I'm happy to report that things have suddenly taken a turn for the better: we have found some childcare for Baby!
It was a slightly bumpy road to get there. Since nurseries are practically non existent here, which makes the few of them completely overbooked, we really had only two options (1) hire a nanny at home, (2) bring the baby to a "family nursery" (i.e. a woman who takes care of 2-4 kids in her own home). Option (1) was good because it is very convenient, and you get a say in the person you hire, but it's insanely expensive. Option (2) is much more within our budget, but it's the luck of the draw. We had found a person we could have hired as a nanny, and after much work we were offered a place in a family nursery, but we were not comfortable at all with the place or the woman (no specific reason, just gut feeling). So it was between the option we didn't like but could afford, or the option we liked but that would have sucked my entire salary. Talk about a choice... I think this is an example of a situation where the expression "catch 22" applies!
But then we lucked out. A new family nursery opened, a wonderful woman who decided to retire early to take care of children instead. We met with her, and immediately knew that this was exactly what we needed, it feels like she will be the cool young grandma that the kids don't have because we live so far from family. Baby started there right away, and we're now working on the transition. Because it took so long to find childcare, she is now old enough to have separation anxiety, to we have to take our time easing her in.
This means that in no time I'll be back at work full time, while feeling great that the kids are well taken care of. That feeling is priceless, I realize I had it at my previous job, without knowing it until we were put in this uncomfortable situation.
So last week I had my first full day in the office, uninterrupted, without Baby. It felt great. And that day I had a breakthrough with my research, nothing that will make the headlines, but I managed to do something I had been struggling with for a long time. That made for an absolutely wonderful day. Things are really looking up!