Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Child Care - The Elusive and the Exclusive

While visiting the city we're moving to later this summer, Mrs. Blackwell and I spent part of last week searching for a proper day care or nanny we could entrust with our little guy. 

We're moving 400 miles away so, on top of searching for the ideal home, we also need to find the ideal caregiver. If early returns are any indication, I much prefer house hunting. 

Our first foray into this search led us to a day care. When we pulled into the parking lot we noticed a sign which read: "For the safety of your children, please don't leave your car running."

Naturally, the ride parked next to us was running with the driver nowhere to be found. Mrs. Blackwell, who has developed a bit of an uncompromising maternal streak, was not impressed. 

It would only go downhill from here. 

"I too have the key code."
As we approached the building a man was leaving and the door closed behind him. We noticed that the door was protected by a keypad lock. 

Seeing our plight, the man who'd just exited politely offered my wife and I the key code to enter the building. To rephrase, this man offered two total strangers the key code to a building filled with children. 

At first, I just thought it was nice of him; I quickly realized Mrs. Blackwell saw it differently.

Upon entering the building we stood alone and unquestioned while the office of the lady we had an appointment with remained closed. With each passing second, my wife's expression  conveyed the plain truth that, under no circumstances, would we ever be leaving our child here. 

As I acknowledged this reality, the office door opened and I repeated it in more polite terms to the lady. She was obviously busy and was polite when we said thanks but no thanks. 

On our way out of the building, a man pushing a stroller was on his way in. Perhaps in some vain effort to redeem this place, Mrs. Blackwell asked the man, "Do you like it here?"

"Oh we just come here for reading class," he replied.

He could have said, "Yes, we like it here," or "Sure, it's alright." Instead this guy might as well have said,"It's better than leaving my child with convicted felons."

Seriously, it's cool Anne. It's cool.
So, if the daycare was bad, nannies have to be better right? (Insert Vincent Price's maniacal laugh here.)

My wife spoke with a few nannies on the phone and lined up two interviews. One lady had to cancel. The other lady, who I'll call Anne    because that's her real name and she deserves the negative publicity    didn't appear for her interview. 

Anne chose the day; Anne chose the time; Anne chose the location and then, Anne chose not to show up. I hope you get hangnails for the next year Anne. But, all is forgiven now and I'm sure there was a reason Anne didn't answer my wife's phone calls and messages. 

Fortunately, we did find a fantastic day care, which Mrs. Blackwell and I loved. 

It's the kind of place where the administrator makes all of the food herself, from only the finest organic ingredients. 

It's the kind of place where kids meet kids from around the world and learn different languages every day. 

It's the kind of place where the teachers seem to genuinely love kids and take the time to learn their names and their personalities. 

It's the kind of place that charges the equivalent of a mortgage payment for two weeks service. 

Like I said, finding the ideal house was easier.  

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