Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The daycare saga continues

DH and I have been cruising around Charlotte looking for that perfect daycare for our daughter. We are at T minus 5 months for starting daycare (assuming L&D is a little early for me). Now I wish we had started the search 6 months ago! Of course she wasn't even a twinkle at that point but I swear, that's what our daycare search has taught us. Have you started trying to get pregnant? Then put your name on a list now! Seriously, it's crazy.

We've toured 3 places so far and will probably tour 2 more depending on whether the facilities offer infant care or not. Our first appointment was the one. I just knew that we would love the facility and want to have our daughter there. First of all, location-wise it is perfect. Even if my next role at BigFinance puts me back in uptown rather than the suburbs it is still on the way to the daycare. And it's on the way to/from my current workplace and less than 2 miles from our house. Perfect!

It is a church run facility and for some reason, DH and I have been very much drawn to those. Not because we are particularly religious. Heck, no! The last religious ceremony I was at was 2 1/2 years ago at my wedding. It's more of the philosophy and the fact that it is not a chain. This particularly place (let's call it KidsChurch) has an awesome facility and a 4:1 ratio for infants. They have kids all the way up through elementary school so we could potentially keep our daughter there for many years. It's definitely the most expensive but it rated 5 stars according to NC (the best) so you get what you pay for. Wait list? One year :-( But the admin thought that would be cut down considerably in May once they go through the wait list to confirm placement. Plus some folks would probably be pulling kids out because of layoffs in the region.

The other facility we really liked is also church run (let's call it LittleChuch) is a bit farther away (closer to my current workplace) but is definitely doable. It only goes through pre-K but still plenty of time. Also 5 stars and the teachers seem really great. It's a bit less expensive than KidsChurch but not by much. Wait list? Potential start in August. Interestingly we toured the facility with another couple. It kind of made me competitive. Shocking, I know. But I was ready to whip out the checkbook just to get in ahead of them.

The last place was a chain facility (ChainCare). It is the farthest away but has immediate openings. No surprise considering it is a 4 star facility and offers a 5:1 ratio for infant care. The facility was fine and I liked the director but it definitely felt more "clinical" to me than the other two places. The director said she is hoping for a 5 star rating this Spring and will ask for funding for an additional teacher for infant care if she achieves it. But I can't really hold my breath for that to occur.

DH and I have decided we will put our names on the wait list for LittleChuch and KidsChurch. We have to wait until tomorrow because we got a few inches of snow last night/this morning so the city is shut down. We still need to check out a few other places before we decide if we want to put the little one in ChainCare for a couple of months before we can get in to one of our "final" choices. Is this what's it's going to be like for private school? No wonder people go crazy in NYC with this stuff.

I told DH that I have a feeling everything will work out and we'll get in to KidsChurch with no wait. For some reason I am the most optimistic person throughout this pregnancy. Nothing can phase me. Of course we'll see how that pans out when I have my bonus discussion. Optimism can quickly become pessimism when dealing with money issues...

Shout out to LauraC for her help with my NC childcare question on Friday. The admin was just confused as we suspected!


Donna said...

I would definitely try and steer away from a place with a 5:1 ratio. I know that makes it very difficult for them to care for the needs of your child. My DS2 is in a in home daycare. She has 7 kids total (but only 2 are infants and the rest are pretty much 3 and over).

Nancy said...

I just cruised over from Mommy Esq.'s to read the AI recaps (Holy COW you're good :) ) and this post caught my eye.

Have you thought of maybe hiring a nanny? In our case (twins at the time) it was actually more cost-efficient. Not sure if it'd be the same with one kid (or in your area rather than in MA.) And it's definitely not as "froufie" as it sounds ;)