Daycares, Oof

We visited our first daycare yesterday. Yes, at 38+ weeks. I know we’re a little on the late side of things, but it’s just been so hard to think that far ahead, plus settling in after the Move and getting all the things done wot are 100% necessary right now.

We actually started looking at the beginning of September, but when our first choice turned out to have a 1.5 year waitlist, we… got a little discouraged.

But Lady Jr will be here, and soon, and although I’ll be working from home when I return, and part time at that, I know I won’t be able to focus with such a cute infant nearby. Plus, I’m a big proponent of early interaction with other human beings and of getting help raising a kid (I am pro-villages). Depending on waitlists, we might do in-home care for a short while, but I definitely want that socialization by the time she’s six months. Plus, I need socialization and I might be hoping I’ll meet some other moms through the daycare.

Anyway, all that’s to say: wow. Daycare. Walking in, I finally realized that we’ll be the parents. We’ll have to think about pre-school someday and then real school. There will be parent teacher associations and baked goods and homework and omg I’m not ready for that.

Thankfully, we don’t have to be ready for that yet, but wow. I’m only just coming to terms that there’s going to be a major change in our lives in the coming days weeks.

I also realized I don’t know jack about daycare. I did a little bit of research to figure out what I should ask, what I should look for beforehand and still went in feeling like I just radiated newb.

But I came out feeling pretty good about this one. They’re reasonably priced (inasmuch as daycare can be reasonable without subsidies), they have a lot of other part-timers, they seemed clean and in control, they’re very close, they have books about bugs (A++ in Dr Lady’s book), they’re literally across the street from a hospital (woo!), and they had a diverse group of kids and adults.

That said, since I fully admit to knowing nothing about daycare, I want to look at a few more just to be sure. So we have another appointment on Monday and hopefully a third soon. Then we’ll make a decision about who’s gonna take care of Lady Jr for part of the week, which seems like a bigger decision than it feels.

Any advice is welcome, although it seems a large part of it is just seeing who we “click” with and feel good about. Also who we can visit together as an openly same-sex couple and not get any weirdness. And doesn’t cost more than I make in a week, oof.

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14 Comments

Filed under gaybies, pregnancy, simply informative

14 responses to “Daycares, Oof

  1. We started care at 7 weeks (part time) and I’m very glad we did. That being said, dropping her off the first few times is ROUGH. I 100% trust our caretaker, but it’s still hard to be apart from your baby. Good luck in your search – sounds like you’re off to a great start.

  2. Sounds like you know exactly what you are looking for! All your criteria seem right-on to me. I had my kids young and way back then I worked in several daycares, so that I could have my kids with me and one tip: daycare workers tend to feel really underappreciated and underpaid. Financial realities being what they are, there’s not much we can do about the underpaid part, but all the appreciation you can heap on goes a long way. And little things: one mum used to bring me a nice coffee occasionally in the morning. Or one of those supermarket smoothies in a plastic bottle at the end of the day. Not often, but maybe once a month. When you are with little children for 8-9 hours a day, as delightful as they can be, something like that goes a REALLY long way toward helping you feeling like a human with value. And (trade secret) I was definitely a little extra attentive and accommodating to her little one. It’s a practice I started cultivating myself with my kids caregivers and teachers from then on, and I am confident it made everyone’s days better, including my kids~.

    • Yes, thank you for the reminder. I was definitely looking around at the hands on people to see if they looked happy/cared for/etc. I was also tempted to ask how much they get paid, but that’s probably not polite (I would def pay more for a place that paid their employees more, for one).

      Service jobs are so often so undervalued and disrespected and especially child care workers, which just blows my mind. Thank you for your perspective, because of course I hadn’t even considered bringing them coffee, which is a great idea.

  3. I always made note of what the staff were doing when I did tours. Are they engaged with the kids and don’t even notice you, are they huddled together gossiping and occasionally yelling at someone, do they jump up and start putting on a show when everyone walks by, that kind of stuff.

  4. Is it the daycare across from sparrow? My best friend’s kids are there!

  5. Ladibug21

    I really believe in trusting your gut and then doing background checks. We put our guy in large child care center when he was 13 weeks old and it about broke my heart. I felt so-so about the place we ended up with and it ended up being just so-so. We moved him to his current in-home licensed daycare when he was 2.5. I had hesitations about an in-home daycare but within 5 minutes of being their and meeting his main teacher/care taker, I KNEW it was right. It’s been pretty awesome ever since.

    They all have pros/cons and making a list of what’s most important might be helpful. For us we wanted to know he was being lovingly cared for and felt safe. Our second most important was a low staff-child ratio. Our in-home place meets both of those.

    All of that said, he’s 3 years old and I still feel a bit heartsick every week and I miss him. I really should be a full-time SAHM but I’m not, so I suck it up. (I’m home with him 3 days/week usually)

  6. When we were looking for infant care, I relied heavily on my gut. Every place on our list met the same basic criteria, so I went with my gut feelings. The one place that we ALMOST put her in seemed like it was going to be a good fit, but then on my second visit there–to fill out the paperwork–the owner asked if she could hold Charlotte and give her a bottle (she needed to be fed in the midst of our visit) and I sat there watching her feed my baby and just felt a giant NOPE. On the flip side, the minute our nanny held Charlotte I just knew she was it. (Not saying nanny trumps daycare–it totally doesn’t–just giving examples of how I trusted my instincts!)

  7. AmyApplesnail

    Oh boy… This reminds me that we need to look into daycare… Our baby isn’t getting any younger… Did you happen to find a particularly good resource online that helped you know what to ask when looking? I also have no idea where to start

    • Not really. I just googled “what to ask about daycare” and put together my own list out of what came up.
      A lot of the other comments on this post have some good advice, though. I think it mostly comes down to making sure they are certified, not putting on a show just for you, and engaged with the kids.

  8. As an Assistant Director at a daycare, and having worked at my fair share of bad ones, I would say try to pop in for a tour unannounced. Try for a time when things are really going, like 10:30 am. By that point everyone should be there and lesson plans should be in full swing. I say this because if you go for a planned tour you are seeing it how they want you to see it. Everyone will know that a tour is coming and they will be on their best behavior. If you want to see what its really, truly like they can’t know you’re coming. You have to do the sneak attack. We actually prefer to do it that way where I work now. We recommend that people come at any point during the morning so they can see what we’re really about.

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