Special time with JJ often involves me pushing him on the swing. He is most himself when he is in motion. For 20-or-so minutes a day, I get to know ever more about him as he swings and talks and swings and talks. And talks.
We tell jokes, We play “What If.” We play 20 Questions. We play “Would You Rather.” He tells me what he would do if he were in unusual, extreme, and challenging situations:
- He needs to go get a bad guy who was flying in a pirate ship in the sky.
- He needs to fight a battle but could only use one arm and one leg.
- He is stranded on a rock in a lake of lava.
JJ is happy to talk always and everywhere, but our $10 IKEA swing has been particularly conducive to conversations. He just loves being in motion, and is completely in his element when he gets to move his body and chatter away at the same time.
When no one is available for JJ to play with or talk to, the swing has also been a perfect “by-myself” activity for him. He definitely prefers to have someone with him, asking anyone who is around, “Want to come keep me company while I swing?” But since the answer is not always yes, his audio books provide a fair substitute. Listening to stories while he swings helps satisfy that need for verbal stimulation.
JJ will happily swing by himself, as well as talk to himself in solitary play. But swinging while talking? Well, that’s just heaven in the playroom.