Motherhood

Conversations With a Four-Year-Old

Four-year-old Toby has always been a chatterbox, and one-year-old Anton is starting to follow suit. It makes my heart swell to overhear them chatting away while playing. So far, Anton’s conversation mostly revolves around “Tibby!” (Toby) and “big cados” (big tractors), and here are a few things Toby has said recently…

“Are dinosaurs real?”
“Are princesses real?”
Are monsters real?”
“Are bears real?”
“Is Stuart Murdoch real?”

“I’m four and a half and three quarters.”

“Can I turn seven for my next birthday?”

Toby has started picking up some of my valley-girl inflection. The other day, Anton was walking slowly down the sidewalk, when a mom pushing a stroller came up behind him. Toby hurried over and asked, “I’m sorry! Is my brother, like, totally in your way?”

“Can I wear just my underwear and belly like daddy?”

Toby: “Am I allowed to drive a car?”
Me: “Not until you’re 16 years old.”
Toby, after a worried pause. “But I can drive a toy car??”
Me: “Yes.”

Toby still has his imaginary family: his wife, Bo, and their two kids, Matt (6) and Janna (2). But he also has another alter-ego, Peter Dachman, a bachelor who works at the newspaper with Alex. He comes over for breakfast before work sometimes.

Toby’s birthday wishlist:
1) Toy house
2) Toy motorcycle
3) Toy tree
4) A little doll to snuggle with
5) Blue sports jacket, size 5

Nana: “I like the new ceiling light in your bedroom.”
Toby: “It’s new.”
Nana: “Who got it for you?”
Toby: “Oh, the handyman gave it to me.”

Me: “Toby, stop growing up so quickly!”
Toby: “But, Mama, I can’t help it, it’s my body.”

What about your little ones? What sweet things are they saying and doing?

P.S. Toby in conversation as a little kid, and a how to teach your child not to interrupt.

(Photo from our Instagram)

  1. It is soo cute.I love that girl moment :)

  2. OH!!! this made me cackle out loud in the airport and absolutely melt!!!
    Thank you !

  3. OH my word, this made me cackle out loud in the airport and absolutely melt!!!
    Thank you for cheering me up!

  4. Toby’s imagination is the greatest! I’m a preschool teacher and one of the three-year-olds recently learnt to push herself on the swing. “Miss Amy, my body just did the BEST thing! I’m so happy!” she told me :)

  5. They look so adorable. :) I have 1 child is 2 years old, she is very agile and cute. surely we will add one child born again so that we can talk to each other.

  6. Ashley says...

    Now that Anton is getting older I hope to see more posts about him. :)

  7. Kerri says...

    Your boys are so cute, and I love your “conversation” updates!
    My daughter, Greta, got her first imaginary friend- a sister- when she was three and a half and we found out we were pregnant with a boy. The sister has since moved to Oregon (from the CA Bay Area) and now, at five and a half, Greta has an imaginary swarm of bees who are both like her family and her students. She teaches them dance, reading, and math. She told me recently that she’ll soon be getting a new class of Daddy Longlegs.

  8. This is absolutely adorable! Happy weekend :)

  9. These are always so funny! I hope you keep doing them for a long time.

  10. Hi Joanna
    Big hello from London! I love your blog and follow your adventures in NYC with huge interest. I was born in NYC and now live in London with my two children. My kids are both great – Ava is 9 and Kip has just turned 7. Kip was diagnosed with autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia when he was around 5 and this has really altered how motherhood has been for me. I have learned a lot about how the UK education and health care system in the UK deals with kids with special needs and I’m really curious about what it is like in the US. If you ever want a guest post from the UK pf what it is like living with a kid who is a bit different I would happily volunteer. And would also love it if you were able to do a post on being a mother when your kid or kids have big problems in the playground/school.

  11. ha! my almost 5-year-old is saying the same “i’m 4 and a half and three quarters” also, too cute! we have an imaginary friend, Rosie, living with us too. toby is such an adorable and sweet little guy!

  12. This is SO absolutely delectable. Thank you for sharing! Absolutely loved this!

  13. Toby’s imagination is the greatest! I’m a preschool teacher and one of the three-year-olds recently learnt to push herself on the swing. “Miss Amy, my body just did the BEST thing! I’m so happy!” she told me :)

  14. I don’t have any kids but I do have an 18 year sister with Down Syndrome these are some of the things she has said recently:

    Megan: What are you doing?
    Me Just chilling
    Megan: Oh I did not see that coming!

    Dad walks into the house after being in the shed (or man cave as we call it) most of the day.
    Megan: Dad what are you doing in the house?!
    Dad: I don’t know *walks out*

    Megan’s shower solo: “And now I’m getting out of the shower, my mum is so crazy… Oh yeah!!”

    She keeps us entertained :)

  15. I was reading these aloud to my husband. It made us giggle and wonder what our 8 month old boys would be saying in a few years. What a witty little man you have!

  16. Toby’s so sweet and funny :)

  17. First time talking to grandkid on the phone, when he talks in sentences: “I can’t see you!”
    I don’t have Skype or an iphone thingie. lol

  18. Such a glimpse into their personalities. Sweet to read, but priceless for the years to come.

  19. The imaginary family is amazing! How they come up with such things is astonishing. A child’s imagination is fascinating and should be cherished always.

  20. My son just turned three and for at least the last year he’s been obsessed with just wearing his shorts (sans shirt) “like Daddy.”

    I keep a running archive of all the things my son says in a series called Cool Story, Bro. All the things my two girls say are archived in “That’s What She Said.”

    I have them printed every so often and we use them as coffee table books.

    You can browse their convos here: http://www.lifeoutloud.kelseymcevoy.com/category/cool-story-bro/
    And here: http://www.lifeoutloud.kelseymcevoy.com/category/thats-what-she-said/

  21. The little girls I babysit are a little bit older but the conversations I have with them are hilarious:

    “Carly, do you have a boyfriend?”
    “no”
    “You should go to PCA in Zoey101, they all have boyfriends”

    lol

  22. Toby’s words warm my heart and bring such joy to my day. His alter ego kills me and I imagine those breakfasts to be quite entertaining!!

    I also love that he wants a small doll to cuddle with for his birthday. He is such a love!!

    Thank you for sharing these precious times!

  23. My four year old girl, when she is angry with me, starts with “you are silly!”, “you are ugly!”, “I’m not going to be your friend ANYMORE!”.
    These are the worst things she can say, but Joanna, it is really difficult to stay serious and not laughing when she, totally upset, looks at me and say:

    “YOU ARE A FLOWER THAT SMELLS REALLY BAD”.

    xxx

  24. “Can I wear just my underwear and belly like daddy?”

    priceless!!!!!

  25. Tess is four, and she is also obsessed with being grown up. One morning when I got her out of bed, she sighed really big and said, “Mommy, when I grow up can I be an adult?” It was so funny because of course she will be, ha! We say a family prayer every night, and it was my husband’s turn to say it, and the other night Tess interrupted him and said, “And say please bless me so that I can grow up to be an adult.” And my husband was all, “Oh, you want to be an adult?” “Yeah, like Mommy.” Melted my heart!

  26. Mine is only 17 months so the biggest sentence he can say is “mumma, more pweaaaaaseeee!” which is a pretty good one to start with but i know if he had a birthday wish list it would look like this :
    1. broom
    2. dustpan and broom
    3. biscuits
    4. “bubbles” (cereal)
    5. car
    6. ball

    you’re also looking at a list of some of the words he can say :P

    Pixelhazard | Bright Green Laces |

  27. What a sweety. Little people really are the best conversationalists. My 5-year-old has taken to saying ‘I’m feeling X per cent’ to let us know how he’s feeling at that moment. eg If he’s tired he might say ‘I’m feeling 10%’. (Anything less than 10% he believes requires a trip to the doctor.) Last week at vacation care he received a kiss from a little girl who had taken a liking to him and he announced, ‘I’m feeling 100%’. So beautiful.

  28. Toby’s the best! I love seeing this “Conversations with a x-year old” every year!

  29. I really don’t want kids (I’m only 19 so it could change, but no thanks!) but whenever you post about Toby and his funny anecdotes I think ‘if I was guaranteed a kid like him, I’d have one’

  30. What ever happened to Dun Dun? Haha I love these posts he seems like the sweetest kid ever.

  31. My daughter, also four, out of the blue said, “you know, daddy is a little progressive…but that’s ok!”

  32. My three older siblings had an imaginary friend, Robespierre, that the youngest called “roasted ear”! My Mother, not one to buy into past life type stuff, said she had no idea where three children under the age of five learned French phrases! It always gave her pause over the peculiar things they said.
    I will share Toby’s conversations with her! I love them!

  33. My granddaughter Evie (she’s four) was asking mommy why she was so tired so my daughter explained that she has to get up with her new baby sister Maggie at night to feed her. Evie says “can’t daddy help?” Mommy “he does but he can’t make milk to feed Maggie” Evie “does he make beer?” What man wouldn’t want to lactate beer?!

  34. My daughter is almost three and says the sweetest things. She notices my clothes and will sometimes remark, “Your skirt is pretty, mama!” Sometimes she says “I love you Mama!” I reply with “I love you, Lucie.” Then she says, “No, it’s ME to loves!” I’ve managed to convince her that we can both love each other :)

  35. that’s absolutely adorable! i love that he has such a huge imagination and right down to the type of car that they drive. that’s amazing.

    xo, allie
    wellhellosugar.com

  36. OMG, if you ever decide Toby is not the right suit for you, I will gladly take him in for you!! I can’t stand how stinking ADORABLE he is!! Makes me want to smoosh him!!

  37. Sooo funny/weird thing happened to me yesterday morning: I spotted Toby (and, presumably, Alex, but guess which one I recognized) on the subway!

    His flag leggings are pretty legit. ;)

  38. This made my week. Toby has a very nice life, married and a bachelor. He is a sweetheart and very intelligent!!!! My nephew video chats me with the most bizarre stories that makes me find my imagination. I am just never ready for his questions lol

  39. My three-year-old son and I had this conversation the other day:

    L: There’s a precious moon!
    Me: A precious moon? Who calls it that?
    L: Daddy does!
    Me: Um….do you mean a CRESCENT moon?
    L: Yeah, a precious moon!

  40. @sara wilson, so, so, so sweet. i love that.

  41. My three and a half year old says the sweetest, funniest things now. Last night he picked up a little plant (that I have managed to almost kill) and said about the remaining foliage, “What happened to all its friends? They must miss their mothers.” Ha!

  42. This is truly hilarious!! This post made my day.

  43. Love these posts! Toby and ANton are such lovely buddies as well as brothers- so sweet.

  44. “I don’t need a band-aid I will get a scab which is nature’s band-aid” (spoken by my four year old niece!?!)

    or

    the same four year old and a conversation about words that rhyme and how they don’t mean the same thing “ya, like truck and f&$! sound the same but they don’t mean the same. F&$! is a bad word and truck is a vehicle”…

  45. So sweet! My grandma used to keep a journal of all the crazy things we used to say as kinds. My favorite was from my cousin Emily. She was going into the store with her mom and siblings, and my aunt said “Now everybody behave.” Emily replied, exasperated, “Mom, I AM have.”

  46. This is delightful! Definitely makes me look forward to having little ones someday. Please share photos of Toby with his birthday presents (after the big day, of course), which all sound fab.

  47. My JUST turned 5 year old loved telling people for the last month he was 4 that he was 4 and eleven twelfths. I mean, come on!

    Also he’s recently picked up “What the heck?” Which makes him sound like an adorable exasperated grandma. Unfortunately my language is not always so proper!

  48. Oh, I just love Toby and his quirky personality. He is truly a special little soul.

    My two year-old sings the ABC’s and he says, “now I know my A,B,CD’s”…so innocent our little loves are.

  49. OH my word, this made me cackle out loud in the airport and absolutely melt!!!
    Thank you for cheering me up!

  50. I was telling my 4 year old the other day that when he “lived in my belly” I loved to eat donuts. He knows I dont care for donuts. He thought about it for awhile and then said “I think it was me who wanted the donuts.” Me: “I think you are right!”. Him: “Did I eat the donuts like this?” – opens up mouth wide, head up to the sky like he is gonna catch something. My response: “Exactly like that!” ;) SO funny and sweet :)

  51. I always love these updates on Toby. So sweet and funny. Our almost two-year old is picking up a lot of my phrases and inflection as well. For example, upon discovering my son’s horrifyingly dirty diaper, I said (in spite of myself), “Oh, god.” He repeated it back with shocking accuracy. Oops. :)

  52. This cheered me up immensely! My son is 2 and I can tell he is going to be quite the chatterbox too :) Sending love to you and your sweet family.

  53. I love that Toby has an alter ego and an imaginary family. So ridiculously cute and creative. My 3 year old has been super polite lately. “No thank you, I’m fine.” “Oh, I’m sorry, Mommy.” I love the preschool age.

  54. How delicious; you make me appreciate my monkeys so much more! My daughter (when she was 3ish) told me that her (younger) brother was a baby diamond when he was born–all babies are baby diamonds when they’re born.

  55. Joanna, thanks for sharing these, I like totally cracked up. :) My almost three year old boy doesn’t talk much (he’s got too many languages to straighten out) but my husband and I just noticed that he has imaginary friends. We’ll be at the park and Roman will point and exclaim, ‘Look, an elephant!’ At first, my husband and I would look around in alarm, like ‘what? where?’ and then after Roman embellishes with ‘Elephant fly sky’ we realize that he’s ‘seeing’ his imaginary pet that he’s named Dumbo, of course. That elephant has since accompanied us to the supermarket, the bakery, and the doctor’s office this afternoon.

  56. I love this series. Thank you so much for posting. It really brightened my day.

  57. rebecca, laughing out loud at my desk. that is awesome.

  58. I nanny for a 3.5 year old girl, Alice. This was a recent convo:

    Me: Alice can I ride your scooter?
    Alice: No, silly, it’s just for kids!
    Me: Well maybe I could be a kid for the day.
    Alice: But..just look at your body…it’s HUGE!

  59. This gave me a great laugh, so thank you for that :) I just imagine you telling Toby’s wife someday about his imaginary family. So sweet.

  60. When changing my 3 year old’s dirty (very dirty) diaper, I reminded him that he said he would use the potty instead. He replied, “I don’t know, Mommie. I’m just rock and roll.”

  61. My nearly three-year-old recent responded with “nope, I’m sour” when we told him he’s so sweet we could eat him up.

  62. Toby Rocks!!! Oh it took me back as my sons are teenagers now. Miss those days but just wait crazy and funny banter continues……..Enjoy it!!!

    livingoncloudandreanine.blogspot.com

  63. So precious! I love how little kids talk! My daughter is just a few weeks away from being two but for the last year, whenever we ask how old she is, she says “two.” She is also very concerned with poop. When we went to the zoo, she exclaimed nice and loudly “Monkey poop!” …all day! :)

  64. I absolutely love these conversations … It’s bizarre, I don’t know any of you but every new photo is a draw.

    And I don’t think there is anything missing in my life that these are fulling. It’s some kind of social phenomena.

    Anyway, cheers … Keep them coming.

    Karen in VA

  65. @adesertcreature, that is hilarious!! he probably hears adults say it and worked it in. :)

  66. kayjay, that is SO cute. i love how they idealize the older ages. toby keeps asking when he’ll be a teenager :)

  67. Peter Dachman? Omg, that SLAYED ME. What a creative, fun dude.

  68. My little boy just turned 6, and for his birthday he wanted to go to the Mexican restaurant, wear the “big hat,” and have everyone sing to him. We go in, he proceeds to tell everyone that it’s his birthday, and we start eating dinner. As the evening wore on, he started getting more and more upset that he hadn’t gotten the sombrero or a birthday song yet. So he let out this dramatic sigh and mumbled under his breath, “For the love of GOD will someone please just bring me a hat to wear?!”

    It was the BEST!

  69. Ha they sound adorable. Happy Monday!

  70. So cute! I like the part where Toby says he can’t help that he’s growing up!

  71. So cute!

  72. Man, he is so funny!

  73. This just makes me smile, what an adorable lil man you have :)

  74. My god! Toby is the cutest! This post just made my day!

  75. My daughter woke up on the morning of her 5th birthday and exclaimed, “I’m finally big enough to pick up a cat!”

  76. Toby is so sweet and full of imagination. I can only cross my fingers my future children will be the same way one day.

  77. This is honestly my favorite segment on your site, Jo! It always warms my heart and gets me all giggly! Bless your boys and your lovely family. :)

  78. I love the way little kids talk.

    My son, Elliott, is 2 and on Friday at dinner he finished a whole plate of edamame. When he asked where it went, I told him it was in his tummy.
    On Saturday morning at breakfast I poked his belly button and asked him “What’s that?” and he said “That my edamame!”

  79. gah toby and his imagination are too much for me! i love it, especially the alter ego….

  80. Haha! Toby always says the sweetest, funniest things! And so smart too with that whole “Mama, I can’t help it, it’s my body” :) I don’t have kids yet, but I’m sure when I do they will do and say adorable things too. Hopefully I’ll have the presence of mind to write them down like you!

  81. So cute! I especially, like, love the valley girl moment. :P