I have a 3.5 year old son who's been in daycare since he was 2. The daycare itself isn't too bad, it's clean, they have good activities, the workers are nice, and it's just a block from our house, which is good for when I have to take him into daycare because I use public transit.
The $700 per month that we pay for this daycare, the cost is meal-inclusive. They provide breakfast, lunch and snacks. The problem is that my son and I are both vegetarian. I always thought it was required that places like this have to have vegetarian alternatives especially considering there are children there who do not eat meat or certain meats because of religion, but I don't know if that is required here. It hasn't been a big problem so far, just an annoyance, because even though we pay the full $700 a month, we end up having to spend more to send my son with a vegetarian alternative for lunch. If they're having chicken nuggets, I send soy nuggets. If they're having shephard's pie, I make my own shephard's pie with soy ground instead.
The one thing I've always appreciated though is they stick to a strict rotating menu, which is helpful because then on the weekend I can look at what they're having at daycare that week and make sure we buy what we need, as well as know what days we'll need to cook it.
I get a letter on my son's sign in page yesterday, stating that they're planning on playing around with the menu for the next while, trying to establish a new menu. They will try and give us a whopping 1 day notice about menu changes. Some days will be changed, some days won't. So on the weekends, I'll have no way to know what he'll need, nor do I have the ability to go grocery shopping any given night that they change their mind, in case they spring something else up on me, because my husband works evenings and I can't drive.
I'm just annoyed, because I pay for them to feed my son which they rarely do because everything they make has meat in it, and now the one thing that made it tolerable they're taking away for an 'undetermined' period of time where I'll be kept on my toes, wondering if there's a menu change that they didn't tell me about. Like if the menu says it's a day without meat, like grilled cheese sandwiches and I didn't get any notice of change, I don't have to send him with anything, but if they decide last minute to make hot dogs or something, then what will my son eat, you know?
I just figure if I'm paying them $700 a month, and part of that money is for them to feed my kid, I should either get a reduction in what I pay every month, or heaven forbid, actually expect them to feed my kid. I don't see why they can't use the money I pay them to feed him to buy their own vegetarian alternatives.
Now that I've gotten this lovely notice I'm thinking I'll bring it up with the director, but it's hard to because I don't want to rock the boat. There's 6-9 month waiting lists for like every daycare in the city, and it is a good daycare, but this one little aspect drives me up the wall. I'd love to just take my son to daycare and know that he'll be fed, without being up at 5:00 am cooking him his lunch for the day.
I won't publish the name of the daycare, because it IS a good daycare despite this annoyance, I just needed to vent a little.