Once in a while, you get a magical moment.
Today, Peter had one.
We were making muffins. I was being the “keeper” of the muffin cup paper liners, handing one at a time to Peter, who would put the liners in the muffin pan cups. Peter was putting up with the exercise, but was much more interested in tapping a ladle at the same time. I thought, “Yes, I am getting a coordinated action, a la RDI style, but what if I tried the floortime mantra of following your child’s lead?” So I put a muffin liner in the ladle spoon. Peter smiled and took it out to put in the muffin pan. We repeated the same circle, and Peter flashed me another look of delight. Next I put a liner on the ladle handle. Peter loved it, squealed, and placed the liner in the pan. Then I put one on my head. By now Peter was jumping up and down, and put the liner in the pan. To my delight, he then initiated a circle and put his open hand out, palm up; our sign for “give me.” I put a muffin liner in his hand, he grinned, and put the liner on his own head. Then he jumped up and down, squealing, looked at me to share pride in his joke, and quickly placed the liner in the pan. Bravo, a Peter joke!
We actually combined a number of methodologies in this cooking exercise. We used more RDI to stir faster and slower together, stop and go. We used RDI to trade roles, with one partner pouring in flour or milk into the measuring cups and the other dumping the contents into the batter. Again using RDI, I would scoop out one spoonful of batter, and Peter would use another spoon to scrape the contents off my spoon into a (now fully lined!) muffin cup. We worked on generalizing the meanings of adjectives we’d learned in ABA such as “biggest” and “smallest” to select the right measuring spoon, and “half”, “more” and “less” with pouring. We practiced seeking information, with Peter going to a third person to ask “what’s next?” for the next direction.
Baking muffins can be a rich experience. Each step provides the opportunity to practice something, be it language, coordinated actions, initiation or information seeking. Remembering the floortime mantra of following your child’s interest can even result in a bit of magic as well.