So I sat down and worked out some details with my friend from church for watching our little baby boy... so we have a good update to our baby budget!
After our conversation, I'm really feeling comfortable with this arrangement and I think we have made a choice to go with in home care instead of the Montessori Day Care.
We spent an hour discussing a variety of topics from child rearing styles, thoughts on TV viewing, play dates, watching other children, illnesses, vacations... even things like what would happen if Eli hits her daughter... etc. We pretty much covered a ton of material (I pulled stuff from various websites on interviewing nanny's and combined them to cover what was practical for our situation).
After figuring out that we both have a similar style of parenting, ie we believe that if a baby is crying for a need, that need should be met immediately... whereas if a baby is crying just to cry, you can let them pout it out a bit before interfering... We don't believe you can discipline a baby.... etc....
So I feel very comfortable with how she handles situations from what I've seen her do first hand and from what we discussed. (She used to nanny full time before moving to California).
The General Stuff & Plan
We plan to bring and leave a pack n' play and spare sheets over at their place to help with nap time. Based on their ages, Eli will be in the crib they have most of the day since he'll still be taking multiple naps, but depending on timing both kiddos might be down for the count around the same time, so that's where the pack n' play we scored off Facebook for $40.00 will come in handy.
We plan to keep a storage container with diapers, wipes, and essential items over there and when we are low on supplies, she will let us know and we can re-stock it up the next time he comes over (very similar to a daycare.)
When we are ready to transition over to solid foods (at our insistence), we will pack his food and some supplies to bring with him. We can keep some basics there as well so we aren't carting so many things around each time we drop him off. She has no problem preparing foods that we supply, mixing bottles if we have to go the formula route, etc.
We don't need to bring over a spare infant car seat base as they already have what they need there for day trips or in the event of an emergency, etc. She already has a carrier for park trips so she will most likely wear Eli and put her daughter in a stroller until she can walk a bit more, etc. (Her daughter will be 16 months old when she starts to watch Eli).
Their place is clean and child proofed :) There are plenty of toys and things for him to play with so we don't need to bring over any age appropriate things for him.
While she will be watching another child for a few months in the morning, it is a short term arrangement that will be finished before she begins watching Eli. We took the time to discuss if she would consider watching any other children besides her daughter and my son. While she told me she will never watch more than 2 children besides her daughter because anymore and she would need to be licensed (she researched all the legal stuff on her own already)... but she isn't planning to solicit for more kiddos to watch and would speak to me before hand.
We took the time to discuss illness and the kids. While she's okay with us bringing Eli if he has a little runny nose... any fevers or green coming out of him he stays home with me or SCB just like he would with the other daycare option. We will still pay her the full weekly amount if Eli is sick (this was at my insistence since I know her family will be planning on that income.)
The reverse though, if her daughter has more than a runny nose, Eli won't be coming over and we won't be paying them for that day of care so we can use that money to bribe someone else to watch him or call in a sick day at work. I have another friend of mine from church who will be having a baby as I'm going back to work and she had mentioned helping us out with daycare too so I think she will be our "back up" if we can't bring Eli over to his regular place once she gets settled in.
While we both aren't planning any long vacations or trips at the moment, we have decided that we need to give the other party at least a months notice of any planned vacations and we won't need to pay for care while we are on vacation. (this is a nice perk over the other daycare option). So if they take a week off, they will give us at least a month's notice so we can make arrangements for someone to watch him (my other friend from church, my mom, maybe a couple of sick days if need be split between SCB and I, etc)... and likewise if we are planning on taking a trip, we give them a months notice and get to keep the daycare money for our trip.
We also talked about payments and transaction records, taxes, and all that. She IS reporting the income to the IRS, wants us to pay her in a way the payments can be recorded and tracked... and yes we will be able to write off the childcare expenses at the end of the year on our taxes to save us even more money.
We plan to set up electronic payments, paid weekly on Fridays so we aren't paying her in cash or going through checks like crazy each week. Thankfully I can do that through my electronic checking account at Capital One 360. At the end of the month, we will get an invoice showing our payments that we can keep for our tax records too.
What's really cool is the flexibility of the situation. Since we only need 4 days of care, we are welcome to switch those days if my work schedule were to change to accommodate a special event. For instance, if I have to come in to work on a Monday for an event, and get a Wed off instead that week, she is fine with watching Eli on a Monday and me taking Wednesday off instead that week and cutting her the same amount. If we need an additional day of care, (like a Saturday or a Monday on top of the regular 4 days), we pay her an extra $55 per day.
We also talked about swapping date nights at no charge, which will be awesome once we get the energy to spend time alone with one another again.
With all that in mind, I love the fact that he's going to get more individualized attention, a playmate, time outdoors, a no TV environment and while we may have to take a extra sick day throughout the year to cover her or her daughters illness, Eli will be less likely to get ill over all being in a smaller environment then in a place with a lot more children and parents who try to sneak in a runny nose, saying its teething when its not.
So now we just need to figure out the health care choice... and considering he won't be in the major daycare environment, we think we might be able to get by with the High Deductible plan if we find a good doctor we like and we have a good over all delivery... but that decision won't be made until he gets here so let the health insurance ideas/questions keep coming!
With Kaiser, I can interview pediatricians at no charge so we hope to have a Kaiser option set up in case we choose that route... and hopefully we will be able to find a non Kaiser option to compare it to.