Changing Routines, Choosing Daycares

Brian and I made the choice well before our baby was born to send him to daycare. We sort of tried to get Brian’s mother to take the responsibility at least a couple days a week, but his parents (as in love with their grandson as they are!) are in the prime of their fun traveling years and couldn’t commit.

Fair enough. So who else can be as good a mom as me to my son?

I briefly debated about a nanny or a home-run childcare. But I believe in safety in numbers (so-to-speak) and child/teacher ratios and even germs (that was all theoretical until Jameson brought home his first cold, haha) and so daycare it was. And Brian and I got so lucky. More lucky than I think we realized, until I had to go select a new one. Because I’m changing jobs.

Assuming I pass my criminal background check and drug screen of course. Yes yes, those are no-brainers for me, me being the tamest person I know. So I am changing jobs and starting my new job on June 1st where I will be working with some old co-workers from an even earlier job and being an Internet Product Manager (manager of product, not of people, but it sure sounds good, right?). I feel very fortunate and very excited, and the only thing holding me back last week before I made my decision was Jameson’s daycare. Who would’ve thought I’d get so attached?

When we first looked at daycares, we looked together, taking a day off and doing a “daycare-crawl”. We had our pick, since we were looking before baby was born, and there were a lot right around my workplace. We liked several of them and generally looked at the following factors:

  • Location/Convenience to nurse at lunch time if I desired
  • Teacher/child ratio (for infants, most were 1:5 which is a state mandate, but the one we selected is actually 1:4)
  • Vacation policy (do we still have to pay when we take Jameson out on vacation?)
  • Sick policy (which was also pretty much universal)
  • Room size and appearance
  • Safety (most had locks with codes on the entryway doors)
  • Food offerings for when Jameson eats solids
  • Discount available from my work
  • Teacher turnover rates

Prices didn’t really matter, because we found that all of them in our area, after my workplace discount, were within $10 or so. Our first decision was based on the fact that it was right across from my work, literally. Unfortunately, we didn’t think about further in the future. It was great initially while I attempted to nurse on my lunch break, but it is a completely inconvenient location for my new job.

This time around, we didn’t have nearly the selection as before. I only had four on my list to look at, by myself. This time I also didn’t have nearly so many questions (as I came to realize a lot of the basics were pretty much universal at daycares in my area). This time my decision was based on the following:

  • Teacher/child ratio (all of them are 1:5 this time around)
  • When do the infants move into the next room? While general policy here is 18 months, I think that is a huge range and prefer the daycares to move children up at 12 months.
  • The teachers themselves – what do they look like, are they personable?
  • Vacation policy (though we have ended up selecting a place that has no vacation policy)
  • The room – the set up, rather than just the size. I didn’t care for places that had swings/toys out in the same area as the cribs with no separation
  • Food offerings for when Jameson eats solids
  • Price (this time, price varied wildly since I was looking all along my route to work, up to a $60 a week, which can equal out to just over $3,000 difference over a years time!)

I finally did find one – just one – that met all my criteria except the vacation time. I found someone at my current workplace whose son attends, and she highly recommended it as well, so we’ll be enrolling Jameson there. He’ll start just a day before I start my new job, so a very short transition.

The hardest part through all this is the change in routine. I like my routine right now, I depend on it, and even though I want this job and am excited for it, a part of me is dreading the new routine that will take place. I was never so dependent on routine before Jameson was born, but this change has me anxious over what it will do to Jameson and myself.

When I told my current daycare, the ladies in the infant room were very disappointed, I almost cried. It was unexpected for me to feel so attached to this place. They love him there, telling me every day how adorable he is and how smiley and what an easy baby (do they say that to everyone?). Regardless, I am wondering a little if all the easy baby talk is their skill with infants (like Jameson’s ridiculously awesome nap times at daycare that I can’t seem to replicate).¬† I just hope that the teachers at the new daycare will love him just as much (and be just as skilled).

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