Charlotte and I went on a lovely walk past Clapham Common this morning to visit The Baby Room. After doing a bit of online research it looked to be one of the better nurseries in the area. It is about a twenty minute walk from our flat (and only one tube stop away).
We were greeted by a lovely woman who took us from room to room (each based on age - hence the name). All the caretakers were extremely nice and all the children were happily engaged in activities.
We started in the Blue Room where Charlotte would be until she turns 18 months. There is one other little one around her age, and he was happily engaged in a bouncy seat. The other little ones were playing with blocks on the floor together. (I absolutely love the social aspect of putting her in a nursery as opposed to having someone look after her alone at home.) There was one caretaker for every two babies, and there were probably only around six kids, so it didn't seem too hectic.
In this age group, the majority of the day is spent playing in the room or outside in the courtyard. They also go on little field trips to Clapham Common or to the library (once they are a bit older).
Charlotte would be assigned a specific caretaker with whom she would build a bond. At the end of every day that caretaker writes up a little report card letting us know about every meal, diaper changed and activity she engaged in. It is all very well thought out.
The Baby Room doesn't accept kids for half-days so we will enroll her for two days a week (perhaps Tuesdays and Thursdays) instead. That will give me time to hit the gym (I WILL fit into my old jeans again!) work on music and head to some auditions. Eventually, once I get some gigs lined up, we may have to reassess the schedule, but they seemed very flexible about letting us add/change days in the future. Luckily Jason now arrives home around 6:30 every night (as opposed to 9:00 at his last job!) so he can watch her if I have any evening rehearsals or performances.
Two days of childcare a week will give me some freedom while still giving me enough time at home with my sweet little baby girl. Sometimes I wish I had it in me to be a full-time mom but then I remember that it will be good for Charlotte to see her mom using her abilities and doing what she loves to do! It takes an amazing kind of person to be a stay-at-home parent and I am in awe of those of you who make it work. Truly. I've been staying home with Charlotte since we arrived in London (only a week ago!) and I am already a bit burned out. I know that having some help during the week will make me a better mom when I am with her.
The next step will be to submit our application. There is a space for her age group open but there won't be for long, so I'm going to walk the application back over tomorrow. She could start as soon as next week. This means I will need to start preparing my audition materials . . . ACK!