Recently I’ve returned to the gym, not to lose weight, but just to be healthy and have more energy. What I’m finding is that my daily life with four kids is a workout in itself, and so I am ending up quite tired at the end of the day. Yesterday was one of those days!
For anyone following my updates on Facebook lately, Josie and Abby’s feelings about being left in the YMCA’s “Children’s Corner” has been a source of frustration and concern. I’ve been back at the YMCA for about a week, and before yesterday I’d been called out of my workout, on the facility-wide PA system no less, to come and retrieve one of my crying babies every time. So yesterday I donned my new workout clothes, packed everyone in the van, and headed off to the “Y” prepared to, once again, have only half a workout. I was going to try to go to Yoga 101 again, but thought it would be nice for the other Yoga-ers if their restful session wasn’t interrupted by the PA cutting out the “sounds of nature” CD to announce, “Attention YMCA members, will Emily Lorelli please come to the Children’s Corner? Thank you,” as happened on Monday. Instead I figured I would hop on the treadmill, do some weight machines, and maybe … oh just maybe … get some time on the elliptical trainer.
I dared to hope that things would be better that day when Josie didn’t exclaim, “No, Mama, no!” when we pulled into the parking lot. Making sure Josie had her Stella doll (I thought it may make her feel better to have a favorite, familiar with her in an unfamiliar, less-than-favorite place), hiking Abby on my hip, grabbing my water, and entreating Lizzie and Jacob not to run through the parking lot, we managed to check in without incident. Liz and Jacob ran off to join the “Y Games” with a, “We can sign ourselves in Mom. Bye!” So nice! And I signed Abby and Josie into the Children’s Corner. Josie fought with a few tears when she found herself on the other side of the partition from me, but quickly refocused on the bubbles being blown on the far side of the room. I made my retreat.
I had made it through 20 minutes on the treadmill and half of the weight machines before the PA request came. (I wonder what people who have been there over the last week or so think about this Emily person who keeps getting paged to come to the Children’s Corner.) Wondering which babe’s cries would welcome me this time, I made my way back, reflecting that I’d at least got part of a workout. But when I arrived, there were no crying babies, just a poopy diaper. I think that’s the happiest I’ve been to change a poopy diaper in a while. I cleaned Josie up and asked her if she wanted to play a little longer, to which she replied, “Otay, Mama.” Yes! Back to my workout.
Weight machines, elliptical trainer, and a good sweat later, I returned to claim my wonderfully behaved, generous, and happy-to-see-Mama-nontheless babies. As a treat for letting me have such a great workout, I promised a trip to the neighborhood pool after lunch.
We got home, I fed Abby, grilled up a batch of quesadillas for the kids (leftovers for me), gathered up towels and suits and swim-diapers and sunscreen and goggles and drove the three blocks to the pool. (Why I drove three blocks will be explained in a minute.) I got everyone changed and screened and it was at this point that I wished I hadn’t done so many reps on the arm machines. Our pool’s shallow-end is quite shallow – only 2 ½ feet – and quite large. However, when Josie stands on tip-toe the water comes up to her chin, which in a pool full of playing kids means the water is in her mouth. So going to the pool with all the kids by myself means carrying Josie and Abby around – another full arm workout – and because the water is so shallow, squat-walking around with them – another full leg workout. Luckily, after about 20 minutes, I convinced Josie to move over to the wading pool, which is maybe 8 inches deep.
After being there for about an hour (during which Lizzie passed her swim test allowing her access to the deeps), I gave the 5 minute warning and started to get Abby and Josie changed. Normally I would leave them in their suits and change them at home – much easier – but today we were going straight to the CSA farm to pick up our weekly vegetable share. So I changed Abby, who was very ready for her nap and letting it be known, then started to change Josie. I had gotten her suit off and began to pull down her swim diaper (which is not disposable, but a cloth under-diaper) only to find that she had pooed! YUCK! Now disposable swim diapers you can rip off at the sides and remove like a normal diaper. This diaper you have to take off like underwear, which means pulling it down her legs. I won’t try to describe for you how truly gross this is. It is sufficient enough to say that a full 20 minutes later Josie and I emerged from the locker room showered and dressed. Meanwhile Lizzie, who I grabbed to hold Abby while I dealt with the poop, had managed to put Abby to sleep and was sweetly rocking her on a lounge chair, patiently waiting for our return. I relieved her so that she could get dressed, finished packing us up, and headed up to the car.
I had promised everyone a cold treat after swimming, so while Lizzie and Jacob got buckled in I ran back to the pool-house to get strawberry popsicles for the two big kids and a cookie for Josie – I was not going to deal with another sticky mess of hers! And we were off to the farm. At this point, after 20 minutes on the treadmill, 25 minutes on the elliptical, 20 minutes of squat walking, and the general up and down of the day, my legs were pretty much done.
Abby slept in the car to farm and stayed asleep in her seat while I collected our weekly share and the kids played – thank goodness again for the “play room” at The Root Connection! Unfortunately, she woke up just as we were headed out to the Children’s Garden and the greenhouses, and so I picked her up and grabbed a pair of scissors. The only produce ready to pick in the Children’s Garden was the lettuce, so Lizzie, Jacob, and Josie each picked a head to harvest. Lizzie managed a clean break at the stem, but Jacob and Josie mostly just pulled all the leaves off of theirs. No matter – we still had the lettuce, though it was harder to carry back. I sent Jacob and Lizzie back to the pick-up house with their lettuce and took Josie and Abby to the basil greenhouse to gather a few stems. Holding a baby while harvesting basil is not an easy task, and I really wished I had brought my baby sling! This is when my arms started to shake and I envisioned a crampy evening.
At this point, it was almost 4 o’clock so I didn’t have the luxury of putting Josie down for a nap when we got home. I charged the big kids with watering the plants while I fed the baby and gave Josie a proper bath. The rest of the day was routine enough – making dinner, feeding Abby, eating dinner, reading stories, putting babies to sleep – though I didn’t get to bed until 1am.
And today … I feel like I did a triathlon yesterday! (Not that I’ve ever done one; I just imagine that this is what it would feel like.) I woke up at 9:20am! My legs are sore, my neck is tight, my arms are twitchy. It feels kinda good even with the pain, like a good workout does. But I’m wondering if I even need to be going to the gym with the workout I get in my normal day to day. Perhaps I do need to be going to Yoga instead – breathe, center, relax, stretch … breathe!