Finding A Caretaker for Dylan

Thursday, November 08, 2012

**text-heavy post! Forewarned!~**

Now that Dylan is 3 months old, it is about time for me to get back to work. I don't even know how to start describing how I feel. A few weeks back, I was somewhat excited about going back to work, but now, I think I am suffering from some sort of separation anxiety.

 

 For the past 2 months, Nian and I have been very actively looking for a suitable caretaker for Dylan. Honestly, it hasn't been easy because 1) there are sooooooo many babies this dragon year, most recommended nannies have already been snapped up and 2) I think I'm too picky with a caretaker. You'll know why as you read on.

Choosing between an infant care and a nanny

Before we even started looking at a particular care-taker for Dylan, Nian and I explored both possible options: an infant care and a stay-at-home nanny. Here are some of the factors we have considered and weighed between these two options.

1. Attention: A nanny can give Dylan one-to-one attention as compared to a 1:3 ratio in infant care centres.

Score: Nanny 1 | Infant Care: 0

2. In case of illness: When Dylan hangs out alone with the nanny, there is possibly a lesser chance of him falling sick. Even if Dylan were to fall sick (choi!), the nanny will also be able to help me look after him while I work. In infant care, if Dylan were to fall sick, he will be sent home. That means I'd have to take time off work to take care of him myself (which is another good and bad situation).

Score: Nanny 2 | Infant Care: 0

3. Timing: Sending Dylan to a nanny will mean a more flexible timing. that means that when I have to OT & Nian has yet to knock off, I can get the nanny to help me look after Dylan for an extra hour or so. In infant care, picking up at 7PM means 7PM. Nothing later than that.

Score: Nanny 3 | Infant Care: 0

4. Affordability: Most nannies these days are charging between $600 to $700, not inclusive of solid food that Dylan will consume when he is 6 months old. With that, it could easily come up to about $800/month for a nanny. However, in infant care, the government gives a $600 subsidy to Singaporean babies with a working mum. That works out to about $577 after subsidy, inclusive of solid food that the center will prepare when he's of age.

With the CDA (Baby bonus), where the governement matches dollar-for-dollar for every amount we put into Dylan's account, we are technically paying only 50% of the $577, which is about $300/month. That is a whopping $500 savings/month!

Score: Nanny 3 | Infant Care: 1

5. Environment: Each nanny's house is different, some may be highly experienced with children, but may not have a child-proof place suitable for infants when they start to be mobile.

For example, we've been to this particular nanny's house and was rather put off by what we saw. There were a lot of plants along the corridor, which worries me because I was afraid of stale water that may breed mosquitoes among the greenery. When we went into her house, we realized that the whole space was crammped and dark. There were many carton boxes stacked towards the corner of the room, huge tables that I could see Dylan banging into when he starts to crawl... and is that floor clean?

Another nanny had a better environment - it is relatively bright and open, with fresh air coming in most of the time since she stays at the highest floor. However, she rents out two of her bedrooms, so I was kinda concerned of the people going in and out of her house. There were also some rumours from a particular nanny agency that this nanny has some sort of financial trouble and she actually hasn't been having a child under her care for a couple of years already.

Some sort of alarm raised already wtf. Will loanshark come knocking on her door? Will she sell my Dylan for some quick cash?


In an infant care, even though the child to teacher ratio is slightly higher, the area is not opened to public. People can't go in and come out as and when they like. It is pretty much restricted to the infant care teachers and the children themselves. Besides, they also sanitize the entire area every single day, with a full-scale sanitation every weekend. +1 more point for hygiene for the infant care centres please?

Aaaaand. We don't need to worry about the nanny's character in an infant care. All of these teachers are specially trained (might not be experienced though) and screened through by the management. We've even decided to go with PCF, which is under the PAP lol. Government one, more standard to maintain and lesser headache... we feel.

Score: Nanny 3 | Infant Care: 2

6. Learning programmes:  To be honest, I think this is where my mom thinks I'm a bit too aggressive lol.

I take this factor rather seriously because Dylan spends a large amount of time under a caretaker. Instead of just having him lying down on his bouncer and spend his first 1.5 years not learning anything, I'd prefer a caretaker where she can teach him things. Refine his motor skills, teach him a song, read him a story book. Engage him, not leave him lying around, making him sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep and drink milk and drink milk. That's not what I want and that is what most nannies offer.

I am also not very keen to expose Dylan to the TV at this young age. Of course, small amounts of TV when he's about 1 or 2 years old is ok, you know, like watching BabyTV and okto to learn. But not now, not so soon. This is something I cannot control also, if I send him to a nanny. I mean, what will she do when she's home alone with Dylan?

LOL I hope I'm not scaring you with all these thoughts running through my head!

Score: Nanny 3 | Infant Care:3

As you can see, both the nanny and the infant care is good on their own aspects but we decided on the infant care because we ranked what we were looking for and decided that the infant care can cater to our needs better.

So after this lengthy thought process, we went on a full-fledged infant care hunting.

HONESTLY, I think the government should place more emphasis in the early childhood programmes because most infant care centres we go to are severely lacking in teachers who are able to take care of the kids. As such, each centre can only take in very, very small amounts of children.

How small?

Maximum intake is like... 10 kids.

Ten. Sepuluh. 十.

 

Some centres close at like 8 kids because they have to keep to the 1:3 teacher-children ratio and they only have 3 teachers wtf.

Plus priority programme for siblings, MEGA long waiting list, 18 months before progressing to the next level (nursery, K1 and K2 is promoted year by year, so this is 6 months longer)..... It's super hard to get a slot in the infant care if you don't get on their waiting list early. 

And by early, it means that you've to start registering for your child when you're probably 5 months pregnant wtf, and obviously we didn't do it because we didn't think it will be THIS crazy.

So for the past 2 months, we've called every centre in our estate and some near to my work place. Most of them are already full, while the rest were struck out of the list because they have HFMD history, super expensive fees etc.

I was *this* close to calling up my company to take sabbatical leave while I stay home to take care of Dylan myself... until a few days back.

Yes, we've finally found an infant care centre for my darling son. Thank God, although a tiny part of me died, knowing that I can't use it as an excuse to stay at home 24/7 with him anymore. Seriously, I'm not even joking.

While I put in so much effort in securing a place for Dy to ensure that he grows up in a good and safe environment, part of me is still secretly hoping that this doesn't happen, so that I can take care of him myself. Never felt this torn between two decisions.

So, hello work.. and goodbye 60 solid hours per week with my son. That's like for every 7 days, I don't see him for 2 and a half days fml.

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4 comments

  1. Hopefully finances will permit you to be a PT SAHM when you plan to have your 2nd kid in a couple of years' time!

    BTW You're doing awesomely well for a first time mummy!!! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww! You're so sweet my dear. *blush*

      I'm just doing my best for the bubs.. it's like nothing / no one else is more impt than him now! Somehow, career just takes a backseat ever since I've Dylan. Not a manager by 30? Nevermind. I've got 2 great kids. Mission Accomplished.

      Of course, I hope to "retire" by 30. That means we need to work super duper hard now cuz there's not much time left! D:

      Delete
  2. God... Separating from our baby is so hard to do. I cannot imagine that. Kudos for you for being able to do so! Juggling work and motherhood is A LOT of work! Not easy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Great information !
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    ReplyDelete

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