Friday, May 05, 2006

Nemo To The Rescue

I have been training to teach aqua aerobics at a nearby gym (I taught a whole class Thursday and get my own class next week!!). It's something that I am really finding I enjoy. My grandmother passed away two years ago and took aqua in her later years. I know it's funny, but I kind of feel closer to her when I'm teaching. The students are mostly elderly, and everyone is happy to be there. The gym provides childcare, and it's free for instructors. My problem is, Charles has never really cared much for being with a bunch of other kids without Mom. Okay, he hates it. He cries pitifully and the workers assure me it's fine, so I leave and go to the Bible study or whatever and he's crying so hard I can hear him down the hall. How does a mom just let that go on?

You can imagine my chagrine. So we tried childcare at the gym with much the same effect. Now that there are two, the problem compounds - Thomas will go to anyone anywhere, and be happy for hours UNLESS Charles starts crying. A couple of times I arrived after my workout to find both babies in hysterics, and other babies beginning to break down.

Charlie had amazing ideas that were immediately put into practice. One involving bribery - Charles now gets to stop at the pier on our way home from the gym and pick out a $.20 candy. Things were getting better, but not quite where I wanted them to be, until this week. Tuesday I had a brainstorm: his Nemo backpack. Tuesday morning, after I told Charles our plans and he started crying, I got out the Nemo backpack and walked around (with him trailing in tears behind me) choosing books and toys to show Rosy and Mary (the two workers). That morning he actually sat in Rosy's lap and tried to read to her (through his tears) while I left. He did markedly better.

Today we did the same thing, only Charles was an even better participant. He used his "sad" voice as he told me what he was putting in his backpack, but he wasn't crying. He sat in Rosy's lap again to show her his books, but he WASN'T crying!!!! I was so thrilled. Yay Nemo!

He carries that backpack to the bike trailer, loads it in back with the diaper bag, and puts it back on when we get to the gym. He doesn't ask me to carry it. Then he packs it back up when I come to get them (last time he might have had it all packed up and been sitting by the door when I got there, but progress is progress). And he is ALWAYS very excited about the candy.


Alisha said...

Sounds like the nemo idea worked great. Good thinking!! Very creative, hope it continue working for you.
love Alisha

be_a_Mary said...

I'm so glad you have that outlet! Zach has never gone to others well either, and my gym tactic has been: take a veggie tales video (the gym has a VCR), special toy, and tell him that if he makes good choices and uses his courage, he'll get a special treat from the treat bag when we get to the car.

Whatever works, right?! :)

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