I believe I promised to tell you about the other big decision I had to make last week.
The wonderful lady who has been babysitting Mr. Blue had to give me two weeks' notice. She felt bad about it but she needs to start picking up her other two grandchildren from school and she doesn't have room in her car for five kids. Of course I was stunned and disappointed since it was working out so well, but I understand because I know why she needs to be there for her grandkids (I'd better not mention why since there is a tiny chance they could find this blog and the family is keeping the situation private).
Anyway, I went to work with my head spinning. I decided my options were 1) put Mr. Blue in a full-time preschool/daycare program; 2) try to find other at-home care; or 3) see if my mom and Justin could split taking care of him two days a week as Justin had offered to do before I found this sitter. My mom is not available to keep him very often, and he couldn't nap at Justin's shop, so #3 was the least desirable. I only had a couple of possibilities for #2, and quite frankly I'm not crazy about how unreliable individuals are turning out to be.
At lunchtime, I decided to call the church-affiliated preschool he went to last year, where Miss Pink went for three years; they have a full-time program as well. Now that I am needed to sub as many days a week as I want to, I can afford to put him there. They have the same preschool curriculum for the FT kids as the two-or-three-mornings-a-week kiddos; they just eat lunch and an extra snack and have extra playtime. At the beginning of the school year they did not have a spot in his class, and now they do. The director was willing to apply the registration fee which I had originally turned in for the PT preschool program (before I decided to sub) to this program, so I only have to pay a small supply fee and the tuition, which is due weekly.
So here are the pros and cons.
- I completely trust the directors at the school. We never had any problems with them during the whole time my kids attended preschool. The center is very clean, the kids seem happy, the state guidelines are followed, the classes are small with a good child-to-teacher ratio, and the food they cook always smells good (a weird positive, but true). This sounds like a lot of pros, but really it is all part of what I have said before: if I have to put my kids in a FT daycare, this one is a good one.
- It is priced reasonably, only a little more than I was paying per day for at-home care. Which means I will not be working just to pay for day care; I will be helping our finances even though my primary reason for subbing is to make contacts to help me get a full-time teaching job.
- Mr. Blue is really getting interested in letters and numbers, noticing them everywhere. Of course we read and identify letters and numbers, but he will like learning more about them at school. It's a relaxed, not-too-academic program that I think will be great. I wanted him to go to a school-type program next year anyway, so this is just starting early.
- I don't have to take him in if I'm not working, or if I work a half-day. (Of course, I still have to pay for it, which I'll discuss in the Con section.)
- I have to pay for it even if he's not going to be there. So if we have a week like this one, when a child is sick for multiple days, or Christmas, when I can't work, I still have to pay to keep his spot. This pains me. It won't be nearly as much of an issue when I have a regular full-time job. (Because then I will be the teacher hoping not to use up too many sick days. Aaargh, the trials of being a working parent, they are beginning.)
- The whole idea of having him in a daycare at all. Seriously, I thought about not posting this list at all because of the people who could read this and think what a selfish cow I am to be working when we've managed to survive for seven years with me as a SAHM. But my husband and I really do believe this is the direction we need to go as a family. Still, being able to sleep in and cuddle with the kids is awesome and I plan to enjoy it when it is possible.