The time has come to choose a daycare for Erin. Shawn will be going back to school in September, bringing an end to the full-time stay at home dad era. (Of course, the full-time stay at home mom era ended LAST September when I went back to work, but that's neither here nor there, just a little jealousy on my part ... seriously, I do love my job, but sometimes I am envious of the fact that if a playdate (unlike work) is no longer fun, you can just leave... but I digress).
Even though September is a few months off, the title fight is happening now, as two daycare centers where we've had Erin on the list are offering her a spot and want our answer Monday. Here are the contenders:
In this corner, weighing in at a total of 160 kids, from ages 6 weeks to 4.5 years, is the Children's Preschool Center (CPSC). A veteran player at 24 years old (NAEYC accredited for 17), CPSC has a lot going for it: good curriculum for the pre-school set (3 and up), a large outdoor facility, and the opportunity for on-site extra curricular activities such as piano and dance (also starting at 3 and up). There's also a catered lunch option for you fans (read: parents) who just can't seem to get your act together. CPSC has had some struggles, including a less than sparkling cleanliness, and seemingly little parental involvement.
And, in the other corner, weighing in at a total of 144 kids (but seeming to have a lot less), is the Children's Center of the Stanford Community ("Stanford"). A parent-involved co-op, Stanford has been around since 1969, with the last 19 years accredited by NAEYC. A clean, bright, and cozy facility (even if somewhat small-ish), Stanford's main drawback is that it only has a 4 day a week spot (okay, only a drawback if you are seeking a 3 day a week spot). And there's the fact that the parents have to bring snacks for the whole class, only a drawback if you're one of those parents that can't seem to get your act together (as noted above).
Both contenders have been weighed (read: inspected carefully by an annoying million-question-asking trademarkmama), and after several bouts of discussion, one has emerged triumphant: Stanford.
Why? Because we're snobs.
okay, okay, not just because we're snobs. We like the co-op aspect better (parents there all the time, a huge plus). And we got a better vibe from the place (less institutional and more likely to be customized or flexible to our needs - I likened it to a microbrew versus MGD). And it is on the way from home to work or school, and the other is like a good 3 miles the wrong way.
And even though I liked the pre-school curriculum better at CPSC, and the potential for other activities, we are going to settle on Stanford despite the fact that they only have a 4 day spot.
Because it's Stanford.
For Shawn, he wants to be able to say that his daughter is only 14 months old and goes to Stanford.
For me, I have this irrational idea that since we've had her on the waiting list at Stanford for over a YEAR AND A HALF (as compared to 3 months with CPSC), it MUST be better because it's more exclusive, right??? (yeah, I know, I fall prey to the "if you put a velvet rope outside a club it must be exclusive" line of thinking).
Hey, it's not as if our snobbery is to her detriment - Stanford is a great facility, and I think she'll really love it there. (As an aside, as I see her morph into this very social, very active little busybee, I am much much more comfortable with the decision to put her in daycare in the first place - when we visited both places, she practically wormed her way into the classrooms and playgrounds and could give a smurf whether we were there at all).
But, I'm willing to call it what it is - we're snobs, and so our daughter is going to Stanford come fall.
Can I get one of those t-shirts or bumper stickers that says "My husband AND my daughter and my money go to Stanford?"