In my life, there are many things I never thought I would be able to accomplish because I am blind. One of these tasks was baby-sitting. Ever since my teen years, I have had a fascination with how to care for children. This was largely due to the fact that I grew up an only child without siblings to practice on.

My dream of baby-sitting was realized on Oct. 10. Chelah Ryan, who is my personal trainer, gave me the chance to watch her two kids, Josie and Jude. Josie is 7, and Jude is 4. Jude is non-verbal, so this makes communication somewhat difficult. Surprisingly, my first attempt at caring for children went very well. Josie was my eyes and ears, letting me know where she and Jude were at all times. The house is very big, but the layout is fairly simple. One of the things I will need to work on is being firm when necessary.

I have babysat several more times since then, and have acquired a few interesting techniques along the way. For instance, it is important to have a soft tone of voice when disciplining children. This lets them know that you still love them, but you want them to be safe, too.

I also learned how to change diapers. Believe it or not, there are techniques. Baby-sitting is still a learning experience, but it is one that I enjoy. I am not doing this to simply help out a friend. I am proving to myself and others that this is a skill that, when learned and practiced, can be very useful. I hope to one day have a family, and I know these skills will come in handy.

-- Mike Hally

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