CODE RED: Conflict in the gym childcare center

You never want to have conflict with the people who care for your children. That's, like, the second line in the pledge behind "won't kill it" when you take on parenting. Yet, conflict will arise. Like today.

There was a bit of a previous dust-up at my gym childcare center a few weeks ago when they changed everything around to add a big "fantastic" kids "academy" which basically amounts to more bodies being crowded in the small space. Thus, the limited infant reservations (required for children under one) became coveted spots. Whereas I used to just sail into the gym, whenever, now even when I call on the threshold of the 48-hours advance go-time to get a premium slot, I get voicemail followed by no. It's like calling into a radio station. Dial, dial, dial, dial, RiNG! Sorry, we already have a winner. 

I ended up missing two weeks at the gym because I couldn't get my baby, whom I pay a separate membership for, a spot in the baby room. I know. It's hard to feel sorry for a person who has money falling out of her pockets for baby gym memberships. Maybe next I'll buy a solid gold poodle who shits sapphires into a working toilet, but let's just finish this story, okay? I have fat people priorities. If I was skinny, I'd skip the gym and roll around naked in ice cream just to show off, but I'm not. Besides, I'm not even at the part where I acted like a real a-hole.

So today I go in to the gym a few minutes early to drop-off at my 4:00 p.m. childcare appointment (the earliest in the day they could possibly accommodate me -  SILENT EYEROLL) and the place is almost empty. There are two big kids peacefully building a block tower and zero babies. Great. They'll get me right in.


Something-something, starting now they are closing down the baby care center during half the day and those premium baby spots have now increased in exponential value to, like, the value of one chest of gold doubloons per minute. All the babies in the gym are going to claw each others binkies out to get into these spots, what with the reduced hours. Oh, hell no!

Here's what I said. I really said this. Wait. I have to take my glasses off so when you smack me, I don't cut my eyelids open. Are you ready? It hurts to admit this. Be kind in the comments. I said this to her: "I spend lots of money at this club. I go to the spa every four weeks for highlights. I have my kids' birthday parties here. I eat my meals here. I have a personal trainer. There is nothing at this gym that you sell that I do not buy, including three kids' gym memberships at the childcare center with the expectation that the child will be cared for. Where is your manager?!" GOD, I HATE ME.

You'll like this part. Then they gave me a freaking fake phone number to call "corporate". I'm not lying. Call this number. 1-888-430-6433. See? It's some crap to sell alert necklaces to old people. As this is happening, and may God strike me dead if it did not exactly play out this way, my baby let out a noise. It would be a word if she could talk, but it was like, "naaaa" and the childcare lady's eyes popped out and she said, "STOP SCREAMING". To my child! Which might have flipped the bitch switch to a level ten if I hadn't already been at eleven.

I walked out.

I stewed.

I carefully paced the gym cafe, where I did the only sensible thing fat people know how to do (eat milkshakes) and thought about it.

The way I get to the bottom of what is happening and what to do next, is I call my husband and tell him. It's not that he has any advice, it's that he has no time. I know if I want to get a story out, I have 30 seconds. What comes out of my mouth, I learn as it flows, are the important parts. It turns out I'm not as mad at the childcare workers as I am at the system. Who knew? By the end of the phone call I had a whole new perspective and the man hadn't said anything but ask if he could call me back.

In the words of Ice T, don't hate the player, hate the game. These childcare people are overworked. Underpaid. They have to listen to blaring Disney music for 9 hours straight, nay for a lunch break they probably take in their cars to escape the sweat/crotch/cologne smell wafting from the locker room next door. Are they getting highlights every four weeks? Are they having $7 milkshakes? Are they dropping their kids off and flouncing off to personal trainers and hot tubs? No. And here I come waltzing in like a jerk complaining about things they can't even control. (To my minor credit, the person I was bitching at was the "academy supervisor".)

After my fat shake and swimming three laps in the pool, I cut my time short. Coveted infant spot = damned. I went back to the childcare center and gave a big hug to the worker who had listened to me bitch and who had told my kid not to scream. Maybe one of my bigger ones had been screaming and I am just so used to it, I tuned it out. Maybe my senses aren't even reliable! MAYBE TODAY IS CHRISTMAS.

I grabbed that crazy childcare worker and I hugged her. I hugged her right up and I told her I wanted things to be right between us. She did too. Everyone is stressed. It's not our fault - it's them! Corporate! Whatever!

Then we talked the same old shoot-the-shit we've been talking about since I started leaving my kids there in 2012, like breastfeeding and baby name regret and how stress affects our eating.

In an unrelated conversation back at home, my contractor told me today over cabinets, that his wife is on chemo and he has Crohn's Disease. A few weeks ago, I saw my old neighbor's wedding dress at the top of her garbage heap the night before moving day. My husband just lost his mother. An unarmed kid named Mike Brown was killed by police in a town that is being ripped apart by the struggle for justice.

What's that saying? Be kind to everyone because they are all fighting a battle you know nothing about?

The hug felt good.

Choose kindness.

Kumbaya my friends. Life is too short to be mad at the wrong people.



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