So, I have started the search for day cares a while back. Early on, I decided that I didn't know anything about what I was supposed to ask day cares. So I started researching searching for day cares. I would feel very prepared--that is, until I actually called them.
For some reason, the people on the other end of the phone of about six different places just struck me as incredibly rude. Maybe they were just impatient. Maybe they were tired after a long day of screaming toddlers. Whatever the case, several places got crossed off my list before I ever stepped foot in the door. I figured if they couldn't take the time to talk to me before I even brought my child there, they weren't going to provide the welcoming atmosphere that I needed in order to feel comfortable with the decision to use day care.
The I called one place that was so incredibly friendly. They also had specific schedules for cultivating multi-dimensional growth in infants. As I was listening to them, I had images of my daughter becoming a little genius during the day while I was gone. They made it all sound very wonderful. Then they told me the cost. It was more than I pay for tuition in graduate school. Seriously.
Now it's not that I'm not willing to pay for high quality day care. I've already cut out a lot of the lower costs options because they're not quite the kind of care I'm looking for. I also opted for a center over an in-home place because I want a more structured, scheduled environment as my daughter gets older. At the same time, I can't understand how day care could cost as much as that one did. I also do understand that we have a budget, and that was not in it.
I was beginning to get exasperated. Maybe I was being too picky, I thought to myself. Maybe I needed to go back to our budget and figure out a way to afford the place that sounded nice; after all, we don't really need electricity, right? In the midst of this worrying, I happened to call a place suggested by my work's employee assistance program (some of the rude ones had been, too).
They were friendly from the very beginning. They also had an open door policy, telling me to stop by any time and they'd be happy to show me around.
My husband and I decided to do just that. When we got there, we had to be buzzed into the building, which I think is a good thing considering it's an inner-city location.
Speaking of location, it is literally five minutes from work. I could walk there in ten. If something was wrong or if I forgot to pack enough milk, I could easily get there over lunch and still have time to grab something to eat.
The place was loud, but fun. The director showed me each of the rooms: elementary-school aged children, 3s and 4s, infant and toddlers. The infant and toddlers room was a little cramped, and I began to feel panicky again; it had seemed so perfect.
At the moment, they only have one child under the age of 1. But they have three mothers expecting in the next two months, and all of them want to continue using this day care when their new children arrive. The day care has decided to expand its infant and toddler room and create two separate rooms. This is supposed to be done in the next two months, well before I will be needing care.
I feel like we need to go back soon (maybe after the room is constructed). The director sat with me for close to an hour asking all of the questions I could think of (and they were good answers), but I would like to talk more with the person who is directly in charge of infant care.
If everything continues to go okay, I think we've found a place!