Thursday, July 9, 2009

In Which Connor And I Make A Mess of Things

I walked into Connor's room this morning to discover that he'd managed to pull out the connection between his feeding tube attachment and the pump, so while the pump was happily pumping formula all over the bed, he was busy leaking stomach contents onto it too. Then he used the whole mess as finger paint.

This was not really the way I'd planned to start my morning.

Anyway, I cleaned him up, bundled his sheets and pajamas into the washer, and then fed him a huge breakfast, which he was terribly hungry for as there was absolutely nothing in his stomach: its usual contents being all over the laundry. Then we headed off to the Children's Therapy Unit at Good Samaritan Hospital to get measured for a stander and to drop off his tricycle for modification. Hopefully we'll have the trike back next week-- something that I'm really excited about. Connor doesn't get to do many activities that other little kids his age are doing, so riding a tricycle with some of his buddies would be a really big deal. I can't wait!

After we finished up at Good Sam, we drove to the Puyallup Library for Connor's Toddler Treasures reading group. The library hasn't been able to find an interpreter yet, though they're still looking, so in the meantime I'm doing the interpreting for Connor. I'm not remotely qualified to do it-- I've only had a little over a year of sign language, and I have nowhere near the skills, speed, or experience to be an interpreter. If I was asked to do it for anyone other than Connor, I'd decline; watching me would probably be worse than having no interpreter at all. I'd rather leave it to the professionals.

Interpreting is hard.

For one thing, the songs and rhymes we are singing have a lot of words I've had to make up signs for, as there is absolutely no way I'm fingerspelling, for example, "Skittermerinky Dinky Dink." Not happening. There's also the fact that I have to adjust to someone else's speech pattern and rhythm. While it helps that I get a chance to look at the books beforehand, it's not like there's a happy little script I can follow; the kids are asking questions, the librarian is throwing out answers, and none of that is something I can prepare for. I just have to muddle along as fast as I can and hope Connor gets the jist of what's going on.

I'm getting some major practice in learning new vocabulary quickly though, which is probably a plus. I don't see the books until about half an hour before the reading time. This week one of the books was about patterns, and it described many of these patterns in detail. There were about 18 words I didn't know, so I had to memorize the signs really, really fast. Good practice for me, but sheesh.

I'd also like to point out that I'm not big on being the center of attention in a room. When the books and songs are happening, I'm sitting right next to the librarian. And for the most part, the kids aren't watching the librarian, they're watching me. As are all of the parents. This is rather disconcerting, especially when I know I'm screwing up. And believe me; there is a whole lot of screwing up going on.

Connor has a good time though, which is the important thing.



leah said...

We have the same situation at our library- if there is any interpreting going on, I'm the one doing it (I don't interpret everything because I'm REALLY not that good)! The good news is that the peanut gallery doesn't have a clue about sign language, so it doesn't matter if you mess up.

Thanks for your kind words- we certainly hope the upper GI comes back clean, too. Though we know he has gastroparesis, and a structural problem would be easier to correct than dealing with the gastroparesis (from what I've read, there isn't a lot they can do for that). I never knew that getting my kid to eat would be such a big deal!

Julia O'C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julia O'C said...

Hm. If anyone makes a not-so-nice comment about your signing, I know a sign you could give them! You might get kicked out of the library, though.

All kidding aside, I can't imagine that any of the parents are looking at you with anything other than admiration.

wherever HE leads we'll go said...

My daughter uses a feeding pump at night and I am always afraid she is going to break apart the connection and this very thing will happen. UGH!

As for the signing at the library - I think it is wonderful. The fact that you can learn and remember new signs that quickly is pretty amazing!

leah said...

I'll have to look up the pyloroplasty... or maybe not. I really need to step back from the google (gastroparesis and hearing loss can happen in mitochondrial disorders, which is rather disheartening material to read). I'm hoping they'll start with some sort of diet modification, but since he's been FTT for 10 months, I'm not sure what the GI will do/think. He actually ate 2 slices of bread today (believe me, that's HUGE)! Now let's hope he doesn't puke it up.

Michelle said...

Yes, I agree that all of the parents and children are watching you with admiration and awe! I am Xander's interpreter at his music class and library story time, and I know very well the uncomfortable feeling of having all eyes on me. The awkwardness fades a little every time because so many parents approach me after the sessions to ask me questions and advice. . . and I'm no expert either!

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