Diapers and Disinfectant, Day One
The CELS funded internship provides many Conn students with the ability to travel to far away places, like Rome or Beijing or live it up in a big city, such as the ever-common New York, NY. However, there are at least a handful of us that take this opportunity to do little more than sit on the couches of our childhood homes. I am one of those people. Don’t get me wrong…I do have an internship. It’s just after 4 o’clock rolls around you’ll most likely find me in my parent’s living room with my loyal steed (read: dog) by my side. The glitz and glam of NY or Tokyo escape me. The 24-hour sign on the McDonald’s I frequented as a kid is the closest to Times Square (does that make sense??) lights I’ll see this summer, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get a home cooked meal every evening and instead of living in a shoebox sized apartment with a bed smaller than my body I get to spread out in my sleep, enjoying the luxuries of something “fullsize”-ed. Fullsize-ed may describe my bed, but it is the last word I would use to describe my internship. Pintsized maybe.
From 8:30-3:30 I arrive at a child development center not far from my home. My first three weeks are an adventure, to say the least, in the infant room. I have been describing it to those who ask as “not much more than diapers and disinfectant.” Working exclusively with children ranging from 3 months to 1 year my first days did not include training on proper phone etiquette or even how to fix my bosses coffee, but rather a hands on demonstration on proper diaper-changing protocol – it involves gloves, three baby wipes, a clean diaper, ointment, and a table mat – if you were wondering. After only a week I’ve become a diaper-changing machine. Just today in fact I changed a poop covered (and I mean entire back and new outfit necessary type of covered) baby in 3 minutes flat. Poop is a big part of my internship. As is feeding. But babies, bottles, and bodily excrement are not the limits of my internship; in reality it expounds these nouns.
I get a behind the scenes look at everything childcare. I am able to see my Human Development coursework in action as the children gain physical, cognitive, emotional, and psychosocial skills. At the same time I am learning the inner workings of running a childcare facility. I’ve gotten to look at the state standards and goals and see the procedures the facility enacts in order to meet those standards and strive toward the goals. The center does not only rely on me as an extra body to help with the children, but also is preparing me for a potential career in early childhood education. Starting a Professional Development Record binder and undergoing New Staff Training to gain “early childhood credit” this internship is affording me much opportunity for my future. So, as I sit on the couch in my childhood home writing this first blog entry, I only have one prediction for the rest of my time at the center: lots of poop.