In February 2006, the Hoos and I felt pretty silly looking at day facilities for our unborn, gender unknown, child. We wanted to have something lined up so that I would have the option of returning to work once "Bump" was born. After making dozens of phone calls and finding out that some facilities wouldn't have opening for several YEARS (apparently there are limited day care options for newborns), we finally toured three facilities. These centers couldn't promise us anything for our timing (September 2006), but they seemed to think we would have a good chance of getting in off of the waiting list. We thought it was crazy that we had to put ourselves on a waiting list. I can say I was relieved when I got a call during my maternity leave that our first choice would have an opening.
Back then, we were looking for day care that we felt comfortable with and would take good care of our baby's basic needs (e.g., feeding, changing, sleeping). Now, more than a year later, we are starting to consider re-evaluating our options as LP's needs are changing and our expectations for day care are evolving. LP feeds herself, is on the brink of walking, and is communicating more every day. We want to be sure that her day care center provides her with the educational stimuli, learning opportunities, and developmental challenges that she needs. This is not to say they may not have this where she is, but there are more day care options for one-year-olds, giving us a larger pool to draw from, and more of a basis for comparison.
I am not one of those moms that wants to push my daughter from day one to get into an Ivy. However, I don't think that annually evaluating the place where LP spends three full days a week makes me obsessive. I would like to instead think that it makes me a concerned mom that wants the best for my little rump roast. I not only want her to be safe and clean and well-fed, I want her to get the mental (and physical) challenge out of her "day job" that I expect out of mine.