We all agreed that the celebrations actually felt the best to us as the child, even though the enthusiasm felt nice too. Oddly in comparison to the other 2 techniques I actually felt when the facilitator just sat and watched with no expression, it was almost a negative experience. I have done variations of this exercise before, but I love it every time as it really shows you the power of celebrating your child.
Anyway, when I work with this boy in the playroom he does a lot of building exclusively with lincoln logs. However the way he likes me to join him best (I wait until a child is wanting to engage with me before I try to interact), is to watch him build his structures. Often we have a little bit of conversation about the building during this but not much. Again today while I was lovingly and excitedly watching him, he made comments on what he was doing and what step he was on. Occasionally I said mmm-hmmm, as a way to be with him in the moment. He told me "Don't say mmm-hmmm!" Then he clarified "YOU (with an emphasis on the you) are not allowed to say mmm-hmmm." This was curious to me, so I asked him if others were allowed to say it and he told me yes. Only I was not allowed to say" mmm-hmmm." I quickly agreed with him and asked if I was allowed to say other things. As it turns out I was allowed to say anything celebratory, like "cool", "awesome", or "I love that." This was not the first time I had been scolded for saying "mmm-hmm" as in previous sessions this happened as well, although it was the first time I questioned it further.
I smiled and took his demands willingly as I continued to watch and celebrate his incredible lincoln log building design choices and skills. Later, I reflected on the exercise done in the team meeting and I was wondering how it felt to have someone say "mmm-hmm" to everything. I wondered if I was saying "mmm-hmm" as I was getting distracted and letting my mind wander. Or maybe "mmm-hmm" is just not enthusiastic enough for him. By him calling me on it, was he bringing my attention back to the present moment? Is he telling me he likes to be celebrated more than just responded to? I cannot presume to know my friends thoughts, but it definitely gave me some food for thought. Our words and attitude are very important to our children. Even when we are watching and joining they can feel our love, acceptance, and excitement.
I hope this gives you something to think about to.
Much love to you all!