Monday, September 03, 2007

Ding-Dong, Daycare’s Gone

Eh, it was the only thing I could think of that rhymed, and I so dearly wanted to rhyme something, but you get the point. Last Wednesday, Natalie finally said good bye to KinderCare, the boarding house for small children that charged an arm and a leg for the privilege of storing them for the day, while all of us parents worked. Natalie has been going there for approximately three years, and now no more!

Good riddens, I say.

I am as excited as she is that she left and is heading to her preschool, but I’m sure for a much different reason. She’s matriculating up to a “big girl” school, whereas I am saving a hat full of money and finally gaining some value for the money I will be spending.

Every week for the past three years, in one form or another, I’ve been writing a check for $268.90… every week, not to mention the $90 check three times a year to hold the kids’ spots while Kara kept them out of daycare while on her breaks, and not to mention the $40 check I wrote each month for Natalie’s gymnastics classes she took there each week (though that’s only been for the last year or so). Frankly, it is a lot of money for her to stay there, and the irony of it all is that she goes to daycare because I have to work and I have to work partly because she goes to daycare.

But, just because we’ve finally dug ourselves out of the tunnel and I’m starting to again breath easier, let’s add it up to see how much it has cost us over the years. Natalie went there full time when I worked full time, from roughly June 2004 until April 2005, then she was scaled back to three days a week until Matthew was born in December 2005. Then they both went two days a week until now. However, for whatever reason (I suspect shenanigans), the weekly bill was always roughly the same, making the total cost of the kids’ daycare up until this point $35,494.80.

That’s a giant load of money just to store the children for the day. Imagine what I could have bought with that kind of money, roughly $1000.00 a month (and sometimes more depending if there were five weeks or four in that month)!

Breathing a financial sigh of relief, I’m just glad it is over, at least partly over. Matthew is still going to go there one day a week now (at $80 a day!), but we’re going to see how that works out. I say it’s a waste of money, total waste of money. The only reason he’ll go, besides the socialization aspects of being there, is because I usually have meetings on Wednesday… but I have meetings on Monday and Thursday mornings too now, so I don’t see the benefit. Plus, it’s not like I’m going to get anything extra done, because Natalie has to be picked up at noon, which gives me only about three hours to take care of business… and roughly half of that is taken up by my Wednesday meeting. So what’s the point?

On top of which, I didn’t go to daycare to socialize and my social skills aren’t entirely flawed, so we may just pull him out altogether and save just that much more money; frankly, I don’t see the point of him even being there. It’s a warehouse for kids. Parents slow down in the driveway, open the door and shove their burdens out as they speed off to work, and sometimes, I’ve dropped off the kids and picked them up, seeing the same poor wretches languishing there, waiting to be rescued. Last week, I was speaking quite candidly to Natalie’s teacher—what did I care, Natalie was leaving and so was the teacher, so we both were speaking our minds about KinderPrison—and she was telling me that some kids are there for nearly 12 hours a day, every day, all week. What kind of upbringing is that? They’d do better waiting in the car while their parents worked than being at KinderCare. At that point, what is stopping you from hiring a nanny? It’d surely be cheaper and you’d have better care, but I think the majority of people leave their kids at KinderCare for those obscene lengths of time lack a certain parental responsibility.

KinderCare is a day-long playground, with very little structure, discipline or direction, which leads me nicely to the second reason I’m glad Natalie’s leaving it: There’s no main direction for the kids. You get families from all walks of life and all kinds of morals with the on common denominator is that they can all seemingly afford to send their kids there. However, I’m glad she’s moving up to a private preschool run through a church because it says one very important thing: The majority of the families share some kind of religious standards, and that standard is the same for each. I’m not saying that I’m one step away from the ministry, as I haven’t been to church since Easter (and I stayed outside because Matthew felt the sting of not being baptized and couldn’t settle), but I have a certain level of religion instilled in me. I know right from wrong and I have… well, what my point is is that I’m hypothesizing that all of the kids that will be going to Natalie’s new school will be from a healthy, upright family environment.

However, sharing space with other kids from healthy, upright family environments doesn’t come exactly free, but it is a whole heck of a lot less expensive than blood-sucking KinderCare, about half the cost. But for me, it seems that she’ll be getting more value out of my money, more instruction, more direction, more practice at going down the road to becoming a good student.

Of course, there’s light at the end of the tunnel there too, because it is only another year before she starts Kindergarten. And that, folks, is free.*

*I know I pay taxes that goes to public schools so that doesn’t mean it’s free, but I pay taxes now and I don’t get to send them to public school. So, at least the tax money I pay now will theoretically stop going to pay for illegal alien anchor babies’ education and start paying for my own. But that, friends, is another post for a later date.

1 comment:

Ryan or Kara said...

It wasn't so bad. Natalie had a great infant teacher and we liked her three's teacher (the one who's leaving). Matthew's teachers are very caring and nurturing too. I am thankful that we didn't have to leave them there long hours. And Natalie plays very well with others. But we did pay a pretty penny!


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