Wednesday, June 06, 2012

New Statistic: Marla Non-Day-Care Days

I'm always looking for new statistics to add to By the Numbers. Here's the latest new stat: the number of days in which Marla does not go to day care, for whatever reason.

Why did I think of this today? Because, well, today is one of those days. Marla has developed a lot of rashing, which may or may not have been symptomatic of a contagious disease. But her doctor checked her out and gave us a signed note saying that it's "just a rash" and that she doesn't appear to have a contagious disease, which means we can take her back to day care tomorrow, fortunately.

It seems like we have to keep Marla out of day care an awful lot. But do we really, or does it just seem that way? Well thanks to my obsessive stat keeping, now we can find out!

I'll be keeping track of Marla's "attendance" - the percentage of the total number of weekdays in which Marla attends day care, as well as the percentage of the total number of day care operating days (excluding observed holidays and such). I will also track the reasons for all of Marla's day care absences, which will fall into the following four categories: 1) Illness. Pretty self explanatory - there was chickenpox, hand/foot/mouth disease, plus some various one-day bouts (e.g. today) that I may have long forgotten about. 2) Day care closed, either due to holiday or to weather (e.g. snow). Our day care follows a vacation schedule that falls somewhere between the Federal Government and an actual school; that means they are closed on most, if not all, Federal holidays (don't remember what they do on Columbus and Veterans Days), plus several non-Federal holidays as well (e.g. Good Friday, Thanksgiving Friday, a few days before/after Christmas). We've yet to have any weather-related closings; we can thank our mild (i.e. boring) winter for that. 3) Family vacation. If we're out of town - say, driving to or from Toledo - then Marla is not going to go to day care that day, of course. 4) Other. I don't know what else would keep Marla out of day care, but I'm sure something will come up eventually.

I suppose it would bias the absence percentage for me to start the counter today, given that today is in fact an "illness" day (officially). So, I'm going back to the beginning of May (ish) and starting my stats retroactively from Monday, April 30th. (I'm starting on a Monday to make it easier to calculate the total number of weekdays.) ... Actually, as luck would have it, April 30th was also an "illness" day. Well, I didn't know that when I picked that date, so that's still going to be my statistical starting date.

Two technicalities that I feel obliged to document somewhere: - On days which are both "day care closed" days and "family vacation" days, such as this past Memorial Day, then it counts as a "day care closed" day. - If Marla has a "partial day" - for example, she goes into day care, and we have to take her home due to a developing illness later that morning - it only counts as an absence if she spent the majority of the day out of day care. In general, I think less than 4 hours in day care = an absence, but I'm going to use common sense on this rather than a strict guideline.

The numbers so far: - Today is the 28th weekday since 4/30/12. - On one of those 28 days, the day care was closed (Memorial Day). - Among the other 27 weekdays, Marla has been absent four times: twice due to illness, and twice due to family vacation. - This means that Marla's attendance (since 4/30/12) is currently 85% on days in which the day care is open, 82% overall.

So, it's a stretch to say that we're always keeping Marla out of day care, but 82% still sounds pretty low. Or is it? To compare, let's look at my job. Each year I get 9 paid holidays, plus 15 days vacation, plus 10 days sick leave. If I use all 34 days of paid leave each year, then my work attendance for the year will be 87%.

So, I think 87% - including holidays - is a good benchmark for Marla. I would say "let's work on that", but in reality, we have very little control over this.

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