Friday, May 18, 2012

Nanny Needed

I haven't had much time to write lately.  It seems the older Ian gets, the more time I spend with him.  I rarely want to do anything else, but I must take some time for myself to.  Luckily, The Prince recognizes this fact and, today, he decided to take Ian to visit my in-laws, so I could have a few hours to myself.

This last week has been especially stressful.  First, there was more drama with my family (can't even get into it because it makes me sick to my stomach to think about it).  Then, there was my first daycare tour.  I'll be returning to week the first week in July.  We placed Ian on the waiting lists for two daycares when I was 12 weeks pregnant.  He has just now made it to the top of the list (just in time).  I knew it would be hard for me to accept that I am going to be leaving Ian in the care of strangers, but I had no idea just how hard it would be.

We (The Prince, Ian and I) went to the first daycare last Thursday.  It is for state employees and we had heard good things.  UGH!!!  The carpeting was dirty and frayed.  There were dirty and broken toys everywhere.  Way too many kids were crammed into way too small of a space...and none of the 50 or so kids were smiling.  In one room, a little girl came over and hugged my legs and begged me to be their new teacher because the teacher they had was mean.  Seriously!  The infant room had 10 infants at the time of our tour...usually there are 16.  There were 3 adults in the room.  Most of the infants were crying and the teachers were paying no attention to the crying.  Two were getting breakfast ready for the older infants and one was changing a diaper of a younger infant.  Babies were just sitting and laying around.  I didn't even make it out of the room before I started bawling.

New York state requires that daycares have one adult for every 4 infants under the age of 2.  So that's what daycares do...a 4 to 1 ratio.  It's too much.  I have friends whose children go to daycares and they are perfectly happy with the care their babies receive with the 4:1, but I can't do it.  Ian is used to my constant care and attention.  We've practiced attachment parenting, so he has never been left to just cry it out (not that he has never been allowed to just cry for a few minutes to blow off steam...but he knows I'm there and I love him while he does it).  Putting him in the daycare environment would be traumatic for him...and I say that with certainty.  Even The Prince, who is all about saving money (and daycare is cheaper than any other childcare option) walked out of that first tour saying...NO WAY!

After the first tour, I placed an add for a nanny.  The Prince and I decided that, even though it will likely cost about half of my take-home pay, it is worth it while Ian is still an infant.  His well-being and our peace-of-mind needs to come before financial concerns. 

We took a second tour, yesterday, of the daycare on the campus where The Prince is a professor.  It was sooooo much better, and we feel really comfortable sending Ian there...when he's a toddler.  The infant room was, once again, depressing.  I watched one teacher put a crying baby in a crib, say "take a nap," and walk away to write in a notebook.  Another teacher in the infant room was talking about how her son would be starting at the daycare now that he is 2.  I said "He didn't come here with you to the infant room?"  She said "Oh no...he's with people I trust."  Really?!?  Glowing recommendation.

So, we've put ourselves on the waiting list for an opening in the toddler room next year, and will hire a nanny to get us through until then.  There are a lot of candidates.  I received 30 responses to our ad.  I reviewed references and background checks, read profiles and started my stupid grading system.  I narrowed the candidates down to the 7 best (although it is really difficult to say who is "better" than someone else when the criteria is so subjective).  What I'm doing now reminds me a lot of what I did to find the right egg donor for us.  At noon today, I wrote to the 7 top candidates, explaining what we are willing to pay and what we expect in return.  I assumed that this would weed-out the people who are not on the same page as us, so we don't waste anyone's time.  So far, 5 have responded that they would like an interview.  It looks like next Saturday is going to be spent conducting interviews. 

I'm excited, but scared.  This is one of those things that you have to get right.  Ian's safety and happiness depends on this decision.  I can't stay with him everyday for the next year, so I need to make sure that the person who is spending time with him is going to be able to care about him...not as much as I do...but close.  Who knew, a year ago, that finding a nanny would be on my to-do list.  I know you are probably sick of hearing me say "what a difference a year makes," but I can't help it.  It's just surreal.


Anonymous said...

Kids do great in day care and there are way more checks and balances than one kid and one adult alone all day. Kids adjust. They are much better at change than adults.

Charlotte said...

We've been struggling with the same question and I'm only 18 weeks along... the two very highly-regarded daycares that are closest to home/work have unbelievably long wait lists, so we've been on them for weeks already. That said, I secretly see us trending towards getting a nanny for the first 2-ish years for the same reasons you've mentioned - I feel strangely snobbish about it, but I just can't imagine handing over my 10-week-old infant to any of the places we've seen. A 2-year-old, absolutely, but we still need to get from here to there.

S said...

We were determined from before the birth of our twins to have in-home care for them for the first two years, for several reasons, not the least of which is that we guessed they would probably be born at least somewhat prematurely (and they were, arriving at 34 weeks) and wanted to avoid exposing them to so many germs at such a young and vulnerable age.

We haven't practiced attachment parenting--not sure that it would even be possible, or at least practical, with twins--but just don't see the benefit to our boys of being in a group environment at this age. After age 2 maybe. Although as twins, they will always have some social interaction, at least with each other.

Our nanny is expensive but actually only about $2500/year more than it would cost for day care for two infants. So for us, the decision to go the nanny route was not a difficult one.

Good luck with your nanny search. We interviewed 10+ candidates (after receiving 50+ responses to our ad) before finding someone we liked (and who was willing to accept the position for the $$ we offered).

Dandelion Breeze said...

It's a hard decision and I can remember visiting day-care centres and finding them very depressing. We opted for sharing a nanny with a friend for our daughter until she was one... she's now been at the same day-care for 2.5 years and looooves it... so many kids to play with and so much to see and do :) Good luck finding a nanny :)) Love always xoxo

DandelionBreeze said...

Hi... me again :)) I've nominated you for a Blog Award... you've been with me through thick and thin and want to thank you for all your love and support in this little way...
Love to you always xoxo

Abs said...

Just wanted to let you know that I'm pretty sure I live in your city, and I am currently struggling with IF. I've gone back and read your posts and I really can relate to so many of them. On the nanny front..lots of my local friends have used to find great nannys. Hope you find something or someone that will work for you!

Neil Ickes said...

Any updates on the Nanny quest? I hope you were able to choose one that fits your standards. It is perfectly normal to feel a little scared when you are scouting for a nanny. Since she will be the one who will be left alone with your kid once you are out for work. That is why putting a stringent qualification is not a bad thing. Having good child-handling skills and a passion would make someone a perfect candidate. But trust is also part of the list.