The other day I sucked it up and went to the gym to exercise. But it wasn't the actual exercise part that required me sucking it up. It was getting out of our rut. Aka, the house.
I got Carter geared with snacks, juice, spare diapers, a clean face and tied shoes and we got out of the house - just me and him - to do something that wasn't focused on child-based entertainment for once. We usually hit up a place for him to play every so often, but even the play places start getting mundane for me.
My plan was to drop him at the gym's nursery to give us a few minutes of breathing room away from each other. I couldn't believe I was leaving him wrapped in the arms of a stranger (who knew nothing about him but his name and age) and having to put on a this is easy-peasy face as I kissed him byebye. He just stared at me blankly, as if his inner dialogue were saying in the most intellectual tone, So, Mom, it's come to this? He didn't cry, and that was all I had to go on.
I turned the corner and walked blindly around the gym, feeling instantly light without my toddler. I knew I had to rush to squeeze in some kind of exercise so I could get back to my little ball and chain. Nothing new, really. I rush to use the bathroom for him, rush to make food for him, rush to give him the things he points at, rush to distract him when he wants something he can't have. Everything is urgent, or else Carter freaks out.
I chose an empty treadmill in the corner where nobody could stare at me and pecked at the buttons. I started walking, then I amped up into a run. It didn't matter that I'd forgotten my water, my headphones and that I probably should have worn shorts instead of pants, because my brain started shifting into me mode.
I started remembering how good it felt to be alone, drowned in all these endorphins. My mind greeted the vast silence and spread itself out into listlessness. My eyes wandered, and noticed a tan girl in a tank top and shorts running in front of me. I want to be tan. I used to be tan. Hmph, I should get tan again. Why not have goals? Why not keep coming to the gym so I can be proud of myself? Why not keep going on this treadmill until I hit 2 miles? I started staring at the beeping treadmill and let go of the million worries I had revolving around Carter.
So what if he snacks all day and has never once eaten an actual meal?
So what if his bedtime is a
little lot later than it should be?
So what if he leaves trails of crumbs all over the house?
So what if he doesn't care enough to remember that the piggie says oink oink?
I hit two miles and went to lift some weights.
So what if I'm forced to keep handing him cookies because I can't stand how cute he looks when he asks for one?
So what if my measuring cups take a swim in the toilet?
So what if he pulls containers out of the trash so he can play with their lids?
So what if he has a fit sitting in a shopping cart for more than 10 minutes?
So what if he tells me No! half the times I ask for kisses?
Daily life can't be as difficult as I make it out to be. The world won't end if I leave my baby in someone else's care. The messy house probably isn't bothering anyone else but me. Just because I'm ruled by the little King of Toddlerdom doesn't mean I can't fit in my own goals and activities anymore. I've spent the past year tied to an infant, but I totally forgot that I should be evolving with him. He walks now, so I should too. It's not that I want to change how I care for him, but I'm ready to zoom the camera out a little so I can be in the picture, too.
Thirty minutes later I went back to claim my Carter. I wish I had a hewashavingsomuchfun victory visual for you. He was laying, motionless on the stranger-girl's lap watching the older kids play and looking exhausted. I waved furiously and grinned at him, and he gave me a tired half-smile.
After that, we went to the store. I plunked a bag of oranges in the cart for him and then trucked over to the cosmetics aisle to stock up on self tanners.
Edit: Matt just read this post, and his first comment was, The measuring cups were in the toilet?! :)