Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Child care

As I mentioned in my last entry, as soon as I found out I was pregnant we got on the day care waiting list at my husband's school. He works at a high school that provides a day care for the student's children at no cost, and offers teachers a REALLY reasonable rate to enroll their kids. We were so excited that Mr. D would get to take the baby to work with him every day, go visit him/her on lunch, and be right there if any problems arose.

Then a couple of weeks ago the school board, for no reason whatsoever, voted to disallow teacher's children from going there. It's especially weird because our district is facing some major budget issues, so you'd think they'd want the hundreds of dollars coming in from teacher's children. I understand that the day care is primarily for the children of the high school students, but teachers are only allowed to enroll their kids there if room is available. No students are turned away because a teacher's kid is enrolled.

Anyway, this left us with quite the dilemma. We now needed a day care for Baby D!! Luckily, a woman Mr. D works with told him about this place her grandchild goes. It's right in between where I work and Mr. D's school. The cost is not much more than we would've been paying at the other place! Perfect.

Or so we thought.

I should've realized something wasn't quite right when I called SEVERAL times to inquire as to whether they had any openings. No one would return my call if I left a message. If I spoke to someone, the director was never in and she wouldn't return my call. I finally spoke to the director, and she said she'd just returned from vacation and "didn't know" if there were any openings as a result of just getting back from said vacation. You'd think this was something they could practically memorize, or had ready for calls like mine. I taught preschool for 3 years, I know how day cares are run. However, I took pity because I know sometimes returning from vacation can throw you for a loop. So she said she'd call me back after a "few days."

She did not.

I called her again on Monday. She told me right away there were openings when we needed. I asked if I could stop by for a tour or if I needed to make an appointment. She said either way was fine. I decided I'd rather pop in unannounced to get an idea of what it was really like.

Mr. D got home from teaching summer school today and we headed over there. We had to be buzzed in, which we liked. But I am still not sure who in the hell buzzed us in, because there was no front desk or anyone to be found. That's not a good sign. It's also not a good sign that we freely wandered around the place for 5 or so minutes and no one asked who we were. Especially because this place is NOT in a good part of town. We could've been killers or crackheads!

Anyway, we finally saw a sign that said "NURSERY" so we poked our head in there. Two women were sitting in there on their cell phones, not engaged with the babies at all. The babies were all awake, too. Cell phones and sitting are actually totally ok with me if it's naptime, but it clearly was not nap time for any babies.

One asks if she can help us, and I explain that I'd spoken to the director who told me I could pop by any time. She gets flustered and says she doesn't know where the director is and to hold on. Mr. D and I awkwardly hang out and 5 minutes later she appears in the hallway next to us, yelling in her cell phone about the missing director. "This girl is here, said Director told her to come by for a tour, and Director's car ain't even here! I don't know where she is!" First of all, I didn't have an appointment, and she was acting like I did, so I sort of felt stupid. Secondly, she is now in a separate hallway and NOT in the classroom, so I know that the one remaining woman is now very much out of state-mandated ratio. That made me uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, the woman still in the classroom is yelling at a baby who is in a cage-like thing (there was no lid on it, but still). She said "You ready to stop biting?!" This kid is like 8 months old. He can't answer you, probably has minimal understanding of the English language still, and he is 8 months old so OF COURSE HE'S GOING TO BITE. Kids bite!

Mr. D later told me he saw a newborn in a "hamster cage." I'm not sure exactly what that means but it sounds sad.

The lady on the cell phone is still flipping out to someone, I'm pointlessly trying to address her and say that I don't have an appointment, I was just told I could drop by any time. She ignores me and keeps talking on the phone. When she hangs up, she explains that Director is nowhere to be found and if I had questions I could ask her. Mr. D quickly said that we'd call back for an appointment and we left.


Not to mention the place was run down and dirty anyway. I'm not sure about Mr. D's coworker, but she must have low standards if she thinks this place is great.

We left and headed to another day care which I'd seen online advertising an open door, drop by anytime policy. Mr. D actually went to this place when he was in preschool! We stop by and it's miraculously better than the other place. The director immediately took us into the infant room and gave us a tour. If you can take parents into your day care spontaneously, you obviously know your shit is together and you're doing things right. I like that. The teachers that worked there were all engaged with a baby or toddler, depending on what class they were in. The babies seemed so happy! It was clean and organized. The teachers looked like they enjoyed their job.

Best of all, they offer a 4 day a week rate, which is fantastic, because Grandma D has said she wants to watch the baby one day a week. No other day care that I'd researched offered any rate other than 5 days a week. Now we'll be saving some money!

It all worked out in the end, but was really stressful. I'm glad I stopped by the bad place so I could see for my own eyes how disorganized and unprofessional it was. I'm also glad Mr. D came because I might have been murdered in that part of town.

We've found our baby's day care. Whew.

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