Monday, June 8, 2009

Child Care High Turns To Crisis

I was so excited on Friday when the director of The Learning Center on the Concord Hospital campus called me to say that Gabriel will have a full-time spot at the beginning of October. YIPPEE! We finally made it to the top of the waiting list! The director was probably happier than I was since she won't have to expect weekly pestering phone calls from me to see where Gabriel is on "the list" anymore. I was also offered a part-time slot to get started after the July 4th holiday and can begin bringing Gabriel on Monday's and Friday's. I thought this was a good idea, even though having two part-time slots at two different child care centers will cost more, I thought that it would be far easier to start merging Gabriel into The Learning Center now on Monday and Friday while he has little stranger anxiety, so the big move in October when he is 9 months old won't be so traumatic. I was so pleased after I got the phone call. It was like my kid got into Harvard with a full scholarship, except, I'm still paying for everything.

The day care market in Concord is non-existent for infants, and the few spots that are out there are tough to secure. The one place we found an infant spot in Concord showed up on WMUR news recently due to a state investigation. Glad we passed on that place. I told directors of child care centers I was pregnant long before we got a chance to tell the happy news of Gabriel's pending arrival to our parents, so we could do tours and get on wait lists at those child care centers.

The Learning Center rarely has a snow day because the hospital never closes. Gabriel's pediatrician is on the Concord Hospital campus, so that means I don't need to take a whole half day off for well baby appointments, or sick baby appointments. I will have more flexibility in my work schedule since I won't have to run out of my office at 4:30 pm to make it in time to pick up Gabriel. I will be able to make all of those special events he will have at the day care since he's just a short walk across campus. (So looking forward to the Halloween parade!) I can feed him lunch instead of pumping. The Learning Center offers kindergarten and field trips when he gets older so there is no need to scramble again for child care unless I change jobs or until Gabriel goes to first grade. And right now The Learning Center offers summer programs for kids up to grade 3. On most days I will now be able to have Gabriel in day care hands for less than 9 hours verses where he is now it is 10 hours due to the commute from Concord to Epsom. There are so many things to celebrate with his acceptance at The Learning Center. October just can't come soon enough!

When I drove to pick up Gabriel at his current day care center that same Friday, I was on a high. I knew that it would be a hard conversation to talk to the current director about moving him to part-time after July 4th, but I was ready. And then when I went to have the conversation, I learned that Gabriel's current child care center is closing. WHAT!? They hope to be able to keep enough staff and kids to make it through July 4th. My best child care day ever was now my worst day care nightmare. I am in high anxiety now trying to figure out how to piece together child care coverage between now and his full time slot in October.

I have to remember to keep counting my blessings at this point. For one, Gabriel is a great baby. They call him Smiley at day care and tell us how easy he is. So thankfully we don't have a cranky baby to try to find child care for. And Gabriel is social, so he seems to enjoy people right now and he flashes smiles easily. The Learning Center had already offered him the Monday and Friday slot after July 4th, so I have 2 out of the 5 work days covered. Grandma Abberton has Wednesday's off since she works four 10-hour shifts, and she is willing to spend some quality time with her grandson this summer. 3 out of the 5 days covered. A handful of people have mentioned they would do child care for us previously, so we will start the process of following up and trying to figure out who really was serious and how to work all of the child care together in a way that works best for Gabriel. And I am spreading the word to everyone I can think of who might potentially know of some safe solutions in the Concord area. We at least have an end point knowing we have the full-time slot in October.


Jacinda said...

Hmmmm... happy news and bad....I'm glad he is getting into CH -

Don't foret MeMe Cynthia...she might be willing to do a day as well...goodness knows - she loves babies and you and Mike for providing what I refuse to do....lmao! I hope to see you all soon!

Sarah said...

Oh yes, we have MeMe Cynthia on "the list" of people to call.