So, I’m changing her daycare. The decision became clearer when Jacket’s first babysitter/nanny (and Eaglet’s) came to mind this morning. I merely uttered her name and Jacket went BANANAS rushing to the door looking for her with excitement. It hit me, she has never had that kind of reaction to her daycare staff. While they ADORE her, I’ve never seen her reach for or show any sort of enthusiasm towards them. Perhaps there’s a level of nurturing that she could benefit from in a smaller setting.
I imagine the new babysitter melting more personally into our lives in a way that isn’t possible from a more structured daycare. Given that I spend so much time reading to Jacket and talking about colors and numbers, I’m ok if she doesn’t get as much formal teaching during the day. I’d rather her get hugs and giggles right now. And beans and rice. So much better than those chicken nuggets.
One can apply for college online but in order to enroll a child in NYC’s licensed daycare programs it requires going in-person to 15 different offices between 9-5pm to fill out one piece of paper at a time FOR MONTHS. No mailing, no faxing, no scanning, no PDF, only IN. PERSON.
It feels like the time I was sent out to count sick chickens (yeah, as a psychologist but more as a researcher. You should have seen the ailing chicken rubric I developed, it was off the hook) amist a bird flu scare in a Liberian refugee camp. I had to keep walking and walking for days. I was sent from one person’s coop to the old-man-who-lives-past-where-the-orange peeler-used-to-sit-across-from-where-the-big-tree-used-to-be-cause-my-neighbor’s-cousin’s-sister-in-law-said-one-of-his-chicks-was-walking-sort-of-dull-but-it-might-be-because-the-goat-kicked-it-so-you-should-also-go-to-my-uncle’s-house-over-that-mountain.
Do I not live in New York City? I’ve worked 10 times more efficiently in countries without electricity. Do you know how many NGOs are collecting health data via text messages in developing countries these days? Is it a funding problem? Lack of qualified staff? Poor organization? What gives?
Of course people can’t get off welfare, they are ALWAYS at appointments for their freaking welfare. I wouldn’t want off of welfare either. Hell, once I finally break-through I will feel like I *earned* it! It’s mine, all mine! I busted my ass to get this daycare voucher and even if I become a millionaire, I’m keeping it!! And I’m passing it down to my kids and my kids’ kids and their kids’ kids’ kids.
added note: all of “the workers” have been really kind. i’m sure they’re just as frustrated.
Yesterday I wrote a long post detailing step-by-step how I selected Jacket’s daycare. For some reason Tumblr ate it. In short, I called almost 100 places, spoke to 70 people and visited two group-home-daycare-center. It was exhausting, grueling in fact given the weather, and I should probably continue to research more, but I found a lovely woman and her daycare who are in the projects one mile away. I am paying ‘privately’ at $175 a week until Jacket’s ACS voucher kicks in. They feed the kids breakfast, lunch AND DINNER. For free. Faaantastic!
Cut through days of trying to get Jacket’s correct immunization records, letters from the agency nurse approving her medical clearance to attend daycare and finally, her first day was Monday. To maximize the potential of having a stupendous first day I hired a car service to get us there door-to-door.
First off, the driver, who had agreed to a reasonable flat-fee, got on the FDR (highway for you non-new yorkers) and went by THREE EXITS. Did I choose a daycare that is THREE FDR stops away!?! What have I done?
Second, when I got out of the car, I decided that climbing over a 4-foot bank of snow would be a piece of cake, but you know where this is going… Jacket fell into one snow pocket and I belly-flopped into another. Two people had to help me get up before I could even start to look for Jacket. We presented at daycare as a soaking, muddy, hot mess.
A few more notes on cost: daycare is $35 a day. The car service is $10 each way totally $55 a day. $55 dollars is only $5 less than the $60 I was paying for a nanny to come over to my apartment. On a day like today when I have to pick-up Jacket from Daycare and take her to visitation with her mom, I’m actually spending more in multiple care services than having the nanny do it all for $60.
According to my thought of the day, anyway.
I really like this article on hysterical parenting. It helps to articulate my mental shift from “I can’t afford/don’t have time to be a foster parent” to “holy shit, I have a lot to offer”. Here are some personal, hysterical down-grades I’ve made which enabled me to give foster parenting a go:
1. Scrapped the top-rated doctor’s offices (spread out around the city) in exchange for the full-service, public clinic a block away. I found the pediatricians there to be excellent.
2. Fed the second baby the WIC (government) formula she came with (and was used to) instead of organic.
3. Dropped all pimped-out nursery inklings. I have a 1-bedroom apartment and the crib is in my bedroom.
5. And horror of all horrors, I stopped boiling the bottles after the first 30 hours with Snap.