Today after school M. went out for a bounce on her outdoor trampoline. Normally she only bounces for 2-3 minutes before getting bored and going onto something else. On a whim I decided to copy her bouncing moves (stamding on the garden path - I'm not convinced the trampoline could withstand both of us!) and it led to a fantastic I.I. session.
First of all she noticed that I was copying her and she looked right at me and laughed. That is the magic of I.I. - that first moment of connection when you get direct eye contact and a sense of really being together in the moment. Then she started to introduce some variations to her bouncing to see if I would follow - big and small bounces, bounces combined with turning around - and she was clearly pleased that I continued to follow her lead. When I started a very simple running commentary - 'Boing! Boing! Boing!' she immediately joined in.
After a while, being somewhat less fit than the unstoppable M., I sat down on the doorstep to catch my breath. I had intended to continue I.I. in the lazy way (running commentary only). M. was having none of it. She climbed off the trampoline and dragged me up to standing position, looked right at me to check I understood, and then climbed back on again, triumphant, and resumed bouncing. I was delighted at the assertiveness and the taking control of the situation (although also wondering how much longer I could physically continue!)
We then introduced a few more variations - I noticed that M. liked running her hands down the mesh enclosure of the trampoline to make a scratching sound so I copied her and she liked that. She also likes pressing her nose up against the mesh enclosure so I pressed it and said 'Parp parp!' (it's a Mr. Tumble thing). She found that really funny too. I think the trampoline is a naturally good setting for I.I. because it is elevated (and the garden path is on a slope) - so it significantly offsets the height difference between her and me. I noted in a previous post that this seems to be important and M. is often responsive to I.I. when I position her above me so she's looking down. I guess having tall parents she doesn't get to do that very often!
Overall the trampoline session lasted much, much longer than the usual 2-3 minutes - clearly the I.I. dimension gave it a 'value added' dimension. And I'll definitely do that again even though I'm exhausted as I type ... But at least I have burned enough calories to earn a few vinos tonight! :)