BUT I’M GOOD AT THIS

For the first time in my life I’m experiencing blindness inspired disadvantages. I’ll admit up until a year ago I’d lived a rather sheltered life. I didn’t go to public school, at all, EVER! The few friends I made growing up I made online where blindness didn’t even have to be mentioned if I didn’t want it to. I’ve been very bless with the opportunity to work with the babies I’ve watched in the past. Their parents were people who I’d interacted with before so the was no hesitation about leaving their children with a blind person. There was a bit of a learning process with each family. I had to learn to walk Ris to and from the bus stop. I had to learn to do little girl hair. I had to learn how to help a sighted child complete her first grade homework when I couldn’t see what we were working on. But I did it, and I did it well. Em was an entirely new experience. She was 6 months old when I became her primary caregiver. When she was very little it wasn’t hard at all. There was lots of snuggling and sleeping in bed, and her swinging in her swing while I folded laundry and did school work. As she grew older we had a few unexpected things to deal with. Em is, and has always been, an incredibly smart child. She would answer yes or no questions with a nod or shake of her head when she was as young as 7 months old. At first she’d get frustrated with me for not responding to a gesture I simply didn’t see. I started placing a hand on the top of her head before I asked her what she wanted so I could “see” what she answered. Feeding a baby too, is a different experience when you can’t see. We always made some what of a mess, but she never minded. When she started crawling and walking making sure I knew where she was at ALL times became a very real concern. She liked to climb things. I’d run upstairs to get her blanket or her toys and I’d come back and have no idea where my 8 month old had gone. After a panicked search I’d fine her sitting on the back of the couch like a small cat. I took precautions. I got a locking gate for the stairs. I removed the chairs from around the kitchen table as soon as her family had left for the day so she couldn’t hide up there. I got her an anklet made of bells so if she so much as moved I’d have an instant location. When she was 3 and it was time to start preschool training, I was stuck. We had been learning the alphabet and spelling her name with letter magnets for months. But how was blind me going to teach this baby her colors? How was I going to teach her to read and write those letters we’d been saying and singing so long? It took a few weeks of her mom and I thinking about it to come up with an answer. We made colored flash cards and brailled them. We also invested in preschool prep DVDS. I added “learning movie time” to our daily routine of barbies and books and dolls. My stubborn little girl pretended she couldn’t figure any of the material out until Kinley, the other 3 year old I was nannying for spent a day with us. When Em believed it was a who has the most learning movie smarts contest, she new EVERY SINGLE letter and number that appeared on the screen. Every challenge I saw in giving Em, and all of the other kids I’ve watched, the very best possible care, I’ve found a work around. I’ll do what needs done. I might just do it a little differently from most people. I didn’t realize how much people who don’t know someone who’s blind take it into consideration. I recently moved to Indiana. I’ve been trying to find a nanny job for the last month. I’ve had 2 phone interviews, and one in person interview, as well as multiple text and internet conversations with parents. These are children in the age range I have experience with. They are hours I can easily work. Brian can drop me off and pick me up. But as soon as I tell these parents I’m blind, they stop responding. It’s becoming incredibly frustrating because caring for children is something I know, without a doubt, that I’m good at. I just need someone to look past the initial, you can’t do that when you can’t see!!!!!

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