"I am a mother," Aimee began. "I have five children." (Intake of breath from impressed ayis!) " I have a daughter and a son in high school, another daughter in middle school, and I have two children adopted from China. They are my heart and my joy, and although you were not the ones who cared for them, people like you did. I want to thank you for loving them. And starting the process of them knowing love."
|Aimee and Vivienne working with nannies|
Thus started Aimee's training for 38 nannies from XuChang and Lily Orphan Care rooms from 7 orphanages in Henan. She reviewed baby and child development. She then talked about how their movement comes to have purpose and how they build muscles in their bodies in order to strengthen their body and begin exploring the world. She illustrated using a a model baby and showed what healthy sitting should look like and what nannies can do to encourage sitting, rolling over, and crawling. After lunch, the training continued in a large playroom but this time with First Hugs kiddos. Peter, CY, Vivienne, and XT were amazingly cooperative models. Small groups of nannies then practiced different activities that could be done on therapy/yoga balls. There are exercises that the child sees as fun but which serve an important purpose.
Ayis from First Hugs and from Lily Orphan Care Centers stayed behind and asked questions about specific children. What if her hand is always in a fist? What if one side of his body is weak and he cannot roll over? What if she slumps to the side when sitting? Aimee patiently answered all the questions, excited that they were so interested and passionate about they children in their care.
Moya also presented to the nannies in the morning. She talked about the cycle of needs, both met and unmet ,and how that affects the brain. She used toys to show how ayis could work with children on connection, structure, regulation, engagement, and nurture. She also talked to the nannies about the importance of communication: imitating cooing sounds in babies and talking to they kids about toys, labeling things like toys, colors, and body parts, and using books throughout the day as well as songs and hand games. Even children who may remain largely non-verbal should be communicated with and be mirrored. She also talked about the power of touch.
Very little of the day was left after training was completed but it was encouraging to see the nannies use massage and talking through play in First Hugs with the children.
We know it is overwhelming to staff when we come and watch them all week long. Thursday evening when we got back to the hotel, we got a message from QiRui saying how the ayis in First Hugs liked what we taught, that they hoped they continue to learn and that they want us to come back each year. We have some great staff in First Hugs!