Day care

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Baby's still a month away and we've already been looking for infant day care, due to long wait lists. My wife would rather stay home with the baby but that probably isn't going to be financially feasible in the long run so we're looking to put the baby in day care at about seven months so my wife can go back to work.

It's weird because we live in big city but could only find four day cares that accept infants in our general area, and only of them is what I would consider "close" (i.e. potentially walkable). It seems like there would be enough demand that there would be more. Anyways we ended applying to the two that looked best but they are both $$$ and have long wait lists.

Anyways, any thoughts on picking day care centers or making sure you don't drop off a wait list? Is home day care cheaper? Is it safe? Does anyone know if home day cares are rated on Angie's List or any other site (we don't have many friends with kids so not much opportunity for word-of-mouth)?

congratulations (n/a), Friday, 2 July 2010 17:29 (twelve years ago) link

we considered this but it was just too much $$$. since we would've been spending my wife's salary almost entirely on daycare, it just made more sense for her to stay home. plus it's not like any daycare we paid for would be better than the care my wife would provide.

Yeah that's the thing, my wife would have to get a job that would pay enough to make it worth it. But if the three of us have to live off my salary for a while, it's going to be a little tight.

congratulations (n/a), Friday, 2 July 2010 17:36 (twelve years ago) link

yeah it all depends on the math. we had to do some belt-tightening to survive on just my salary but it's worked out okay. I was not super-enthused about our infant daycare options either - in retrospect I'm really glad she's stayed home with our daughter because my wife's been able to be there for all that early development stuff and I think that having that level of parental attention has been really good for her ("best job I've ever had" says my wife).

but yeah basically I can't afford to buy records or go out anymore.

We've already been living off just my salary for like three-four months and have tightened things up pretty tight already. Fortunately I make enough to pay for rent/groceries/basic bills and we saved up a decent chunk of $$$ specifically to pay for baby-related costs so I know we aren't going to starve or deprive our baby or anything but the question is how long those savings are going to last.

Anyways, yeah, we're not going to do daycare unless my wife can make enough to pay for it and also have more to contribute to family expenses etc.

congratulations (n/a), Friday, 2 July 2010 17:53 (twelve years ago) link

we considered this but it was just too much $$$. since we would've been spending my wife's salary almost entirely on daycare
yeah, this is what we figured out -- the only daycare we liked would cost incredible amounts of $$$. And since my wife was not nuts about her job anyway, it didn't take too much convincing ... Are we going broke? Um, kinda. But we're making it work for the time being.

tylerw, Friday, 2 July 2010 17:54 (twelve years ago) link

It's an emotive subject, but my personal opinion is 7 months is teeny tiny for a baby to be away from its parents all day. If going back to work is essential to keep the family home/food on the table then imo a childminder/nanny/au pair in a home setting is far preferable to a nursery.

I've been at home for three years now with our kids (bar the odd day where I worked and my husband looked after the kids). Things are incredibly tight but I would rather eat value beans on toast than work just to pay someone else to bring up my kids. Of course financially this is probably going to be hard on us for many years as I've dropped off the career ladder, but there you go.

Meg (Meg Busset), Friday, 2 July 2010 22:27 (twelve years ago) link

I'm not going to bite about the '..just to pay someone else to bring up my kids' comment. I'm not...

I had to go back to work to pay the mortgage. I'm lucky enough that I got 6 months on full pay and then the stat minimum of c.£104 a week for the next three months, and I took a further 3 months off unpaid, so I went back to work full time just before Aidan turned one. I never even thought about going back full time until I realised that I was the only one of my fellow mothers who was, but when I thought about it I couldn't really see how my role could be turned into a part-time role/job shared very easily. Also, when I was contemplating going down to four days a week Chris was made redundant and was unemployed for 7 months. As it was we only survived because my dad bailed us out financially, but if I hadn't been working we would have lost the house and probably had to have moved back to where our parents live.

I don't think I could cope as a full-time mum at home, I don't think I have the discipline to do all the activities I know Aidan does at nursery. Both have pluses and minuses, he has fun every day with his friends, in a monitored environment with adults who he loves and who love him, I have no doubt that he gets the care and attention from them that he would get from me at home all day.

I can't help on the practical front, being in a different country, but a nursery setting has worked for us. What will happen once he starts school is another matter, that I think will prove more difficult logistically, oddly enough! I do think that the longer you can leave it before going back to work the better though.

Vicky, Monday, 12 July 2010 15:03 (twelve years ago) link

aggh, never thought about not going back full time...

Vicky, Monday, 12 July 2010 15:04 (twelve years ago) link

"plus it's not like any daycare we paid for would be better than the care my wife would provide"

shakey I dont think its a better/worse situation, the care your wife provides is very different and far more important than the care offered by a daycare.But it goes without saying that they are not mutually exclusive and that a good daycare will offer your child things your wife most likely isnt able to provide.I happen to think if you can get the balance right, they can complement each other very well.

n/a while not exactly local or expert advice imo day care centers < home paid care, for the social benefits soon get a feel for a day care center, the culture of a place, staff stress levels and how they interact with kids and so on.

some daycare centres I visited pushed a philosophy of child initiated learning for under 2 year olds, which in practice appears to mean doing sweet fuck all for your child and leaving them to it. i understand that under twos need lots of free time to play and explore on their own but teacher lead structure and group activities are important, imo avoid places that tell you otherwise or dont seem to have much of a group routine beyond eating at table together.

kiwi, Monday, 12 July 2010 22:58 (twelve years ago) link

My wife & I were in a position where we had no choice but to put our daughter in day care starting at 4 months. It sucked, but there are a few pros:

a) she already seems to be a bit above the curve in terms of social development - I've yet to see any intense stranger anxiety
b) being around other babies her age has encouraged her in other developmental areas also in terms of crawling & walking
c) I like to think we're getting this immune system stuff out of the way early

Anyway, back to the original question, if you do choose a day care make sure the ratio of care provider and children is no more that 4:1. And I'd be wary of out of the home daycares where they lump together infants, 2 year olds, 5 year olds, etc., all together.

Darin, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 16:27 (twelve years ago) link

thanks all. I guess our plan for now is:
1. see how long our savings hold out
2. see if my wife can find a job with a company that has in-house day care
3. see how long it takes for us to move up the waiting lists at the two places where we applied

congratulations (n/a), Wednesday, 14 July 2010 16:52 (twelve years ago) link

Sounds good!

It might sound strange to say it but don't overestimate baby-related costs. I mean, childcare is obviously a bundle but especially if your wife breastfeeds it's like.. what is there to buy really? You'll get given loads of clothes. Diapers, I guess? Though if you use cloth diapers that's a one-time expense.

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 14 July 2010 17:22 (twelve years ago) link

(Or two times, actually, once s/he gets bigger)

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 14 July 2010 17:22 (twelve years ago) link

Depends which nappies you buy, the bumgenius pocket nappies fit all in theory, they still fit A now, just about, and although they were bulky on him when he was teeny tiny they still technically fitted.

Tracer speaks the truth, it doesn't have to cost a fortune

Vicky, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 17:40 (twelve years ago) link

I dunno, Tracer -- not that any of these things are strictly necessary, Okay I guess car seats are if you drive...but people spend a LOT of money on strollers, car seats, changing tables, cribs, and all that stuff. I have crunchy lefty leanings for slings and co-sleeping etc etc but c'mon, "normal" "people" think they need all of the above and more and most of their peers would consider that justified.

the soul of the avocado escapes as soon as you open it (Laurel), Wednesday, 14 July 2010 17:49 (twelve years ago) link

You also may need to figure in lingering medical costs for co-pays, follow ups, etc. - kind of depends on your health insurance.

Darin, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 17:55 (twelve years ago) link

though if you use cloth diapers that's a one-time expense.

um it is definitely not a one-time expense - diaper services cost money

Major Lolzer (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 14 July 2010 18:18 (twelve years ago) link

but yeah I agree that, especially if yr breastfeeding, infants don't cost much. everyone will give you clothes, which are probably the biggest related expense. pretty much the only other stuff you need are a carseat, something to carry the baby in, and a diaper bag

Major Lolzer (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 14 July 2010 18:19 (twelve years ago) link

n/a, the state of IL has subsidized child care available for its employees. This isn't available until the kiddo is two years old, however. Plus also then S. would be working for the state of IL, which has its drawbacks.

What about a nanny share situation? Some folks who work for a non-profit that I've had dealings with have a nanny share agreement, and I am sure that they are not rolling in money (although their partner's might be).

sinister chemical wisdom (Jenny), Wednesday, 14 July 2010 18:31 (twelve years ago) link

Wow. I have a lot to say about this but im too tired at the mo. I will say Number 1 thing to look for in a daycare is staff that have been there for a long long time.

Daycare horror stories, delights and mothering that doesn't start with an s when im more awake.

post class A nasal drip (sunny successor), Thursday, 15 July 2010 05:11 (twelve years ago) link

xpost sorry shakey, rereading my total douchy comment to you is buggin me, capt impulsive pompous twit at yr service.

kiwi, Thursday, 15 July 2010 09:26 (twelve years ago) link

lol no worries didn't think it was douchy at all

Major Lolzer (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 15 July 2010 15:34 (twelve years ago) link

shaky i wash them myself!

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 15 July 2010 16:00 (twelve years ago) link

and by "I" I mean the lovely Emma B 75% of the time

I do a co-op crèche. parents cook the food, and it's at parents' houses so it's less expensive.

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 15 July 2010 16:04 (twelve years ago) link

xpost sorry shakey, rereading my total douchy comment to you is buggin me, capt impulsive pompous twit at yr service.

that was douchey? have you met ilx?

post class A nasal drip (sunny successor), Thursday, 15 July 2010 17:08 (twelve years ago) link

also to reduce cost of crib, just put child in closet when not in use

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 15 July 2010 18:55 (twelve years ago) link

I hear that little closet under the stairs is good for child storage purposes too.

Financially, we don’t have a choice with regards to daycare either. Poor Beeps went into La Petite Academy at 6 weeks on the nose (I couldn’t get FMLA since I was pregs when employed so it was just the standard 6 week STD). I don’t know if they are franchised or not but that place was so horrible. A clueless, scared to death, never been around babies or children, about to be first time parents like us didn’t see that right away though. I think PP had an issue with their parent corporation’s bad rep or something, but that’s all.

We took the tour with the owner, I read the learning curriculum and studied their website and it all seemed pretty impressive to me. Like a preK prep school or something. I guess it took a few months to start realizing something was very wrong with that place. The first month or two were okay because the woman in charge (named Farrah Fawcett btw) was great with the kids and staff and always there. Also, Beeps’ carer was young but pretty great and seemed to like the kids. Sometime around the second or third month Farrah and Beeps’ carer quit and everything went to hell.

Here are a few not-so-fond memories: infants were pretty much left in their cribs ALL the time except for diaper changes and feeding until they could crawl (6 or 7 months-ish). If a baby didn’t take his/her bottle right away then he/she didn’t get fed. There were days when Beeps didn’t get fed at all. More than once I saw carers screaming things like "STOP BEING A WUSS! SHUT UP AND SIT DOWN OVER THERE AWAY FROM ME" at toddlers who had the audacity to cry after their parents dropped them off. One day I walked in to find what I assume was another child’s father violently pulling beeps back and forth in a swing while she screamed and sobbed. When he noticed me he said “Well she just won’t stop crying no matter what I do!" Beeps’ latest carer was in the room ignoring the whole thing, of course. From what I could tell older kids were being taught nothing but to sit down and shut the hell up. Great curriculum. Staff turnover became insane. Most of them were teenagers or in their early 20s and really could give two shits about kids. The woman who owned the place seemed to genuinely enjoy and care for the children but she wasn’t around often because she had four kindergarten and under aged girls of her own with a fifth on the way. I don't think she had any idea what was going on there. When that fifth child came she was in the same infant room as Beeps. One day when I was picking Beeps up the current infant caretaker said to me while she sat in a chair doing nothing “(bosses name) told me wake up (bosses baby's name) and feed her now but there’s no way I’m doing it. I’ll just write it down on the sheet. She'll never know". Obv, I’m thinking if this is what she’s doing to the child of the woman who pays her then what the hell is she doing to mine when I’m not around? That was the last straw for that place. We needed out and luckily got called from the waitlist of Beeps' current daycare around the same time.

One other place we were waitlisted on called us when Beeps was about two, I think. We had applied when I was still pregnant. We love Beeps’ current daycare but we went on a tour anyway because it had been my initial preference when we were first looking. It was on a Baptist church campus but I could overlook that for the fact that it was literally a block away from our house. It used to scare me to death thinking of beeps in a car wreck so this would mean she might only ever need to be in a car maybe once every week or two.
The place LOOKED good. The carers were older, more experienced and I assumed less likely to leave since they’re associated with the church and its congregation. The toys (educational and otherwise), furniture, play areas were impressive. Beeps was running around loving it all too. Potty training was being taught very early. All the kids just turning two were pretty much potty trained. There were four toddler/pre-K rooms, I think. As we walked out of one of the rooms and along the wide corridor that the rooms split off from we suddenly noticed something: silence. It was around 10am. Definitely not naptime. The doors were open. There were kids in the rooms playing independently. Four rooms with 10 or so 1-4 year old kids in each and hardly a sound. So creepy.

We went ahead and discussed money and said we’d let them know later that day but we had developed our parental spidey senses by then and we already knew something was up with this place. I called later that day and told our tour guide that we had really liked the place but we thought it would be better for Beeps to stay where she was. The woman who had been so sweet the whole morning zinged me with a fast bitchy ‘We think so too’. *Click*. Nice.

Stuff on the good daycare (and why I’m so happy my kids go there) later.

post class A nasal drip (sunny successor), Thursday, 15 July 2010 22:42 (twelve years ago) link

wow what a story!!

but I'm confused - you called and said you were going to stay at the horrible place? and the woman from the impressively quiet place was a cold bitch?

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Friday, 16 July 2010 08:58 (twelve years ago) link

no no the good daycare came in the middle. beeps was at la petite until she was 4 or 5 months old. at that point she moved to the daycare we are currently still using. the quiet one had called us off a waitlist when she was about two so we went on the tour to see if it was good.

post class A nasal drip (sunny successor), Friday, 16 July 2010 13:33 (twelve years ago) link

two weeks pass...

As with breastfeeding, I'm reluctant to say that one is preferrable to the other. It depends from situation to situation. From child to child and from parent(s) to parent(s). Sometimes it creates major guilt when a mother has to put a child into daycare (or has to quit breastfeeding or simply doesn't want to). Who's to say that one is better than the other really? Both have positives and negatives.
I was reluctant to do so. Ophelia was a little over one year old. Elisabeth was younger, I think she was about six months? Financially it wasn't a problem. We run a shop so I could have kept her/them at "home" (or rather in the back of the shop). But running a shop and having a child is/was exceptionally difficult, especially when I was breastfeeding as well and having Elisabeth not sleeping at all at night. Also, Ophelia actually enjoyed being in the company of other children. Same for Elisabeth.

Nathalie (stevienixed), Thursday, 5 August 2010 12:50 (twelve years ago) link

cole goes to daycare right next door to us. the women opened one in her home last year. he likes it, he's there two days a week. I would much rather put him in a larger daycare to be around more toddlers, but since im unemployed we cant afford it.

chrisv2010, Thursday, 5 August 2010 16:38 (twelve years ago) link

how many kids are there and what ages? my son is in a co-op thing with like 7 kids max, usually less, but I think it's pretty great so far actually

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 5 August 2010 22:38 (twelve years ago) link

Five kids at most 23 mths (Coles age) to 7.

chrisv2010, Thursday, 5 August 2010 23:06 (twelve years ago) link

well louis like being around kids who are a year or two older than him but yeah, more of a gap than that and it's harder to relate.

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Friday, 6 August 2010 12:39 (twelve years ago) link

one year passes...

starting evie back up in day care again next week, just three days a week. didn't have much time to arrange day care, and everywhere near us has long waiting lists (some of which we've been on for a long time). then we found a place within walking distance with availability, which is also cheaper than most of the day cares in our (yuppie-ish) neighborhood, kind of suspicious of it just because it seems too good to be true and they only have a couple of reviews on yelp. but sarah checked it out, said it seems fine, we're going to stay on waiting lists for the fancier places, and we don't have a ton of options at this point so i hope it's ok.

congratulations (n/a), Friday, 25 May 2012 17:55 (ten years ago) link

We're considering doing a nanny share for the two days a week we need in the fall, but it is a bit pricier...

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Friday, 25 May 2012 19:56 (ten years ago) link

one month passes...

today was "princess or superheros" day at evie's daycare, with a strong implication that the girls were supposed to dress up as princesses while the boys were supposed to dress up as superheros. i feel lame that we didn't find out about this in time to subvert the system and go out and buy her a superhero costume and instead just sent her to daycare in a leotard and tutu. :(

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 19 July 2012 20:39 (ten years ago) link

It's not really a daycare rant, unfortunately, but I hate the gender split that starts from birth. It's everywhere. Clothes, toys (why is there any need for blue or pink guitars or drum kits?!) games, even kids parties - one party we went to the entertainer had the kids introduce themselves - boys were Pirate *insert name here* girls were Princess *insert name here* Most of the parties Aidan's been invited to have been just boys parties - the boys just have boys, the girls just invite girls. It's so saddening.

vickyp, Friday, 20 July 2012 07:41 (ten years ago) link

I got riled by a radio ad for (?) Huggies the other day: boys' are blue with cars and trucks and were "cool", girls' are pink with princesses and "pretty". They're crap-catchers, people!

Madchen, Friday, 20 July 2012 08:10 (ten years ago) link

three months pass...

finally got a call from one of the fancier day cares about an opening, we're excited because it's literally right behind our house and has better healthy food options and seems more education-focused than where she's going now. but we somehow fall into the highest bracket on their sliding household income scale and it would cost almost twice as much per week, which we can't really swing (would be like $600 more per month). makes me feel shitty. like we're stuck with a mediocre day care because we make too much money to catch a break on the good day care. and we don't even make that much money!

congratulations (n/a), Monday, 12 November 2012 21:37 (ten years ago) link

guess we're going to not going to bother with trying to figure out how to pay for the switch and just try to adjust our attitudes about the current day care while also looking ahead to possibly finding a better preschool for when she turns 3.

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 13 November 2012 18:23 (ten years ago) link

You have my sympathy. Daycare is the worst.

One bad call from barely losing to (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 14 November 2012 13:27 (ten years ago) link

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