3V0410.01 Activity –> social game; flexible roles and naming things (03/08/79)
Jigging — Jumping up and down rapidly, i.e. bending at the knees while
holding on to something, has been one of Peggy’s favorite actions since
she became able to stand. She does that by herself at the couch. She
jumps up and down in my lap when I play chop-sticks at the piano. I
often play Irish instrumental music on records. When I do, Peggy
enjoys my dancing around with her, bouncing her up and down.
One night at supper, such jigs were playing in the background. Peggy
started bouncing in her seat and waved both arms at once. She looked
at me. I imitated her gesture. She enjoyed that imitation tremendously
and now both older children imitate her flapping arms. This gesture
(which she will still begin spontaneously when she hears a favorite jig
start) split off from the activity as a content for the imitative game.
This evening at supper, [as] Peggy led Robby and Miriam in her jigging, I
told the older children to stop flapping (to make the scene less like
bedlam). Miriam, holding both hands aloft, began opening and closing
her hands. Peggy, seeing neither child following her lead, noticed
Miriam’s activity and began imitating it. Subsequently, I asked both
older children to hold up one arm instead of two. Peggy did not imitate
the one arm form.
Relevance — This set of incidents records how an expression of simple
activity boils over into a social interchange/game. Peggy’s flexibility of
roles, with quick shift from leader to follower and back, is what I note
here. It may be that just this sort of role reversal is implicated in
learning names of things when someone else specifies the name.