Episode 1: Yuppies Look for Daycare

I’ve written before about my discomfort with being a yuppie (including the fact that at 31, I’m not sure I meet the “young” definition of the word, and living in Knoxville, not so urban, but the point remains).

And now the yuppies are spawning and looking for daytime-care for their child. Childhood experiences, meet adult aspirations.

I grew up in a small city with not a lot of money, in a neighborhood that in retrospect was a little rough. Well, to be more accurate, we lived on the edge of rough.  I graduated high school with a 4.0 and scored a full scholarship for a four-year education, now work for a major corporation making pretty good money for a 31-year old. Okay, fine, for an any-year-old.  My brother – who grew up with me – went from our small city to NYU on a full tuition scholarship. He now lives in DC as a well-paid government worker.  My parents have since moved into a much more posh area complete with neighborhood pool and gated entrance, but growing up in our neighborhood was clearly not a detriment to our future success.

My husband and I live in a slightly more gentrified version of the neighborhood of my childhood. The neighbors are either elderly and comfortable or relatively young and stable. The houses are (mostly) well cared for and occupied by very nice people who get together twice a year for a block party. The only exceptions are the three houses currently for sale (one of them ours – yay!) and the single crappy empty-for-five-years house we all pretend doesn’t exist, but it’s a nice enough street that we feel bad when we leave an empty coffee cup on the front porch table or haven’t mowed the lawn in a week.

Our beautiful little street is surrounded by much rougher areas, though. Two streets away, someone bought a house (a whole house!) for like $50k after it was foreclosed upon. One street over, the occupants of one house seem to believe it’s okay to store their stuff (= euphemism for “crap”) in their front yard. On a sunny day as you approach the turn onto our street, you’re likely to see two very obese ladies (who chain smoke while riding their auto-chair things with oxygen tanks strapped on) sunbathing in too-tiny bikinis on plastic lawn chairs in their front yards… surrounded by plastic lawn paraphernalia.

All this to say that the area in which we live is diverse, both in terms of economics and, um, couth. (Aand, now we begin the part of this blog post that treads carefully – but probably not carefully enough – into less politically-correct waters.)  Again, we’re the ones with fence building materials in our front driveway and dogs that have been known to join joggers along their runs if I don’t shoo them inside quickly enough (this is why my husband is building a fence).  I’m currently sitting on the front porch in my bathrobe with my laptop at noon. Clearly we’re not sticklers for formality or pomp.

But there are streets near ours where I wouldn’t want to live, houses I wouldn’t want to have to look at, people I wouldn’t invite over for a drink. None of them live on our street, but they’re there, and the simple fact that our street does not equal our neighborhood means we have to take this into account…

… because the daycare I’m most interested in is one street over, literally at the bottom of our hill. I could traipse down the lower half of our property, through the clearing where we got married, and push through vines Indiana Jones style and end up in the play area of the daycare facility. This, people, is very, very, very enticing.

The proximity means my husband could drop the kiddo off on his way to class, but I could pick him up without firing up a car. It means if I have an hour free between calls, I could swing by to hang out with my son. I could block my calendar off and feed my kid – in person – at least once a day (in addition to pumping time here and there). We don’t often have inclement weather, but when we do driving anywhere becomes a challenge, and we’d always be able to strap on some snow boots or grab a really big umbrella and make it back from daycare.

Their prices are reasonable, their hours perfectly okay, and though they don’t have a waiting list, when I dropped by they seemed fairly confident they’d have a spot for an infant in November.

But as yuppies, we clearly have to check out other options, if only to assuage our yuppie need to research, and despite research indicating looking for “the best” rarely leads to contentment. And as yuppies, my employer offers this concierge service that called around and got information from eight local daycare options, five in-home and three facilities.

Now, of course, we’re faced with strange thoughts like, “Well, that one is really expensive compared to the others. Does that mean they’re better?” and “Do we prefer someone with 30 years of experience or someone, well, younger?”  Do we want a daycare with a curriculum already (and what would it be for an infant – “eat/ sleep/ poop/ repeat”?) or do we just plan to move him once he’s old enough for more stimulation.  Our closest neighbors loved their daycare, but it’s a 20 minute drive on a good day. Our other neighbors love the daycare down the street, though we’ve not talked to them about it directly.

And what kind of jackasses would we be if we admitted that the big black mark for the daycare down the hill is that they’re in our neighborhood? My husband is turned off by the lack of politeness expressed by the parents who pick up their kids every day, people who smoke with their windows cracked an inch and a child in the backseat or cut you off because they’re not paying attention. {Bear in mind we live in a very, very polite town with regards to driving, a place where a full two weeks after I honked at someone because they weren’t paying attention to a traffic light and it had gone from green to yellow, my husband was still mortified.}

I’m afraid if we start visiting facilities in the more upscale areas, we’ll be seduced by the shininess over the convenience of proximity.  I’m also afraid I’ll be put off by the yuppiness of it all, which is the other thing that happens when I’m faced with the kind of affluence we never had growing up.

Sigh. Clearly this is episode one of many. And now I need to get my bathrobed rear off the porch and clean up the front yard lest I be even more a hypocrite about unsavory neighbors.

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4 thoughts on “Episode 1: Yuppies Look for Daycare

  1. Not only are we married to the same man, we live in the same neighborhood. I’m stealing the “varying levels of couth” from you. We went with the less fancy, nearby daycare (one neighborhood over). I don’t know if we’ll switch down the road when curriculum is needed. I just know that the ladies in my daugter’s room have already fallen in love with her. And that makes leaving her a little more bearable.

  2. I’m not sure how places get know as ‘the daycare’ in a town – but there is definitely one here that EVERYONE WHO’S ANYONE uses.. if you know what I mean. (It’s not the one we go to!) Some friends of ours recently switched their kids from the one we use to the ‘la creme de la creme’ and you know what they’ve said. It’s not any different.

    When I first started looking I called all the daycares. When I got the full time job the only place I called was daycare right across the street. Are they perfect? No. Are any of them? No. Do they love my son and take great care of him? Yes. Would he nap better at the ‘posh’ daycare? No. Getting to walk across the street everyday at lunchtime to feed Warren. Priceless! (Aside from the additional bonus this means I don’t pump… like at all. Granted I should to give me some more flexibility – but I’m lazy and it’s nice not to have to.)

  3. We totally have that same thought! (Well, I do at least.) I’m not even pregnant (or trying), but I wonder what daycare we will send our yuppie spawn to. I have some pretty good ideas, mostly gleaned by finding out where some of my acquaintances of similar ‘status’ take their children. I have heard that at least one of them has a years-long waiting list though..so that’s probably out unless I sign up now (for a child that isn’t even a twinkle in my eye…hah).

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