We’ve tried a couple of gyms since Things 1+2 arrived. We’ve found that the child care provided was a mixed bag at best, even though it was far from free.

The Stow-Kent Fitworks was terrible almost all the time. They had one person that was actually great. She was the only one we could leave Thing1 with because the others would just sit and read magazines while the kids they were supposed to be watching fell into anarchy ruled by sugar-crazed, toy hoarding bullies. As if limiting ourselves to using the “Playland” only when the single decent employee was working wasn’t difficult enough, it was open just five hours a day during the week, two hours Saturday, and closed Sunday.

So that’s what we were coming from when we went to the Natatorium in Cuyahoga Falls. The “Nat” is a massive structure with fantastic facilities. Beyond its friendly staff, fancy equipment and ginormous pool, it has one killer feature that we haven’t seen anywhere else: an amazing child care center.

What follows is my letter to their child care center, the “Kids’ Castle”.

The Natatorium Health and Fitness Center
Attn: Kids’ Castle
2345 Fourth Street
Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Dear Kids’ Castle Staff,

My wife and I sporadically exercise at your gym and entrust our kiddos to you, Maya and Charlotte. After experiencing the poor state of child care in other facilities, I can confidently say that we’ve stumbled upon something incredible in the Kids’ Castle.

You wouldn’t believe how excited the kids get on the way to the gym, knowing they get to see you guys, watch movies, color pictures and play play play! You’re all truly amazing. Believe it or not, their joy in visiting you encourages me to be less of a lethargic bum and exercise more often if only so they can drop in.

You each go above and beyond the already difficult task of focusing your attention unfailingly on our children (the thing they crave the most). This is exemplified by how each of you cares for Charlotte. She’s always very excited to play until the moment we leave. Invariably one of you consoles her warmly until, within three minutes, she’s off playing, coloring, or preparing to steal another child’s artwork.

From my wife, my ordinarily shy children, and me, please accept our sincerest thanks for all you do.

With admiration,
Michael Haren