October 28, 2008 7:00 am
Being the parent of an active toddler has many challenges. Making it through the day without my head exploding is one, and killing the time between events is another. I plan my day in shifts, morning until nap, nap until dinner, bath until bed. It’s the only way I can make it through and keep my sanity. Seriously. I know that sounds bad but any of you who have a kid who doesn’t stop, like ever, know my pain. I love my kid with all my heart and wouldn’t trade him for the world but the kid does not have an off button. If I turn around for one second, Graham’s on the table, in the silverware drawer (which I forgot to lock) or taking a toy from his sister while giving her a palm to the forehead. There are a myriad of other things that my adorable son likes to do during the day because he’s cooped up, we’re cooped up, and he is looking to burn energy and get all of the attention (according to him, there should be none for Elliot).
One of the time killers I’ve come to love is our frequent trips to Gymboree. We go after Graham wakes up from his nap on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Friday we go to the morning music class and sometimes we go to play on Saturday mornings too. This eats up a big chunk of the week and I get to see other adults in person during the day. Great, right? Well, last Thursday we were on our way to Gymboree when my cell phone rang. It was another mother from there who I’ve become friends with recently (no, she doesn’t know about the blog). She asked me if I was headed to Gymboree and I informed her that I was. She said to turn the car around. Why? “Casey, this is going to sound like I’m punking you but Gymboree went bankrupt this morning. They came and seized the building and changed the locks. There is no more Gymboree.” WHAT THE FUCK. I asked her several times if this was a joke and if so, it was so not funny. It’s not a joke. Whoever owned the six franchise stores in our area went belly up and they all closed.
I turned the car around and headed home. I spewed a few profanities in front of my poor toddler, a practice I try really hard not to do. I didn’t know what to do with myself and I was actually nearing tears. OVER GYMBOREE. How pathetic is that? You have to understand that besides our house, this is the one safe environment that is ENCLOSED and I can bring my kid to. He can’t get out and although I stay within ten feet of him at all times, he can run free and not get hurt. Taking Graham to a park is great for about thirty seconds and then we spend the rest of the time chasing him down. He runs as fast as he can in the opposite direction of where he’s supposed to be at all times. The only way I can keep him contained in public is the stroller and he’s growing tired of being confined. Gymboree was it. And now I have nothing. Except to be cooped up in the house for the rest of my life.
This Gymboree situation ruined the rest of my weekend. On Friday, we were supposed to go to the Gymboree Halloween party. Bankruptcy interfered with that plan. On Saturday, we were invited to a birthday party. I made the frantic call to that mother and found out that nobody had told her the party was off. She was freaking out, and justifiably so because she had paid in advance for the party and twelve kids plus a ton of other folks were planning on being there. No more. The best part is that a few weeks ago, I renewed our membership for AN ENTIRE YEAR. I also paid for Graham’s birthday party in December. I now have to call the credit card company and dispute the charges which weren’t cheap. The truth is although I care about the money, I care more about the fact that I feel homeless now. Like there’s no safe place that I can go anymore and I lost a lot of the friends I’ve made there. We’ll never spend our afternoons together again and I was always too chicken to bridge the gap and ask people’s phone numbers. Thankfully I do have two friends from Gymboree and they are the result of them asking me to hang out.
On Friday morning, I woke up and started the daily routine. Right about the time I would have usually gotten Graham ready to go to music class it hit me. There is no more music class and there never will be again. I scrambled to find another activity and realized that this is the way things are going to be from now on. No more Gymboree, the cozy location a half a mile from home. When they seized that building on Thursday, it really was the day the music died.
HASAY Update: Since there is no more Gymboree, our afternoon was freed up today. I took the kids on an hour long power walk and jammed to some Fleetwood Mac on the way. Fiona Apple was also in the mix but I had to skip past it since her depressing music makes me want to fling myself off of the nearest bridge. At least I exercised!