Advice needed from those who have booked/researched/used childcare! Sorry this may be long.
We visited a home daycare last night that was recommended by a former LGBT Bumpie who gave it rave reviews and has said she would send a second child there if she has one (current child is in preschool). We loved it -- we felt completely confident and comfortable with the woman who runs it (a mom and grandmother with over 25 years of experience), liked her policies and practices (yes to CDing, no to TV and toy weapons, bilingual Spanish/English, playing in the backyard when weather permits, walks to nearby park and library), and found out while we were there that another woman we know is now sending her second child there. She is near our house and my sister's house, has hours that will work for us (due to long work schedules/commutes, we need a longer day than lots of daycares offer), can do a 4-day week (which is all we need -- lots of places only offer 3 or 5), and is flexible with pick-up time (instead of charging you inflated late fees for pick up, she just charges you the normal hourly rate for the extra time. This is key because I have a public transit commute and you never know what's going to happen). Pricing is hourly -- you contract for a certain # of hours per week and that's what you pay for. Her prices are probably somewhere in the low to middle end for the area -- most of the places that charge less per day mostly seem to have shorter days.
So, all sounds good. But she has one infant spot for the fall and had an interview two days ago with another couple due in July. They have a few other places to look at and said they probably wouldn't get back to her until at least next week. So I feel like we need to move fast if we want this spot, but we haven't done any other tours/visits/interviews yet and setting them up is not super easy since they all want me to come midday and are far from my office.
I would honestly be comfortable signing up without visiting other places. I've done enough research that I feel like we are not going to get a nicer, more convenient, more flexible place for less money. I like that we know two people who've sent kids there. My wife would be comfortable too except for one concern. Her schedule tends to be stable for 1-3 years at a time. So right now she has Wednesdays off; starting in March she will have Thursdays off instead and will hopefully keep that schedule for a while. But her schedule could switch back to Wednesdays at some point without a lot of notice and it's not up to her. Because this is a small daycare (10-child capacity), she's concerned that if her schedule changes, we might not be able to switch our son to the other day because there won't be room on that day. She feels like a larger center daycare might be able to handle that kind of change more easily. I kind of feel like all daycare facilities around here are pretty booked up and any of them might potentially have a problem accomodating a short-notice schedule shift. I worry that places with more space have space because people don't want to send their kids there. The solution is to pay for 5 days a week and not use all of them -- but this is an extra $350/month for time we more than likely will not need.
Does anyone have any advice or insight? Would you put down a deposit without visiting other places? How much flexibility with schedule changes does your child's daycare have? TIA!
Married my wife 8/2007 ~ TTC #1 since 7/2011 9 IUIs = 9 BFNs IVF October 2012: 22 eggs retrieved, 17 fertilized, 5 frozen ET #1: 1 blast = BFP; Blighted ovum discovered at 7w5d; D&E FET #1: 1 blast = BFP; Missed m/c discovered at 9w5d; D&E Karyotyping: normal ~ RPL Testing: normal ~ Hysteroscopy: normal FET #2: 1 blast transferred 10/25; BFP 10/31! EDD 7/13/14 ~ Induced at 37w4d due to pre-eclampsia ~ Born on 6/28/14 *Everyone welcome*