Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Where is Mary Poppins When You Need Her?

If you've ever had to find full-time childcare for you child(ren) then you understand the insanity that accompanies this seemingly routine task. You see, searching for a full-time caregiver is not merely looking for a place or person who will teach your child the alphabet and send home cute art projects.They have to be safe, kind, loving, respectful, fun, intelligent, gentle, active, sensitive, and well perfect. These are the people/person that your child will spend more waking time with than they do with you. This is essentially their surrogate mommy, their you when you're gone. It's a monumental decision that has thrown me into a full blown panic.

I have toured and interviewed every state licensed facility (home and center) in my town. My favorite ones were full with substantial waiting lists, and the others were not places I would feel comfortable sending my Ham. Some were smelly. Some were unorganized. Some were overcrowded. And some I just plain didn't like. How can you not be picky with something as serious as this?

I had to scrap the whole daycare center idea altogether and being the long process of finding and interviewing nannies. Where's Mary Poppins when you need her? I went through as well as through word of mouth recommendations. I ended up eliminating some via e-mail or phone because they were very obviously not what I was looking for. The rest I had to interview. With a background in HR, one would think that this would be a simple task but you'd be wrong. It was HELL. Seriously, Hell.

I decided to invite the ladies into my home to meet Ham and get a feel for who we are as a family (this was post background check). So, I lined up several interviews each an hour apart. The first nanny was crazy strict. She was into constant correction, lots of rules, and an avid spank-er. The next one was the complete opposite, a lassiz faire parent who pretty much let kids do whatever they wanted and watch tv all day. I had a few less remarkable duds and then I met my own personal Mary Poppins.

It was love at first sight. This woman came right in and sat down in front of Ham and introduced herself. No one else really even paid attention to him. They all came to talk to me about him even though he was in the room the whole time. She brought her daughter along, who I must say is a good match for Ham's bossiness, and they all played together while we chatted. I marveled at how she comforted both of our children seamlessly during arguments over toys. She seemed in her element redirecting conflicts, giving kisses, and playing pretend. Watching her just put me at ease.

Aside from my warm fuzzies, she has a great big house on several fenced acres for Ham to fun free. She is going to take him to swimming lessons (at no extra charge to me), toddler play groups, parks, area activities, and even teach him a preschool curriculum! Did I mention she is a teacher? I couldn't find anything about her that I didn't like. We have the same discipline philosophy, parenting style, personal style, types of toys, and so many other things. I really think that she is the next best thing to me for Ham. I am beyond excited to see her house tomorrow and meet her other children. Wish me luck!

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