About four blocks from our house is a dingy, stucco box of a house with a single, filthy, two-square-foot window. Hanging on the side of that house is a vinyl banner that reads, Child Care Openings. I believe that in small print under that it says We abuse and neglect your children, almost for free! When Emmie asked me the other day whether that was the Chaotic Bilingual Day Care, it occurred to me that I had not been representing the place totally fairly.
Chaotic Bilingual Day Care is clean. It is well lighted. It is run by an impeccable, articulate woman whom I still totally trust. I've met several families whose kids go there, and to a person they are likable, normal-seeming, smart-seeming adults whose kids are not jerks. It is categorically a bad fit for Ingrid, and I saw some stuff there that I didn't like, period, but I would still recommend it. At least, I'd recommend that people looking for day care in the area spend some time there and check it out. Despite the worst things I listed about it, my pulling Ingrid out of there is still mostly a gut thing. There is not anything glaringly, objectively wrong about the place. Even the worst things I witnessed there were sort of ambiguous.
Anyway, I don't know if you were reading along thinking What on earth made caro even think of sending her child into that hell hole? but in case you were, I hope that clears it up.
I called the director of Crunchier Than Thou last week to chat about our visit, and she listened to my concerns about Ingrid being ready for such a setting at all. Then she suggested that, if we decide this is the right place, one of their part-time teachers come to spend some time with Ingrid here at home a few times, in order to make the transition to her starting there more gradual. Stunning, isn't it? The out of the box thinking? The sense of partnership? The genuine sensitivity to the individual child's needs?
I was still looking into a couple of other leads at that point, so I told her I'd call her in a few days. But what else could I possibly want or hope for? I'm going to get in touch with her today and tell her we want to give it a try.
Also this week, we visited a fabulous pre-school co-op that made me all weepy about the fact we probably won't logistically be able to do traditional pre-school. Then I thought about how far away next September is and decided to sign her up and really work on arranging our lives so that it can work by then. If not, we just eat the $50 registration fee.
Ingrid has a stomach bug that made her puke all night Thursday. I got some version of it for several hours Friday. So far Iris and A are safe. I am on a "break" at the coffee shop, the kind that feels more like a time-out because rather than planning a take-care-of-me outing I let myself get cranky enough that A basically sent me away for a couple of hours. I guess I'll take what I can get.
I am so relieved to have moved forward with the day care decision. It must be a primal thing: not knowing who will take care of my kids = not sleeping. Each time Iris woke up to nurse, I'd find my mind scrolling through various day care possibilities and impossibilities, before I'd even realized I was thinking about the subject. I still think about it a lot, but I feel much calmer knowing this good option is taking shape.