The move to San Francisco went really smoothly and for the most part we are settled into our new house and routine. I think we did a great job of unpacking and making the place ours because Jack didn’t even seem to notice we moved.
The only major adjustment issue was daycare (OF COURSE!). The new place did not work out nearly as well as I had hoped and the whole situation has left me a little bewildered. I thought I had completed the due diligence but I guess there is only so much you can tell about a person in an hour…I did not foresee that F, the provider, would want to be paid under the table or that I would pick Jack up after 8 hours and see that he had only had one diaper change all day. I got really worried during week three when I noticed he was not settling in and still cried when I dropped him off, not to mention a lack of napping during those three weeks (he napped a total of three times, never more than 30 minutes). I dropped him off shaking one day (I cried on the way to work) and the next day she handed my check back to me and asked for tuition in cash. Between the shaking that I couldn’t get over and the request for cash, I decided to search for a new daycare. That is when I saw that despite telling me in the initial interview that Jack would take the last daycare spot, F was advertising on craigslist that she had two more spots open. SHEESH.
The next day I visited two daycares, both located within five minutes of our new location. The second daycare, run by G, was one I had nearly visited the first time around but didn’t because I didn’t hear from the provider until after I enrolled Jack at F‘s. G‘s place was AMAZING and Jack ran around the entire time playing and even interacted with her, trusting her enough to hand her the rocket he built. Two days later I gave our 2 weeks notice to F and asked for a partial refund on tuition for that month (which I needed because the new place was twice the cost).
Fast foward to five days later…I was running late and called F to ask if it was okay to bring Jack later than usual. The line was disconnected. Yikes. No way was I going to drop Jack off there when I couldn’t get in touch with her, especially after everything else that had happened. Jack stayed home with David that day and I called G to ask if Jack could start right away. She said yes and Jack started the next day (last Thursday). He took a two hour nap that first day and also the next. He hasn’t been clinging to me in the evenings when I pick him up – instead he hides behind a curtain hoping to stay at daycare but is still content when I drag him out the door. Huge difference! Not only that, but because he is happier, I am happier and not filled with anxiety every morning.
As for F, I emailed her and she did call me and said she didn’t know what was going on with her phone but promised to call me that night. I was not surprised when she didn’t call. I could ask for my money back again but I doubt I’d get it. I am sucking it up – the $1700 total cost of daycare for March. It’s really hard, but I am doing it. The new place is expensive (about $500 more than what I was paying in Alameda) but worth every freaking penny. It’s huge, the provider and other kids are wonderful, the provider is extremely organized and in the last four years of running her daycare has never taken a sick day, they take trips to the park nearly every day, and her sister runs a daycare right next door. Big bonus – it is only 5 minutes away from our house.
I’m hopeful, so very hopeful, that this is the last daycare I ever enroll my child in. That poor child has been in the care of WAY too many providers in his 2.5 years. I am glad the stories I have to tell aren’t full of real horror (thankfully Jack has never been in danger), but the bad daycare experiences have been way too many in number. If the good experiences weren’t so amazing, I would have thought more about being a welfare mom a long time ago!