Maybe I just didn't get enough sleep last night. Or maybe I'm feeling the effects of four days without Jed and the promise of at least four more, but whatever I'm feeling it's surely not a favorable color.
Since finding out we're losing our PERFECT day care situation now that our family is expanding, I've been scouring the area for placements.
It feels as if I've gotten the vibe from lots of people I discuss it with that there's not a lot of empathy out there for people like me; people who chose to work rather than sacrifice the false hope of stability for the joys of raising their children in a loving and homey environment.
Day care, you see, isn't rocket science. It's a simple fact of life that many, many, many families deal with on a daily basis. You pay a premium that's too high for your monthy budget, perhaps, but still not high enough for a living wage.
As I expected, infant placements are like gold, and family day care situations have wait lists miles long or are too out of the way for timely pickups.
The three facilities I've toured thus far seem to encompass the entire gamut institutional day care has to offer.
First, there was McEducation: A meandering cement block academy for tots as young as weeks old, with brightly painted walls and whose staff wear the cheery uniform of corporate governance. Everything in it's place, everything with a plan ... even a guru of academic philosophy to follow. Since it was the first place we looked at, and so different from what I am used to, I disintegrated into a puddle of jiggling guilt in the parking lot after keeping my chin up during the visit. For some reason I just felt the place, despite kids appearing to have a wonderful time, was a joy and life suck with its cookie-cutter appearance and its everybody is a "smart body" mantra.
The next place, Shab-o-Rama, was more my cup of tea. Seriously. It was an old church education building, seemingly disorganized and in need of minor repairs. The staff was dressed comfortably in their own clothes and seemed to smile naturally. At 9:30 a.m. the kids were together reading in some rooms, eating a snack separately or playing in other rooms of the day care. It was still a "day care" but just felt laid back and REAL.
But, of course, fate would dictate that Shab-o Rama doesn't take infants until they're 18 months, at which point Ittybit will be ready for Kindergarten. Jed wisely counseled that two different day care facilities might just be the straw that breaks the camel's back ... me being the camel.
And today, with visions of being able to visit my munchkins at lunchtime, I traveled a few dozen blocks away from work and ended up in Afganistan, or at least its dank, cavernous small city equivalent. It went beyond shabby into wartorn. The place smelled of mildew and was pitch black at naptime. Mops laying in sinks in the "art" room seemed to show how nothing, not even cleaning, was completed in the place. In the nursery, babies in cribs lined the walls -- sleeping or crying -- as a heavily-eyelined worker huddled on the floor under a hot pink coat, seemingly trying to take a snooze herself.
So back to square one, or should I say back to pseudo-school.