I have an appointment tomorrow morning in Troyes, and we have had plans for two weeks to have Fry stay with Mémère and Pépère while I see the doctor. Unfortunately, my father-in-law is very sick, so Fry's staying there right now is kind of difficult for my mother-in-law, who is already up to her eyeballs in taking care of her ill husband. I know she felt terrible calling us last night to ask if we could find other accommodations and I felt terrible that she could think we'd be upset with her! Bless her heart, I think she's having a very difficult time adjusting to her husband's decline in health.
In any case, she suggested we call the halte garderie in the same street. Stéphane got very excited about this - here was an option we hadn't even thought of before!
In France, there are several options for child care: la crèche, les nounous, et la halte garderie (or is it l'halte garderie?). La crèche is traditional day care, but as spaces are very limited in this option, the children of two working parents take precedence (as it should be!) so we have crossed this one off the list. A nounou is usually a woman that takes a handful of children into her care, as sort of a private daycare. Finally, the halte garderie is more of an occasional option for those that need a quick solution for baby sitting for a few hours during the day.
From what I understand (from reading a little bit of information on Troyes' website), the crèche and the halte garderie have now been combined under a single heading called "petite enfance," which is for children aged two years and under. (Many children can start school at the Maternelle between two and three years old, which is basically a state-run pre-school.)
So, armed with this little bit of information, I called the maison de petite enfance located in the same street as my appointment. I explained that I didn't know how the system worked and the woman kindly gave me the number for the service de petite enfance so we could sign up. I called that number and asked if we could sign up if we didn't live in Troyes. Since I don't work and we don't live in Troyes, we don't qualify for a crèche, but we can sign up for an accueil d'occasion, which, loosely translated, is "occasional welcome." This means I would be able to leave Fry in a state sponsored day care for a few hours during the day *if* they have an opening (I'm not sure if you can reserve in advance or if it's first come, first served).
Obviously, this isn't going to work for tomorrow morning, but I did take an appointment to sign us up for the service, which will be next month, and we'll have to go with a list of documents as long as your arm, but that's what you'd expect for child care, I suppose. I do happen to know where the accueil d'occasion is, right in the middle of downtown Troyes, with a parking garage just below it, so that's nice. I'll find out more about how that works next month.
In the meantime, I didn't give a second thought about taking Fry with me tomorrow morning, but then I realized that I've never been to this doctor's office before and I have no idea if I'll be able to get his giant country stroller in the door, let alone if they have room. I was thinking specifically of the eye doctor I saw, who's office was located on the second floor of an 18th century house - not easy to maneuver a huge stroller! So I called and asked, ready to change my appointment, but the secretary was very sweet and told me to bring him along. Man, it's amazing how much planning ahead is required now that we have this tiny presence in our lives!
P.S. If you're reading this in a reader, you may wanna stop by the blog - I've been futzing with the template again!