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TK and childcare

Back in May we welcomed our third au pair. I noted at the time, “it’s a tremendous relief to have an end to childcare troubles in sight.” Well, it’s true that there were none in sight, but it sadly didn’t mean that they didn’t arise. The arrangement with that au pair lasted just a couple months as a cascade of issues arose that we ultimately couldn’t work past together. It was the first time we’ve had this experience, and I’m certain it’s going to be a blip in out experience with the program, but it was a stressful couple of months.

It also reminded me how challenging the childcare question is in the United States today. Our children are our most precious pieces of our lives, and yet I have to find it in myself to trust another person to care for them for 40+ hours a week so I can pursue my career. It’s what I wanted, but I guess I didn’t expect that I’d be leaving a chunk of my heart at my office door every day, or how painful (in addition to inconvenient!) it is when the childcare situation is not going as you’d like. It’s also left entirely up to brand new parents to figure this all out. We don’t have support from our government to find or secure safe childcare, and while there are a lot of options, many are expensive or so wildly exclusive that they take months or years to enroll. Ultimately, it’s a source of low-level stress even when things are going well.

But life goes on, and I’m hopeful that we’re on the path to a more settled time moving forward with a new au pair. With that, Adam transitioned from the program he was in to Transitional Kindergarten! He’s now going to his local elementary school, which just over a half a mile from home, allowing us to walk him to and from school most days.

Sign made by one of his former au pairs on his first day!

Moving to a school district schedule will definitely take some adjusting. We spent most of our adult lives traveling when it’s cheapest and taking vacations during unusual times. Now that we’re bound to the district schedule, we’ll be going with the pack. Even our visits back to Philadelphia will be more limited than before and during traditional break times around holidays, but it’s my hope that we can spend a nice chunk of the summer there most years. I guess we’ll see! With the last few years disrupted by so many unforeseen changes, including a pandemic, I’m reluctant to make too many definitive declarations of plans. It’s exciting though, our first little one is going to school!