My plan was always to have Calliope in a daycare setting.
I liked the idea of more accountability with more providers. I figured that anyone would be nicer on a bad day if there was another adult around watching them.
Plus, I couldn't afford a nanny. And all the complications of on-the-books versus off, the weirdness of having an employee, it just seemed overwhelming.
A couple of days ago, I ran into an acquaintance, Amy, from the local moms' group. Her little girl is just two weeks younger than Calliope. Her daycare had just fallen through -- they wouldn't have the spot they had promised her until January, and she is due back at work in early December -- and she was scrambling as she had only three days to figure something out before leaving town. I recommended a couple of daycares -- the one where Calliope is enrolled, Elf, and another I had seen and really loved but it was just too inconvenient and quite a bit more expensive than Elf to boot.
Amy asked if she could email me to get the names. Of course I said yes.
The next day Amy emailed me. She had just met a nanny who would charge $600 a week, regardless of whether there was one baby or two. Amy knew I was a single mom and couldn't afford a lot, so she offered that she and her husband could pay $350 a week and I would pay $250 a week. And Amy really liked this nanny candidate, and would prefer to use her for two years and skip daycare entirely... if I could go in on this with them.
Suddenly life felt a lot brighter.
The idea of leaving Calliope at a big daycare center had been weighing heavily on me.
The biggest complication is that I just enrolled for dependent care FSA money for 2012. That means that I get $5000 pre-tax dollars from my paycheck to pay for childcare.
I can't use this in this situation.
But I realized that I won't get this money until January.
So I am thinking that I could use the nanny for December, which would certainly make the transition to being with Calliope every blessed moment to working full time a lot easier.
After that, I will chip in a little bit and have Calliope with the nanny one or two days a week while I pay full time tuition at Elf (I would pay $200 a month and my best friend offered to pay the same) and at Elf the rest of the time until June. The nanny said that she can find work for the summer since Amy and I won't need her (Amy is a teacher -- ideal that we have the same schedule since I work in a school, even though I am nurse practitioner and employed by a hospital). And then in September, Calliope would be full time with the nanny!
The nanny came over last night and she seemed really nice. She is only 24, but to me, that is an advantage -- more energy and less likely to be jaded. She was an English teacher in her home country, and speaks English beautifully. She prefers a nanny share to just one baby because she thinks it's more interesting. She is used to doing music class with babies, and could do that with ours. When I asked about taking the babies to story hour and the zoo, she said, "of course!"
I feel really happy about all of this.
Of course, Amy's husband seems a little reluctant, and she doesn't know why. He said he really liked Elf.
Personally, I think he doesn't want to spend the extra money. And the spring would definitely be extra money for them. I told her that it's not ideal for them, and I would understand if she wanted a share with a family that is available now. She said no to that, because it's great that we are on the same schedule and also that we live so close -- across one big street and then one short block -- and our babies are only two weeks apart in age.
Fingers crossed that this all works out.