Childcare II

July 23rd, 2017
When Lily was about ten months old I wrote a post going over the different childcare options we'd tried. Since then we've tried several more configurations, and have a second kid, so I thought I'd write an update, continuing where the other left off.
Months 8 to 15: Shifted Schedules

Looking back at what I wrote before, I think we hadn't been doing it very long yet, less than two months? Because I wrote "We're both really liking how much time this lets us have with Lily, and while we were initially worried about not seeing enough of each other this hasn't turned out to be a problem" and that's definitely not how we were feeling later. For most of this period it was really hard for me and Julia to have so little time together. Near the end of this period we moved into our new house, which meant shorter commutes but also me no longer being able to borrow a car to pick Julia up in the evenings. We developed a protocol for getting onto the subway together.

Months 15 to 17: Shifted Schedules + Daycare two days per week

At 15 months Lily was eating enough solid food that we thought chances were good enough for trying daycare again. We found a family daycare, an older woman who would watch Lily in her home along with a couple other kids, that could take Lily starting at the beginning of July. I forget whether we used this extra time to have more overlap between my and Julia's time home, or so Julia could start getting back to full time. This daycare was ok, but over time as the person who ran it started taking in more kids, eventually getting up to six, it seemed like it wasn't a very good place for Lily.

Months 17 to 23: Two daycares, four days per week

A two days per week slot opened up at another family daycare, one that we were very excited about, and we started Lily there in addition to the other family daycare. This one was pretty great: a bit larger, two staff on at a time, lots of activities, lots of fun with other kids.

Months 23-25 / 0-2: Julia Home

Once Anna was born, we took Lily out of daycare and Julia watched both kids from home. I think I took two weeks leave when Anna was first born, and saved the rest for later. Julia took less leave this time than last time because she really wanted to get back to her job at CEA, and because working from home she'd still be able to feed Anna. For Anna's first year, when Julia travelled she'd take Anna with her, lining up temporary care wherever she was traveling to. These trips were generally pretty hard for Julia: traveling with a baby, coordinating with a new short-term childcare provider, plus Anna not sleeping well in the new environments. This included about half of the short-term providers either cancelling right before or midway through the trip.

Months 25-27 / 2-4: Jeff Home

I took paternity leave and watched both kids from home. This was much busier feeling than when I did it with just Lily, very little down time, minimal blogging, no quantified other. I had a lot of trouble getting Anna to take the bottle, so I mostly timed trips out so that she would be awake for a while, then asleep, and wake up just as we were getting home, so Julia could nurse her again. This limited what sort of things we could do, but there were still a lot of options that fit that timeframe. I had Anna do basically all her naps on me in the carrier, which I liked for the easiness of her just being able to sleep whever we were and the coziness of being right next to her.

Months 27-29 / 4-6: Nanny

We decided to go with an au pair for childcare, but our housing was in flux with dormer construction. While we were waiting for our initial contractor to finish, and before we gave up on him as a fraudster, we hired a friend from contra dancing to watch both kids in our home.

Months 29-present / 6-present: au pair

Currently an au pair lives with us and watches the kids during the day. Most weeks they work 8:30-5pm, Monday-Friday, though some weeks we ask them to work different hours. They have their own room, eat with us when they're not out, and don't have any household responsibilities aside from watching the kids during their shift. Julia's written more about the pros and cons of having an au pair. We had an au pair from Australia for three months who ended up going home early because they were homesick, and now have one from Argentina. The transition between them was kind of rough: we needed to line up temporary childcare on short notice, several of the childcare providers didn't work out or could only do part of the time, and to cover the ~4 week gap between the au pairs we ended up working with three different ones.

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