The past month or so has been extremely difficult personally. In January we hired a full time nanny who watched our kids in her home with her own two kids. At first things were great, but after a while we started to have some concerns. About a month ago we decided it would be best for everyone involved to move our kids to a childcare facility. It was a very difficult decision and conversation to have with the person who had been caring for my children for years. (She was a teacher at their previous childcare center.)
Luckily since school is starting and kids move up to new classes spots were open in the center we desired for both kids. Had out little one, Cameron, been younger than a year we might not have been so lucky. Infant spots in a 4 or 5 star center have up to a year or more waiting list. In other words, you better get on the list before you conceive your baby.
Add to this the sticker shock. Full-time care in a 4-star center for two children…$420 per week (close to $22K a year). If you are tempted to calculate your wages after paying for childcare and taxes, trust me, don’t.
So after a grueling month it was time for vacation! We had a wonderful trip to my hometown of St. Augustine, Florida. We had a fabulous time spending lazy days at the beach with the kids building sand castles and playing in the waves (even though Florida was flanked by hurricanes this past week).
My family had a completely unplugged vacation without Internet, computers, PDAs, or even cell phones. I think we all need to do this more often. It was completely relaxing. I’m realizing more and more the effect technology can have on one’s attention span and ability to concentrate. Years ago I could read a novel in a day. Now I can only make it through a page or two before I start fidgeting and getting impatient.
We arrived home over the weekend and returned back to the routine of work and childcare. Monday was Ian and Cam’s first day at the new center. Ian being anxious to start kindergarten next fall was excited about going to “4-year-old kindergarten.” Cam on the other hand has not had the same exposure to being around other adults. She cried the entire day and around 2pm we received a phone call that she had a fever and we needed to pick her up. This is one of the reasons why we had switched initially from a childcare center to a nanny. A nanny can watch kids when they are sick. A childcare center cannot, and anyone who has been around kids knows that they are always sick! The dreaded thing about daycare fevers is that state policy says your kids must be fever-free for 24-hours before coming back. Which means if you get that call your child is out the rest of the day and all of the next day. So you are looking at missing two-days of work. Because my husband and I both teach classes it is often an interesting chess match of a phone call as we determine who has enough sick leave, whose class is more important, and can either of us get a substitute to fill in. We are both lucky to work in an organization with staff who understand and are flexible.