Friday, June 22, 2012

Uh oh...Daycare woes

Three days back at work and there's already trouble a-brewing!!

A little background...When I was pregnant, I asked everyone I encountered for names of daycare providers. I wanted a home, but was also open to institutions that we might use later. But I really wanted a home.
We struggled for a while because none of our friends live close to us so their recommendations were most of the time a far drive. J and I also go almost completely different directions to work, so any daycare place had to be close to our home so either of us could pick Reese up if necessary.
Finally, at a party celebrating our friends adoption of their son being final, the host introduced me to a mother who lived just minutes from us whose daughter was about 7. I made small talk and then asked her about daycare options. She said she'd ask friends. A few days later, I got an email from her with 2 recommendations for LP. I was overjoyed to discover that LP was about 2 minutes away from our house. I called her and asked some preliminary questions, and was happy with the answers. So said I'd call after the baby was born.

And I did. We set up a time when I could come observe her and see her home. I knew was told she had 2 dogs but that they were calm and weren't around the kids a lot. Everything was checking out. I talked to the person who had recommended her and was again happy with what I was hearing. We set up time on a Sat. when J and I could officially interview her. (Let me interject here that I looked at other places online and was either not impressed with their prices or schedules. I work from home 2 days a week and my parents were hoping to help us for those days. One place that I had my heart set on told me they had a flat fee for infants if they came 1 day or 5. I was not happy to hear that at all.) 

We went to interview her and have a tour of her home. We were there almost 2 hours. I had 7 pages of typed questions. I loved her. We finally met the dogs. One was old and very sweet. The other was a puppy and huge - about 100 lbs. He was in his crate and J went to him and the dog growled at him. Ok, not good, but our dogs growl at new visitors too sometimes.  Dog came out and still wasn't happy with Jason.  The response we got was that he didn't like men but he would warm up to Jason.  And he had never hurt a child in the year they had had him.  So we came home and discussed, and J still wasn't very happy but agreed to let us try it out if I made sure LP knew our specific concerns.  I called her and we had a good discussion.  She assured me that the kids were her top priority and the dog wouldn't be near Reese.

So we tried her out a few times.  I dropped Reese off to go get my hair cut (I blogged about this) and a few other trial runs.  Monday was the first day I went back to work.  When J dropped her off, the dogs were no where in sight.  He said it was hard, but he felt alright.  I picked her up and she had done great.  Even came home and worked a few hours because she was supremely tuckered out.  Tuesday, I worked from home and my Dad and Grandma were watching her here while I worked.  We all did pretty good.

Wednesday it was back to LP's.  J took her and I went to work after getting ready at the house.  About 9:50 am, I texted him to see how that morning had gone and he said, "the dog wanted to kill me but Reese did well. I hate that dog.  The other dog is great, came up to me and was loving on me and wanted to play but the other dog does not like me."  I asked him if I could have LP make sure the dog is in the bedroom when she knew J was coming.  He replied, "She had him in his crate but when he saw me he started to bark like crazy.  I'm glad he was in his crate.  She told me to just walk in the house next time and not to ring the door bell.  I told her she was crazy because if the big dog was out of his crate he might attack me.  I don't feel good about that dog.  I'm having a hard time feeling ok about leaving Reese there."  At that point he called me and described more in detail how bad it had been and that LP and her hubby couldn't calm the dog down.  He said he "felt sick to his stomach" when he left and he almost went back and got her.  His worry was that because the dog didn't like him SO much, what if the dog attacked him while he was holding Reese.  He would never forgive himself.  He also said that after talking to LP, she said that next week her hubby wouldn't be there like he had been this week, so it would be the "true test."  And that was what really struck me.  I don't want to "test" if the dog will attack my husband or daughter.  I had to start a class, so we got off the phone, but I texted him later saying, "I'll tell LP we're not coming back when I pick Reese up." He said he was sorry and I told him there was nothing to be sorry for. He can't be faulted for wanting to make sure his daughter is safe.  Yes, LP was a great caregiver, but that dog struck fear in me too.  Not a good thing. 

Now the tough part would be telling LP that we wouldn't be coming back.  I practiced my speech on the way home and thought I had it down.  But when I got there, it was still rough.  As soon as I saw Reese in LP's arms, I felt bad for taking her away.  I had to tell her and I was in tears by the time I was done.  LP was so good with her, but the dog freaked us out.  LP said she understood and then started to tear up saying, "I'm already so attached to her."  But she understood.  Her husband had been the one to get the 2nd dog when their other dog passed away and she had told him it wasn't good for business.  I guess he didn't believe her, maybe he will now.  Oh to be a fly on the wall in that house after I left or when he got home.  I gave her a hug and promised that we'd still be friends on Facebook and she could come see us anytime.

Dashed home and Reese was again tuckered out, which gave me the perfect opportunity to go back to searching for a new daycare.  While we don't live in a remote area of town, there really aren't a lot of choices for daycare that are convienent to J and my commute.  It's either one or the other.  I did a mapquest search and called the AZ State Resource (Childcare Resource Center) for help.  I dug out my other research for daycares that I had done before Reese was born and found Childtime Learning Center.  It's about 8 minutes away and was kind of my backup.  Know a few kids that go there and have heard good things, was just a bit pricier than we hoped for.  But now I have a completely different perspective on it all.  So called them and was really happy with the director and her knowledge and patience as she answered all my questions.  J and I figured out that we could both meet there after he got off work to check it out for ourselves.  We liked what we saw so Reese will be enrolled come Monday.  I'll always keep my ears open for other opportunities and I did tell LP that if they ever get rid of that dog, to call us and we'd probably come back.  But for now, Childtime it is!  And hopefully they can help with our current sleep issues...but that is a whole other post!

1 comment:

  1. Good Job for following your gut. So sorry that the sitter thing is so hard. Our sitter had a small zoo when J started; dog, cat, 2 ferrets, macaw, and a goat, yes i did just type goat. the ferrets were caged, the bird lives upstairs but you can hear it, and the goat lived outside. Then when J was there about a week she got another dog! A mastiff puppy. I was a bit concerned but her house is immaculate and she adores the kids so I left it. One day she opened the door in tears. Her original dog had snapped at her own daughter. And that very night, though it was the first time the dog had ever done anything like that, Babysitter got the dog out of the house - sent to live with her brother because she refused to take the risk with her "kids". that made me feel sooooo good AND I felt so bad that I took her flowers after work, she gave up a family pet to keep my child safe.

    Now Z is at her house and the zoo has reduced over the years. Ferrets, goat, and cat have all gone on to a better place...the bird still squawks from upstairs and the mastiff is huge but is truly a gentle giant.

    If you found a child care center that you like, you will be thrilled. Actually it makes life a little easier as there will never be a day that you have to call in sick because your sitter calls in sick, or you have to take a vacation day so she can take a vacation day. I LOVE Babysitter, but if I could afford to send both kids to a center I would. Summer scheduling for the boys is a nightmare.

    Hang in there mama!


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