This isn’t what you might think it is. At least not in the way you might expect. Rather this is how I lost the love for a gym I once loved.
When the shiny new LA Fitness opened in the town over, back in I want to say 2008, I was excited. The LA Fitness gyms are usually nice looking, and well laid out. This one was spot on. It has all the machines and weights one could want. A pool and sauna. Lots of classes. Even a trainer I can stand.
But you know what killed my love of it? The Kids Room.
Those first years it was great. I enjoyed working out. Then the kids were born. And I noticed something. The daycare room, while bright and cheery, was about the filthiest place you could take kids. Seriously. They pick up head colds, Norovirus (omg…..so gross), pink eye and god knows what else. All it takes is ONE visit and boom, they are sick. And then they give it to me. Or Kirk. I have now been sick for nearly 2 weeks! I HATE summer infections. You know…when it is hot and you are sweating a fever, with a runny nose.
But the worst reason? The lack of safety in the daycare room.
When Walker was a baby, it was OK. But then when I started taking Alistaire, things changed. The first sign was when I picked him up after working out once, and he was all flushed/pink. Little did I know that this was his first allergic reaction. Only later, after he had his first trip to the ER for peanuts did I realize how lucky we were that day! After Alistaire was tested for all his allergies, I became that hovering helicopter Mother. Allergy-Moms freak out so much. We cannot help it. Most people just do not get it. He is everything to me.
The daycare is supposed to be food free. It isn’t. It has a high turnover of staff. A few understand it, as they have friends/family with allergies. But the worst are the employees that think I am a nutter. You can see it in their eyes. The inward rolling of the eyes. The fear I feel every time I let them go in that room.
But the final straw for me? A few weeks back I came to get the boys after working out. The lady working says “Oh he has an allergy to peanuts, right?”. And then goes on to tell me that there had been a kid eating PB crackers NEXT to Alistaire. She asked me “how allergic is he”. And how they had watched him, after moving the other kid away.
But no one came and got me. They waited. WTF. I was livid, it took everything in me to not become demon mom and rip heads off.
I knew on that day I would never trust them to do the right thing. I do get that to those without allergies, my reaction was extreme. But it isn’t to allergy parents. Alistaire cannot tell you that he doesn’t feel good! An exposure can go from nothing to “where is the Epi-Pen” in minutes.
Why was a peanut item EVEN allowed in there? Why was the kid allowed to be eating in there, or at minimum, why was he eating in the main play area? When I asked why they didn’t come get me, the lady looked at me like I was “one of those moms”. It isn’t just eating the item, it is then transferred to everything the child touches after! And remember how I said that room never seems to get cleaned? Toys, contaminated, by everything a nut/peanut eating kid touches. It doesn’t go away. Unless you wipe it down or clean it.
It is our duty to remove our allergy child from harm, and if I have to, we pack up and leave. A few months back we were at a playground, I turn around and a kid has a sandwich hanging out of his mouth. I look at his older sibling and asked “is that peanut butter?”. The kid was right next to Alistaire. Older sister said yes, it is. I asked her, can you please ask your brother to back away. She did. And then I rounded up the boys and we left. (Let’s not dwell on why a kid needs a PB sandwich at 10 am, on a playground….)
But for me…I have lost the last bit of confidence in taking them with me to the gym. I don’t enjoy working out there anymore. All I do is worry that something will happen. And I hate that. I don’t expect change from LA Fitness, but I can tell you that I have decided to cancel my membership this month. Not sure what I will do after. But I do not like the fear I feel. It isn’t healthy for me.