Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Search for Daycare

I finally found our day care!!

Last week was Spring Break, but I decided to make some cash and worked every day but Friday (we were traveling to San Antonio for our baby shower that weekend).  I worked Monday until three o'clock because I had an appointment to cut my hair and while getting my hair cut, the stylist started saying "you haven't decided where you're doing day care and you're already starting your third trimester?  You need to get on that!"  I left with a decent hair cut AND stressed...

I went to get a pedicure (hadn't treated myself to one since I found out I was pregnant) and plus, I wanted my toes to look nice for the baby shower (as if anyone noticed but me! ha!).  Unfortunately, my stress carried over to my pedicure.  I spent the whole time calling day cares, getting prices, calling in home caregivers, etc.  The prices in Lubbock range from about $500 to $650 a month for full-time care.  However, the rest of it ranges so much!  I couldn't believe it! 

I wanted a place with the following characteristics:
(1) close to our home
(2) opened early
(3) closed late
(4) let us pick her up at any time
(5) started caring for the baby at infancy
(6) helped work on developmental phases
(7) taught Spanish

I found one with ALL of these!  After calling about 15 places (not exaggerating), I decided to go see Neighborhood Academy.  It's apparently the priciest in Lubbock.  It's funny, because I finally see the "cost of living" that people talk about.  My cousin and his wife are also having a baby and they're paying $1200/ month in San Antonio.  In Lubbock, I'm paying about half that and it's the nicest here?  That's nuts to me!  This place is wonderful though.  I had called around to quite a few places and they made it very apparent that they did not do "unannounced" tours.  This bothered me.  I don't want to see what you're like with my child when I'm THERE.  I want to see how you act when I'm not around.  I showed up around 5:45 (they close at 6) and instead of huffing and puffing because they all wanted to go home, I got a 30 minute tour and by the time I had left, I knew this is where Liliana HAD to be. 

Let's go through the list:
(1) the daycare is approximately 1.8 minutes away from our house...I think that counts as close! haha.  If I am lucky enough to get the job at Craig, Terrill, Hale & Grantham (which is looking less and less likely by the way, but that's a whole other blog post), the new office is literally across the street from the day care.  I would have a 3 minute commute to work including dropping off the baby.  That was THE BEST part of it.  But even if I don't work at that firm, having it so close to the house is AWESOME.
(2) the daycare opens at 7:30.  This is great!  When I have trial at 8 in downtown Lubbock, I can drop her off and yes it will be close, but I'll still make it!  Most places do open this early, so this didn't really sway me either way.
(3) This was a BIGGIE.  ALL the places I had called thus far closed at 5 or 5:30.  If only I was fortunate to have that kind of job...but I won't be.  NOBODY leaves the firm that early.  Having it close at 6 is awesome.  I can leave the building at 5:50 and be there 8 minutes early. : )
(4) This was another thing that struck me from some other day cares.  They told me they "strongly discouraged" parents picking up at random hours because it "distracted their teaching environments."  Whatever.  When Evan has been on call for 30 hours straight and hasn't seen his little girl, he won't care about "distracting" Liliana's advanced 14 month teaching environment (sense sarcasm there? haha).  This daycare didn't mind if he happened to pick her up at 2 p.m.  He needs to spend time with her whenever he'll get the chance.  He was really glad that the daycare allowed him to do this, especially since it's so close to the house, he'll just get her on his way home.  I told him I thought he could come home, take a nap, and then go get her, but he said "we'll see" which means "I'll just have her sleep on my chest..." ; )  AWWW...
(5) Alot of daycares don't start as early as 6 weeks.  They'll do 12 weeks or even not until they're 12 months.  However, hopefully I'll be working!  Neighborhood starts at 3 weeks.  We won't need them that early because Evan is taking the month of July off so she'll be at least 6 weeks before we're needing any kind of care.
(6) This is the reason why this daycare is the "nicest" in Lubbock.  They're big on helping with developmental stages.  They have a room for each stage of a child's life and don't divide it by age, but by their progress.  For instance, once the child starts becoming more mobile (whenever that is, even if it's at 7 months), they move them to Nursery II so that they can SEE others moving and this makes them want to start moving as well.  I'm really big on this.  I think that seeing other children can really help in many ways.  It makes them more sociable, it makes them have something to compare themselves against, AND most importantly, it gives them someone to play with! 
(7) Can you believe it?  THEY TEACH SPANISH!  They have a fluent Spanish speaker with a degree in Education (other than Nursery I, all other teachers have college degrees - impressive, and perhaps even overkill, but still...it can't hurt right?).  At 9 months they start teaching them their sign language (which honestly, I don't care too much about), but they also integrate LANGUAGES!  Now this, I care about.  I REALLY want Liliana to be fluent in Spanish.  Evan wants this even more than I do I think.  His Spanish is amazing and I think he wishes that he would've started learning from birth as opposed to his twenties.  They teach them German and French (which is neat because Annie can help strengthen this) as well, but I mainly care about the Spanish.

It had all my characteristics...great.  BUT, even better, it SUPERSEDED my expectations.  My other two favorite things were:
- Liliana can stay there until after graduating from kindergarten!  They have a room all the way until age of 6 and I like the idea of her staying and getting a little group of friends.  The convenience to the house and the fact that the price doesn't go up as they grow (most do) is neat.  The teachers will get close to her and I know that means better care.
- OK, so sue me...this one is kinda stupid: they have web cams in EVERY room so we can log on and see!!  HOW COOL IS THAT?? Some people apparently don't like that because they say "why pay for this?"  But it's included in the price each month.  My family is so excited about this.  As long as I give them the password, they can log on and watch her whenever they'd like.  Whenever I'm having "Mommy separation anxiety" I can log on and see that she's happy playing with her friends.  Whenever Evan's been on call for a million days in a row and missing her, he can log on and see his beautiful baby girl missing her Daddy.

The day care find was awesome. Since Evan was on call when I toured, I told her I wanted my husband to see it before we were set.  Plus, I didn't have enough cash on me to pay the deposit and they didn't take credit cards.  I asked her if she could keep our spot on my promise and she said yes.  Evan went the next afternoon, fell in love as well and paid the deposit.  It was a good thing we paid too because it was their LAST SPOT!  At first I thought she might be kidding since it's for August (note: 6 months away!!), but someone called the morning after I toured and she told them someone had promised to come pay that day so they were out of luck.  It really really was meant to be!  I decided to go look on a whim, and I am so thankful I did! Had we gone the next day, our spot would have been gone!

After the deposit was paid, I realized, "I still don't have a job."  I kept saying I'd find the day care when the timing was right, so maybe I need to relax about the job, keep searching, and it'll come when the time is right. Yeah, that'll have to be my new mind set...keep searching, be aggressive, and I'll get the job that I was supposed to get.

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