Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Taking the Child Care Plunge

In Everleigh's 14 months of life, we've all been pretty lucky that she's been able to be with a relative or close friend at all times--usually Mommy, Daddy, or Grandpa, with the occasional day spent with Auntie Kristen, Jen or Grandma.

This is about to change, and I'm actually pretty excited for her. When we found out that my husband would be transferring from the University of Missouri Kansas City to the Kansas City art Institute for school, we were ecstatic. KCAI is known for being a really quality art school, with a focus on mentorship and "how do I get a real job with an art degree" applicability. Plus it means Scott doesn't have to waste time and money taking gen eds (2 semesters of math, 3 semesters of Spanish, etc). While we would all love to be better at math and Spanish, Scott and I found it hard to justify spending thousands of dollars for it when what he really wants is to be a successful artist/illustrator/teacher/something in the art field.

What this meant for our family was that Scott could no longer stack his classes to Tuesdays and Thursdays and have my dad watch Ev on the those days. Instead, he basically needs to be at school all day two days a week, evenings two nights a week, and 3 hours two other days. This complicates the whole stay-at-home-dad thing a bit. But we found a way to make it work through creative scheduling and calling in some "it takes a village" type favors. Even with all that, it still left one day during the week where we needed child care.

Some of the daycares we approached basically laughed in our faces...like, "our waiting list is approximately 2 years long". So there. We obviously should have known this would happen the day we conceived and gotten her on the list. Shame on us.

Others were super nice but wanted like $61 dollars A DAY to watch her. People, we are not wealthy. My husband is a student. An art student. Help a sister out. Then we stumbled on the best thing ever--Parent's Day Out programs. These are set up for people in our shoes. You take your kid one day a week (or more if needed), and pay a small fee ($20-$25 ish for most) for it. Now you're speaking my language.

The first one we toured had like 6 week old babies through 2 year olds together in one room. The room was a major baby-zone filled with extremely passive, quiet and sweet babies. Plus one girl Ev's age who didn't walk yet. They don't take that group outside or do projects. They basically just sit in the room while the passive babies swing and bounce and play quietly. While everyone seemed nice, I  couldn't picture Everleigh being down with the relaxed vibe in there. Plus, I'd like to challenge her, have her learn something, model big kid behavior, etc.

Dismayed, I kept searching and hearing more and more about wait lists, co-ops, fees, etc. My head was spinning.

Until we found the most awesome Parent's Day Out ever. No wait lists. No reservations required. It's a huge space with all new equipment and a grogeous toddler friendly playground. They take the kids outside EVERY DAY weather permitting, or to the gym if it's raining or too cold. Ev will be in a class of 12month olds to 19 month olds who walk and talk and eat and act like 12 month-19 months olds :) Best of all? She LOVED it there. She didn't want to leave. The teachers seemed great--really kind and patient and dare-I-say..multicultural. We would love for her to know early on not everyone's white or black and speaks English. Her primary teacher is Indian, and another teacher there had a heavy Australian accent. We took these to be good signs :) Plus I automatically assume that everyone from a different culture is probably more interesting (and it's usually true).

Ev is so social, and I think it will be healthy for her to make her first little friends and take group naps and learn better how to share and play with kids her age. Yay! I'm SO glad we found a place we all love and that it's affordable and interesting and great.

Just had to share.


EmAndRen said...

Aww! I LOVE this! How exciting and wondeful that you finally found a good, happy fit her both Ev and you guys :) I can't imagine how frustrating looking for a great place you feel really GOOD about sending your child to at that age must be. I thank the stars I haven't had to do that yet..I'd be in a xanax coma.. lol <3

Erika said...

E--you're too funny. Scott and I were seriously SO excited about it, we felt dorky. I guess he said something about it over beers with the guys and they were like, "whoa whoa whoa. No daycare talk, man." And that's why I have a blog. It never talks back ;)