PARENTAL HEADACHE NO. 5 : Search Ends at Her Own Home

Cynthia Goode's bad experiences with day care led her to open her own family day-care home in Mount Washington.

When Goode went back to work part time as an animation checker, scene planner and special effects expert, her daughter, Celeste, was cared for by a woman who, unfortunately, was about to retire.

So Goode searched for a new care-giver and found what appeared, at first, to be a great situation.

"The lady was in Eagle Rock, it was summer and I dropped Celeste off for during the times I went to work," said Goode. "It turned out the minute September started, she just kicked me out because of her returning full-time children.

"I was leaving anyway because I saw after the second time that all the little children were in walkers, bumping into the walls. There was no back yard, not even a deck, no outside space.

"They had the TV on, and all the curtains were drawn. It was very, very depressing, and she had two teen-agers helping her. My daughter was about 8 months old, and she cried the whole time. It was horrible."

After that, said Goode, "I found an elderly lady. It was part time. She was in her 80s, and she was just getting just too old. I was starting to feel like my daughter was just getting too many people in her life."

Goode opened her own family day-care home; last year, she grossed $56,000. With staffing costs and expenses, she said, she is making $30,000, about what she earned 10 years ago.

Her daughter is among her charges. "Celeste is 3, and she has a difficult time with her mommy being the teacher or the care-giver (for) all these children. For a long time, it was great. It was like, 'Gee, there's a party at my house!' "

Goode has tried to enroll Celeste in three nursery schools for three hours a day. Celeste is on waiting lists at all three.

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