I've been pretty happy with no daycare for Little Monster the past several months. She likes being home and having personal parental attention. I like avoiding pumping as much as possible. But to everything there comes an end. It's time for daycare.
So that leaves us looking. We got really stinking lucky and found 3 places with openings in January (and we're on the wait list for the "good" center in town where there might be an opening by September). The first place was acceptable but not what I'd really like. It's an in-home daycare and it's at capacity but the space is really small. Plus every wall had 2 or 3 Jesus-related pictures or crucifixes or cutesy Biblical sayings. It made me gag. They also have the TV on to kids' programming all day. At the very least the kid is a super TV zombie. She gets mesmerized and will watch stuff for 5-15 minutes, then declare she hates it and please change the channel, then when it doesn't change (you can go do other things, we remind her), stays another half hour. I imagine Little Monster will be much the same way, just falling in to watch TV more than she would if it weren't just on.
We went to the second place yesterday and it's perfect. Double the space of the first, the provider mentions how she picks up kids' music CDs at childcare conferences she goes to because the kids like it, all that. And today she decides because of her husband's health she's not going to take any new kids right now. Bah.
Tomorrow is the third place. It's a center too but my impression is it's a place people choose out of desperation rather than because it's great. They offer 24 hour childcare and are probably one of a very few places within 50 miles that do so. Sigh. Talking with them it doesn't sound awful but I'm wary.
I feel like we have a good handle on what we're doing in choosing a daycare as we've had far too much practice at it, and yet it's so hard. Especially since I feel more and more every day how much we screwed up leaving the kid in care that has damaged her or at least switched her anxiety switch on and ramped it up to 11 I fret. The best part is we have to have a decision made so we can get quotes so I can get financial aid to cover the cost (more debt! yay!). Now I'm peeved because our best choice (probably) is out of the game which hopefully means either the next place is amazing or we get lucky again and find something else somehow. Before the end of the semester. While the spouse suddenly has more than a full-time job for the week. Yay.
One of my great wishes in life is that free or low cost, quality, public childcare was available. It's such a fiasco to find care for a baby. Or if we can't have public childcare, could we at least have 6 months of paid parental leave? Even a year? I bet it wouldn't even cost that much in taxes to do it. The level of quality varies so widely between "licensed" providers it's maddening. Someday the politicians will take what's best for families seriously. For now, it is a mess.