I just got off the phone with HG a bit ago. I’m in the process of waffling on a decision regarding the tot and childcare for the first half of summer (while I’m still working). After I hung up with him, I decided that I need to quantify the things that are bugging me, so I will put it here and torture you all with it.
Babysitting Day Care Pros:
*caregiver, L., knows how to deal with feeding issues, including when to be tough
*field trips – berry picking, swimming
*easy drop off and pick up
*both the tot and I like L.
*L. likes the tot and me
*tot has several friends there
*tot gets along with all the kids there
*kids play outside every day, weather permitting, including sprinklers when hot
*some diversity – mostly cultural, but also exposure to special needs, sibling pairs, wide range of ages
Preschool Day Care Pros:
*circle time every day
*art every day
*cultural and ethnic diversity
*located at my school
*better ratio of adults to kids
*cheaper by $1.25 per hour
*the tot is ready for the challenge of preschool (even though it’s not really preschool as much as it’s child care with a preschool structure in the morning)
Babysitting Day Care Cons:
*tot comes home speaking like L.’s son – who cannot say the letters “L” or “R”
*L. does not offer messy experiences daily, like messy art things
*not as structured
*not as challenging because, hey, it’s not preschool
*the tot bitches about going in the morning
Preschool Day Care Cons:
*tot comes home speaking baby talk
*fewer kids overall (weird, but I think this is true based on when I pick up and drop off)
*different kids from day to day
*about half the adults seem apathetic or disinterested in being around kids – not outright annoyed or hostile, just blase
*the bathroom has adult-sized toilets (not that big of a deal) but no step stool, so the tot has to scale them like a mountain-climber because she is small and the adults don’t help the kids in the stalls
*both boys and girls use the girls’ bathroom (I guess because all of the caregivers are women?), so twice now at pick up I have seen the tot come out of the stall with pee-splotched pants because of having to climb through messes left by previous users (both times boys, though girls have the capacity to pee everywhere, too)
*the lunchtime caregivers don’t like the lunches I pack, so they micromanage the tot’s eating. Case in point: I had been sending a handful of baby carrots each day. The tot does not eat them, but she’s been known to gnaw on one. I thought some exposure to the food outside the home and my influence might yield a breakthrough, as in ‘if it’s just there in a neutral territory, maybe she’ll develop new associations.’ One day, one of the apathetics told me that she had been telling the tot that she couldn’t have the other parts of her lunch until she ate a carrot. I guess that would explain why her lunch box was coming home full all those days.
*when we switch to the summer, we’ll be later in the day, so the tot won’t be there for the preschool portion
*the tot fights going a lot more than she fights going to babysitting
EDITED TO ADD:
*OMG, how could I forget this?! After a semester at the preschool, at least one caregiver (I believe two) still gets the tot’s name wrong
So where I am is that I don’t know. I don’t think that each item on the list can be weighted the same, so simply counting up the items is not an accurate method. Whichever I choose, I feel that after a semester of doing one day a week at preschool and one day a week at babysitting, the tot needs to be both days at the same place.
Personally, today I feel like sending her to babysitting this summer because of how late I was this morning getting to preschool. I got the tot up earlier than usual and we were later than ever. If we had been going to babysitting, I could have called her stalling bluff by loading her in the car in her pull-up and jammies and said, “I don’t care if you won’t get ready – you’re going anyway.” L. wouldn’t have cared; in fact, she encourages it. Could I do this with preschool? Probably, but I just don’t feel comfortable enough with the staff there to do it yet.
I need to make this choice by the end of the week, ideally, but I simply don’t feel inspired. I thought writing this out would help, but I’m not sure it did. I think I will give it a day and come back to this to look for patterns and an answer.