“Are we the only people that arrived? Not anyone else!” Eddie asked three times. At first I was a little worried, Eddie was used to the activity club being multiple families with a lot going on. We had done playdates with them on their own but more on a casual basis. I realised he looked more relaxed than usual, the knowledge that this playdate was just for him and his sister seemed to please him greatly. The individual playdates will be something that is a new introduction to our club so I was very happy that he was on board.
Within moments Eddie was on the swing in the garden room and Miriam asked about his dinosaur that he had brought along with him, what does it like to eat…“It´s a carnivore.”
Then he was off into the kitchen, one of Eddie’s favourite rooms in our house, usually some tasty snacks in there. He looked at Iris's new painting that was on the coffee table. “It looks amazing.” he said. He admired the picture and ran through to the garden to have a closer look at all the things that were set up for him.
First it was the Timiraptor sign and stopwatch, Miriam showed him how to start and how to stop the stopwatch, he was still concentrating and thinking about the Timiraptor sign. “Actually I think this is not a timiraptor it is an Archeopterix.”, he said. He had a look at the distiraptor sign. “Well that is a Carnosaurus.”, he said in the voice like a dinosaur expert. “There are a lot of foot prints.” he started to count them out loud up to 48 making his way down to the gate. He found the speediraptor sign and in a funny voice with the dinosaur toy Miriam said maybe this one was called speediraptor. “No, that´s a Guanlong.” We were all impressed by his detailed knowledge and it was important for him that everything was named correctly.
“That´s a dacentrurus.” then a short look on the speed limit signs. “I have over 100 dinosaurs and some names I don´t even know. But usually I have a book to find out.” he said to Miriam while looking for more clues in another bush. They found the hedgehog and the kitty cat, Miriam spoke through them in high and low voices, they argued who was faster. “Well actually hedgehogs are quite slow. They go like this and cats are fast”, he said and then ran fast and slow imitating the animal´s movement. He found the speedometer in the bushes, had a look at it and Miriam explained it to him how it shows the speed.
“Shall we see if there is any more in the back garden?” They found a sign telling them there were more animals and their speed signs hidden. “I found a lizard in my garden and it had the same pattern like this on the picture.” Eddie was clearly loving the playdate, he was confident, happy and sharing his thoughts. He brushed his hands through the grasses as he walked along down the track and there was something special seeing him like this, calm and attentive. He explained what lizards eat and where they live. Miriam read the sign that this lizard has a top speed of 29km/h and many more animals were found along with their top speeds. They jumped like a kangaroos and compared the speeds on the speedometer for each animal. He was excited to find and match the signs, practicing his reading without any pressure. Then there was a choice, go down to the right along the track or to the left. “All right, you take this way, I take that way.” He said in a firm but jovial manner, self advocacy playing a part now.
We took a break for some raspberry picking. “Oh raspberries next to the lion. Although he is a carnivore I guess he does like raspberries. Can´t believe it´s just us!”
After his well earned break it was time for some fun in the wheelbarrow “Can we use the watch again like last time?” They recorded the time it took to do the circuit and then had running races. Even timed how many jumps they could do on the trampoline. We counted out loud - 29 bounces in 23 seconds, pretty good but Eddie had other ideas “We can do better, try again.”
Eddie had an idea, he smiled at Miriam and told her all about it. It was a run. A run from the bottom of the garden up the steep hill through the top part and to the front gate. He explained gently ”Miriam, I know it´s a long way and its hot, but I want you to run it as fast as you can. When I say go, you run all the way up to the gate.”
When a hot exhausted Miriam arrived back to us he passed her a glass of water and told her he had already written down the time in seconds. “Are you okay, Miriam?” he asked. “You can sit down here in the shade on the swing.” Now it was his sister Ruby´s turn. “I´ll tell you when to go.”
I was so impressed by it all, Eddies kindness to Miriam as she returned from her epic run in the heat, Miriam’s willingness to go above and beyond to inspire these children, how well the Movement Method was working, how Eddie was happily taking a pen to paper to note down the recordings when previously he had hated to write, nervous of any activity that included it. The morning was a great success.
The last part of the playdate was once again 'time for innovation', time to chill, explore and have some creative fun of their own. This included the water sprinkler on the decking and a dinosaur island made of sand. That then developed into a snail race, the little snail was taken home for with the stopwatch for their version of ‘homework’.