We had booked a meeting one evening to sit down with Mrs. X. It was the first time Hubby met her and he loved her and especially hit it off with her similar sports-minded husband. We left with phone numbers for two other mothers that sent their children to her house to make reference checks.
When I made the calls, the other mother's confirmed what I believed to be true. They offered cute little stories (like the children comparing mom's cooking with Mrs. X's) and had nothing but kind words to say. (I have to laugh at myself now because I often chat with these mother's during drop-off's and pick-up's. Did they think I was crazy with all my questions back then? Oh well, better safe than sorry!)
We are truly blessed. Mrs. X is an amazing cook and I'm often treated with freshly baked cookies or bread at the end of the day. Yes, cookies and bread! Oh, Mrs. X, you had me at hello! She makes all kinds of amazing meals from scratch. The day I visited her for the interview the kids had just ate a chicken dish with rice pilaf and broccoli. YUM! She feeds them a hot breakfast which is a huge time saver for me in the morning, lots of healthy snacks and a hot lunch just in case Mom and Dad don't have time for a big meal in the evenings. Amazing, right? She is extremely accommodating with little E's food allergies and shares my passion for organic and natural foods. It's not really all about the food though. She takes them to the park a lot. She reads a lot of books. They do not watch TV. I could go on and on...but need I say more?
The most important thing for me was finding someone who had the same values and not settle for anything less. I followed my gut. This was the best piece of advice I received. If you sense anything wrong or weird at all - don't take the chance. If there was anything I was unsure of or found questioning I would not have sent my son there. Like many other mothers, I've heard horror stories about child care providers and I even have a friend who went through one herself. She admits now that she didn't trust her gut feelings.
I have a couple of friends currently starting their day care search and I wish them the best and I hope that they can find someone that they are as comfortable and happy with. If only everyone could have a Mrs. X.
Even though my son can't quite tell me what he did for the day or tell me if anything is wrong - I can tell he is happy. Mrs. X gladly gives me a run down everyday of what he ate, what activities he did and even silly stories or words he learned. She values that connection with the parents too.
Little E loves going to day care and I am especially thankful for that. It makes be feel less guilty for leaving him. Of course we had the usual dramatic transition phase (which requires a whole new post), but now he puts up a fight when I pick him up because he wants to stay and play!
He is so comfortable with Mrs. X and I love seeing him nuzzle into her or hold her leg while we're talking. He's taken a particular liking to Mrs. X's son, who is 9 and idolizes him like a big brother. He doesn't stop talking about him when he gets home (and when I say talking, I mean repeating his name over and over). If Mrs. X's Husband is home in the morning, he will usually climb up onto his lap and read the paper (especially the sports section) with him. It's amazing how he has become one of their family members.
Mrs. X gives cute little nicknames to each of her day care children - one is named "cookie", another "munchkin" - but our little E, he is her "treasure".
In the card I gave her along with her Christmas gifts I told her that she is OUR treasure. The card was attached to a small ornament that little E and I made for her. I hope that she will treasure this ornament forever.