The Kid just turned a year old and pretty much all of his waking hours to date have either been spent with dad or mom or maybe one of the grandparents, so it was with a little trepidation that I took him the children’s play room at my gym. I use the phrase “my gym” loosely because I have hardly had the time to go there over the past year. This is of course painfully obviously to anyone who has watched my waistline grow. So, yes, I was nervous, but dad needed a good workout. A little more sleep probably wouldn’t hurt either.

During weekdays at the play center the children are all about The Kid’s age and there are two staff members there all of the time. To top it off, the club even gives you a beeper so the staff can alert you if your child is inconsolable or needs a diaper change. Nevertheless, I went there with pretty low expectations, thinking I would probably have to sit there with The Kid for quite a while to get him used to the place. In the past when I would take him to a class or maybe a birthday party there was always a certain fear factor and an adjustment period.

But nothing could have been further from the truth on this day. As soon as I pushed him into the children’s center he was fighting to get out of his stroller and join the four other kids that were already playing. Once I had him unstrapped and set him loose on the floor he was off and crawling. He didn’t even look back at his dear old dad. I imagine something similar will happen when I drop him off for his first year of college.

Could this last? I wasn’t sure, but I went off to my class that I had been wanting to take for quite a while. It was hardly carefree. I was constantly looking down at my pager which never went off. After a half an hour I had all I could take and decided to slip out and see how The Kid was doing. I peaked in through the glass and he was happily playing with another boy about his age. I caught the eye of one of the staff and she gave me a big thumbs up. I took that to mean there had been no meltdowns.

I went back to the class but decided to cut out ten minutes later. I was physically and mentally exhausted. I could finish the class another day. Better to get The Kid out before things start to go wrong. We had been separated for 40 minutes and that was enough.

I had been all worried about him, but really it was me who was unprepared for strangers taking care of The Kid. I’ll do better next time. Everyone is growing up so quickly.


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