Our struggle to come up with a day care situation that we feel comfortable with has been enlightening. I don't think there are a lot of good options in my area. Or I am having trouble finding them, anyway!
I took tours of each of the three day care centers near us. The first two had the same type of setup -- a very large room divided up with dividers that are probably 5 feet high in order to form separate classrooms for the different age groups. The individual classroom areas looked pretty good, but I couldn't get over the lack of real division -- the kids had to deal with the noise of the other classrooms in addition to their own. I know I need quiet to focus, often times, and I've seen my kids need it, too. One of them will tell the other one to stop talking because they are playing -- in other words, they need it to be quieter to focus on the story they are imagining. I wonder how much the constant noise might slow down the children's learning, even. The third day care center had separate rooms, but there were no openings, and the price was astronomical. The first two centers were already expensive - $168 and $172 per week. The third was $225 per week. But amazing and I would feel completely comfortable putting Samuel there, as would many other parents, apparently. Enough that they can charge that much and be full.
We've also checked out home day cares. We toured just two to begin with. The first one looked fine, and she seemed to have a great program in place and seemed to be experienced and to really know what she was doing. However, there was one quite noticeable difference from other day cares that I thought I had to address -- all the children were the same race as the provider, which was not the same race as Samuel. Now, I am not racist by any means. But I noticed that Samuel wouldn't go into the playroom to check it out, and clung to my leg. I'm pretty sure it was because the kids looked so different from the poeple he is used to seeing. So, we had a little talk when we got in the car about how the other children's skin was a different color, but that didn't mean they were any different inside, how it wasn't any different than having different hair or different eyes. And yet, I still don't want my kid to be the only one who is or has ______ -- whatever noticeable feature it might be. Standing out from the others is hard for any kid, and I wouldn't want to set my kid up to be in that situation.
So now, I am having trouble bringing myself to call other day cares in our area. It's not like I can ask, when I'm screening the providers, "What's your rate? What's your training? And oh, by the way, what is the race of the children you care for?" Yet if I don't, how many day cares will I visit and find the same situation? It just makes the process that much more complicated.
The second day care we visited, we loved, and we decided we wanted to go with her. However, before we could even get paperwork back to her, she called and said she was going to have to leave and go take care of her mother who was going into hospice, and wasn't going to be doing day care for who knows how long. We thought we had had it settled, but now we were back on the hunt!
While looking for more providers to visit, I noticed that a lady I knew from back when I started my day care had an opening. She lives just around the corner from us, and is very experienced and knowledgable, so she would be a great, logical choice. Samuel and I went to visit her that day, and took home papers to sign, expecting him to be able to start as soon as Monday if necessary. However, the next morning, I heard from her again, and the child who was leaving is going to be staying two more weeks instead of leaving at the end of this week. She said she would be taking interviews for the spot and would try to decide by the end of the week. Huh? I thought we had the spot reserved, but I guess she is going to interview some more families that have called and choose the child she wants in her day care. I understand the desire to do that, but it is frustrating to be up in the air once again. Do we wait and hope she chooses us? Do we try to go tour other day cares in the meantime?
Please pray we will some how find the perfect place. As with the job hunt, I'll keep you updated.