Editorial office: Hanna Vock
The parents of Iris (5;0) (name changed) have given me the records that the mother has made to Iris´ development for publication. Thank you very much.
All names have been changed.
We can follow the whole development from the youngest child to schooling at the age of 5;11.
Iris seems very talented in many ways. Her motor development and her speech development are greatly accelerated, her sensitivity is great. The questions and thoughts she expresses are remarkable. In a „normal“ kindergarten she would be severely underchallenged.
Iris´ Mother has classified her observations into the following categories:
5. Fantasy / creativity
6. Feelings / sensations
7. Understanding / thinking / problem solving / thirst for knowledge
8. Thoughts about thinking
9. Learning / writing / counting / reading
10. Death and grief
11. This and that
Head lift – 7 weeks
Turning from belly to back – 8 weeks
Gripping – 2 months
Sitting – end of 4th month
Push backwards through room – 5 months
Push forward – 6 months
Crawling – end of 6th month
Pulling up (in playpen) – end of 6. month
Running around the table / shimmying – 7th month
running with trolley – 8th month
Free running – at the beginning of 11th month
First word (Nanane, means Banane (banana)) – 11th month
Baby swimming – 11th month
Bobbycar – 1;2 years
Climbing + sliding alone – 1;2 years
Eat alone (porridge with spoon) – 1;3 years
Puzzle + Lego build – 1;3 years
First 2-word sentence – 1;6 years
First 3-word sentence – 1;8 years
First 4-word sentence – 1;8 years
First 5-word sentence – 1;11 years
First role plays – 1;10 years
First time on potty – 1;11 years
Can name some colours – 1;11 years
Put on shoes properly (velcro) – 2;0 years
Dress her doll – 2 years
Children gymnastics – 2;3 years
Tricycle – 2;5 years
Impeller – 2;6 years (before legs were too short)
Close zipper (smooth-running) – 2;7 years
Jumps from start block with water wings – 2;9 years
Dry (also at night) – 2;10 years
Painting first cephalopod – 2;10 years
Scissors cut – 3;0 years
Make knots – 3;2 years
Massive interest in letters – 3;3 years
Writing to PC / can write „Iris“ – 3;4 years
First writing by hand – 3;5 years
Bicycle without training wheels – 3;6 years
Swimming course – 3;6 years (one lane without equipment: 4;6 years)
Fastening her seat belt alone in the car – 3;6 years
Simple loop tie – 4;6 years
Name the day of the week correctly (today is / the day before yesterday was / the day after tomorrow is etc.) – 4;7 years (must partly still „count“)
Plaiting – 4;8 years
„Seahorse“ (Certificate for i.e. 25 meters swimming without help) – 4;11 years
Ballet lessons – 4;11 years
First piano lesson – 5;7 years
Iris sleeps for the first time in grandma´s and grandpa´s home – 5;7 years
Jump from 3-meter board – 5;9 years
Kindergarten final overnight – 5;9 years
Enrolment – 5;11 years
First 2-word sentence – 1;6 years
First 3-word sentence – 1;8 years
First 4-word sentence – 1;8 years
First 5-word sentence – 1;11 years
We want to go to the swimming pool. „Iris, ask Dad where the swimming noodle is.“ She does. Her dad answers. Her dad answers: „That’s a good question …“ Iris: „Papa doesn’t know where it is either.“ She understood that he doesn’t know either. (3;5 years.)
Iris explains something to me: „And in fact I put the bag under the table.“ – „and in fact“ is new. (3;10 years.)
We are discussing a small figure. I think it’s a dog. Iris: „I would say it’s a horse.“ (3;10 years.)
She uses first foreign words: We play „Da ist der Wurm drin“ (The worm is in there). Iris explains the rules of the game to her father. „Dad, if someone theoretically rolls orange dice and there is no more, then you can choose a part. And then, of course, you take red. (Red is the longest part and you get the fastest forward with it.) (4;3 years.)
We’re with friends and going to the bathroom. Iris: „Grandma has that kind of toilet paper, too.“ That’s right! (3;5 years.)
We are at Iris´ Great aunt on the toilet. Iris: „P. also has such a toilet block.“ Half a year has passed since the visit to P.! (3;6 years.)
We make pizza. As an exception I bought a finished dough from the refrigerated shelf and roll it out. Iris: „It’s just like Joe’s.“ On Christmas, Joe had made an onion pie from such a dough. It’s been a few months. (3;7 years.)
I fetch two Papilotten (foam curlers) from the cupboard, which we want to use as swimming noodles for the dolls. I show them to Iris and want to explain something to her. Iris protests: „When we unpacked them, I was there, after all! That was at least one year ago! (3;8 years ago.)
Iris can still remember that last year the photographer took pictures of the children in the learning workshop and not in the gym like this year. (4;2 years.)
Sleeping is difficult from the beginning:
Iris doesn’t sleep in the bassinet next to our bed. She sleeps in a sling, in a pram that is closed with a cloth (while walking) or in the car. She doesn’t sleep until I take her to bed with me. Needs a lot of closeness, wants to be breastfed frequently.
For a long time, she wakes up when I turn around in bed. Likewise, when I get up. She cries then. Can only fall asleep at the chest.
Later it gets better, I can get up. She sleeps 1,5 – 2 hours, but then she wakes up and cries when I am not there. Only with 3;3 years she sleeps without waking up, if I get up again in the evening. In the morning she often cries when I make breakfast, although my husband is lying next to her. At about 3;9 this improves, but with relapses.
She never just falls asleep somewhere (for example on the crawling blanket).
She’s not cranky when she’s tired. Just keeps on going …
I’ve said from the beginning that I feel that Iris thinks she’s missing something when she’s asleep.
It is difficult for my husband or mother-in-law to get her to sleep.
She can only sleep in her sleeping bag because she rolls around a lot in bed.
She often has nightmares / talks in her sleep.
Iris does not want to sleep. „Sleeping is boring.“ „Sleeping lasts sooo long“.
She is also afraid of nightmares.
She does not want to spend the night with grandma and grandpa. „Only when I am big“. (She means when she is a schoolchild.)
Iris should sleep. „I can’t keep my eyes shut that long.“ – Why not?“ – „They hurt from it.“ (3;8 years.)
At 3;10 she doesn’t want to sleep in her sleeping bag anymore, she always pedals free. But now she sleeps better. In the cold winter: Warm sleeping overall.
We want to sleep. The light is off, but it’s not quite dark outside yet. Iris is sitting in bed. I ask her what she is doing there. Iris: „You can sleep. I take care of you. I see if people come.“ (3;11 years.)
Sleeping is out of the question. Iris is at 21:30 o’clock still very, very chipper: „I am day and night active“. (4;2 years.)
Iris asks in the evening when she falls asleep when tomorrow is finally here.
„I cannot fall asleep. I must think of something beautiful and then again of something stupid and then again of something beautiful, then again of something stupid. I am already quite confused.“ (4;6 years.)
Iris in bed at night: „How does sleeping go?“ I answer her that she should close her eyes and stop thinking. Iris: „I’ve always complained with my head, but he thinks and thinks.“ (4;8 years.)
She slept once for 3 hours in her own bed (with her grandmother in the room). (5;4 years.)
In the kindergarten at lunch „Witch Lilli at Dracula Castle“ (from 8 years) is read aloud. Iris has an agreement that she can go out if she doesn’t like a story – which she can’t do during lunch. When by chance the head of the kindergarten is in charge of lunch, some children wish that she should continue reading the book.
After half a page my daughter jumps up from the table and crawls into the cuddly cave. Thereupon the head of the kindergarten breaks off and gives me feedback when I pick her up.
In the evening Iris cannot fall asleep and has terrible fears. She also doesn’t want to listen to the harmless romantic CD „Mozart’s Magic Night in Nymphenburg“ because she is afraid that a vampire will come around the corner. It takes some time before she no longer has to think about it in the evening. (5;5 years.)
Iris sleeps alone with grandma and grandpa for the first time. (Also intended as a preparation for the kindergarten overnight stay.) Works great. (5;7 years.)
Meanwhile she goes to sleep between 22 o’clock and 22:30 o’clock, even if the next day is kindergarten. (5;7 years.)
Iris falls asleep for the first time when the babysitter is here. (5;11 years.)
Now that school has started, Iris goes to bed at 9pm and gets up at 6:45am. (5;11 years.)
Iris cannot fall asleep in the evening. „Now I have to think of something stupid again. Of hurricanes.“ I reassure her that we don’t have any. „But where Daddy goes.“ My husband flies in two weeks to America. (5;11 years.)
See also the article: Little need for sleep?
5. Fantasy / creativity
First role plays: Doctor, shopping, cooking (1;10 years).
Outside in the undergrowth under the trees is her house or her stable or her supermarket. She plays with fir cones, stones, leaves and sticks. For example, we use sticks to repair cars (from 2;1 years).
Iris plays after stories: Mama Muh, Rabe Socke (raven sock) etc. (from approx. 2;6 years).
Siri is Iris´ mirror image (sometimes also her shadow). Iris plays with Siri. Sometimes Siri also has her mom with her (even though I can be seen in the mirror). Iris knows that this is her reflection, but they still play together. (2;6 years.)
From about 2;10 years:
Her doll Lotta is Iris´ Alter Ego. Lotta does everything that Iris should not, does not dare or cannot do. „Lotta always throws stones into the washing machine.“ She climbs up the lamp. Lotta mostly lives in Africa. Or on our roof. Or with the neighbours on the roof. And because she has wings, she also gets there. Iris comes up with the most adventurous stories. At the moment Lotta also has a blue room with a tree in space. Favourite sentence: „Only in the game, not in real“.
Iris likes to paint very much. If one leaf is not enough, she grows. Or she makes whole booklets, which I have to staple. Iris loves brushes and paint. And plasticine. She can spend hours working with me on that. Or build (Lego Duplo). Friends always wonder how persistent she is (from 2;4 years).
Iris likes to build caves or houses with real superstructures. She likes to wrap the whole thing with cord and erect barriers. Sometimes one can hardly walk in the room (from 3;3 years).
Iris wants to become a drummer and marry a saxophonist. (Iris´ Papa is a musician.) Three months later she wants to become a pediatrician, finally a helicopter doctor and play drums in the evening. (But only after we had convinced her that you can make music as a doctor.) (3;4 years.)
„I can do what I want. I am already big. In the game I am already soooo big.“ (3;7 years.)
We play rain with the dolls and put rain clothes on them. Iris: „There is no thunder in the game. NEVER!“ (3;7 years.)
Iris has a silver ball of yarn (from gift ribbon). This is her ball for wishes. I should take it in my hand, cover it with my other hand and make a wish. (3;8 years.)
Iris has built a high chair for her fabric monkeys out of a laundry basket, a cloth and her children’s chair. The two sit next to each other at the table and talk, with Iris speaking. Monkey: „Iris, what are you doing in kindergarten?“ Iris (as Iris) lists everything: „playing, eating, going to the toilet…“ (3;8 years.)
Iris runs to me with her toy mobile phone and says. „It’s Mrs. W. calling. She is almost healthy again. And soon she comes back to kindergarten.“ Into the phone: „When are you coming back? Sunday or Saturday? – OK. Bye.“ (3;8 years.)
Iris takes the kindergarten on a trip to Satzvey Castle. Accompanying it the children do a project to the topic „knight“ and tinker great things. Iris is totally enthusiastic, and even at home she tinkers, paints and sews like crazy. We build a castle for Iris and her dolls out of a huge cardboard box. She prefers to be a knight rather than a damsel and only walks around in her knitted chain mail shirt.
Actually a knight tournament should take place before the Easter holidays in the kindergarten, which had to be cancelled unfortunately then because of illness. First it should be made up, but Iris was then the only one, who was still in the topic. She can be very persistent. (4;4 years.)
Iris has been dealing with universe for a long time. Since her grandfather was with us with his telescope to observe Saturn, she is completely enthusiastic. (4;5 years.)
We read about it and watch videos on the internet. And she tinkers and paints. She plays astronaut and moon landing. Rock samples are taken and flown to Mars. Hare Felix and the dolls have to go of course, all with astronaut suit. New stars, planets and nebulae are discovered, „photographed“ and printed … The interest continues. (5;11 years.)
Iris has been interested in the Stone Age for a long time, ever since the preschoolers in the kindergarten had „Stone Age overnight“. The older children told many exciting things. (4;7 years.)
We build bows and arrows, spears, fishing hooks, „fireplaces“, collect herbs, sew clothes and bags for the dolls. Iris plays with her dolls Stone Age and she goes hunting for bears and kills her teddy bear and much more. Of course we also have books on the subject. The enthusiasm is still alive today. (5;11 years.)
In Cologne we see the Lomo-Map, a huge map of Germany from 170.000 single photos. These photos were sent in by many different people from all over Germany and then assembled into a map on the ground in front of the station.
Iris is so fascinated that we have to photograph our village shortly afterwards. Iris gets my little old camera, I take my SLR and off we go. (4;11 years.)
Since we were on vacation in a maze and in the museum in a mirror cabinet, Iris is in labyrinth and maze fever. We paint labyrinths on paper, with chalk huge mazes on the street and make them out of clay. (5;7 years.)
We went to the Odysseum and had a look at the special exhibition about ball tracks. Iris doesn’t want to leave it at all. At home, ball tracks are built and chain reactions are triggered, for example with dominoes and toilet paper rolls. (5;8 years.)
In general, one can say that Iris still works on topics that interest her, but also on things that frighten her, by role-playing. Whereby her doll Lotta is still her alter ego. She is completely absorbed in her subjects and not only consumes knowledge, but completely immerses herself in the new world. (5;11 years.)
6. Feelings / sensations
Iris is a good mood child. We are often asked about our „sunshine“.
Even if she is tired, she does not whine or cry.
She is very sensitive to light, noise and odours right from the start. She is afraid of loud noises, cries or is panicked by airplanes, tractors, motorcycles, tumble dryers, vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers … She covers her ears when flushing the toilet. Sometimes we have to hide in a cave in Iris´ rooms when her dad mows lawn. She is afraid of New Year’s Eve bangers and has nightmares about them half a year later. Even with almost 5 years she is still afraid of loud tractors.
When I talk on the phone and answer the story with „Ach herrje“, for example, Iris worriedly asks: „Mom, what’s wrong?“ (from 3;0 years.)
I made test printouts of the cover of my husband’s new CD. Some of it ends up in the paper trash, including pages with a picture of Iris´ dad. Iris fishes the photos out of the garbage completely dissolved. I can’t throw her dad away! (2;4 years.)
Everything is divided into father-mother-child at an early age (people, animals, stones, flowers, pine cones …); always important: „And where is the mother of …?“
At the age of 2;6 she starts crying, because she believes that the puppy has no mum anymore on the farm. Her grandmother tells her that the dog’s mother is only shopping. At the same time she cries with Hänschen-klein (a children´s song about a little boy named Jack) The text is: But the mother cries a lot, she doesn’t have her Jack anymore). Doesn’t want to read the picture book „Little white fish“ anymore, because the fish has lost his mother and is now looking for her (and finds her).
We have to leave the performance of the Kasperle-Theater (Punch and Judy show) because Iris is afraid of the witch. Almost a year later she still talks again and again about us not going there anymore. (2;9 years.)
If she doesn’t like something emotionally, she can’t be changed.
Iris does not like people who approach her too brashly or who are too loud for her. For example, Mrs. K. should no longer come to the kindergarten. Neither should Mrs. H., because she read fairy tales to the children, which Iris could not cope with emotionally. (2;11 years.)
For a long time Iris didn’t want to go to the „rest“ (siesta) in the kindergarten, because Mrs. K. had read a story she didn’t like. She also had problems when she arrived in the morning. Then Mrs. B. also stopped working in the kindergarten – now Iris did not want to go there at all. She had understood that her kindergarten teacher would not come back. She isolates herself, holds on to paper shreds and is completely disintegrated if she loses one. She is also afraid that something will be taken away from her by other children or that she might forget something when she goes home. We have to make lists of what needs to be taken home again. I give her a little protector to wear around her wrist. It slowly gets better when Mrs. D. joins the group. Iris processes her feelings in role-playing. When she didn’t want to stay in the siesta, we had to play kindergarten and her doll Lotta always stayed in siesta. (3;0 years.)
Iris does not understand when other children lie, say mean things or hurt others. She is then always completely dissolved and asks again and again why they do something like this.
The front number plate of our car was stolen at night. Iris´Papa has to go to the police and the road traffic office. We explain to Iris that bad people did that. „Why are there bad people? Where do they live? Do they want to come to us?“ (3;4 years.)
If she don’t like a song on a CD, I have to burn the CD again without the song, otherwise she won’t hear the whole CD anymore.
Iris heard the song „Anne Kaffeekanne“ up to the spot with the lion; that’s where I had to turn it off. Since then she has been afraid of lions. But she can sing the chorus … (3;4 years.)
A sheep of acquaintances had offspring, whereby the mother did not accept her children. I didn’t talk to Iris about it at all, but she comes to it by herself. „Where is the mother? What about her“ she wants to know. I try to explain to her that something like this happens more often, but that A. is now the mother for the two of them. In the evening she comes to me crying because the lambs are not with their mum. (3;6 years.)
Iris is suddenly afraid of foxes while falling asleep in the evening. She still remembers that once there was a dead fox in our garden. But she was only 20 months old then. I say: „I don’t understand why you are suddenly afraid of foxes.“ „Fox, you stole the goose“ is one of your favourite songs. Iris: „I’m afraid of real foxes. Not from painted foxes (songbook) or from plastic.“ (3;6 years.)
„Dad, what are you looking at so seriously?“ (3;7 years.)
It was closing in. Before the rain I wanted to quickly take off my clothes and get some things in. Meanwhile you could hear a rumbling in the distance. Since I did not come immediately into the house, Iris became really panicky. She stood crying in the living room while I was still outside: „You have to come in. The Binsi (cat) must also come in. Where is the Binsi? The Binsi should come.“ Then we had to lower the roller shutter and go to bed. Iris trembled really. The next day everything came up again and she cried again. Two days later it rained a few drops during dinner, whereupon she wanted to go straight back to bed. She also kept asking if and when there would be a thunderstorm. Didn’t want to go outside for a while. (3;7 years.)
Iris wants to move into the deep forest, where there is no noise. Or to Africa, where it hardly rains. She asks her grandmother if she will come to Africa with her. (3;7 years.)
„Mama, I always want to be with you. Even if you and dad are gone. Or you alone. You should not work so much. Then you will also get sick like Mrs. W.“ A few weeks earlier we had gone to Freiburg (German town) for a day and only came back at night. On the phone she had cried terribly. Later (her doll) Lotta was often in Freiburg, or in Reichsburg, which should be even further away … (3;10 years.)
In the evening there are hunters outside. Iris is terribly afraid. „Is everyone inside? Daddy too? (-Is on the way-) And if the window of the car is open? Do the wild boars cry when they are shot? Do the hunters cry? What do they look like? Do they have a face?“ (4;1 years.)
„Now it’s starting again that I only want to stay with Mom.“ (4;2 years.)
The children get a book read to them in the kindergarten, in which it is about Benji Bear looking for his mother and not finding her. She had previously asked if she could go out if the book was not for her. The kindergarten teacher didn’t know the book herself and said that Iris should wait and see. Iris understood this as if she was not allowed to go. In the evening in bed: „She (the mama) is surely dead … She is in heaven. Why wasn’t I allowed to go out? Why does she read something like that“ etc.? Iris is completely dissolved and does not fall asleep until 22:40 o’clock. It still occupies her for weeks. (4;2 years.)
Iris cries before going to bed. I say that she is dog-tired. „You cry when you’re angry or sad, not when you’re tired.“ (4;3 years.)
„It’s nice that you got me.“ (4;8 years.)
Iris hasn’t played with Alina for a long time. I ask for the reason. „I don’t like Alina so much.“ – Why? Did you argue?“ „No, that just changes sometimes simply.“ (5;4 years.)
I bought the computer game „Felix – a suitcase full of games“, which Iris also likes to play. She thinks the rabbit is so cute, which reminds me that we have a book about it, but Iris didn’t want to read it before. Since she is already one year older now, I read it to her again. Iris cried terribly because Felix was away from home. Although of course he is back at the end.
Iris then fished out her little rabbit and pressed it against her. After that she doesn’t want to go to her girlfriend anymore because she is afraid that her Felix will be gone when she comes home again. We always put him under the cheese bell in the morning when she goes to kindergarten so that he can’t go on a journey. At Easter she wished for a real Felix cloth bunny. Since then we have also had to write letters (for mail) all the time. The Felix rabbit then got a leash so he couldn’t run away. Iris nevertheless often has to cry. She keeps asking if Felix really exists. She wishes it so much. (5;4 years.)
„I would like to be able to fly.“ – What do you think it feels like?“ I ask. „A beautiful feeling.“ – „And why do you want to be able to fly?“ – „Then I could float under the ceiling at the ballet and watch everyone.“ (5;5 years.)
„I am already quite sad, because the kindergarten years soon will be over. And Mrs. W. certainly also, because she loves the children so much“. (5;8 years.)
7. understanding / ability to think / problem solving / thirst for knowledge
Iris wants to get a can of cat food from the top of the shelf. I look around the corner and see that she has built herself a tower as a ladder from tins and a glass of pickles, on which she then balances. (2;7 years.)
From the age of three Iris always has a clear idea of how she wants to do something. For example: „And then we print it out and then we glue it this way and then into the lanimier device (laminating device). And then that’s a placemat.“
We paint and have made a frog. Fish are painted on the crayon box. I talk (as a frog) to the fish and ask them why they don’t answer me. Iris says: „They are only painted.“ (3;0 years.)
Iris wants to put her finished puzzle heal into the box, takes a piece of paper, pushes it underneath and lets the puzzle slide in. (3;1 years.)
Iris is sitting in the bathtub. I pulled the plug and she watches the vortex. „Is the water spinning by itself?“ (3;2 years.)
I got a Powerpoint file during Advent which is underlaid with „Silent Night“ (choir). Iris is fascinated, we have to listen to it again and again. „Are there little people in the computer? – Where is the choir then?“ (3;2 years.)
When she gets a CD-player for Christmas, the same question: „Are there little people in the CD-player?“
„Mama, when you were little, did you have a mama then and was I still with you as a baby in your stomach?“ I explain to her that little girls don’t have babies yet. „When do you have babies in your stomach?“ (3;4 years.) A month later the second sex education follows. „How do the babies actually get into the stomach?“ Five minutes later: „And where do people actually come from?“
„Where does the electricity come from? From the ground?“ The socket for her CD player is mounted relatively far below. (3;4 years.)
Iris is interested in where the water in the bathroom comes from and where it drains off. (3;4 years.)
Iris is interested in the veins / blood. (3;5 years.)
She doesn’t like a song on her new music CD. She goes to my PC with it, puts the CD in the CD compartment and asks me to burn her the CD without the song. (3;5 years.)
Iris looks at her cup on which the Barbapapas are printed. „How do people do that?“ (3;5 years.)
Iris´ dad: „And grandma Gunda is my mama.“ Iris: „I know that!“ (3;5 years.)
Iris climbs with bicycle helmet on a climbing scaffold, whereby she therefore somewhere does not fit through. She immediately takes off the helmet, puts it aside and climbs on (without pause to think). (3;6 years.)
„I can’t lift myself up.“ (3;6 years.)
Iris is sitting on the toilet. „Behind the mirror is my room.“ Right, the wall on which the mirror hangs is the partition to her room. (3;6 years.)
„And Grandma is a mama. Papa’s mama.“ I: „And a grandma. From whom?“ – „From me.“ (3;6 years.)
We go to the toilet at night. The moon shines brightly between the clouds. „Mama, why don’t you see the stars?“ (3;6 years.)
„After tomorrow comes the day after tomorrow.“ (3;6 years.)
We see a coloured man in the pedestrian zone. Iris: „There’s a black man.“ I explain to her that they say colored or African man. Later we see Lurchi at the shoe shop. Iris points to Lurchi’s black arms and asks: „Is he also an African?“ (3;6 years.)
Iris looks at a Lurchi figure at the shoe shop. „Do salamanders have no teeth?“ We look in the animal encyclopedia. (3;6 years.)
„Mama, how does the milk get into the breast?“ (3;7 years.)
There is some water in the lid of her sand shell. She quickly puts a little bucket on one side underneath to put the lid at an angle so that she can scoop the water. She uses the same principle when there is soup and the plate is almost empty. (3;7 years.)
Iris is allowed to make the new game CD-Rom. We watch one of the games (will be explained). I talk to her briefly about it and she then plays. I am briefly in the living room, when I come back, she plays another, new game. She understood it directly without any help. (3;7 years.)
Iris points to the belt holders of her child seat and says that they are practical. We talk about her other seat not having one in my car. Then she says, „It’s probably from another company.“ (3;7 years.)
Iris: „Can mosquitoes actually talk to each other?“ (3;7 years.)
Iris is interested in where friends and relatives live. I print out a map of Germany and we draw it in. (3;8 years)
Iris wants to know what it looks like under the skin and in the head. „Mom, is there blood in the lips? And in the tongue too?“ (3;8 years.)
„Is now evening?“ – Yes“ – „I thought so already (= currently Iris´ favourite sentence). Over there (in the dining room) it was already so dark and here in the bathroom it is still a bit bright. That’s because the sun is setting here.“ That’s right, the sun goes down at the bathroom window. (3;8 years.)
„Where does the rain come from before it becomes water?“ (3;8 years.)
A stuffed animal falls over again and again. Iris takes the milk carton and leans the elephant against it so that it stands. (3;8 years.)
Iris eats a chicken leg. „Is that from a chicken? Is that dead? Is the meat in the chicken? And where is the blood?“ (3;8 years.)
„The carrots grow in the earth. And then they come into the package. Then they go to the supermarket. And there you buy them.“ (3;8 years.)
Iris stands in front of the mirror and does onomatopoeias. Suddenly she asks: „Mama, where does language actually come from?“ (3;8 years.)
Today gas has been delivered. With a long hose (tank truck) the tank was filled up. Iris explains us later quite enthusiastically how the hose was rolled up again. „The hose is even longer. If someone lives even further away, it will still fit.“ (3;8 years.)
I make myself a sausage bread and dab from the tube mustard on top. Iris: „You can first spread the mustard on the bread and then put the sausage on it. That’s much better.“ (3;8 years.)
„Did I pee in your belly then?“ I explain that babies swallow amniotic fluid and excrete it again. „That’s disgusting!“ (3;8 years.)
I have a bad cold. Iris: „What do we do now? We cook a chicken soup.“ Did we then also make … (3;9 years.)
I do an irradiation with a red light lamp. Iris asks what kind of light it is. „That’s funny! I have never seen such a light in my whole life. I know only white and silver (she means moonlight) light.“ (3;9 years.)
Iris wants to know how the world came into being. We read about the Big Bang. (3;9 years.)
„Do Papa, you and I all have the same eyes? We also all have brown hair.“ (3;9 years.)
Iris takes away empties with Papa. They put the empty crate in the vending machines. The crate is transported away via a conveyor belt high above the shelves on the wall. Iris: „Daddy, look, our box.“ Nobody showed her. (3;10 years.)
„Mom, is white cold? (She’s eating a vanilla ice cream.) Actually, blue is cold.“ – „And what color is warm then?“ I ask. Iris: „Red is warm.“ (3;10 years.)
We want to sow spinach again. (We did it once a month ago.) I pour the seed into the flower box. Iris: „You have to soak it.“ Right, I had completely forgotten. (3;11 years.)
Grandpa Peter made Iris a cup of foamed milk. While she spoons the foam, she asks: „Why is the milk always down and the foam always up? (3;11 years.)
Iris wants to know how earthquakes occur. (3;11 years.)
Iris is supposed to form associations with the U8, for example: ball – play. At flower she says „grow“, at house – „stand firm“. (We had talked about earthquakes in the past weeks.) (4;0 years.) 〈U 8 = medical check-up for children.〉
We are on our way to the next place. Iris: „Can you see the cross from here?“ (You can see it from our bathroom window.) – „No, it’s too far away.“ – „And if you had a wide magnifier, could you see that? Or a wide pair of glasses?“ (4;0 years.)
We bake and use a measuring cup. I show her the scale. She counts down, one hundred, two hundred …, ten hundred. (4;1 years.)
Iris still remembers that the wind blew away the tarpaulin of my car last winter. Iris: „That’s good, if there’s snow on the car, the tarpaulin won’t fly away“. (4;1 years.)
We saw Stevie Wonder on TV and Iris explained that he is blind, but still can play the piano very well. A few days later we cook. Iris: „Blind people can’t do anything in the kitchen. Only sleep goes. You don’t need your eyes there. … Then you have to put new eyes in their heads.“ (4;1 years.) Much later in the car: „Blind people can’t drive“. (4;5 years.)
We play „The worm is in there“. Iris explains the rules of the game to her father. „Dad, if someone theoretically rolls orange dice and and if there is no more orange part, then you can choose another one. And then, of course, you take red.“ (Red is the longest part and you move forward the fastest.) (4;3 years.)
Iris should cut small ham cubes for the pizza. „Then I must first cut thin strips …“ (4;3 years.)
„If I am 5, then Sarah is 6. If I am 6, then Sarah is 7…“ That leads her to 11-12. (4;4 years.)
We are at IKEA. There are huge pockets to pull behind with rolls underneath, but you can’t see them. Iris: „Are there rollers under it?“ (4;4 years.)
We play the card game UNO. Iris puts two „2-Draw-Cards“ in a row on the pile, so I have to draw 4 cards. She is happy: „This is like a 4 card“ (4 draw card). (4;4 years.)
„If grandma were young again and daddy too, daddy could drink at grandma’s breast.“ (4;5 years.)
Dad: „So Iris, I’ll be gone for 3 days soon.“ Iris: „3 days are better than 4.“ (4;5 years.)
We are in the swimming pool and go outside wet in the outdoor pool area. Iris: „When you’re wet, you think it’s colder outside“. (4;8 years.)
We listen to music in the evening. Iris: „You hear better in the dark.“ (4;11 years.)
„Why do we nod when we say yes?“ (4;11 years.)
„How does a microphone make that (the singing) loud?“ (4;11 years.)
We ride the bike uphill in headwinds. Iris: „Then we fly back home with the wind from behind“. (4;11 years.)
I: „You don’t have to eat sweets every day.“ Iris: „No, but you want to.“ (4;11 years.)
We drive past the cat stones (rocks). Iris wants to know where the name comes from. I explain to her that it comes from the place Katzvey. „And where does the word cat actually come from?
We look in the dictionary of origin. (4;11 years.)
I explain that my car once lost coolant because a hose had a hole. Iris: „And then you went to grandpa’s workshop and he made a new hose and then he put new water in it.“ (4;11 years.)
My husband: „Shall we plant a cookie tree here with the cookie?“ Iris: „Even in a hundred years, when we’re dead, no tree will grow out of it.“ (5;0 years.)
Iris has a blue colour on her hand, which does not completely come off when washing. Iris: „It looks as if it is a vein.“ (5;0 years.)
We went to U9 to see the pediatrician. She asks: „Do you ride an impeller? Iris: „In former times.“ The doctor smiles. „Are you wearing a helmet? What happens without a helmet?“ – „You open your head and get a concussion,“ answers Iris. The doctor says: „I’ve never got such a great answer before“. (5;0 years.)
Iris rinses dishes, and the water gets very hot. Something spills over and her T-shirt gets wet. „Why is the water there (in the sink) so hot and on the T-shirt so cold?“ (5;2 years.)
We sit in the car and talk about the GPS. Why there is a male and a female voice. „Where are they sitting?“ I explain a bit. „And how does the navigation system know how to drive?“ (5;3 years.)
Iris has a toy camera where you can see little pictures when you look through the viewfinder. By pressing the „shutter release“ down, the next motif appears. Iris explains: „And there’s a disc inside that turns. And when you press it, it goes on there (she points) and pushes it further.“ (5;3 years.)
We have a new fridge. My husband is surprised that the Coke is frozen in the back. Iris: „Maybe the new fridge is colder than the old one.“ (5;3 years.)
I cream Iris after bathing. „Otherwise (before) it doesn’t help at all. It goes off in the tub again.“ (5;3 years.)
The farmers in the online chess game „Fritz und Fertig“ have a strange dialect. I wonder about it. Iris thereupon: „That should be probably funny.“ (5;3 years.)
Iris has always been questioning. She rarely lets short answers stand like this.
We drive past a field in late autumn. Iris is surprised: „What is still growing in the field?“ – „Green manure“, I answer. „What is green manure?“ (5;2 years.)
In the evening I sing the song „Kein schöner Land“ 〈meaning: In this time no country is more beautiful〉 to her, which she doesn’t know yet. It is already late and actually she should sleep. „What does ’no beautiful country‘ mean?“ (5;4 years.)
Iris knows that the car has a brake pedal. „Mama, how do you do that with the brakes when you park on the mountain? Doesn’t that roll down there?“ (5;4 years.)
Iris: „I dreamt something funny.“ – Tell me.“ – „But I don’t know the beginning anymore.“ – „It doesn’t matter,“ I answer. „But then it starts right in the middle of it.“ (5;4 years.)
We talk about the cat, which is fed by our neighbours and regularly beats up our cat. „Previously with the Binsi (our previous cat) it did not exist yet. At least not with us.“ (5;5 years.)
Iris always liked the song „Tickeditack der Tausendfüßler“ 〈Tickeditack the millipede〉 when she was little. It goes like this:
„Tickeditack the millipede wraps wobbles straight ahead.
With every step a thousand feet wiggle with it
and so he comes soon to the millipedes house.
And now he’s knocking (knocking on the floor).
Ouch, here the door is locked and no place to go and stand.
What a decision, our millipede must
now walk backwards with all 1000 feet.“
Although we haven’t sung the song for a long time, Iris suddenly says: „I don’t understand it. That’s his house after all. Why doesn’t he come in there?“ It´s actually true. (5;6 years.)
Iris has two picture books about Mozart. („Come we travel to Mozart“ for the Ting pen and „Mimi and Mozart“.) Iris loves the two books hot and dear! I also buy a CD „Mozart for Children“, which tells a lot about Mozart as a child, how early he was able to play the piano and compose, etc.
Iris is fascinated by it. We have to watch videos about wunderkinder on Youtube: Music, chess, mental arithmetic, whatever. Iris disguises herself as Mozart, plays the beginning of „Die kleine Nachtmusik“ with one finger. I have to make her a travel piano for the „carriage“ and a violin.
Once she is sick and can’t go to kindergarten. Because we parents both have to work (at home), she is allowed to paint with my felt pens. She paints one Mozart picture after the other for four hours. (5;6 years.)
On the radio they use the term „still water“. Iris wants to know what that means. I explain it to her. She reflects: „Although I prefer to drink hard sparkling water, I am rather shy.“ (5;7 years.)
„Can you see a hurricane?,“ Iris wants to know. „Yes“, I answer. Iris: „Otherwise you can’t see wind.“ We talk about the fact that one can only see what the wind does. (5;7 years.)
Iris asks herself: „Who invented the world? Someone must have invented it after all! My husband asks her: „Do you have an idea? Maybe a person?“ – Iris: „There were no people yet.“ I say that this is why many people believe in God. Iris: „And when was he born?“ – „That is the question.“ – Iris: „Then people will certainly think that he was always there. What was the name of the first real human who lived on earth?“ (5;7 years.)
„What do I know how that will be when I grow up? Maybe then we will all live on Mars and people will have their children there and the earth will be just a planet for us.“ (5;7 years.)
„How big is the Earth?“ – „Huge“, I answer. „For us it is huge. In the sky it is very small.“ (5;7 years.)
„Mama, why doesn’t the earth fall down?“ Short time later: „Is the earth sometime to end?“ (5;7 years.) (5;7 years.)
We talk about black holes and the theory that time stands still there. Iris reflects: „Can’t you get out of it then?“ (5;7 years.)
„I would have preferred to be born in the Stone Age, where real people like you and me have lived and that I would never have died. Then I would have got to know Mozart and Grandma in heaven and everyone.“ (5;7 years.)
We were at the Odysseum in Cologne. Iris didn’t even want to go home anymore. On the way back she says in the car: „My theme at the moment is: space, Stone Age and Mozart“. (5;8 years.)
„Mama, don’t you sometimes dream? Before I wake up in the morning, I always dream.“ (5;8 years.)
„Why does time pass so quickly when grandma is here?“ (5;8 years.)
Iris looks at a pair of trousers from the inside, I’m stuffing a hole in them. „Oh, that’s what the trouser pocket looks like. I always wanted to know how that was done.“ (5;8 years.)
Iris thinks: „That would be practical if we had a zipper on our stomach. Then you could always look, for example, if you eat something, how it all works, down the esophagus into the stomach.“ (5;8 years.)
„Why does the heart we paint look so different from the real heart?“ (5;8 years.)
„I think Anna and Caro, they speak with the same voice. It sounds like that in my head.“ Caro had already been away for half a year. (5;9 years.)
„In the brain it is dark.“ (5;9 years.)
Iris likes to fold paper boats at the moment. She wants to take one with her into the bathtub. I would like to point out that it will dissolve quickly. „What can you do with that that it won’t dissolve?“, Iris wants to know. I answer: „I can’t think of anything now either.“
Iris has an idea: „Can you fold foam rubber?“ You can. And it holds when you staple it. (5;10 years.)
„For me, time passes quickly when someone plays with me, for example grandpa. But I think grandpa would rather do something else.“ (5;10 years.)
Iris explains to a friend: „Sometimes I hunt flies at the window with the fly swatter. If you see the legs, they are outside and if you see the wings, they are inside“. (5;11 years.)
„Why is it so hot deep in the earth?“ (5;11 years.)
„Mama, how do the tones come out of the flute?“ (5;11 years.)
Before she enrols school, Iris is on her way to the OGS (open all-day school) during the holidays. „Mama, how does the school bell actually work? How does she know when to ring?“ (5;11 years.)
8. Thoughts about thinking
Iris should be asleep by now. Has thirst. „I’m so warm from all the thinking.“ She says that the thoughts from the head buzz through the stomach and the legs to the feet and disappear from there (into the air). (3;1 years.)
„I always have to think so much: In kindergarten, at home, in kindergarten, at home. There my head sometimes tilts to the side because it is so full“. (4;3 years.)
„There are so many thoughts in my head again. I think I have a big little book in my head.“ In the evening in bed: „I have to call someone. He comes tonight and cuts my head open and takes out a sheet of paper (from the book) and then closes my head again.“ We agree that this is not necessary. But at night little headworkers come and wipe some pages empty. Iris turns them into musicians who blow the whole thing away with music. „I hear a guitar and a saxophone. And a tuba. I think I hear the J. (saxophonist). A few days later she says: „The musicians haven’t managed to blow away the Benji bear yet“. (Story about which she cried a lot a few weeks ago.) (4;4 years.)
„I have leaves in my head. They write on it with a pencil first. If I want to keep it, then it is overwritten with a ballpoint pen. I have a lot of drawers in my head and then the leaves come in.“ (5;4 years.)
„At the end of the month, the leaves (in my head) are pushed through a machine like this, then what’s on it gets even stronger.“ (5;5 years.)
„I also have a small Iris in my head. She tells Joe what she thinks is nice and what she doesn’t, and he prints it out and puts it in the drawer. But sometimes Joe also says bad words.“ – Which ones?“ I want to know. „Egg hole or poop.“ (Iris herself doesn’t use swear words.) „My head is so heavy because Joe has already printed sooo many sheets today. At least 18 packages of paper.“ (5;7 years.)
9. learning / writing / counting / reading
In general, Iris has a great memory. She can often remember things that happened a year ago at ¾ . Partly at things I had already forgotten again.
She can already name some colors (red, blue, yellow and green) and assign them correctly (1;11 years).
First understanding that letters have a meaning (gallop book) (2;3 years).
She shows increased interest in the written („Mama, what does it say?“) (2;8 years).
She paints 1st Kopffüßler 〈Illustrations that young children draw that are supposed to represent people – but only consist of a circle (head) and some strokes emanating from it.〉 (2;10 years).
Letter book „My ABC journey“ (2;10 years).
Iris enrols kindergarten. After two weeks she knows all the children by their first names, sometimes even by their last names; she knows which mother belongs to whom .(2;10 years.)
Iris should pretend in the game that she is writing something. Refuses: „I can’t write yet. I can’t read either yet.“ (2;11 years.)
She knows her first and last name and where she lives. (2;11 years.)
She counts to 19 (without the 17). (2;11 years).
She can cut with scissors (3;0 years.)
Iris knows most colors and partly knows how to mix them. (3;0 years.)
We play „Tempo small snail“, Memory (3;0 years.)
Puzzle with 4-9 pieces (up to 3;2 years).
As a Christmas present Iris gets a puzzle with 35 pieces. From then on she is in puzzle fever. (3;3 years.)
We play „Kunterbunt“ and „Colorama“ with the rules for 5-year-olds (with 2 dice). (3;3 years.)
We made a postcard for the kindergarten with Iris’s first and last name. Since then she is like crazy on alphabetic characters. (3;3 years.)
Iris wants to write every day on my PC. When I spell, she finds almost every letter. (Even with scrabble stones, which are confused.) She can write „Iris“ alone (3;4 years).
She gets her own computer (iBook with mini mouse) with writing program and drawing program + CD-rom „Laura’s star“. (3;5 years.)
Writes now also by hand, which did not go before motorically yet; partly mirror-inverted. (3;5 years.)
Iris wrote „Papa“ without my help (I was in the kitchen). (3;6 years.)
I read to Iris from her watch learning book the double page to the full hours. Iris sets the clock. I want to read it out again. „I already understood that.“ (3;5 years.)
On the spine of the book „Meine ABC-Reise“ 〈My journey throuh the ABC〉 it says: ABC. Iris: „Then the D would come after that.“ (3;5 years.)
She does the Winnie-Puh number puzzle (numbers must be assigned corresponding quantities). (3;5 years.)
20-piece puzzles are almost too easy, 49 pieces too difficult. 25 – 35 pieces are great. Together we make mini puzzles with 54 pieces. (3;5 years.)
Iris knows at least 120 songs (first line, complete verse or whole text), learns fast. (3;5 years.)
She builds a „T“ and an „i“ from building blocks and names it. (3;6 years.)
We pass a bus stop. Markings are painted on the floor. „There is an „M“.“ One mark really looks like this. (3;6 years.)
Iris is very happy when she discovers in the swimming pool that the starting blocks are numbered and she runs to every number. (3;7 years.)
When she has made a pile in the potty, she always looks what shape has resulted. „Mom, I made an i with a dot.“ (3;7 years.)
She lays letters out of sticks, cutlery etc.. (3;7 years.)
At Easter she gets the computer program „Togolino letters“ and „Togolino numbers“. (3;7 years.)
She writes numbers from 1 to 10, partly mirror-inverted. (3;8 years.)
She counts to 39 (including 17, but mostly without 21 and 31). (3;10 years.)
Summer, time of parlour games: Nanu, Monkey Gang, Who has the biggest clown (with dice eyes of 1-6), Junior Uno, Lotti Karotti, Cow & Co. (3;10 years.)
Currently hardly plays on the computer, writes by hand and paints a lot. (3;10 years.)
I bought the game „Cobra Cubes“ (recommended from 7 years), in which you have to build three-dimensional snakes after a pattern, whose sections are printed on cubes. (One sees the final result and has to find the way.) Iris did the first two snakes. (3;11 years.)
I buy at the flea market „The crazy labyrinth“ (from 7) for later. Iris absolutely wants to play it. We play it simplified. She knows where to go and how best to insert the cards, but rarely where. (3:11 years.)
For her 4th birthday she gets „The Junior Labyrinth“ (from 5). She plays it well according to the rules of the game.
We play „There’s the worm in it“, Uno (adult version), Children’s yahtzee, Human doesn’t annoy you, Elfer-raus, Junior Phase 10, Chess (started). (from 4;2 years.)
She gives me arithmetic problems, for example 3+8, 3×2, 7+8, 10+10+10, 1000+100. (4;4 years.)
She uses the weekdays correctly, as well as tomorrow, the day after tomorrow etc.. Sometimes she has to count the days of the week to get the right result. (4;6 years.)
Game handheld computer with learning games (letters, numbers, space) for the car (4;8 years.)
Iris spells the name of a friend:“ C – A – R – O. Caro.“ „-„Right. How do you know that?“ I ask. „I have thought.“ (4;11 years.)
Iris spells the word „Knete“ 〈plasticine〉. (4;11 years.)
We cook. I say: „2 half potatoes.“ Iris: „That’s a whole one.“ (4;11 years.)
Iris´ Papa is a musician and often on the road. Iris reflects: „Can we cut Daddy through? Then we have half a dad for home and one for the concerts.“ (4;11 years.)
Iris loves the „Löwenzahn Jubiläumsbox“ 〈dandelion anniversary box〉 (for computer). 〈Löwenzahn is a children’s programme on TV.〉 (5;0 years.)
Some time later she alone rebuilds an experiment, which is explained on one of the CD-ROMs. (5;7 years.)
A little later she alone builds an arrow, the production of which is explained at the topic „Stone Age“. Since she has no pitch for sticking the feathers on, she uses double-sided adhesive tape. (5;10 years.)
Iris is obsessed with chess. We play chess, she plays „Fritz und Fertig“ on the computer. She plays that her dolls are chess pieces or we ourselves. We also read „!Wie geht Schach“ 〈How does chess work?〉 and „Mäuseschach“〈Mice Chess〉. (5;3 years.)
At Christmas Iris gets „Hide & Seek Pirates“ (from 5 years). The Kita has „Hide & Seek Safari“ (from 7 years), which we had already borrowed once. Since she directly plays through all levels of the pirate version, we swap with the kindergarten. Later she wants her game back and I still buy the „Safari“. Also here she gets quite far. (5;3 years.)
We started with „Rummy Cup“. (5;3 years.) In addition we play „Qwirkle“, „GoGetter“, „Katz und Maus“ 〈Cat and Mouse〉, „Camelot Junior“, „Schloss Logikus“ 〈Logicus Castle〉 and „Indigo“ (from 8 years in the more difficult version).
I was shopping and the receipt is on the table. „It says „REWE.“ 〈Name of a German supermarket〉 I’m surprised: „Why can you read that?“ – It’s simple, isn’t it?“ (5;3 years.)
„The crazy labyrinth“ with normal rules is slowly getting too easy. And we play „Junior Ubongo“. (5;5 years.)
„Felix – ein Koffer voller Spiele“ 〈Felix – a suitcase full of games〉, where Iris is especially good at Tangram and Mahjong. (5;5 years.)
Iris can recite even numbers up to 20. (5;6 years.)
Iris counts the tiles won in the Ubongo, always 2 at a time: 2,4,6,8,10,12. (5;6 years.)
„5 is an odd number,“ says Iris. „Right, what makes you think that?“ I want to know. „I have counted on my fingers and one remains. 5 cannot be divided by 2“. (5;6 years.)
We both still have 6 small sausages in the pot at dinner. Iris is happy. „There everyone gets still 3 pieces.“ (5;6 years.)
Iris now often tries to write words or sentences herself. But it bothers her that she makes mistakes. She likes it better when I spell it out to her. (5;6 years.)
Iris plays „Logix“ (from the age of 7) in the kindergarten. Other children come and ask her how the game works and whether they have solved the tasks correctly. (5;6 years.)
„Junior Ubongo“ is now too easy. Iris plays the 3-card Adult Ubongo and I the 4-card Ubongo. However, she is only allowed to get the parts ready shortly before the hourglass is turned. For fun (without a clock) she sometimes makes some 4-cards. (5;7 years.)
We play „Kamisado“ (from 10 years), „Geistesblitz“ 〈Brainstorm〉 (from 8 years).
I had bought the „Flexpuzzler“ and the „IQ Puzzler“. Iris stole the two games directly from me and puzzled them. (5;7 years.)
„Even if I don’t play for two weeks, „The Little Night Music“ is in my head.“ My husband had shown her the beginning with a finger on the piano. (5;7 years.)
During the first piano lesson the teacher plays a little song with her two or three times. Three days later Iris plays the piece by heart (only the end is not right). (5;7 years.)
Iris is afraid of spending the night at the kindergarten in the „Stone Age Village“. „Why isn’t there 7 Frau W.s? Then 2 children could always sleep next to her.“ (5;9 years.)
Iris is in the garden. I think she plays with mud. But she does an experiment: she mixes water with potting soil and then first tries to filter it with two sieves on top of each other. When that doesn’t work, she takes a bowl and puts a towel over it. Then the water is clean. She tries the same thing with water by dissolving clay in it. It does not get clean. (5;9 years.)
We drive on the motorway when it rains. Iris watches the raindrops on the windscreen. „Why does the rain run upwards? Otherwise it always runs down“. (5;11 years.)
We eat soup with alphabet noodles. Iris: „I now eat my second letter“ with an ‚R‘ on the spoon. (5;11 years.)
Today is the first day of school and Iris says after finishing class: „I’m already looking forward to Monday when school really starts. Just a few minutes is boring, isn’t it?“
10. death and grief
„Mama, when we’re old, we die.“ Later: „When Ellen is 10, she dies.“ (3;3 years.)
„Mama, why do we die?“ Shortly after: „I will soon be dead.“ (3;4 years.)
I am frustrated and cry what Iris notices. She asks me, „Do you want to see your mama?“ To which I reply that sometimes I would like to, but that unfortunately that is no longer possible. We talk again about the death of my mother. At night she wakes up and cries terribly: „Where is your mother? In which heaven is she? Where does she live there? Is that far away? Won’t she come back?“ (3;6 years.)
Iris paints a picture of me as a child. After she has painted my mother next to me, she starts crying. „I want to go to your mama.“ We talk about my mother being dead and buried in the cemetery. (She died while I was pregnant with Iris.) Iris cries terribly and wants to go to the cemetery, which is more than 60 km away. I explain to her that there you only see earth with flowers and the gravestone. (Of course we were already there with her.) And that only the body lies in a coffin in the earth and the soul is in heaven.
She wants to know everything. „Where did she die?“ – In the hospital. – „Did they kill them there?“ (Where did she get the word and the idea from?) „Why is she dead?“ „Why is she dead? I explain that my father also lies in the grave. „Are they talking?“ – „No, if you’re dead, you can’t talk anymore.“ I answer. „Can you not walk / talk / swim / see / hear …. when you are dead? Can’t even move your little finger? Just lie down?“
We drive to the cemetery and put flowers on the grave. On the way back Iris complains that she wants to go back again, to grandma under the earth. I explain to her that this is not possible. Iris wants to dig a hole, either with her hands or with a small excavator. We have an appointment with Fee and her mother. While having coffee Iris tells: „Marianne’s mum is lying in the ground“. She doesn’t want to play alone with fairy in the nursery.
When we are home again, she wants to paint a new picture. I have to paint first my mother and then my father. She still paints me next to it as a child. On the sheet in the morning she paints herself as a helicopter doctor. Below she paints my dead mother, around whom she then paints a little box. „That’s the lid (of the coffin).“ With a brown pen she paints over everything. This is the earth. At the end there are flowers on it. The last thing I should do is to paint the gravestone with the name next to it. She dictates to me what I should write about it above: „She died in the hospital. Many greetings from heaven“.
Then she paints a picture of me where she is in my stomach. „I just noticed how your mama died.“ We glue the leaves together as a book. „Mama, that’s your book.“
Bilderbuch von Iris zum Tod der Oma
〈Picture book by Iris on the death of grandma〉
In bed she cries terribly again in the evening. „Do we live on there (under the earth)?“ – „No, you’re dead there“, I answer. „But in the book it was written.“ We had read the chapter on death in the book „Wie geht die Welt“ 〈How is the world going?〉. There it was said that some people believe in a life after death. Iris shows all the people who come to visit the book we have painted, which has become even thicker. I did not speak more about my mother. Not at all on this Sunday. (3;7 years.)
Iris wants to know what it looks like in heaven. I answer her that I don’t know either. Iris: „Then we have to look.“ (I always say that when I don’t know something and we look it up on the Internet.) (3;7 years.)
„What does one look like when one is dead? Do you still have blood then?“ (3;7 years.)
She plays burying with her dolls and goes with grandma Gunda to the village cemetery.
Iris throws two stuffed animals into the air. „They fly to Grandma in the heaven. Then she is not alone. Then they play together.“ (3;7 years.)
Her doll Lotta flew to my mother in the heaven. (3;8 years.)
Iris says in the evening in bed: „I want to go into your belly. I always want to be in there.“ At night she wakes up because of a nightmare and cries terribly. She tells me briefly about her dream and then suddenly says: „I don’t want to live so much anymore. It’s not that beautiful in the world. I don’t want to be born in this world.“ Horrified, I ask for the reason. „Because there are evil people in the world.“ (It was a beautiful day, nothing had happened.) The next morning she is in a good mood, but suddenly she says: „When I’m dead, I don’t want to go underground. I always want to lie here.“ At dinner she asks why there are bad people, where they are, what they do … (3;9 years.)
Our cat Binsi died after a cat bit her and the wound didn’t heal. I put it in a box on a towel and taped the box shut. When Iris comes out of kindergarten, I tell her. She wants to know where the cat is now. I show her the box. She wants to see her cat again, so I open the box and Iris strokes the cat. I explain to her that the cat is already very cold and that she is not sleeping but really dead. When I close the lid, Iris bursts into tears and cannot be comforted.
I tell her that we now have to bury Binsi in the garden, for which I have already dug a hole. Iris: „Binsi should always stay with us in the living room! Why did the cat bite her? …“ We bury the cat, look for flowers and decorate the grave. We paint a large stone as a gravestone and place it on the grave in the evening. Iris cannot fall asleep, always wants to know where Binsi is now and why everything happened. I say that she is now in cat heaven. Iris: „There is no cat heaven at all“. We agree that Binsi is now in heaven with my mother and the two have a lot of fun together. And that Binsi has no more pain. (4;1 years.)
„If the Maya (new cat) dies, can we bury her next to the Binsi? Then we have two graves in the garden.“ (4;2 years.)
At our neighbours Iris´ favourite tree is felled, under which she always played „sheepfold“. Iris is beside herself, crying a lot. „The tree is dead. Why is it felled? It wasn’t brown everywhere yet …“ It only gets better when she helps to clear away the branches and the neighbours tell her that perhaps an apple tree will be planted there. In the evening she plays tree felling and new growth, where she is the tree, tips over and stands up again. (4;2 years.)
„If we’re both dead later, can we lie on top of each other?“ I had explained to her that my parents lie in a double grave, where the coffins are brought into the earth one on top of the other. (4;6 years.)
We observe butterflies in the garden. Iris: „Mom, are these the souls?“ – „What do you think?“ – „Yes, I think so.“ (4;5 years)
11. This and that
Iris is generally very fixated on adults. Doesn’t want to play alone anywhere for a long time, only at the age of 4;6.
We watched old Super-8 movies and Iris explained that there is her dad as a little child. A few days later she says: „I want to see Papa as Iris again“. (2;3 years.)
I tell Iris again that women and girls have a vagina. „And Daddy has a pumpkin.“ (2;7 years.)
Iris sorts: Fairy has a vagina, Linus has a penis. We must enumerate and sort them all.
Iris asks everyone: „What did you do when you were little?“ She wants to know what I played as a child and what my dolls and stuffed animals were called. „What did your mama play with you when you were little?“ (2;8 years.)
„When I’m a big doctor, I’ll come visit you and look at the memory box.“ – „Will you live far away then?“ Iris: „I actually wanted to build a house in the garden.“ (2;8 years.)
We are in the fruit department of the supermarket, where the fruit and vegetables are moistened with a fine spray. „Look at, mama, cabbage haze.“ (2;9 years.)
I whistle a child’s song a little crooked. Iris: „That’s wrong.“ (3;3 years.)
Iris sticks a sticker upside down. „The bee is doing straight back flying.“ (3;3 years.)
„Balu (the bear) has a man’s voice.“ (3;3 years.)
Iris´ theory about pregnancy: „And before I was in your belly as a baby, I was in your little finger (apparently quite long). And then I went from there into your belly through your arm.“ Shows the way with the fingers. (3;4 years.)
We have read „Laura’s star“. „Can you climb up to the stars with a ladder?“ (3;6 years.)
„You are a Quatschnudel!“ 〈Quack〉 – „I am no Quatschnudel.“- „What are you then?“ – „I am a human being.“ (3;6 years.)
At the children’s gymnastics the teacher asks: „Iris, who did you bring with you today?“ – „The Marianne.“ (Instead of Mama. (3;6 years.) Now often she calls us by our first name.
Iris: „I liked the bread rolls from A.“. – „Those were pizza rolls.“ – „Do we have the recipe of it?“ (3;6 years.)
Iris tries to steal the ham from my bread. I: „Please don’t do that. The bread is already so dry anyway. Iris: „I don’t want to eat wet bread“. (3;6 years.)
Iris is sitting on the toilet. We talk about the pipes and where the water drains off. „Is there a little man sitting at the bottom of the earth?“ – Why should a little man sit there?“ I ask. „When the water comes, he opens and closes the pipes.“ (3;7 years.)
„I want cough syrup on my roll. – I do only nonsense! Cough syrup on rolls is disgusting, isn’t it?“ (3;7 years.)
Iris wants to become a „helicopter doctor“ later. And then you live far away in H. (grandma lives there) and if you are ill, I come by plane and make you well.“ (3;7 years.)
„Something hurts here. I think that’s my bone that’s squeezing like that.“ (3;7 years.)
We play with the dolls. I say: „Come over for dinner.“ Iris answers as doll Lotta: „We are dolls after all. We can’t walk.“ (3;7 years.)
We explain to her that two boys she knows are brothers. Iris: „There are also girl brothers“ (sisters). (3;7 years.)
We are talking about Iris´ birth. „Did the Hebemma help?“ 〈In German midwives are called Hebamme.〉The midwife was called Emma. (3;8 years.)
„When I grow up, I’m the mother and you’re the child.“ (3;8 years.)
We’re talking about Ellen and Daniel each having their own room. „Does Ellen sleep in her bed?“ Iris wants to know. „Yes.“ – „And Daniel too?“ – „Yes, Daniel too.“ – „And Ellen’s parents are sleeping in another room?“ – „Yes.“ – „But that’s complicated!“ (3;8 years.)
Iris´ Kusine wants to come with her new boyfriend to visit. „Is the African?“ – „No, I do not believe, but he is vegan“. – „Does he also have black skin?“ (3;9 years.)
„The angels shower in heaven when it rains.“ (3;10 years.)
Iris wants to marry her uncle. I explain to her that this is not possible. Then she wants to marry Mrs. Sch.. She is already married. I tell her that if she wants to have children, she has to marry a man. „Then I marry first a man and then the woman W.“ (3;11 years.)
We see clouds in the sky and consider whether it will rain. Iris: „In Africa it must rain. Shall we carry the clouds to Africa?“ (4;1 years.)
Iris wants to marry her dad later and have children. I explain to her that this is not possible. „Why? Doesn’t he have a seed anymore?“ (4;4 years.)
„Is the moon a living creature?“ – „No.“ – „Then why can he walk?“ (4;4 years.)
Iris writes MMM. I ask her what that means. „It’s often on top of your computer.“ She means www. (4;3 years.)
She writes notes and then „plays“ her composition on her ukulele. A., a friend and singer, sings the notes from the sheet, as Iris wrote them. (4;3 years.)
Iris wants to work as an emergency doctor at night and run a restaurant at noon („Iris´ Suppensalon“ 〈Iris´soup saloon〉). She then will sleep during the rest of day. „Carnival and Christmas my restaurant and the hospital are closed.“ Then she has free time. (4;3 years.)
I say that I don’t like ticks because they transmit Lyme disease (Iris got it). Iris´ Answer: „Life is like this“. (4;5 years.)
„Mom, are the windshield wipers dancing to the music?“ (4;8 years.)
Iris reflects: „Actually there should be a cloud group in the kindergarten. When the baby group was built, I would have built it even higher. And then the cloud group would be at the top.“ (Suitable for sun, star and moon swing group …) (4;10 years.)
Grandma Gunda asks: „Do you actually know what that means ‚to have the choice‘? – „Yes, that’s when you choose Hannelore Kraft“ 〈a German politician〉. (4;10 years.)
My husband has a picture in his hand that Iris painted. „That belongs so around. That’s art!“ she says outraged and turns it the other way around. (4;11 years.)
The kindergarten teachers move around in the kindergarten: „I want to look into the heads of Mrs W. and Mrs F. to see what ideas they have there.“ (5;1 years.)
My husband asks Iris what he gets for Christmas. First she says that she will not reveal it. He asks again. Iris: „A glass of milk.“ She grins at me conspiratorially and laughs. (5;2 years.)
Iris comes home with the umpteenth ironing bead star from the kindergarten. „Oh, you know, this is just a pastime for me.“ (5;3 years.)
Iris: „I want chips on my bun.“ – „Where’s something like that?“ – „You know, I’m a funny noodle.“ (5;4 years.)
„When the hell am I going to school?!“ (5;4 years.)
I work and Iris wants to play with me. „Mama, you will still work sooo much in your life.“ (5;5 years.)
„That smells like Silke.“ Silke was the leader of the crawling group, which was 2 three-quarters of a year ago! (5;6 years.)
Iris plays „Logix“ in the kindergarten and is at the task card C7. The trainee says to her: „That’s 1A.“ – „No, that was C7.“ Whereupon Mrs M. explains the expression „1A“ (prima). „Oh so, the first card is A1, too.“ (=The letter comes in the first place!) (5;6 years.)
„I want us all to live together. With all grandma’s and grandpa’s. And then we buy ourselves a 7-seater (car).“ (5;6 years.)
„I’d like to have a year’s crank, then I could just crank it back a few days.“ (5;8 years.)
„I know what it looks like in my head, but I don’t know how to make it.“ (5;9 years.)
„Today we can play all day. I am satisfied. Are you happy too?“ (5;11 years.) (5;11 years.)
In the last holiday week, Iris went to the OGS 〈afternoon care at school〉 to sniff two half days. She was so enthusiastic that she wanted to go every day. Iris hung herself directly on the big girls who are ten or eleven years old and come into the 5th grade after the holidays. (5;11 years.)
Date of publication in German: 2012, October
Copyright © Hanna Vock, see imprint.