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    Switching daycare (Aka: Breaking up is hard to do)

    Remember last May when I was calling daycare facilities only to be put on ridiculously long waiting lists? Well, 15 months later, one of them has a spot for G and we’re ready to take it.

    This isn’t the first time we’ve been called up from a waitlist, to be fair, but it’s the first time when the timing felt right. The first call was days before I returned to work and days before G started with his family daycare. It felt strange to switch before we even gave it a chance. The second time was a few months later, by the same facility, which prompted S and I to re-tour. We decided then, that we’re OK to keep G in his current environment until he approached 18 months.

    Well, except for last Thu when we got a call from our top pick saying they had a cancellation and G was in the right age group. If we wanted it, they had a spot for him. We talked about it, made some lists (which of course I’m about to share) and decided to do it. So here goes (hours are the same, so no need to discuss those):

    Ms. F

    Pros:
    – Caring, loving home
    – Genuinely likes G. G genuinely likes her.
    – Too good to be true tardy policy ($10/hr but waived if you’re stuck in traffic. Compare that to the normal $1/min in our area!)
    – Provides healthy home-cooked meals for older kids, included in her fee
    – Cheaper

    Cons:
    – Changes diapers every 3-4 hours (but that could be ‘cuz he sleeps a ton)
    – Didn’t encourage tummy time, even after asked, and insisted G would do it on his own when he was ready. He did, she was right, but he didn’t find any more appreciation for tummy time w/o the necessary exposure
    – Takes 2 weeks in holiday throughout the year requiring to find (and pay for) external care
    – McDonald’s is on the way from her house to the freeway, meaning many a drive-through passings due to my complete inability to self-restrain myself from the #2 breaskfast meal 🙁

    Fancy Daycare Center

    Pros:
    – Goes from infant to pre-K. No need to look for a preschool if we continue liking the program.
    – The facility is part of the school district, so if we are tracked to go to that elementary school, they provide the after-school care program as well. Sadly, this isn’t our tracked school, but we could petition to move if we like it
    – Formalized curriculum program w/ excellent school prep
    – Educators specialized in early childhood development
    – An environment that will nurture and encourage milestone development
    – Formal daytime schedule tracking (have we discussed how much S and I like spreadsheets?)
    – Changes diapers at least 2 hours (unless he’s sleeping)
    – Closer to my commute in/from work (slightly longer for S, but not terrible as he does pick-ups)
    – No McDonalds anywhere en route!!!

    Cons:
    – More kids = more germs. I’m worried that G will be home sick more
    – Sleep area is in the same room as play area. G right now sleeps (at daycare and at home) in a separate, quiet space. I’m worried that he’ll take a long time to acclimate and his nap schedule will go to hell

    Yeah, this isn’t really a 1:1 comparison, but having laid it all out made my preference clearer.

    The tricky part, is that the lists above is the logical reasoning behind our choice, but there’s still the emotional attachment. G’s been going to this daycare for the past 8 months. It has honestly felt like dropping him off at a relative’s house this whole time. He was cared for, loved, kept safe — all the things we wanted for him. He’s made friends. Ms. F holds him with such pride, that S and I have genuinely felt like G is her favorite kid in the bunch. It’s just hard to take him away from that kind of environment, and today when we told Ms. F our plans, we genuinely felt like we were breaking up with her. It was sad! S said that most likely that last day he’ll cry, just as he cried the first day G went to school… and probably for the same reason.

    The part that also breaks me up is knowing that G has no idea what’s coming. He won’t get a chance to say good-bye to his friends. Does this make us a pitiful bunch or what?

    So any advice on what kind of gift we should give Ms. F?

    4 responses to “Switching daycare (Aka: Breaking up is hard to do)”

    1. Will Hutchinson says:

      Is it not the case that “More kids = more germs” isn’t a potential pro as much as a con? I have heard that it’s a hot issue now whether the increasing rates of allergies and other such conditions in our modern world isn’t actually due to people being not as exposed to as many germs growing up now (anti-bacterial everything, etc) and so not getting their immune systems developed as much.

      But I’m not a doctor of course and figure you guys have read more on this than I so just wondering if your understanding is that it’s really on balance a plus or a minus to have more exposure to other kids?

      And I think your hearty recommendations of her services to other couples (and maybe returning to her again if G has any future siblings…) is the best possible thing you can do for Ms. F.

    2. aerialsoul says:

      @Will — i agree the sick part certainly has it’s pluses, they’re just long term pluses vs. the short term chaos that ensues when we end up juggling our calendars and negotiating who can stay home with a sick G on short notice.

      G has only stayed home sick a few times in the last 8 mths and it hasn’t been too disruptive to our work schedules. But frequent sick days will really hit us. The best way to tackle sick days is when both of us can work at home and tag team for periods of the day juggling G care, conf calls, and emails. Honestly we have pretty flexible schedules – I know others have it much harder.

      I hope G gets A’s immunity because she’s rarely sick and typically recovers fast when she does get sick.

    3. janessa says:

      If you have a photo of Ms.F and G that in a frame would be a great gift. Along with maybe a bottle of wine, and as @Will said, future rec’s would be greatly appreciated.

    4. Rebecca says:

      It’s funny, after I’d read the lists I was thinking “so they’re staying with Ms. F then?” I think she had me at “cheaper”, but also the nap thing seems like a big deal. Then I reread the lists and I see you’re looking more on the longer term, but I think I’d be really hesitant to change what’s working. I don’t mean to be discouraging at all, I hope it works out well for you =)

      I think the photo and wine is a good gift suggestion, you could always add some flowers too.

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