Iris has adjusted quite well to California, and took the entire move in stride. She loved the big moving trucks, and the very first day here she took our good friend Sally to play in the rocks, then pointed up at our apartment and said “Iris’ house!”
But what the heck is that bright orb in the sky? Iris’ first words at our apartment complex in California were “too bright!” It has been soo sunny here. Amidst reports of Seattle rain and hail in September and October, we’ve been basking in the California sunshine, taking frequent trips to playgrounds in the area and to the outdoor pool and hot tub right here at our apartment complex. Iris even got too hot in her fuzzy elephant Halloween costume – which didn’t occur to me at all a possibility when I bought it!
The sun may be easy to get used to, but being away from Iris’ lifelong friends is not. We look at photos of her little buddies that she used to see every week, and she has named some of her stuffed animals Jesse and Ian. And every so often she’ll say something out of left field, like “Julian’s daddy want some blueberries?”
But two year olds can be amazingly adaptable, and Iris especially so with the help of her two latest discoveries: coloring and imagination.
She focuses on coloring for a long period of time (very useful in restaurants, especially since mom isn’t cooking much), and is highly detailed about it. I drew a stick figure person with a smile, which prompted her to say “draw eyes mommy… feet too. FEET! Hat… EYES too! Draw eyes!” If I draw shapes, she’ll color them in. She actually colors within the lines. I have no idea where she got that from, as I never had that skill or desire. She loves having her own notebook to carry around, just like daddy’s.
Then there is the amazing unlimited world of her imagination. Here are a few glimpses:
- Playing train with Tata: Iris showed her grandma Tata how daddy takes the train. She chose the closet in her room to be the train, and they stopped at the station, let people off, drove the train, etc. for about an hour! All with no actual toys – just reaching into the air and pretending.
- Cooking: Iris walked me down into the bed of rocks near our apartment, sat down on a large rock and said “Iris’ house. Come sit here mommy. Want food? Chicken and rice? Mommy doesn’t eat chicken. Garden burger? (reaches into air to hand it to me) Cooking in oven. Oven hot – move over mommy, move away from hot oven.” Then she walked me over to another large rock “big high chair! Sit here. Tray on.”
- Re-enacting events: One day a few weeks ago Iris fell down on some rocks and scraped her knee. Days later she re-enacted the whole event, quoting me verbatim, with Pooh Bear playing the part of Iris: “Pooh Bear fell down? Got hurt? It’s okay Pooh Bear, you’re okay, you’re okay. Iris bring you home to get bandaid. Wash it off and put ointment and bandaid for Pooh Bear. Kiss kiss. You’re okay Pooh Bear.”
- Shopping: We shopped one morning for her Halloween costume, and that afternoon back at home: “buy things mommy. Buy these things. (picks up a book and some blocks) check out. (points to a wall, takes things over to it and brushes each one against the wall) beep… beep… beep. Pay mommy. Pay for things. I need a bag!”
- Sleeping: I walked into her room and found the red plastic Mrs. Potato Head purse placed in my slipper and covered with a tiny piece of plastic wrap. Iris said earnestly “shhh… bag sleeping!”
- Imaginary friends: the most recent permutation is “pretend Iris”, who she picked up out of the air and set down on a pair of her pajamas, then buttoned up. Then came “pretend daddy”, also not visible to my eyes, who she talks to and feeds when the real daddy is at work. And finally, “pretend mommy” who does things the real mommy doesn’t want to do, like eat a wet cracker from Iris’ hands.
Did she create her own Neverland imaginary world in response to being away from friends and having most of her toys in storage? I don’t know, but I LOVE it! Ever since she started grabbing things out of thin air, I find that I can do the same thing and she’ll be completely satisfied. How great is that? Sometimes the twos are terrific.