Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Daycare Dilemma

We are trying to figure out what to do with Grace during those times when we both have to be in class, or we both have schoolwork to do. At 14 months, she is quite active, and needs attention every waking moment. The question is, whose attention? If Rob and I had our "druthers," I would be a full-time mom until Grace is old enough to go to school. Unfortunately, this is not financially feasible for us right now. My choices are to find a job, or to continue in my graduate education so I can keep getting loans. Rob quitting school before his PhD is complete is NOT an option - we've invested too much time and money for him not to finish.

This semester, Rob and I both have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So, we found a daycare. A very good daycare, that is run by an evangelical church in Pullman - the city where Rob's school is, and on the way to my school. The problem is that we live 15 miles from Pullman, so on those days when we are not going to campus, it isn't cost-effective to bring her in.

Enter the childcare center right here in our little town. We found out about it from the local 1-page daily bulletin. The cost is approximately half of what we are paying, and it is literally within walking distance from our house. We decided to check it out last night. We arrived at about 5pm. When we walked in the door, we were greeted with a cacophony of crying, pushing, hitting, hair-pulling toddlers. The one attendant on duty, the director, said "It's not usually this bad." I wanted to say "Well, how bad is it usually?"

Granted, it was after 5pm - the traditional meltdown time for toddlers. The director was the only attendant still on duty - the rest of the staff had gone home once the government-mandated 7 to 1 (children to workers) ratio was reached. Because Grace is not walking yet, she would be considered an infant, and so would be in the infant room, where the ratio is 4 to 1. Still, I am hesitant to bring her there. Rob, Grace and I are going back after Grace's nap today, to see what it's like during the day when the kids aren't so exhausted and there are more workers on duty.

You see, we have to have somewhere that we can bring her, locally, when we both need to get schoolwork done at home. Just because this place was every nightmare I had ever envisioned about daycare at 5pm on a Tuesday night does not mean that it's like that all the time. On the other hand, is a little convenience worth the risk? Hopefully we'll figure that out when we go back this afternoon. Like Rob said, I wish we didn't have to put her in daycare at all. I wish we had family nearby, who could help us out. Unfortunately, that isn't the case, and we have to do the best we can with the options available to us. I just pray we don't make the wrong decision. Our little girl is depending on us.

~ Kate :)

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