I am lucky to have support at work and from friends and family. Its been a long week.
I had set up some interviews with possible nannies and Jason and I also decided to check out a local daycare that friends of ours use. This is the third time I've had to do a nanny search, and for those who have never done it....its exhausting. I'm a member of www.care.com, and I posted an ad and received easily over a dozen responses. Then I made the
So I saw one girl alone when I was home with the kids on Wed afternoon. She was ok...a former au pair whose English was only so-so. Not ideal. Then we had another girl come Wed night and Jason and I spoke to her. She was fine. Young, would probably do a good job. It reminded me of when we were looking for a summer nanny...the kind of girls I had coming over are similar to Meredith: young, some experience but not a ton, lots of enthusiasm, etc. And cheap. Ha.
Then we saw the daycare on Thursday afternoon. Its a private daycare run by a nice woman from Peru. A very open and loosely styled facility, but also with the proper amount of structure. Lots of activities for all the ages. She is willing to barter with us, so we would actually pay less than her going rate (I know people in the US are usually afraid to ask for discounts, but you'd be surprised by how many people are willing to work with you). The time is great: 7am to 6pm. It is more money than we were paying Nicole, so that would be a major downside. Also, the practicalities of getting three children out the door and to a daycare are more involved than simply having a nanny come over. The daycare is on the way to Jason's work, so we would all go, drop off the children, and then we would each go to work. We could probably do something similar for pick-up.
I had scheduled someone to come Thursday night, but she was a no-show. Jason saw a CPA Thursday night concerning our taxes. We are totally screwed for this year (long story, but our increase in salary means we lost some deductions and we now owe somewhere in the four-figure range to the government this year). While we can't fix that, we can figure out what we need to do for next year to prevent it from happening again. Unfortunately it will probably mean even LESS out of our paychecks, which is horrible timing when we're already considering a more expensive daycare option.
We've gone back and forth on the pros/cons of nanny vs daycare. But what it really comes down to is: what is best for the kids? Obviously we can't make a choice that will totally bankrupt us, but we are willing to be a little 'in the red' for the next two-three years while all three of the kids are in daycare. Zev is three, so we've got just a few years where this will be an issue. Once he's five he'll be in public school.
Our decision so far: we're going to try the daycare for six months. We'll see how the money works out. And if it isn't working, we can then take our time to find a good nanny rather than rushing through the process right now. In the meantime we are doing MAJOR budget examinations to see what we can cut down on. We already stopped going out to eat, but there are other things we can try: getting rid of cable (we can use Hulu or some other program to download the one or two programs we watch..we actually don't really watch TV and I'd be fine not watching it at all), getting rid of one of our cars, decreasing our membership to the YMCA to a single + family or just single for me, etc. Little changes that add up. I'm going to go through our groceries and see if we could possibly get cheaper options at Costco and do some comparison shopping. We already use cloth diapers and I already get most of the children's clothes used. Our main output (other than mortgage and childcare) are groceries and health-related things, which we could also possibly cut back on.
I do feel better now that we have a tentative plan. Department of Family Services is doing a home-visit on Thursday. We spoke to Nicole on Monday night to officially let her know she was fired. Jason spoke to a social worker to get some advice on how to handle this and we spoke to Zev and told him that Nikki would not be coming to see him anymore; she is going to stay home to watch her daughter, but she loves him and misses him. We also asked him if he remembered being in the car (and this is where I almost cried):
Jason: Zev, do you remember being in the car?
Zev: Yes, I was in the car and I wanted to get out and I was crying
Jason: Well, Zev, that was not supposed to happen. You are not supposed to be left alone in a car. That was a mistake. If someone leaves you in a car alone, you need to tell Mommy or Daddy, ok?
Zev: yeah...you can't play with playdough when the sisters are downstairs or they'll try to eat it
(obviously he wasn't paying all that much attention to the conversation)
We're going to try to have him talk to Nikki on the phone so he can say good-bye.
Its just very sad. But I am feeling better...