(Raychelle, you have my permission to re-post this article. It was featured in my blog tour on March 26, 2012: Bloggers Read Across the Globe – Promoting Children’s Reading and Literacy. Read the original post here. ~Jo Ann)
“Play Therapy: The Spontaneous Ramblings of a Pediatrician, Toy Designer, and CEO”
Written by Aisha Bailey, MD
I am on a never-ending quest for truth. That is what compels my fascination with medicine and my patients. I love being a doctor and interacting with my patients, mostly because I know that they will be frank with me. When I ask one of my toddler patients what’s wrong, I know they will tell me. I don’t presume to be the pied piper – I just know how the system works.
Whenever I walk into an examination room, I look at the parents first and know full well that my patient is sizing me up. I am always thrilled when my patient decides to start speaking with me directly. In all my interactions, my primary goal is to speak directly to my patient and establish a connection. My secondary goal is to make the parents aware that they are part of a larger team that has been put together to care for their child. I also want parents to know that no request is too big or small if it concerns the care of their child. I do this because I remember what it was like to be a child.
I used to love roaming around my back yard exploring the vast expanse of sky. I could create floating clouds of dirt; watch the ground slip through my fingers; or adorn my clothes with stains of grass while I slid down lush green hills. My favorite pastime was grabbing one of my plaits and twirling it around like a bumblebee… buzzing in my ear ever so softly. I never dared to stop dreaming and life was truly my canvas.
One of the fundamental truths for me from birth was that I was different. That difference had little to do with my being a little girl with plaits and much more to do with my being able to really see people. Growing up, I felt invisible at times and was subsequently treated as such. However, it was during those invisible times that I was able to stop and look at the world around me. I became very good at seeing who the people surrounding me were. I listened to their hopes and dreams as I observed their treatment of themselves and others. From this, I learned that each person is an individual who should be respected for his or her own unique talents and purposes.
Over the years, I have been able to channel my love of drawing and celebration of difference into the creation of my Ishababies® line of 16 vibrant characters. I have no unique process for creating the many different “flavors” of my characters; they come from a greater inspiration. With the creation of my babies, I hope to rekindle the spark that we all felt in childhood – the safety of a hug and the comfort of a close friend. This is not mere reminiscence of simpler times, but a way to reconnect to the world, our purpose, and respect for others – no matter who they are. I wanted to create characters that were as individually unique and compelling as each child. Overall, my hope is that my creations will help my patients grow up to become conscientious citizens who cultivate their own talents and celebrate others.
I am honored to have my Ishababies® characters featured in Sunbelieveable – a book with tremendous creativity and vibrance which also celebrates wonder and diversity. Those same tenets sustain me in being a doctor and compel me to thrive in toy design. I will never stop dreaming.
About the Author
Dr. Aisha D. Bailey is the CEO of Aisha & Co. LLC, a toy/gift/stationery manufacturing company. In addition, she currently resides in NJ as a resident physician in pediatrics. Dr. Bailey founded Aisha & Co. and her signature product line Ishababies® in 2004. As a pediatrician, she sees the beauty in every child and wanted all children to see and respect the beauty in all people.