After-school disaster looms as daddy frets

I have a potentially huge problem with child care, just as school is starting.

Through the kind of mix-up that comes with joint parenting, I thought something was taken care of that wasn't. As a result, my daughter may not be eligible to join the after-care program in her school.

She's officially on the waiting list. That leaves me in a bind: She finishes school at 2 p.m., and the earliest I can get to her after work is 5 p.m. on my custody days. Because my ex and I split the week, I have the Little Girl for either two or three school days each week, depending on the month. That's a lot of blown coverage.

I am staring at the wall, wondering what I'm going to do. School starts in less than a week and I've got no plan. And how do you vet potential nannies in six days, three of which are part of a holiday weekend?

I've begged the after-care folks for mercy, but mercy doesn't feed the bulldog.

Joint custodians know that signals sometimes get crossed, and official school documents may go home to one parent but not the other. The result can be a catastrophic mess.

I may have to cannibalize days from Christmas vacation to take off from work when school starts. I'll be able to pick up my daughter at day's end, and it may buy me time till I find a solution.

Parenting is a slippery enterprise. You can do nine things right and believe you've got the 10th tucked away, when you drop all the juggled balls and lunge gracelessly for what's fallen.