Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Beginning of the end

Yesterday was the beginning of the Monster's last week of daycare. Although school doesn't start for another 4 1/2 weeks, he has enough special activities and and some time planned with my mom until then, so there was no point in paying for daycare that wasn't going to be used.

I can't remember if I've blogged about his daycare before or not. PB started going to this daycare when she was barely 3. We loved it. It's a center, but the staff cared about the kids. It's a federal daycare, so they're federal employees...there's competition for these jobs and motivation to keep it. The building is always clean, and the toys and supplies are always in good shape. When I found out I was pregnant with the Monster (not long after she started at this center), I put him on the waiting list. I wasn't taking any chances on him not being able to attend. The first year of his life, daycare expenses literally ate all but $75 of my paycheck a week. But the opportunities that the older girls were able to have at the Youth Center, and the fact that I had landed a very good, hard to get job, meant that we were going to have to suck up the cost for a while. His first caregiver was PB's soccer coach last spring. His third caregiver still seeks him out every week to see how he's doing. After 6 1/2 years, we are entrenched in this center (which is not the norm...most people are only here for a couple of years.)

But the last year or so has been hard. A new director came and made changes. I'm not oppposed to change for the better, but when you are dealing with young kids, you need to make changes slowly and in stages. You can not change the building, room and caregiver all in one week. And then 2 months later, just when they're all settling in, rearrange the rooms and caregivers again. I understand it's a business, but you still have to consider your customers. And they didn't. And enrollment has dropped considerably. Several years ago, you had to sit on a waiting list. Now you can call up and be in the next day (except for babies...they always have waiting lists for that group. They don't notice those changes so much.)

I thought I would be very sad to see this time come, but we've been so unhappy for so long that I've come to look forward to this change. We will miss some of the great caregivers he's had, but several of them have started leaving lately (retirement and new jobs). I also love the school and youth center he will be going to, and I'm really looking forward to seeing him change this year.

My baby is growing up, and I'm okay with it.

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