Ever want to go to the gym but have one or more children protest? "I don't WANT to go to the gym!" My daughter said from her carseat as we were en route. I sort of sprang it on them because I was sure this was the reaction I would get. I knew she wanted to get back home and play with her dolls, which I had pried her away from earlier that morning to go to vacation bible school. I had promised the twins before we left the house they could get back to their dolls when we got home. And then, under my breath, said "After we go to the gym." No one heard.
It's not that they don't like playing in the gym's childcare center--they do. But this one particular daughter generally likes to be doing whatever she is engaged in at that particular moment and the prospect of doing something else never sounds all that enticing; that is, until she's doing it and then doesn't want to go on to do something else. It's a transition thing, I think I've figured out. To avoid a tantrum, I try really hard to embellish whatever it is we are moving on to do.
So I offered lunch at the cafe, first. "Ohhhhh, how about mac n' cheese? You love mac n' cheese! We can have a special lunch at the gym." She sat grim faced as her sisters shouted, "Yeah, mac n cheese! Mac n cheese!"
"I only like going to the gym if H is going!" H is her best buddy. H is better than mac n cheese. H, is Pam's daughter. Workout Partner Pam would be there at the barbell strength class, but H, I knew had other obligations.
We were approaching the turn off to go home. I almost threw in the towel. The girls had a busy day yesterday and a busy morning. I knew she needed some down time. But I needed to pump iron. It would easily be 10 days before I could get back to this class if I missed today. I pressed the gas and plowed ahead toward the gym.
I needed a better enticement to avoid the ensuing tantrum.
"How about when we get home, after the gym... a BIG bowl of chocolate ice cream!"
Through the rearview mirror I saw the corners of her mouth twitch.
"With sprinkles!" I said.
"Yeah! Sprinkles! Sprinkles" All the girls shouted from the back.
I sighed feeling a little better about my decision.
"And chocolate syrup!" Shouted the dissident.
"Yes, of course! Chocolate syrup, too!"
The hypocrisy of this exchange was not lost on me. Fit mom, trying to be good role model for children, bribes children with chocolate ice cream (and syrup and sprinkles) in exchange for a trip to the gym.
All I can do is shrug my (buff) shoulders.
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