It’s lockdown and the kids are at home. All day, everyday.
A parcel arrives. It is the new rug for the sitting room.
In the evening, the family clear the furniture out of the way, lay the new rug in the position and stand back to admire it. Does it look good in the room? Yes! They are well pleased.
Daughter, 7 also welcomes the new rug with delight, but instead of looking at it she throws herself down and rolls.
(At this point I should say that Mum, is currently doing the Developmental Movement Play training so she is seeing things a bit differently from usual. Normally, she says, at this point she would have said some version of: ‘Get up! / Stop being silly! / You’ll ruin your clothes. / What are you doing?! Get out of the way, we need to put the furniture back! etc But instead, she sits back and watches.)
Daughter puts in a focused 20 minutes of full-on movement play.
Diving, rolling, rolling, rolling. She wriggles, slithers, pulls herself along the surface, spins round on her belly. Dives, falls and stretches out. Her hands, feet, legs, arms search out the sensations the rug creates on her skin.
And mum watches.
Which means Daughter goes on exploring for longer. And wider.
Supported by adult approval she can move fast or slowly, wriggly, writhy, smooth or jerky, flappy or stretchy - all the ways her body suggests. And even spends time lying completely still, feeling her body settle into the pile without fear that the adults around will seize this opportunity to say “Out of the way, we’re putting the furniture back now.”
And she puts in a full-on, intense, 20 minutes of body work.
Daughter made a body response to the new rug.
She saw the space open up and knew she could move in it. And she explored a huge range of movement, more that if her mum had taken over and said, ‘Be a snake, Be a cat’. It is so easy to take over because we think we can make it more purposeful.
Daughter instinctively explored the feel of the new rug too, making a sensory response - literally put herself in touch with it; in a whole-bodied way, not just reaching out a hand to stroke it. She used lots of the half-million touch sensors we humans have all over our body to really get to know that rug. (And in so doing, the rug also gave her touch sense some great practice doing it's job.)
And all because Mum didn’t shut it down.