Friday, January 20, 2012

I may be a genius

So, the logistics of childcare has been on my mind a lot.  Here's the situation we will have next fall: a kindergartner (we are most likely going to take the plunge and move him to the public school for next year), an 18-month-old and hopefully two newborns.

We adore Chiron's daycare.  It is so good that relative to the two places we had Trajan before preschool, I feel almost negligent.  They love and enjoy the kids.  The notes from the director to Chiron's developmental pediatrician plus how they work with him had her declare at his 9-month appointment that we didn't need to add PT or OT.  Their food has been written up by the restaurant critic of the local newspaper.  They have great events and the families really interact and it feels like a community.  Not only that, but so far they have always had a slot for Trajan to go on his school holidays and he enjoys getting dropped off with his brother and also seems to really like the kids and activities for the big guys.  A school with enough outdoor time!

I feel pretty confident that the director would be willing to work with us to negotiate down the price of two newborns and a toddler to under a nanny.  They should be a bit over a thousand each, but I really think she'd make us a package rate.  I started fantasizing about this idea and it seemed great!

Then reality hit.

One, how do you get two newborns and an 18-month old in and out of the school?  I'm guessing a carrier plus a double stroller would work, and probably would work pretty well, but that seems like a lot to do every day just for daycare.  Still, other parents are very helpful and in the morning there is often a second teacher around and this could work.  Ok, maybe we can do this.

Then Chiron got his first fever.  Minor thing, an ear infection, but enough to keep him out of school for two days.  Then it hit me what a cold could mean.  Kid one has it Monday and Tuesday, kid two on Wednesday and Thursday and then kid three on Friday.  An entire week worth of missed work for a cold.

We can't do daycare.

So, a nanny seems like the answer.  There are a lot of logistic to be figured out related to a nanny ranging from finding and hiring one to withholding and social security/unemployment taxes to arranging food in the house for all of them to eat and all the minor details, but I really think it will work for us. I've been convinced by those who have used nannies that as long as we select carefully and hire someone with appropriate experience (pay rate appropriate to that experience) that a nanny should be able to watch Chiron as well as two newborns. 

Here's the part where I think I may be a genius.  Was thinking that we would look for starting sometime around August or September.  Both Paul and I really ate through vacation and sick time with Chiron staying home five months after getting discharged from the NICU, so we frankly just don't have the amount of time that we would like.  So, having someone in place early will better allow us to get some work in and nurse projects along as well as children. 

But hiring someone during that time frame seems stressful for several reasons.  One, having hopefully two additional little people.  Two, knowing that we HAVE to have someone soon.

Thus, the genius.

We should go ahead and try to hire someone to start at the beginning of June! Trajan's school year ends the first couple days of June and we were trying to decide between some camps and putting him at Chiron's daycare, so instead we can just leave him and Chiron at the house with the nanny.  This would allow us to get to the nanny and the nanny to know us, and in particular the big boys, ahead of time.  It also would put another support person in place in case something bad happens again necessitating restrictions and/or the fun of the hospital.

A nanny for these months will be slightly more expensive than leaving the boys both in daycare, but I think the advantages to us will be well worth it.

So, experienced friends of the internet, what do you think?  And if we are looking for June, when should I start contacting people?  The nanny agencies seem insanely expensive.  Was thinking with a mix of telling every person we know that we are looking, advertising with Craigslist and maybe or similar and creating a basic starting application with Google Docs to do some weaning, we could do it ourselves?

Any other nanny logistics, experience or recommendations you can share with us?


  1. We definitely pay more for our babysitter than it would cost to send the two boys to daycare, but it is totally worth it to us, especially while they are so young. It is way more convenient, as I don't have to get four people (yes, I'm including my husband) fed, dressed and out the door in the mornings and we don't have nearly as many sickness-related events as my friends who do use a day care. Also, we love the one-on-one attention they get, the comfort and familiarity and the intimacy of having a (loving, caring) nanny. The downside is, it took us a while to find the perfect person and we went through one nanny who quit the first day, and another who was horrible with a capital H, before finding the one we have, who is great! How did we find her, you ask? A friend's recommendation. And, actually, that would be my best advice to you -- if you can make it work: Try to use someone who has already proven herself with a friend/family member/friend of a friend etc, first. Because even after all the interviewing, try-outs, etc., you just don't really know how this person is going to be. Having someone you trust vouch for this person is invaluable when it comes to peace of mind. We started looking about two months in advance. Good luck!!

    1. I really do think that someone that we know or someone we know knows or even someone we know knows someone who knows them is much more likely to be successful than picking from responses to a job posting. I'm hoping that being a bit open to a start date will work for us.

      Though, for this to work well, we really need to let everyone and anyone we know that we are looking for a nanny, so might should get on that.

  2. I don't have much to add because I know finding childcare is stressful . I think you are on a great track. I will say, however, that my sister-in-law is a nanny and she has met all of her families through knowing someone. If it were me, I would feel more comfortable hiring someone who comes with great referrals from people either in my circle or my friends circles.

    Good luck!

  3. You have NICU experience. Do you keep in touch? How about asking there if the nurses know somebody. Somebody recommended by NICU nurse should be good. Maybe retired nurse? Some retire young, you know relatively young, not at 70 lol.
    Asking the teachers at preschool? Maybe one of them would like to change carriers???
    good luck.


  4. I think that sounds like a great plan. Among other things, having the nanny start before the babies are born may help Trajan and Chiron adjust a little better, as opposed to pulling out of day care / new nanny / new siblings all at once.

    I don't have any experience with this, but a friend of mine just used to find a part-time nanny. She got quite a few responses, and we live in a relatively small area.

    As far as walking with all three of your littles, at least for short distances...I learned to carry two baby carriers at one time. By the time the babies will be out and about, Chiron should be able to walk pretty well, I'd imagine. I know a lot of folks with multiples who use the leash-packs / backpack things...maybe something to consider for Chiron so at least you'd have some control over him if he started to wander.

    Wow...thinking through all these logistics I'm sure it a lot to consider, but it sounds so exciting, too. :) :) Hope you're feeling well!

  5. We Co-op with another family. It allows both she and I to work part time and pay $0 for child care. But we each have 2 in all day school, so that helps. I think your nanny plan is great, but you may also want to get hooked up with another friendly family for backups and date nights.

  6. No help here, never went the nanny route. Except, I think your thinking is right, the earlier the better.

  7. Ive been an Au-Pair twice. Have you ever thought of that?

    1. We have, but I don't think that's a reasonable solution for when the new two are that young. Finding someone to handle two newborns and an 18-month-old seems like a pretty tall bill for me!

  8. We had a nanny when I was working - A was 17 months and then the newborn twins. I had her come a month ahead of time before I was working full time. I started out an hour here and there, and then a couple days in a row, etc. She was my best friend's sister and we definitely paid less than a daycare. It was wonderful, and I'm sure I'll never find something like that again, hence me not working.

    You may also want to try posting in a newspaper.