The “D” Word

You might have guessed that we would come to this point…the point where we’re looking at other Daycare options. Now that winter weather is upon us (first chance of snow this weekend, we’ll see!), since the grandmas’ commutes are so long, and since Curly has become very mobile, thus reducing how productive Nutella or I can be when “working” from home, we need to find a more full-time, close-by situation. We also find it important now that he’s a bit older that he have interaction with other babies and children, and a routine schedule throughout the week.

We began interviewing home daycares this week. Since we were not sold by any of them, the search continues. Here’s a summary for the first 3:

#1 – Nice, chatty 50-something woman and a 20-something assistant watching up to 7 kids, most of which were there. Almost all of the people in the house were related in some way. In my un-PC manner, I’m going to say it was white trash city. The older woman was grandmother to the 18 month old (whose 20-something father was in and out of the house), and mother to a 6 year old girl. The 6 year old boy belonged to the assistant. In the living room were 21 and 27 year old sons of the older woman, just lounging on the couch. The contractor father of the brood showed up caked in mud and reciting the mental list of groceries he was leaving to pick up. Also present was a 7 month girl whose mom picked her up while we were there, a one year old boy waiting to get picked up, and a 14 year old girl who sadly was dealing with fetal alcohol syndrome and thus, had the mental capacity of a 3 year old. The tv was on the entire time and the house was dirty. But the best part? She asked us “Who is the mother?” and I replied “We both are, we’re a lesbian couple.” She was taken aback and said “OH! We don’t say THAT word. You’re a ‘female’ couple…we have a couple of those on our block.” She went on to say, “I take it neither of you is married.” I said, “We’re married to each other.” She said, “Well, I would still give you the single mom discount, waiving the $40 application fee and daily meal fee.” OY!

#2 – Another nice, chatty 50-something woman with a clean, organized house. She never watches more than 4 children, 2 of them are her 3 month and 2 year old grandchildren. I told her we were a two-mom family and she didn’t bat an eye. She had some great answers for our questions and we got a good feeling from her, except that she doesn’t typically allow “drop-ins.” I read online that if a care provider doesn’t allow drop-ins, it’s a red flag. I asked her why not, and she said it’s not usually good for the child. I said that if it would leave Curly in tears, then we wouldn’t do it anymore, but I don’t think she was sold on the idea. (It’s not like we want to drop in often either, I was just checking her answer to that question) Also, her house was not at all childproof. She had ceramic figurines displayed very low, just waiting to be knocked over. When I mentioned it, she said they’ve survived all the children she’s watched. She teaches them not to touch. It just left me wondering…

#3 – A 30-something single mom who later told us she’s not the one who typically watches the children…the other staff person who was not present does. They’re licensed for 7 children and only one person typically watches them? Three children were there- a one-year old was just getting picked up, a 19 month old was finishing his first day, and the woman’s 7 year old daughter was standing by. The play areas were great…fully loaded with toys, games and other activities. The tv wasn’t on and she said they only watch children’s educational programs here and there. The catch (if we were truly interested)? They won’t have an opening until the Spring.

So, 3 strikes so far. Next up, we ‘re hoping to call more home daycares and schedule interviews with nannies, with the possibility of starting a nanny share with a friend of a neighbor who is losing her provider come January.

16 responses to “The “D” Word

  1. Yikes. Good luck with your search!

    Ours has an open door policy, which has turned into me nursing Riley at 11am everyday at the center while sitting in the infant room and watching everything they do. I occasionally see things I don’t like, but overall, we are pretty happy. The good outweighs the bad. The biggest thing for us is that the teachers LOOOVE Riley. They smother her with love and affection all day. We love that.

  2. good luck in your search. it is so hard, as nothing will be perfect on all aspects. #1 is a NIGHTMARE! omg! #2, eh, yeah red flag, but i bet it’s fine. i am surprised, though, that she would actually say she discourages drop-ins, although i do get where she is coming from. #3 seems ok, though. do you know the laws there about how many kids can be cared for by one provider? it might be that they have two providers, but only one needs to be there at a time legally. (our provider is the only one who cares for the kids and she cares for her two, my two, and three others. only one child is under 2 who is there currently. and then there are maybe 3 2 year olds, and then some 3, 4, and 5 year olds. in VT, one person can only legally care for 2 under 2, plus then a number of kids over 2.) but, not being able to go to that center until spring poses a hardship for you guys, anyway, so it is not a good fit for now. you will find something that works for you guys!!

  3. Wow, your experience with the #1provider is shocking. I am always sooo suprised when I hear about this crazy interactions.

  4. Oh my…are you only looking at home daycare or also centers? You may find more certified and educational planning at a center: at least that is the case where we live. Good luck, it will all work out!

  5. Yowza. I hope your next visits go better. I LOVE E’s center and that has made all the difference in me feeling good about returning to work. Don’t give up. You will know the place when you find it.

  6. I have a couple other mom friends w/kids in day care in our area – I’m going to check w/them too. Good luck!

  7. I do not envy you that search. The first place sounds so scary. Hello preditor central. I think the most important thing for you will be to follow your instincts and and keep looking until you find the right place. I hope you don’t have to look much longer.

    We have a center we really want to use if we get pregnant and the waiting list is about a year. The minute we are pregnant, we will have to get on the waiting list. Crazy. We haven’t yet figured out how we’ll pay the fees but I guess we’ll figure something out.

    Good luck! I hope the right thing presents itself asap.

  8. Re #2 – Don’t sweat the ceramics. It’s her house and she has been keeping it this way for a long time. The funny thing about day care is peer pressure. Punk’s former day care did not babyproof anything, there were racks of CDs, photo frames, etc. right out there. You would NEVER know the house was a day care. And no kids ever touched the stuff. Granted, my kid is not an overly touchy kid, but still. I mean, it was child proofed in that there weren’t cords everywhere, but the kids didn’t touch the breakables. They were too busy having fun!

    #3 The laws for child care in most states allow a single person to watch 6-7 kids alone in their home. There is a limit on how many of those are infants, but it is not uncommon to see 6-7 with one adult. If that is a problem, you’d be better off looking at child care centers because they have different ratios.

    Good luck!

  9. wishinghopingpraying

    EEK, sounds delightful! I hope you find just the right place soon.

  10. Wow.. People acutally allow their children to be watched by people like this? The first house sounds just oh so special. …I have nothing to say about the other people, they sound just as bad. lol. I hope that you find the perfect, nice, clean, vibrant, learning and growing place for Miles! =)

  11. Ugh. I totally feel your pain. Here’s hoping there’s a clear winner in the next batch with some perfect availability for you.

  12. Oh my goodness I could not imagine leaving my children in a place like #1 I do not envy you guys this job. Makes me grateful my daugter in law is a stay at home Mom to my 4 grandchildren. And as wonderful as that is in this day and age it can be difficult. Keep looking you will find the right daycare. And Miles is just the most sweetest looking baby. So content and loved he is a lucky son of two wonderful mothers.

  13. I really feel for you two–we’re going through something similar with childcare ourselves. I hope you find the perfect place soon!

  14. Ugh… none of those sound very good. Honestly, the second one seems creepy, while the first one sounds like the day care I remember going to as a kid! Hopefully you will find the perfect one– it’s out there, I am certain!

  15. Wow. Enough said about visit #1. Scary. The second place would concern me because little kids are supposed to explore things. And they will unless they are afraid. Untouched ceramics, no matter how efficient this woman seems, strikes me as a red flag.

    We’ve been blessed to have Danny with Jenni but we know the angst you’re experiencing because we needed to find an alternative when she took time off after her second son was born. It was very stressful and so we wish you the best of luck. Sounds to me like you are doing your research exactly right. -Monica

  16. Yikes. Wow. Good luck, ladies, with finding something that will work for all three of you.

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