Thursday, September 2, 2010

Baby Lab!

Last Friday, Emmett had the opportunity to be a special guest in an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) class at the community college where I work. I have to admit that when I first read the email from the instructor inviting me to bring him to the class, I was pretty sure I didn't want to go. I've been really enjoying not being at work, especially after having to work really hard throughout my pregnancy. However, the more that I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of providing the students with a learning opportunity. One of the things I think about a LOT is that we often don't get a lot of exposure to really young babies. There are good reasons for this: they have immature immune systems and it's not good to just take them anywhere, for instance. In this particular OTA class, there would be babies of different ages (including twins) and the students would be able to look at things like their reflexes and motor skills development.

My sister was in town visiting and I asked her to drive (lately I'm a little wary of driving while sleep-deprived). Having another person with me definitely made it easier to manage Emmett's first trip to my work site...for instance, I was able to send Susan out to check whether any of the rest rooms had changing tables.

One of the big things I wondered about beforehand was whether to try to visit other coworkers while I was on campus. I decided to make that call once we finished up with the class. If Emmett seemed like he could handle it, we'd at least visit my own office. If not, we'd head home after the class.

One of the fun things about going to the class was having everyone fuss over Emmett and compliment him. Although this happens most places that we go or most times people meet him, it never really gets stale. One of the students confessed to having a major case of baby fever and wanted to hold him even though she was in a different group during the assignment.

We started out with a bunch of questions about his behavior and reactions. Some of these were easy to answer (such as how/whether he reacts to my voice, or loud noises, or light), whereas others asked me to compare his behavior with that of other babies his age (hard to answer because he hasn't spent much time with babies of the same age). Next we did a series of movement-based activities. Emmett was asleep during a lot of these activities so it was hard to judge his reactions. We were a bit conflicted about whether to wake him up since he was sleeping so peacefully. He did wake up on his own eventually and managed to remain pretty calm throughout the rest of the exercises. He didn't stay in class quite as long as the other babies but he was there for a good 45 minutes.

One thing that was in one of the questions related to how he reacts to seeing himself in a mirror. I realized he hadn't seen himself in a mirror at all yet, so we've added "mirror time" to his playmat exercise time.

We did have time afterwards to stop by my own office so we did so, and he got to meet three of my coworkers. It was only a few days later that I thought to myself, "I should have checked my mail while I was there!" It's very hard for me not to obsess about work, so I'll just wrap up this post here and now. Overall, the class experience was really interesting.

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