Change Part Two

 As the volunteers showed that they were in it for the long haul, I found that the auxiliaries, who are responsible for all of the babies’ medication, feeding and hygiene, also started to tiptoe into the therapy scene. I am very proud to say that the tummy time phenomena has now extended past the volunteers to nearly all those involved in the development of the younger kids. For the last week, the mats have been out and heaping with little ones, toys and adults from breakfast until dinner. It’s not only volunteers doing the work either. Today I found an auxiliary putting out the mats before a volunteer could get to it, and it seems like each day more and more professional staff (psychologist, doctor, head nurse, social worker, etc.) leave their offices to at the very least stroll by the play area and coo at a few children. The auxiliaries have also started lingering around the edges of teaching moments between myself and volunteers and posing hesitant questions about the children’s care. In the last week, I have found these questions to be great starting points for further conversation. While talking about the pandiolas, the discussion moves to reflux. “Hey I’ve actually been working on some positioning devices to help with that. What do you think about this?” Or when an auxiliary asks why the one year old spits out all of the solid pieces of his food, I’m able to explain his oral motor delays, validate that it is understandably difficult for her to give that child the time he needs to learn to tolerate new textures and let her know that the other volunteers and myself are able and more than willing to lend a helping hand. As I look for feedback on the new supplies that have arrived at Chiquitines recently (see pictures below), I’m able to get a better picture of what will actually be used and how I can change things to make it easier for everyone involved. Once the auxiliaries see that I’m on their side, I’ve found them more open to suggestions and willing to give input into my projects.

Thanks to the generous donations of friends and family, this tiny table arrived at Chiquitines last week. The perfect size for working on feeding, fine motor activities and cruising with the toddler group, it is a great addition to the stimulation room.

Gabriel, my host brother, was kind enough to accompany me to the city center last week to buy foam for some reflux positioners I wanted to make. Getting the foam back to the apartment was quite the adventure.

This itty bitty baby, who is only a week old, arrived at Chiquitines last week to a crib newly fitted with an inclined wedge to assist with reflux. Compared to the old method of using rolled up towels beneath the mattress, which caused the babies to frequently slip to one side against the walls, the new foam is a big improvement.

 Getting the completed wedges (which I promised I used for my personal enjoyment just once) to Chiquitines on the bus was another adventure. As if I didn’t stand out enough as a giant foreigner, let’s add a massive unidentifiable homemade contraption…