The child care provider interview process went well.  Delia, the first provider we interviewed, is a sweet, energetic young Filipino lady.  Her home is very close to our house, and her rates are very competitive.  I only had slight reservations about placing Peter with her due to the fact that all the children in her care are significantly older than Peter, she has only been running a family daycare for 3 years, and her home is quite small.  To her credit, though, her husband is currently building an addition to the house.

The second provider I interviewed had a large addition built so that her day care could be kept completely separate from her home.  She has several assistants and runs her day care much like a larger day care center.  She is an enthusiastic, positive, motivated woman, but I was able to quickly cross her day care program off my list because her rates are high, the location is less convenient, and I would prefer to place Peter in a smaller program (see “Fever”).

I was very impressed by the third provider we interviewed, Ellen.  Ellen has been a child care provider for about 30 years and has the warmth and kindness of a seasoned grandmother.  Her husband is equally charming, her home is quaint and welcoming, and her yard is lovely.  She seemed more flexible with her policies than the previous two women I had interviewed, and I was feeling confident that Peter would end up in her care… until she told me her rates.  Hmm.  Perhaps not.

Happily, Kathie, the fourth and final provider we interviewed, is practically a perfect fit.  Lovely home, lots of toys, nice yard.  Kids close in age to Peter, good location.  Flexible policies, competitive rates.  She has been a licensed child care provider long enough to have cared for me as a baby.  And as if that weren’t enough, she was able to make Peter laugh hysterically by juggling 6 balls with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back.  (Yes, that was an exaggeration, but the point is that she made Peter laugh, and if a laughing baby isn’t the cutest thing ever, I don’t know what is.)

So I asked for her references.  Only three of the four references replied to my e-mail, but those that did gave more than positive recommendations.

I cannot speak highly enough about Kathie.  It was the hardest decision for me to take my son, Ethan, out of Kathie’s day care.  She is great and my son loved her.  The only reason I took Ethan out of her care was to place him in a Pre-K program.

I was particularly interested in what they had to say about the measures Kathie takes to keep the children healthy.  A current client wrote,

Kathie keeps the house and the children very clean.  When they arrive they wash their hands, after eating, after activities, after they blow their noses, and after coming in from outside they wash their hands.  She is always disinfecting and washing the tables and floors.  She uses gloves when changing diapers and when wiping the kids after they go to the bathroom.  She washes her hands after she uses a Kleenex for herself or for the kids.  Kathie has cats and a dog, but you would never know it because she is always cleaning and vacuuming the house.  I wish my house were as clean as hers!

Just what I wanted to hear!

So I stopped by this morning to sign the contract and give Kathie a deposit.  The children in her care were very sweet, sharing toys with Peter and asking whether they could give him a hug before we left.  He was not frightened by the older kids; Peter was happy to watch them walk and talk and play.  By September, I think I may be ready to leave my baby boy in Kathie’s care.

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