Developments in the Brideau House

As many GH&T readers know, we’ve experienced a childcare crisis.  Our beloved nanny was asked to take care of her mother, as her father recently passed away. I think the nanny and I were both equally upset and sad to see her leave. 

We had become incredibly dependent on her, Iolani loves her very much, and we’ve really taken to their family.  It was sad, but there really wasn’t an option.  Family first.

In any case, we immediately started calling the multiple daycares we are currently waitlisted for.  Please note – we signed up for these waitlists when we were 6 months pregnant.  Iolani is now 16 MONTHS old.  When I called to find out how far down the list we were…we are still MONTHS out.

It’s like when you put your name on the list at CPK on a Friday night.  You get high hopes that your name will be called soon.  You start to get a bit judgmental when 30 minutes has passed by and your stomach is starting to grumble because you are hungry, and your cell phone just announced that 20% of power is left. And, you have only 20% of battery power left because you’ve been playing on your phone to occupy yourself from the now 45 minute wait.  FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE JUST LET ME SIT AT THE BAR!!!!!

That’s the feeling.

I had been playing phone tag with this one daycare on Main Street.  When I finally got a person on the phone I was told that I was only two from the top, and that they would call me back by Friday, but if I hadn’t heard back from them on Friday, to call on Monday.  Monday came, I called Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Monday again.  I called and left messages.  Come to find out, the lone person who can return phone calls was out sick all that time and was unable to change the greeting to say “Sorry, hack cough cough…on death’s bed…can’t return the call”

When I do get the person back on the phone, I’m told that there’s a spot for Iolani to start on the 5th of January, and that she needs to confirm the space with the room’s teacher.  I’m thinking this is a good sign.

Oh Eff No.  Main Street lady checks in with the teacher to find out that one of the preschooler’s parents had TRIPLETS starting on the 5th, and that kids already enrolled in daycare – the family gets priority over the waitlisted families.  I understand.  I’m sympathetic.  Just really effing bad bad timing.  Triplets…our adorable Iolani can’t compete with triplets. So, a spot for Iolani wouldn’t be available until March…and that’s a fat effing maybe.

The place on 3rd Street is my absolute last choice.  And, their waitlist has us still over a year away from the top. 

The place on Spring…two years from the top.

Daycare in Downtown Los Angeles is as elusive as owning a place downtown and having reasonable Homeowners Association fees.  People, if you are thinking you are going to have a child in the next 5 years, get on the wait list now for daycare.

What’s the resolution?  How did the Brideaus get their happy ending?  Why, it all started with what you call “Emergency Childcare”  I was googling for childcare in the 90017, and this place popped up.  I called, left a message, and someone called me back in less than 15 minutes.   

I told her my situation, she said – no problem, let’s talk tomorrow and get all the paperwork completed.  And, I’m beside myself because it just seemed too easy.  I just found 20 days of childcare.  HA HA.  Not.  When I got the call back the next day, I was told the service was only available to employees of certain Downtown firms.  Lucky bastards.

At this point, I was desperate. I was having a hard time keeping it together because at every turn, it just wasn’t going my way.  I had these thoughts of going to client meetings with Iolani ergo-ed on my back.  Even worse, I thought about what it would be like to have to work part-time because we couldn’t get childcare.  So, I suck in my whimper and ask the guy “Do you have any referrals or recommendations?”

Ralston – the guy who works for Bright Beginnings – who has really no reason to help me says: “I know we have a new daycare opening up soon, let me make a call and see if they have a spot for you”

I’d heard people say they’d call me back so many times, and not call me back…so, I told him that if I didn’t hear from him by the end of the day, I’d call him back.  He called me back in like 2 minutes to tell me about this new daycare opening up on Bunker Hill, and they did have immediate spots in their toddler room.

Meanwhile I’m split between feeling absolute excitement that a spot was available, and not being convinced that a spot actually existed. Ralston gave me the number for the place, and I called them right away.  “Hope Street Friends” had just opened, didn’t have a wait list, and would be available for Iolani to come and interview.  At first I asked if I could come in the next morning, but quickly changed my mind…I said we’d be right over.

As I was driving over, I was reminded of a conversation that I had with someone downtown (I can’t out her) about a daycare trying to open, running into trouble getting permits, and a brief and informal conversation that subsequently fixed the trouble.

I dropped e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. to run back to Downtown, pick up Alex, pick up Iolani, get Iolani looking presentable, and doing my best to remain calm. We walked in the door and was met with the director and assistant director.  We were shown the toddler room.  Iolani had already wiggled out of my arms and had walked (WTF) away from me. She was busy playing.  Alex and I were busy looking around, knowing that this was 1) our only option and 2) the most unbelievable space ever! 

Hope Street Friends is a shared effort between a couple of firms.  There are a couple of spots open for those in the community.  We were incredibly lucky to find this place, and get Iolani in – on such an aggressive timeline. I am incredibly thankful to everyone who kept us in their thoughts and prayers, and to the bureaucrats who were able to work to get this place opened.

Come to find out, this place isn’t just a daycare – it has a great educational program.  In just a couple of days Iolani has changed just a tiny bit.  You can tell she’s talking more, she is much more expressive in the sense that she is coloring everything that doesn’t move.  She’s getting to be around other kids her age, play outside more, and play with more inside toys.

I see how this will only be a great benefit to Iolani.  Alex reminded me of the saying that it is cheaper to pay for school than to pay for bail.  I told him – the smarter she is, the cheaper it will be to send her away to college.  So – Iolani…you had better start thinking about how you are going to change the world pretty quick here.

This past week was one of those weeks where I was in 100% crisis mode 100% of the time. Alex and I needed Iolani in daycare.  Alex and I both needed to be able to focus on work.  The moment crisis mode was over, I crashed emotionally – for about 10 minutes.  Then I had to get to work on some sign-in sheets, contract mod, and meeting reports.

I know that things like this will pop up from time to time.  But, I’m ready for some quiet time.  When’s baseball season start again?

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