationary bicycle. I put on my headset, blast my Disco tunes, and start pedaling. No more than five minutes pass and I think I hear them calling my name over the PA system.

My initial confusion at hearing my name in this huge gym - is instantly replaced with dread. A host of horrible things that have just happened to one, or all three of my babies, go racing through my mind.

I run down the stairs and in to Kid Kamp. Carolyn is standing in the middle of the room screaming. Tears streaming down her face. There is a counselor standing two feet away who gives me a look and says "She's upset."

Yeah. Do you think?

After scooping her up, giving her blankie, and calming her down ... I ask the counselor what happened. "Well, she realized that you weren't here, and she started to cry."

Sure, I understand that. I use to babysit ... I remember how little kids would get upset when their parents left. But, I also would try and engage the child ... you know ... get their mind off of it. If all else failed, I would pick them up and hold them. I wasn't judging the counselors at Kid Kamp. I was just thinking I would have handled the situation a little differently. That's all.

A few minutes pass and Carolyn wants to get down. She smiles at me and runs off to play near the little kitchen area. I spot William and Elizabeth having a grand time and I stand there for a moment debating if I should just leave. My intuition is saying pack up and go home. But ... gosh, I'd like to do something that at least resembles a workout.

I run out of Kid Kamp, up the stairs and settle for a treadmill because all of the stationary bicycles have now been taken by other riders. I put my headset back on ... crank up my Disco tunes ... and start walking. Five minutes later, I hear my name on the PA system.

My mind starts racing again.

I hop off the treadmill, run down the stairs and in to Kid Kamp where I see the counselor, holding a crying William. "He got pushed by a little boy and he bit his tongue." I can see in his mouth, and barely visible is a spot of blood. I take him from the counselor, give him a sip of my water ... and seconds later, he struggles to get down.

Once again I think back to my days of babysitting, where a child might hurt themself. Did I instantly pick up the phone and tell the parents that they needed to come home, or did I make an assessment on the severity of the situation - the child's demeanor - and go with my gut? I wasn't judging the counselors at Kid Kamp. I was just thinking I would have handled this situation a little differently, too. That's all.

Carolyn is engaged doing something. Elizabeth is engaged doing something. William takes off running away from me. I stand there for another moment debating if I dare leave again. My intuition is saying pack up and go home. But ... gosh, it would be nice if I could at least break in to a little bit of a sweat, first. I tell the counselor at the front that I will be back in no more than 20 minutes.

For the third time, I run out of the door and up the stairs. All of the bikes, treadmills and ellipse machines have been taken. I run back down stairs and decide I'll lift weights, instead. I know time is of the essence, so I quickly jump on the hamstring machine. Instantly, I realize that my legs won't reach. I get up, move the chair back to a different position and sit down. Now, it's too close. I stand and try again. I sit back down and feel comfortable. I set the weight amount to lift ... and press 1, 2, 3, 4 .... and then I hear my name on the PA system.

No, I'm not making this up.

I walk back in to Kid Kamp to see what's going on. They smile when they see me and say "We have a poopy diaper."

Big sigh.

Grabbing the diaper bag and supplies, I go back in to one of the changing rooms to inspect the poop, which is so negligible, it doesn't even require a fresh diaper. I pluck out the poop pellet, do a quick wipe, and all is well. (It always drives Charlie nuts when I do this - but really. The diaper is clean, minus this little poopette that is easily removable. What's the big deal?)

It's the policy at Kid Kamp not to change diapers, which is fine by me. At home, I try to change dirty diapers as quickly as I can. But, I don't drop EVERYTHING that I am doing to change a dirty diaper, unless it is a complete blow-out. If it happens while I'm cooking dinner, I'll finish cutting my vegetables - or whatever, give the pooper an opportunity to finish their business, and then change the diaper. If I'm out for a walk or driving, I don't pull the stroller or car, to the side of the road, unload the baby and change them on the spot. I wait until I get home. Sometimes 15 or 20 minutes might lapse. Maybe 30. But, there's never any harm done.

Maybe it's because I change a lot of diapers in my current job as a triplet mother. Maybe it's because I'm somewhat immune to the potency of a poopy diaper. Perhaps my telling the counselor that I'd be back in 20 minutes wasn't good enough. Whatever the case, I wasn't judging the counselors at Kid Kamp. I was just thinking I would have handled yet THIS situation a little differently, too.

After being called back in to Kid Kamp for the third time in about 30 minutes, I decided that maybe I should just call it a day. I packed the kids up in their stroller and left. On my way back to the car, I contemplated what had just happened and then I did exactly what I said I wasn't going to do ... I judged the counselors at Kid Kamp.

I judged them really, really hard.

And I've continued to judge them the rest of today ... as I've been stewing over the sweat and elevated heart rate that never came to be.

I realize that these counselors are probably under strict orders by the gym. I'm sure that the gym sets limits on what they can and cannot do, and their job descriptions are well defined. But relying on my own experiences as a paid child care provider, I know that sometimes you have to step in and take care of business. I guess times have changed since I was a babysitter. Now a days, there must be standards for babysitting in a public forum - and these standards have to be very black and white.

But that begs the question ... do we honestly live in a world where if a babysitter picks up and holds a child because they are crying, that would be considered wrong? Or, is it considered such a tremendous liability that if a child gets knocked down, the parents must be immediatley notified?? Are they afraid I'd sue them if our child was in a poopy diaper for more than 15 minutes???

Did these counselors actually think they were doing the right thing by calling me down to Kid Kamp every 5-minutes? Am I that hard pressed for some "me" time that I am completely blind to how good these babysitters actually are?? Maybe my expectations are too high. Or, maybe I just really would have liked to have worked out for 15 minutes, consecutively.

Maybe I need to un-enroll our kids and use the $30.00 a month that we're spending on Kid Kamp, for a babysitter to come to our home when I go to the gym. But ... then again, I really like the idea of taking the kids to a different environment and letting them play outside of the house now and again. I think it's good for them.

When I called to whine and complain tell Charlie about my experience at the gym ... he thought he'd make the situation better by coming home at lunch and surprising me with a Cheeseburger, French Fries & Frosty from Wendy's.

He is a good guy. But really. It's no wonder I can't wear a bathing suit without a sarong.


  1. Oh, what a drag! This is why I haven't really exercised regularly since I was pregnant with my first. The logistics are so difficult!

    And "poopette"? I love it!

  2. Very Funny. I don't have triplets but I have been through that at the gym w/my kids. (Brings back memories) It does get better. However, thanks for reminding me of why we bought a treadmill.

    Although, out of frustration I would have stopped at the store on the way home and bought a bag of Reese's PB Cups. Eaten them ALL on the way home and then eaten again when Charlie came home!!
    Very cute story.

  3. I think by the third call I would have looked around and said out loud "Who is this Jen person they keep calling and why doesn't she go?"

    Change your name and plead the fifth next time.

    VERY cute story!!!

  4. Ah yes, I remember the occasional poo nuggets. Truly not an emergency.

    I agree, these sitters were not trying very hard. Maybe the situation, with moms so close and handy, makes it seem easy to just call the moms for everything. And maybe some (anxious? or not motivated to work out?) moms have thanked them for calling them for even trivial matters.

    But I too would expect that if I'm paying somebody to take care of my kids, that they might do some hands-on care giving. Maybe give them one more chance, and clearly state that you hope they will only call you if it's important. It would be so nice if the workout and daycare combination could work for you!

    - SheilaC, mom to 6 y.o. triplets

  5. Jenna-
    You don't have to judge the babysitters anymore if you TURN UP THE VOLUME ON YOUR WALKMAN (or is it IPod these days)! LOL...

  6. Poopette? LOL. We just call them pebbles at our house. You are much more creative.

    At least on my first attempt at taking my kids to the gym the sitter did hold one of my two year olds through twenty full minutes of wailing before calling me. I'm glad she tried make him comfortable, but I'm also glad she knew when enough was enough for the poor kid.

  7. Oh you are too funny Jen! I am sorry your trip to the gym wasn't what you expected but to me, it still sounds like you got yourself a work-out! Between going up and down the steps every 5 minutes and the work you had to do to be able to lift weights, it sounds like a lot more work than some people do in a day's time!

    I understand you like to get the kids out and into a different environment, but maybe since the babysitting service is so strict, you should take yourself up on that idea of getting a babysitter so that you can actually go to work-out and actually work-out!

    And what a great guy you have! BTW... from what I could see of your "figure" in some of your most recent posts, I would take yours over mine in a heartbeat!


  8. BTW, I saw just how bad that looks that I put figure in quotes! You have a figure but in the pics I'm talking about, you can't see it all that much! Sorry I didn't want my post to be offensive!

  9. That is hilarious! (Of course, it didn't happen to me. If it did, I might not think it was so funny.) Thanks for checking out my site--and if you have any great ideas for getting out of the house with three children and NOT losing my mind at the same time, I'd love to hear them:)

  10. Jen- Sarah from In the Midst of It sent me an e-mail with the link to your blog as I have 25 month old GBB triplets. I have come to rely on the babysitter at home technique (except when we go to the church nursery). But next week I am enrolling them in a Day Camp for the I now am making a mental note to make sure my cell phone is charged and I don't run errands too far away from the camp!

  11. Oh my! You are way more patient than I would have been. At least you tried.

    We tried that one time at church. When we dropped the kids off at the nursery, the lady said "we NEVER have to beep anyone during the service." Guess what happened about 30 minutes into the service? Yep, you guessed it. We've used that as an excuse for the past year and I think it's time we tried again. You've given me the extra push I needed.

    Keep those funny stories coming. The poopette comment is CLASSIC.

  12. So I just left a nice encouraging comment to have it eradicated by blogger! GRRRR.

    Okay so here it is short style...

    Amazing for making it to the gym by 9:10 am!!!

    Running all the stairs, plus getting kids ready, plus weights= complete workout. :)

    Poopette...I will be laughing about this all day.

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