Gather ’round kids and let me tell you a little story about a child care center we toured last week. Let me begin by letting you know I am not a fan of day care for my little one, at least not until she’s at least 1 but I prefer 2. No offence to the child care providers of the world but I worked hard for this lil girl and I just don’t trust any ‘ol body.
So back to the tour. The center we toured is a part of a chain in Maryland and Delaware. The TV and radio commercials give the perception of a learning facility with warm and caring staff. That was not the case. When I called to schedule the tour the lady on the phone was so pleasant and helpful with made me hopeful. I wish she were actually there that day.
We walk in and two employees are in the lobby. One on the left on the computer and the other on the right fiddling with a cardboard box. When they heard the door open they both looked up at us, said nothing and immediately returned to their tasks. Strike 1. After about 30 seconds I said “Hello” and the one with the box looked up but didn’t utter a word. I said “I have a tour schedu…” she cuts me off and says “oh, you need Kate, look in that office over there”. Strike 2.
I walked over the the office and said “knock knock”. Kate looked up with a very surprised look on her face as if she was doing something she had no business. I said “Hi, I have a tour scheduled for 2:00. She says “oh, ummm…ok…well have a seat”. Strike 3. She got up and shuffled some papers around as if I disturbed her. She then grabbed a folder and sat on the other side of the desk from me. She not so politely asked for my license and begin pecking away at the keyboard.
She asked some questions like when is child care needed, full time or part time, age of child and my expectations. When I began answering the question about my expectations she didn’t look at me. She was too occupied with picking crumbs off the desk one by one. Strike 4. I was up front and honest in telling her I’m not sold on the idea of day care but I didn’t want to wait til the last minute and scramble. She said she understood.
She then asks what are we looking to pay, as if it’s negotiable. She opens the folder to the price list and circles $385 weekly for and infant, $100 application fee and $385 security deposit. I knew it would be pricey but I had high hopes for what the center would offer. I mean, you get what you pay for.
She leads us back to the lobby and to a set of secured doors. There is an electronic keypad on the wall and she explains how each parent gets a unique code for access. 1 point.We proceed through the doors and she points out Infant room 1. Babies in this room are 6-9 months and there is a 1:3 adult to child ratio for all classrooms. Sounds good but the website states a 1:1 ratio.
Next is Infant room 2. These babies are 6 weeks – 6 months. Shoes must be removed to enter this room. We remove our shoes and enter. Y’all…this is where my nerves got all the way bad. First of all it smelled like a damn petting zoo! Strike 5. Not poopy diapers or sour milk but a petting zoo! They left wall was lined with cribs. B noticed one was missing sheets and the mattress had a few blood stains. Strike 6. The back wall had one crib. The right wall had a changing table, sink, fridge, microwave and bottle warmer. The back wall had a rocking chair where a teacher was sitting a rocking a baby to sleep. The middle of the room had a rug, some toys and Boppy pillows with no covers on them. Strike 7.
Kate continues to “highlight” the room and pretend it doesn’t smell like baby goats. A little boy on the floor looked bored out of his mind! A little girl in a crib had a blanket over her face, not her legs but her face. Kate goes over to remove the blanket and stuffs a pacifier in her mouth. Ummm…no. Strike 8. Infant rooms 1 and 2 are connected and some ratchet sounding chick yells over and asks for a bib for a child. Kate looked in the drawer of the crib and found one. She then threw in on the floor before closing the drawer and passing it to the teacher that asked for it. Strike 9.
We leave that room so we can check out Infant room 3. These babies are 9-12 months. They looked unhappy as well. No need to enter, I’ve seen enough. Meanwhile other teachers are passing us in the hall and no one spoke! Strike 10. Even after us speaking first. I cannot deal!
Kate shows us the other rooms, points out a few more things and we wrap this up. I’m so uninterested at this point. We pass two bathrooms on the way back to her office. I use one, B uses the other. It was not the cleanest. Over stuffed trash, hair in the sink. I’m just over it at this point. B said the bathroom he used was pretty much the same.
We get back to her office and with the biggest most proud smile she can muster up she asks did we want to leave our $100 deposit today so we can get on the waiting list. Really lady?! You think this went smoothly?! Smooth enough for me to hand you over $100 so my baby can be wait listed to sit in a petting zoo all damn day? Nah! I wasn’t mean about it, I kindly told her we need to keep looking and asked for my license back. We then got the hell outta there and went for fro-yo.
Moral of the story kids: do your research. Make time to tour more than one facility. Now, on the up side I have plenty more time to check out more places but that really shot my nerves. I cannot imagine my baby sitting around bored all day for $385 per week. That equates to $77 p/day, $1,540 p/month and $18,480 p/year. Nope, not happening!
I was so turned off by the experience that I’m willing to work around B’s schedule making half what I do now so I can stay home with my baby. Being a stay at home Mama was my first choice anyway. B was done before we left Kate’s office the first time, I’m surprised he stayed. He said the blood on the mattress and the petting zoo smell was definitely the nail in the coffin.
I know being a stay at home Mama is not every Mama’s dream or always feasible so I put together some things too look out for when searching for child care. The list is free and printable. Drop your email below and it will be emailed to you momentarily.