Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A new look

As many know, I'm a pediatric speech language pathologist. I work with kiddos all day, helping them say their first word, develop their language skills, find a functional way to communicate, helping them pronounce their sounds, helping them expand their food repertoire, helping them eat/swallow safely, etc. etc. I work with neurotypical kids, ASD, chromosomal abnormalities, traumatic brain injury, developmental delay, etc.  I do this from my first patient (usually 8 am) until my last patient leaves (around 5 pm) with an hour for lunch, Monday through Thursday, year round. Some days, I have tough kids that are physically and emotionally draining. I have a lot of respect for my families, who have their child and work with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I see just a snip-it of them, for an hour, up to 3 times a week.  Some days can be exhausting.

I've always prided myself in the patience I have. I can wait out my screaming kiddo who has fallen to the floor and is kicking the wall (or me) because of a demand I have placed on them. I keep a calm, but firm, voice throughout my sessions. A kicking/hitting/screaming/scratching/crying kid does not phase me. (Except spitting, unless it's a feeder, that I don't tolerate and you will clean/help me clean it up off the floor/table)

Before Gavin was born, I was very well rested. Hunter has always been a great sleeper. We had a great night time routine and I did not feel rushed. I came home happy and enjoyed listening to Hunter and it never (almost never) bothered the constant questions.  I was coming home to a child who was typically developing, responded well to my indirect articulation therapy, and who does things that the kids I work with work so hard to do.  We are blessed.

Once Gavin was born, and I was back to work, I was running on limited hours of sleep. It wouldn't have been so bad if it were straight hours, but we all know babies wake up multiple times a night.  I was exhausted (as was Carl).

I have to be on my A-Game at work, all the time. I can't let my exhaustion show to my patients and their families and I certainly can't let that impact the therapy I provide.  But by the end of the day I was done. I would pick Hunter up from school and some days hope he was in a "I don't feel like talking to you on the way home mood."  This never worked out in my favor, of course.  He wanted to talk the days I just needed a quite ride home and didn't want to talk when I would have loved to hear about his day.  I was getting angry with him over the smallest things and snapping at the drop of a hat.  Who was this person?! I was getting mad at him for asking me questions that I should be so excited he was developing in his brain.

I was working with other people's children all day and having to come home to mine and still be mommy.  Was I working with the wrong population?  Should I work in geriatrics? I did not get the joy out of working with adults as I did with kids, but maybe I needed to do that while I had little ones at home. Maybe I would come home refreshed after not having had to have single-sided conversations most of the day. But then again, depending on the setting, I might be bringing home a different kind of emotion.  One of loss.

I've really had to re-evaluate the way I look at my job and the kids I come home to every night. I work with some tough kids, yes, but I've helped their families help their children do some pretty amazing things. I get to come home to two beautiful, healthy, typically developing kids. Hunter doesn't have to try super hard to understand concepts, form sentences, express his wants/needs/ideas. It comes so naturally. Gavin isn't a quiet baby, he socially smiles, is interacting with us, and showing us that, as of right now, he is typically developing. A lot of my families don't get to go home to that. They go home to a constant struggle to know what their child wants/needs/feels, juggling school and multiple therapy sessions.

I don't know how to put into words the motto I have, but it has really changed the level of stress I have. I go to work and give my patients all I have. I feel happy with them and really celebrate the small gains.  I work with them the way I would want a therapist to work with my children and get excited over things that I would want a therapist to get excited about for my children. I come home and give the boys all I have. I celebrate all their victories. I feel like a different person these last few weeks. I feel content and know I'm in the right place. Pediatrics is where I am supposed to be.
Mommy me

SLP me

No comments: