Which leaves one other home care provider and the centre. And neither of them really jumped out at me as the right place. Why can't things just stay the same?!?
- walking distance to our house - although I will have the car again in September, being a one-car family, this will likely come in handy at least once or twice
- everything is formalized and documented (e.g. the kids don't go outside if the temperature is over 34 degrees, with or without the humidex, or under minus 13, with or without the windchill -- sorry I don't know the conversion for Americans, except to say really really hot and really cold)
- monthly menu plans so if we don't want him to eat something, we can send him with something else that day
- daily reports on his diaper action, eating, sleeping and activities for the day
- structured routine with lots of outdoor time, arts and crafts, and singing/circle time; I will always know where he is and what he's doing at any point in the day
- no worries about the care provider going back to school or having a dentist appointment
- the director's been there for 20 years and most of the staff have been there for 10+ years
- long hours of operation so if one day I have to work late, I'm not totally screwed
- the two boys that he's currently in daycare with are going there, and one will even be in the same group of toddlers
- I think the sleeping arrangement would suit Swee'pea better than a home care environment, that seeing all those kids around him sleeping will help him sleep
- no green space and no trees outside; just a parking lot with not much shade
- no flexibility to change my days or add a day here or there
- not super-great food and won't easily accommodate vegetarianism; that said, we aren't planning to raise Swee'pea vegetarian, but hot dogs creep me out and I don't want him having meat every day
- it was really loud when we visited and they have up to 50 kids (only 10 toddlers), although Swee'pea seemed totally unfazed when we visited
The Home Care
- the woman is really warm and nice
- she speaks Spanish to the kids
- not many kids
- feeds good, homemade food although still a fair amount of meat (no beef though)
- not much tv and not as part of the routine, just occasionally
- good yard with lots to play on outside (although not as nice as his current daycare)
- recommended by a friend with similar values who loves her
- charges full-time prices for part-time care; although I'd hate to choose the cheapest care for my child because it's the cheapest, I can't afford full-time fees on a part-time salary
- didn't talk a lot about her daily routine or activities; I wasn't sold on what I was getting for the increased fees
- when I told her about Swee'pea's sleep challenges* and asked how she would handle it, she said, "I can't make him sleep," which isn't the answer I was looking for. I was looking for someone with lots of ideas and flexibility to try new things. She did, however, suggest he could sleep on the couch, which is fine with me, and I think Swee'pea would go for that
- inconvenient location that requires driving and is farther than my work
I am a passionate advocate for available, affordable, high-quality day-care. But what I have always loved about home-care is that a home is a place where one can productively do nothing.
All of this just makes me love the daycare provider we're losing, the one Swee'pea has just started calling MeeMee in the most adorable way, more. Why oh why can't things just stay the same?!?
So what would you do?
* I never blogged about this, but when Swee'pea started daycare, his care provider had no problem rocking him to sleep, but she couldn't put him down. He kept waking up and crying every single time. She nearly quit, but we talked and brainstormed and she eventually put him in the jogging stroller, rocks the stroller and sings to him, and he sleeps fine. But I think it will an issue all over again, especially in another home care situation.