Finding the right daycare can become an obsession. There are about half as many infant rooms (0-18 months) as there are toddler rooms (toddler-pre-school) in this city. But most women go back to work after a year, leaving several families scrambling to find a place for the first six precious months their child will spend without them.
Sending Gabriel to daycare will break my heart. My neighbour commented that this year is the only time when they are really "yours". After that begins the long process of detachment, culminating in begrudging visits during college where they can't wait to leave after dinner to meet up with their friends to debrief on how crazy their parents are.
O.K., well maybe I am jumping the gun a bit, but I tend to get ahead of myself (2 cliches in 1 sentence!). What I am saying is that contrary to all the weird (occasionally sexist) comments I get about whether I will be going back to work or not at the end of 12 months (did I win the lottery and no one told me?), I will be going back and Gabriel will be in some sort of care situation.
I have started a spreadsheet of all the daycares with whom I am on the waiting list. I list cost, catering, location, vibe, word of mouth. I keep track of how many times I have called them and when to call them back (because you must call them every couple of months to let them know you are still interested).
The other day I put G. on the waiting list for a Catholic daycare, figuring the denominational thing won't imprint the first year or two of his life. The place has a great rep, homecooked food, it is really close by, and it has a lovely statue of the Christian Messiah.
Chris is not a huge fan of religious institutions, and the God-heavy wording of their pamphlet was of some concern to him. "How do you know the religious stuff won't imprint?" "I dunno - I went to a Jewish summer camp where I swore I would never marry a non-Jew." True.