Published Feb 9, 2013

It seems, on the one hand, a little absurd that two people who just had a baby would be thinking about giving that baby to someone else to care for. Nanny, daycare — oughtn’t the parents be best for the baby? On the other hand, I prefer to hire someone with experience to do my plumbing, auto repair, database administration, and other skilled jobs; why not someone who’s worked with babies before? ‘

Yeah, we’ve been doing the finding-childcare thing lately. I love paid family leave, but at some point the wife and I will get off what I’m pretty sure conservatives call Welfare and get back to work, so we need to find some options for Declan.

We’ve looked at the nanny thing, and we’ve looked at local daycares. Naturally, having already had our baby, it’s far, far too late for us to look for daycare at the most prestigious places, like the place we visited on Wednesday with the two-and-a-half-year wait list. I felt a little silly looking at their infant rooms… but not as silly as the nice couples with two-year-olds on the tour must’ve felt. Enjoy your month in daycare before first grade, kids!

I’ll admit, I’m a little confused about how any infants get into a program with a two-and-a-half-year-long wait list that requires a confirmed pregnancy to get on it. But we’ll move past that for a moment. Beyond the waiting list, was there anything I took away from my daycare tours? Yes, in fact, there was:

  • It’s important to have children in your daycare when you offer tours; no matter how cutting-edge your prestigious daycare is, it looks cold and, frankly, silly without kids in it.
  • Your tour should be given by someone who can sell, or a teacher who obviously has the personality to connect with kids, not by a cold, efficient administrator, no matter how skilled that administrator is.
  • If you have a good daycare, you have a long waiting list; almost nobody with a good daycare is trying to grow to absorb more of their waiting list. A kingdom of riches probably awaits someone who can figure out how to scale the provision of daycare services.

So I think we’ve chosen which daycare to apply to. Which is great, because I’m excited about the place. It reminds me of the caregivers who showed me love when I was growing up, and if Declan does half as well he’ll have a wonderful start to life.