Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Week

What a difference a week makes.

Exactly one week ago I was feeling really down after I finished with the last child of the day. It was one of those "why, and what, am I doing?" days.

One of my 'wee ones' has a rare disorder, and one of the many things he is unable to do, is drink liquid from a bottle or cup (which have to be held for him) without it dribbling out the corners of his mouth, and choking. So, I ordered him a special cup and xeroxed exercise handouts for his very young mom. When I got there she was on the sofa making out with her new boyfriend, (she broke up with Dad a week ago or so!) They were watching a ventriloquist on TV which was blaring. The boy was sitting untended in his 'saucer.' I tried getting mom's attention to show her how to help him drink out of the special cup. I also pointed out that he needed a diaper change - badly! She barely glanced in our direction. I gave her the handouts and tried to demonstrate what I wanted her to do with her son, but she just glanced briefly and then laughed at her boyfriend's inane jokes. I left wondering why on earth I even bother with this. I returned to the office just to go to the program and vent.

Today, a week later, I went to see the same children, and it was like each one had drunk a magic potion. The first child of the day smiled when I came in and sat down to 'play' without throwing himself backward and wailing. He took a ring stack apart and re-stacked it, looked at a book, put shapes into matching holes, and stood, well. He spent the entire hour doing one thing that he had either struggled with, or refused to try, after the other.

The next little girl I have been seeing for a year. She has Down Syndrome, and other than rolling, has not been able to move very well. For the whole year I have told mom to let her play on the floor. Three weeks ago mom confessed that she was never on the floor except when I was there. Other than begging mom, I just repeated that it would be good for her. Today I put her on the floor, placed a toy in front of her, and suddenly she rolled onto her stomach and began combat crawling! Then she outdid herself. She managed to transition from being on her stomach to sitting without any assistance! I have manually put her through these moves ad nauseum, but she never moved from sitting to prone, or vice versa. I looked in astonishment, and she repeated the same moves three times,each time getting a little quicker and more sure of herself. I was so pleased. Mom told me that she now does leave her to play on the floor and yesterday she began sitting and combat crawling.

Then I went to the strange little boy who, since last week, had been ill. When I got there mom and boyfriend were there, the TV was on - today it was a rerun of Law and Order, and the little fellow looked at me from his saucer and smiled (more like a twitch of his lips and cheeks.) I took him out of his cage and placed him on the floor. For a year he too, has hardly ever reached for a toy, and only just in the last few weeks has he learned to roll. He has spent months and months doing nothing whatsoever. Today he astonished me by beginning to combat crawl. I have never seen him so lively or engaged as today! He really moved, and did many new things.

I went back to the program, and the afternoon group of children was sitting in a circle, singing. Another girl I had worked with got up and walked!!! An entire 10 steps.

I really have no idea what was in the air today, but whatever it is, I am really pleased.

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