I realise that the way in which I guide my child is paramount to the success of RDI. In order for me to be effective, I need to know why I am learning to guide Nick, how I am going to guide him and what I plan to do with him in order to practice what I have learned. I also need to be comfortable with self evaluation and use each experience to reassess and plan for the next step.
Now, I am a bit of a *go with the flow* kind of chick and I also like to take advantage of unplanned moments. Therefore, I feel that living an RDI lifestyle is important and that spontaneous interaction is a good thing! However, the powers that be, feel that *planned engagements* are far more important in order to learn, grow and move forward. For sure, I agree..... but what about all those opportunities that can be taken advantage of even though they haven't been planned down to the last spotlight?
Funnily enough, an incident happened this week to highlight to me that actually, in reality, *planned engagements* are HUGE! The following are my reflections on a *planned engagement* that didn't go according to plan. I made a fundamental mistake and had to fly by the seat of my pants!
I have to be honest and say that the activities didn't really go as planned, however, I thought it would be a good opportunity to post the video footage and reflect on our interaction. I offered Nick the choice of stacking the dishwasher or cleaning a window. I was so sure that Nick would choose *cleaning a window* ...that I didn't write up a planned engagement for *dishwasher*!!! (big mistake!). When he chose the dishwasher, I had to quickly rethink of a familiar pattern that we had used in the past. This is where the supposedly planned engagement turned into an unplanned interaction. Due to the fact that I hadn't written up a framework, I didn't have a goal in mind, so I just had to wing it as I went along. However, what I do like about our interaction is that Nick is *with me* and in the mode.
- What did you observe in terms of the challenge? Nick was very quick to choose an activity before I had given him the options. The video footage doesn't show it but I ignored his first attempt and then made a comment about the different activities. I was kind of hoping that he would change his mind and choose the activity that I had written a framework for. I really thought he would have chosen to clean the windows first, due to the fact that we had done the same activity yesterday and that he had found it easy. I am assuming that he chose the dishwasher because it was very familiar to him and he felt comfortable with it. Therefore, he actually did not choose the more challenging activity! *Note to self ~ never assume!!
- Did anything surprise you? Yes, as mentioned above... he didn't choose the activity that I thought he would!
- Site some time codes that you feel are important.
- 0.44: Nick has picked up the cup from the bottom rack and is placing it into the top rack. He goes to place it upside down and I make the comment "turning". Nick immediately turns the cup. This is extremely important to note, because it really shows how Nick's processing as sped up. It took a split second for him to react to my word "turning" and make the adjustment. Very happy mum!
- 1.03: I make a comment about the plate not fitting on the top. Nick immediately removes the place. He is listening and referencing for information. We are working *together*.
- 1.15: Nick is rushing ahead so I hold onto the plates and say that I am not ready. This is where Nick gets a little stressed BUT he is fine. I stand my ground.
- 1.39: Nick is *waiting* for what I am going to do next.. and when I pause for too long he quickly comes to me and nods his head for *yes*... too funny.. Great that he is knows communication is a two way thing.
- 1.55. Nick doesn't put any thought into how he puts the plate into the dishwasher. I see this and quickly put my hand over my mouth and then reference the plate. Nick observes my reactions and quickly understands what needs to be done and makes adjustments to the plate. Again, I am being mindful of how I communicate and Nick is referencing me for info.
- 2.45: Nick is rushing and the plate hasn't been put in correctly. I make a comment about the plate being up the wrong way so Nick then opens the door again and moves the plate. What I like about this is I am pushing Nick just one step further and he is going with the challenge. However, I am careful to move him along only one step... and no further.
- What did you do well in this frame? I like that I didn't let Nick take control and rush through the activity. Although I set limits by holding onto the plates and not letting Nick have them, I made sure to keep a reassuring smile on my face and let him know that I wasn't ready yet. This really stopped him in his track..... he got a little stressed at times (although, hardly). However, he coped really well and very cleverly brought in some non verbal nodding for yes and no... I laughed at this. For an unplanned interaction, I am actually very happy with the way it turned out. I also think that this particular interaction really was all about the connection between the two of us and that *doing the activity* came second.
- Is there anything you would change: I would certainly be more prepared! A lesson to me to *not * assume what Nick is going to choose to do! Next time I will insure that I have written up a framework plan for both activities!
CONCLUSION: Due to the fact that I wasn't prepared for our planned engagement, I can now see the benefit of writing up a framework sheet for each activity. To get the most out of each interaction I have with Nick, I need to know what my goal is and how I am going to go about obtaining it. I need to be fully aware of Nick's level of competence and what I need to do to take him one step further.
I can see from the above reflections and the video footage, that I forgot to highlight the easy/hard aspect of the interaction. What we were doing together was a hastily, put together plan that did not have a goal. I hadn't put any thought into adding a challenge. However, I am not going to beat myself up over it and will just chalk this one up to experience. We had a really nice connection... and that to me, was worthwhile.
I still think that spontaneous interactions and living an RDI lifestyle is important, however, the focus is on being mindful about what I have been learning and put it into practice. For the real learning to take place I need to plan and write up a framework for each engagement in order to move forward.
Does this sound a bit *over complicated* and am I *over thinking* my relationship with Nick? To put it into perspective.... we have just been invited out for lunch with friends ~ at a restaurant ~ with noise, kids and lots of mayhem! We are taking Nick!!! I would have turned down the invitation 18 months/1 year ago because Nick would not have been able to cope. In fact, I would have felt extremely stressed worrying about Nick's stress. This may sound corny, however, it is thanks to RDI that our life has taken a turn for the better!