My son will start day care on Monday when I start work fulltime. He is only 3 months old. This , by far, is the toughest thing that I have ever had to do. In an ideal world I would love to have a dedicated full-time nanny that i can trust and perhaps some help at night as well but alas, we live in a world constrained by resources and limited in our trust of others. I started exploring child care options a couple of months before my due date and after a very exhaustive analysis I decided to go with a group day care. As I see it, I have three options -
1. Group day care and private preschool run by a corporations and accountable by law (licensed and registered with the state of Texas). This kind of facility offers a very high level of accountability and an opportunity for my child to be under the care of 2 fulltime teachers as well as 6 other adults ( eg. the 2 asst. directors, director, 2 teachers from the second infant room and receptionisi). I have been making surprise visits to the facility and the infant room wher my son will be going to has 5 infants and at least 2 teachers at all times. There is, also, state issued minium standard guideline that must be followed and sanitation procedures adhered to. For example, disposable gloves to be worn and discarded at each diaper change. If I see anything I don't like I can report it to the Texas child and family Protective Services and an inspection will be arranged immediately. The facility is inspected every quarter (4 times a year) by Govt. officials and I can read the reports which are public records. These are all pros, now the cons are equally compelling. The biggest downside in a group day care is GERMS. No amount of sanitation can prevent infections in a building with 200 young children and circulating air. The second negative, compared to nanny, is the lack of individual attention. The state requirement is 4:1. 4 infants for every teacher. The day care that my son will be going to will have 6:2.
2. Family run day care with children of all ages. . These are small setups. At least the ones that I investigated are run in peoples' homes with a maximum of 7 kids. Usually they only take 1 infant and the others are toddlers and preschoolers. I know that some of these are registered with the state but teh majority are sorta ... well... not regulated in any way. If I knew the ladies running these personally ( like a neighbour or something) I might think about them because unfortunately I don't and I find number #1 above to be more appealing because of teh accountability and professionalism.
3. NANNY I have gone through an agency to find out about this. The profiles that they sent me were for nannies who charge $600-800/ week. This is more than twice of what a group day care costs. Well we could make it work if we found a nanny who came with recommendations from our acquaintances. Anyway, I found a fulltime nanny who came in for a couple of days when my son was about 1 month old. I think I didn't really let her do anything and she got upset. I was so paranoid the first 6 weeks after delivery that I didn't let anyone touch my baby. I think, in retrospect, it must have been the hormones !! anyway, that nanny just disappeared and never called to collect her check for the three days that she was here. I gave up on the nanny search since then. There is absolutely no way I can leave my son with a stranger with no real accountability. In other words, I can't pick a nanny from teh yellow pages for my son.
Honestly, If I can find a nanny who comes with tons of great refrences and at least few of them from people i know i would go with a nanny till my son is at least a year old. I have restatred my nanny search. Letsee what happens. Till then my lil one will be in the day care.
I am sorry about teh long rant ...... this has been such a dilemma for me for sooooo long that i just can't stop writing ..........