I ended up going with the center* I visited this morning for several reasons:
- It's very close to our home and is basically on the way to work.
- I got a good vibe from watching the teacher/staff/child interactions. Kids were coming in happy to be there, hugging teachers, etc. I was there during the morning drop-off rush, and while things were BUSY, they didn't seem stressful or hectic.
- The building was sunny, warm, and colorful and there was good outdoor and indoor (very important in WI) play space.
- I got along well with the center director and the lead infant classroom teacher (who is due a day before me and will return to work with her little one about the time mine starts).
- It was the only center I called where a human being actually answered the phone.
- It was the only center I visited that has an "open door" policy where parents who are looking for care can come in and observe without an appointment. That said, there was still good security, and it seemed like the staff and parents knew each other well enough that they recognized that I was an "outsider" (not in a bad way) and made sure to keep an eye on me and ask me if I needed help with anything, etc.
- They are happy to do pumped milk and cloth diapers. They make their own baby food from CSA vegetables and produce from their own garden and use organic cleaning products (Be still, my upper-middle-class aspiring heart!).
- This is going to make me sound like I'd sell my baby's soul for 20 silver coins, but it was MUCH less expensive than other centers we'd toured near campus. MUCH. And I really think it's just because it's not near campus.
- They had one last infant spot open for March. No wait lists. No extra fees. No paying for months of childcare I didn't need because I needed to secure a place. No more daycare worries!
I called Daniel and we talked about the decision for a little bit, but we both felt like I've been to enough centers (7) and called enough other centers (Including the one where you have to be on the wait list for care at least a year before you need it... not sure how that's supposed to work) and individuals to know what we want. I know I'll cry a bucket of tears the first
week day, but I truly feel like I will be able to drop my child off there for care during the day and feel good about that decision.
*Not that a million people read this blog, but I think I should leave the name of the center off the internet... for their privacy and mine.