What to look for in a day care?  (updated)

I’ve been working every Saturday plus taking weeknight call for a year now, and I’m quite happy with my schedule.  Dh, however, is not.  He really wants me to stop working every single weekend so we can take some weekend trips as a family, and just have more time together.  So we’ve compromised and I’m going to try to switch my schedule to include some weekdays so I can have half my weekends free.  The only thing is that I would have to put the kids in daycare.  One of my sis in laws wants to take them, but the problem is she has 4 kids of her own, so the likelihood that all 6 will be healthy on any given day is slim (her kids are sick all. The. Time).  Plus she lives half an hour in the exact opposite direction as work.  My other friends either work or live too far.  We love our regular babysitter, but her house is too dangerous for my 18 pound monkey girl, plus she watches her 1 year old grandson and I’m afraid it will be too much.

So, daycare…

I’m looking at “drop in” daycares, because it would only be 2 or 3 days a month.  I’m probably just going to keep ds out of school those days and send him to daycare with his sister, because we won’t be available to pick him up (his school is only 6 hours a day).

I do know of one woman at our church who runs a liscenced 24 hour drop in with her adult daughter.  She’s taken care of my kids in nursery and I really like her.  But one time, several years ago, I heard her yelling at one of her little charges and I didn’t like that.  Maybe I’m too sensitive, and I’ve never heard anything since.  But it does send up a red flag for me.  I want to email the nursery supervisor at church and ask about her, but I’m not sure what questions to ask.  

Updated: got an email back from the nursery director and she does NOT recommend this person!  She said she frequently left the kids at her daycare in the care of unqualified people and she wouldn’t trust her with my kids.  yikes!!!  Mommy intuition wins again!

Beyond that I have a couple leads, but I haven’t done this before so I’m not sure what to ask, and what to look for other than just trusting my gut.  We do have Angie’s list, so that might be a good place to find leads.

You all helped me so much finding ds’s school, which we love, that I thought maybe you could help me out again :).  Thanks!!!


Want Mothers To Work? Provide Childcare

The New York Times ran an article on the “new poor.” They are working class mothers who are forced on the welfare rolls from paid work because the government has cut their childcare subsidies.

From the Times:

TUCSON — Able-bodied, outgoing and accustomed to working, Alexandria Wallace wants to earn a paycheck. But that requires someone to look after her 3-year-old daughter, and Ms. Wallace, a 22-year-old single mother, cannot afford child care.

Last month, she lost her job as a hair stylist after her improvised network of baby sitters frequently failed her, forcing her to miss shifts. She qualifies for a state-run subsidized child care program. But like many other states, Arizona has slashed that program over the last year, relegating Ms. Wallace’s daughter, Alaya, to a waiting list of nearly 11,000 eligible children.

Despite a substantial increase in federal support for subsidized child care, which has enabled some states to stave off cuts, others have trimmed support, and most have failed to keep pace with rising demand, according to poverty experts and federal officials.

That has left swelling numbers of low-income families struggling to reconcile the demands of work and parenting, just as they confront one of the toughest job markets in decades.

There is something we can do about it. MomsRising is circulating a petition to give millions of families across the country access to quality and affordable childcare.

For folks who feel like this idea does not benefit them, here is a pretty compelling reason:

Studies have shown that affordable child care is a key part of the economy and is responsible for generating nearly $580 billion in labor income and $69 billion in tax revenue while providing more than 15 million jobs.

Not to mention, we would have a labor force that would include the talents and skills of mothers, 80 percent of women 44 years and younger in this country.


Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Thank you to all of you who have written or called to ask about my mother-in-law in El Salvador. Hurricane Ida hit the country on Sunday and has killed 124 people, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Fortunately, my MIL is out of the country on vacation and was not affected. But I did call her office in San Salvador yesterday and a worker assured me that they are all safe. The hurricane hit a nearby town, but it was poor people living in huts and shanties who were the most impacted. My heart goes out to them. Let’s keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

In healthcare news: I admit I was so happy that the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill with a public option that I did not allow myself to get hung up over the abortion restrictions in the bill. But this disturbs me: According to a mom over at the RH Reality Check blog, the restrictions on abortion are so severe that even private health insurance companies participating in the exchange wouldn’t be allowed to cover D&Cs following miscarriages. Forcing women to carry dead fetuses/babies — that they wanted — is just cruel. I don’t know what I would have done if after carrying a dead fetus for three weeks — this happened to me before I had Ari — I was told I couldn’t have a D&C. I was distraught and I needed to move on. Okay, I am getting off my soapbox now.

That said, I will still support this bill as long as it has a strong public option. Granting everyone the right to see a doctor — without going bankrupt for it — is better than nothing.

Attention fellow Twilight fans: Author Stephenie Meyer will be on the Oprah Winfrey Show this Friday, November 13, Meyer announced on her blog. She will be on hand to discuss the new movie New Moon, which is based on the second book of her Twilight series.

This is, literally, horribly depressing: Suicide rates are up in the most economically depressed areas of the country, according to MSNBC.

Wal-Mart is shamelessly starting its “Black Friday” deals early, according to MSN Money. Um, can we celebrate Thanksgiving first?

OTOH, Mamapedia had a helpful discussion on what to tip — or what is a suitable holiday gift — to a nanny, daycare provider or babysitter.

Katy Farber over at Non-Toxic Kids has an informative article on how cleaning supplies at schools are harmful to children. Also by Katy Farber: Children are consuming unsafe levels of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), which is in canned goods and plastic plates and cups.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Hi all!

I am back with your weekly parenting news diary. Here is what we have been discussing here at MotherTalkers:

You could say we are supremely disappointed in the Senate finance committee’s decision not to include a public option in healthcare reform legislation. Our very own front-page writer Gloria cannot afford health insurance for her (healthy and athletic) high school-aged daughter. Many of our moms have similar stories. It is an understatement to say it is every parent’s worst nightmare to have an uninsured child get sick.

In related news, I recently attended a meeting on healthcare reform by Planned Parenthood, which is experiencing an uptick of visits by recently unemployed and uninsured people. Contrary to what its vitriolic critics say, only 2 to 3 percent of its services are abortions. The grand majority of its services is that of primary care physician in underprivileged areas.

Test results are in for charter schools. According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, students who attend charter schools in New York City outperform students in traditional public schools. Unlike previous studies dismissed by critics who said charter schools simply accept the most motivated students, this study compared charter school students with those who applied but failed to get a slot and attended a traditional public school instead. Here is the New York Times story on it and our discussion of it.

In other education news, President Obama wants to extend the school year and school day. According to the charter school research I just cited, it may not be a bad idea.

“Desmoinedem” wrote a diary wondering if there was a “nonviolent” way to communicate with children who are misbehaving in temple or church. Not surprisingly, discipline is a popular topic in parenting circles and this diary provoked hundreds of comments.

A Michigan mom has been threatened by the state with fines and jail time for “operating an illegal child care home.” Her crime? She supervises the neighborhood children board the bus in the mornings. So much for the “village” concept. What’s next? Arresting moms on playdates?

Should students be able to sue their colleges when they can’t find work? One student, who wracked up $70,000 in debt, is suing her alma mater for being unemployed in this economy. Here is the MSN story on it and here is our discussion on it.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


mama bear is angry

Look out world, mama bear is angry.  I think I’ve figured out the nap time issue that DD1 has been having at daycare, and I am not pleased.

DD1 has always been great at daycare.  Sure, we’ve had issues here and there, but nothing major.  She loves the teachers, they love her, and she generally listens and plays nicely with everyone — all the feedback you want to hear.  She is also (forgive me now, I am the mom) very clever.  By which I mean, she observes situations very closely, and doesn’t miss a thing — catches all the little nuances, and translates them with her almost 4yo brain.  This can be a problem.  We have to over explain things because without the life context of an adult, the world is not nearly as logical as DD1 would like.  

About 2 months ago, DD1 started shrieking at naptime.  You know, the wake-everyone-up, bring people running from the next room (or the next floor), bloodcurdling shrieks.  The first time it happened we grilled the teachers on the context, trying to figure out why she would be doing that.  No, they told us, there wasn’t really anything different about naptime.  Except, one of the teachers had to leave a little early.  We asked DD1 about her behavior but she didn’t seem upset and couldn’t tell us why she did it, so we figured she had a hard time with the new routine, and we figured out a punishment/reward system for her which has always worked in the past, and we moved on.  

Clearly, I wouldn’t be writing this diary if that had been the end of it.  No, the shrieking continued.  It was so bad, they told us, that during nap one teacher would take her out of class and talk to her about her bad behavior in the hallway.  This triggered warning bells — to a 3yo, one-on-one time with a teacher that she adores sounds more like a reward to me.  We mentioned it and they promised us, they had been very stern with her and the extra time with the teacher was no treat.  

The shrieking has continued, a day or 2 a week, since then.  Knowing our DD, we continued to probe on any changes in the class that might have driven this and were told, up and down, that the kids days hadn’t changed at all.  Over this time DD1 has been great at home.  I should mention that a few months ago she tried the whole screaming thing at home when she felt like her baby sister was getting too much attention but she found that it got no response, so she quickly gave it up.  We did mention that to the daycare when the whole thing started, but they told us that they couldn’t just ignore her when she was waking up a whole class of kids, so we let them handle it their way.  Oops.

And now, the plot thickens.  A few weeks ago we get an e-mail that one of her classmates is moving to another daycare in the city.  Seems odd since all the kids will be moving next fall when Kindergarten starts, and I know this family lives blocks from the current school.  I ask questions, and surprise, surprise.  This other little boy (who had behavior problems in previous years that had triggered some copycat activity from my DD1) had been acting up on a dramatic scale for several months, and was finally asked to leave.  

Upon learning this I am livid that, even when asked point blank if anything was going on in the classroom, I was told that things were normal.  Because, no they weren’t.  There were behavior problems being modeled on a dramatic scale.  In the interests of protecting this thuggish kid I lost the chance to explain to DD early that she shouldn’t try to get attention by acting up.  And so I explain to the teachers and school head that this is likely what triggered the behavior, and am told not to worry, that they did a perfect job of shielding the misbehavior from the other kids.  

I question DD and she, of course, didn’t miss a thing.  She tells me about his every transgression and the reaction of the teachers.  She tells me that this boy gets to go to a new school so they won’t see him any more.  And then she tells me that she wants to go to a new school.  And suddenly, it all falls into place.  While this little boy’s misbehavior was different from my DD1, the school reaction was the same — one on one attention from teachers, sent to the office, and now I have been asked to a conference with the head of the school.  By her logic, she is well on the path to getting to go to a new school, and meet new friends, and new teachers!  How terrific!  

Now, I am not quite as quick as DD1 and this all only fell into place for me in the middle of the night, and it is all I can do not to call them all and go all mama bear on them.  I don’t know where to start — the teachers?  the administrators?  A conversation with DD1 explaining that her classmate didn’t “get” to go to a new school, he was kicked out; that this is a bad thing?  All of the above?

In any case DD1 will start at a new school for kindergarten next fall, but we were planning on leaving DD2 at the daycare.  I have no idea if that is what I want to do or not, it’s hard to figure things out when all you can see is red.  

So, any advice?  Conversation starters?  Offers to join me in my mama bear rage?



The Latest NY Times “Trend” Story: Selfish Grannies

After I had my kids, there was something I mourned that constantly haunted me in my darkest hours: the lack of familial help.

Growing up, my paternal grandparents were involved in our lives physically, emotionally and financially. I lived with them and my parents the first four years of my life and then spent every summer with them. My grandmother arranged play dates with neighbors’ kids, threw birthday parties and spent endless hours on arts and crafts. You could say I was sad and even resentful that my own children have not had this same relationship with their grandparents. Just getting my kids to see their grandparents on video ichat is a challenging proposition with the different time zones, everyone’s hectic schedule and Ari’s reluctance to talk.

But I think in the last year I have come around. I am done grieving. The truth is my kids are young and especially Eli is a handful. Even then, my mother-in-law has stayed at our home to watch the kids while DH and I have gone on vacation. My mother has offered to take the kids to Disney World, but again, we have agreed that it is best to wait until Eli is older.

Also, my parents’ circumstances are completely different than my grandparents’. Not only do they work out of necessity, but they also care for the very grandmother who helped them with us. Looking back at all she has done for us, it is the right thing to do. I completely understand that. If anything, I feel bad that my parents — especially my mom — have never gotten a break from taking care of people.

My mother-in-law works, too, and outside the country.

So you could say I had mixed feelings about this article in the New York Times: “When Grandma Can’t Be Bothered.”

Apparently, the latest trend in parenting news are “glam-mas,” or grandmas too busy with their relationships and careers to lend a helping hand. For example, I would hate to be Judy Connors of British Columbia, who was called out as a glam-ma.

“When I heard about the Obama grandmother, I thought I might like to move into the White House, too,“ said Ms. Connors, who is 67. “But I’d hire someone to look after the kids.“

Her daughter, Catherine Connors, a 38-year-old writer in Toronto, is well aware of her mother’s attitude. Whenever she hears about families in which the grandparents love to pitch in, she has only one thought: “This is so not my life.“

It is not new for young mothers to be surprised and hurt, perhaps unjustifiably, at how little their own mothers rush over to baby-sit. Still, stories of intergenerational care like the ones coming from the White House can bring those feelings to the surface — and to a boil….

The elder Ms. Connors, the retired director of a residential treatment program for adolescents, had a few words to say in her defense. “I raised two children whom I love dearly,“ she said. “I was a stay-at-home mom. Then I discovered when I started my own career that there was a whole other world out there.“

I would say, though, I would feel resentful if my parents and mother-in-law were retired and still not helping out. I just can’t imagine them not wanting to get to know their grandchildren. It is probably naive, but based on the example I received from my own grandmother, I harbor all these romantic notions of how I will be as a grandparent. I am always telling DH that I want to live near one of the kids when they do have children of their own.

Are any of you grandparents? How do you balance living your own life with being a presence in your grandchildren’s lives?


Bring Baby To Work In Lieu of Maternity Leave?

In case you missed it, the New York Times wrote a trend story about women who bring their babies to work in lieu of maternity leave:

More companies are allowing women — and some men, too — to bring their babies to work. The advantages are clear: The women don’t lose money by taking maternity leave. They can breastfeed conveniently. And they can bond with the baby rather than worry that he or she will develop a closer connection with a nanny or a day-care provider.

Of course, disadvantages are clear, too. The needs and noises of babies have the potential to be highly disruptive and to stir resentment among co-workers.

Susan Seitel, president of WFC Resources, a workplace consulting firm in Minneapolis, put it this way: “The business of business is business. I think it’s a little distracting to have children at the office.“

Critics also say that both child and job could lose out because the parent can’t be 100 percent devoted to either one.

In the scenarios the newspaper mentioned, the women had their babies and a babysitter at the office. One mother worked 12 hours a day, but took breaks to visit with her two children ages 3.5 and seven months old.

Here is more information on this baby-at-work trend:

The Parenting in the Workplace Institute, a nonprofit group that started in June 2006, has a database of 117 baby-friendly companies of all sizes, among them retail stores, banks, law firms and state agencies.

“This has been going on for 15 years in a limited fashion, but in the last two years it’s really taken off,“ said Carla Moquin, the founder of the Parenting in the Workplace Institute, who lives in Framingham, Mass.

“It’s partly economic concern,“ Ms. Moquin said, because there are many more women in the workplace. “Also, the Family and Medical Leave Act requires companies to give new mothers three months off. Even though it’s unpaid, it’s hard on businesses for an employee to be gone. That, combined with the fact that more people are seeing this as a viable idea, has inspired companies and mothers to work something out.“

The most successful programs, Ms. Moquin said, are ones in which companies have written policies — to designate another employee as an alternate caregiver in case the parent is temporarily unavailable; to specify areas for breastfeeding or changing diapers; and to spell out the ages when children are allowed in the office. Usually, babies are allowed up until 6 to 8 months, or before they start to crawl.

Have you worked at an office where parents were allowed to bring their children? How was it?


He just WON’T sleep!

So, we’re two weeks into daycare with DS.  I still haven’t reached a real high level of comfort myself, and I’m starting to really doubt that DS is adjusting himself.

He does not sleep at the school.  The most I’ve seen noted on the sheet (and these woman are maniacal about the sheets) is a little over an hour one day.  He’s not even four months old yet!

Today, after taking him to the pediatric ENT doc (update on that situation below), I got him to day care at 12:30.  I tried to rock him for about 15 minutes, but it didn’t work, and I had to go.  According to the sheet, he slept from 3:20 to 3:30, and had fallen asleep at 5:00, a mere 17 minutes before I showed up.

Its been two weeks.  I had hoped he start adjusting by now.  He comes home fried and prone to screaming, and I get no interaction time with him.  I need to fix this.

Problem is, I don’t know how.  He’s not an easy sleeper.  He needs to be walked or rocked.  There are only two women for eight babies, I don’t think they can spend that kind of time on him.  He has no schedule to speak of, and no routines.  I could never get him into one when we were home.  I was thinking of taking a morning off and spending it with him in the day care.  Maybe that would make him feel more comfortable.  I don’t know, I’m really at a loss.  Thoughts?

As for the hearing thing, well, I was half right.  The PENT found a LOT of earwax and had to scrape his ears clean.  (Oh, the screaming!)  Once they cleared out the ear canal, they tried to do the newborn screening over again, but he has fluid in his ears and the test couldn’t be done.  We’re supposed to go back at 6 months for another try.  The PENT did NOT think he needed the sedated test, and anyway the fluid in the ears would screw that up too.  He doesn’t have an ear infection, so he’s not on any meds right now.  The fluid has to be reabsorbed, apparently.  I’m not sure this is such a good thing, since there was such urgency about getting him tested and now I’m just supposed to wait until the fluid drains.  But the PENT didn’t think there’s a reason to sedate, so we wait.  (Heh.  That rhymes.)


The Final Countdown.

Wow.  This is it.  My last week of maternity leave.  eeeek!

My brain is scattering in a million different directions.  I still have a huge list of things I want to get done, but instead of crossing things off I’m adding things.  It doesn’t help my state of mind that Thanksgiving is Thursday (really?  Where the heck did time go?) and I feel like I really only have a few days to get things done.

For example:

-I have to go through my closet and figure out which work clothes I still fit into and how much shopping I have to do.  (Shopping.  Add that to the list.  I wonder if I have the stamina for Black Friday.)

-I want to paint all the doors in my house.  That’s been on the list since bed rest.  Hasn’t been done yet.

-I want to finish the two books I wanted to read for work.  HAH!

These are just a few things.  There are mundane things, like laundry and getting pictures organized to take in for my desk.  I’m tired just thinking about it.

Then, of course, I have a ton of decisions to make about DS.  We already made the big one.  He will be going to a different daycare than my DD.  He got a slot at the daycare heavily subsidized by my employer, close to my building.  I really agonized about this.  I don’t like splitting up the kids.  I don’t like having to do both pick up and drop off.  Its not exactly convenient for one parent to deal with both if one of us is sick or on travel.  So why the hell are we doing this?

Its going to save us $8400 a year on childcare.

Yeah, $8400.  You read that right.  You can’t exactly walk away from that.  We won’t move DD because she’s thriving at the other center, loves her teachers, has many friends.  Thus, they’ll be split.  Ugh.

I’m stressing about all the things I can’t remember from DD’s baby days at day care.  How many bottles do I send?  How many ounces in each bottle?  The rule of thumb for formula is a half ounce for each pound, which means 6.5 ounces, but I swear to god, he doesn’t eat that much yet.  I honestly don’t know how much he does eat, but whenever I feed him for longer than the 15 minutes on one side, he spits up an amazing amount of stuff.  So I don’t think he can hold down that much yet!  (Of course, I am a cow, so maybe he can.  See below.)  I guess I send the 6.5 ounces and throw away what he doesn’t eat.  Which means the little bottles I bought are basically useless.  Great.  Diapers, spare clothes, diaper cream, god the list is endless and I know I will forget something.  We have orientation at the center tomorrow morning, and I’m hoping that I get a better handle on things then.

The big decision still to be made is whether or not I pump at work.  With DD, my evil employer didn’t provide a facility for pumping and thus I didn’t even think twice about it.  I wasn’t going to sit in the bathroom!  But, my current, wonderful employer has a marvelous set up with private rooms, fridges and a policy of letting employees take the breaks needed to pump.  MUCH more mommy friendly.  So, its much more doable.  But, man, I hate pumping.  I feel like a cow.  OTOH, I make enough milk to successfully feed twins, possibly triplets.  (Which, oddly enough, also makes me feel like a cow.)  The pediatrician is very impressed with me.  I feel like I shouldn’t let that go to waste, y’know?  Right now, I’m toying with the idea of pumping twice a day through Christmas, so I can continue to eat whatever I want without gaining weight.  ;->.  Then I can see how I feel about it.  The reality is, I am a very lazy person, and leaving my desk twice a day to go to the pumping room is going to piss me off.  I know this.  I just hope I can overcome it.

My anxiety about all this is manifesting in strange ways.  I’m positive there is something catastrophically wrong with either me or DS.  Every pain in my body makes me think I have cancer, that I need to get over to the doctor.  Ridiculous!  I know its ridiculous, and yet I think these things.  Clearly, I have issues with cancer.  I can’t possibly schedule doctor appointments for this week, so I simply. must. chill.  I’m going to become a raving lunatic, that type of patient that doctors roll their eyes over.  Aren’t I absurd?

I’ve also become a much more worried mother, but I do feel like I have a sound basis.  DS will be getting a hearing test on January 13th.  He passed his infant screening, but I am 100% positive that he doesn’t respond to voices or to rattles or keys.  I’ve been worrying about/watching this for a month, and finally took him to the doctor.  He’s getting a BAER test, and much to my dismay, they apparently sedate babies for this test sometimes.  After our conversation here I’m not too thrilled about this, and I don’t know if I’ll let them do that.  I had hoped to get him in for the test this week (and can now cross this off the list…) but they are booked solid two months out!  Dear lord.  He has to go the neuro-diagnostic lab at the local hospital, and let me tell you, it does not feel good to hear office name.  Its a scary sounding place!

So, on top of getting my house ready for the family, I am dealing with all this.  I both want this week OVER ALREADY! and for it to never end.  GAH!


Mental mathematics of the working mother.

So, Baby #2 is on the way this September.  Which means, come December, approximately, I have to pay two daycare bills.

I finally stopped denying reality the other day and asked what infant care costs at the daycare where DD goes.  I nearly choked.  $310 A WEEK.  DD is $250 a week.  So, my daycare bill is going to be a whopping, insanely painful $560 A WEEK.

Oh, the mental mathematical gymnastics this immediately prompted.  I get paid every two weeks.  So, out of each paycheck, I can kiss goodbye $1120 immediately.  That is $29,000 a year for daycare.  Dear GOD, that’s even more than poverty line for a family of four!  (Which makes one ponder how absurd the poverty line is, huh?)  That’s only a few hundred dollars shy of a second mortgage payment for us.  (Yay for DC real estate prices.)

And yet, as I continued to crunch the numbers in a numb, dazed fashion, I realized day care is NOT taking up enough of my paycheck to make quitting my job a good move.  I still put 10% into a 401k.  I still put $5k into the FSA for dependent care expenses, which once we put in our claims, gets immediately moved over into the college fund.  (Man, that $5k is such a paltry sum once you get into multiple children.  Its really absurd that you don’t get increased allowances for more kids.)  And I still will put a (greatly, greatly reduced) sum away for emergency expenses.  So, no, quitting makes no sense, and I don’t even have the mental capacity to calculate the long term value of the 401k contribution and potential lost earnings.

Obviously, we are very comfortable financially.  However, the mental mathematics had me freaking out.  I was comfortable with our ability to absorb increased gas prices and food prices without serious pain, but now the day care bill makes me really concerned.  We don’t have that much wiggle room left.  So, when we get little notices from our bank that our mortgage payment is late (WTF, DH?) and they are assessing a $120 late fee, I overreact.  We don’t have that $120 anymore come December.  (Hell, we don’t have it now, but DH is just so dumb about these things sometimes.)  I’m getting much more stressed about money, even though the increased bill won’t hit for another six months.

There are two ways to make this less painful, although I’m pretty sure the thought of paying $30k for daycare will never NOT make me wince.  A) I better get that freakin’ promotion at work.  B)  Future DS-to-be better get into the employer-subsidized day care.  I’m not overly thrilled about this option, but infant care there is more than 60% LESS than at DD’s day care.  Seriously, I would be paying $560 a month for DS at work.  But I don’t like the pressure of being the drop off and pick up parent.  And, when I travel for work, I’m gone for a week or more.  How we would deal with the daycare situation then, I don’t really know.  It would be out of his way, to say the least, for DH to drop DS off at my job.  But, we’re talking about a difference of $7k a year, at least.  More mental math.  Even if we put DS into emergency day care closer to DH when I travel, we come out ahead.  So, this is the best chance we have.  We don’t to move DD yet, because she has her friends at school, and she knows the teachers.  She’s at an age now where moving would be upsetting.  So, for now, she stays.  Pending $200 a barrel oil.

So, Mothertalkers, anyone else facing such painful mental calculations?  Suggestions for coping?  I can start drinking again come December…