Conversations With a Three-Year-Old

Three years old is a funny age. On the one hand, Toby seems really grown up, and we’ll chatter away about everything from violins to Indian food. Sometimes I almost forget that he’s not a fellow 34-year-old. But then he’ll bust out something crazy and childlike and I’ll remember how little he really is. I love the magical thinking at this age. For example…

“You and Daddy go somewhere tonight?”
“We’re going to our friend’s house.”
“What’s your friend’s name?”
“His name is Scott.”
“Is he a man, a lady or a monster?”

“When Anton gets bigger, you can teach him how to talk and walk.”
“I will teach him how to ride a horse.” (Ed. note: Toby does not know how to ride a horse.)

“Boys and glulls.”


Toby also has an imaginary friend named Dun Dun. He’s always calling him on the phone or asking if we can meet Dun Dun at the playground. He takes their friendship very seriously. We ask him nosy questions about the mysterious Dun Dun, and so far we’ve deduced that Dun Dun is a three-year-old with a blue motorcycle…

“Where does Dun Dun live?”
“On the Upper West Side. Near San Francisco.”

“Where you and Daddy go last night?”
“To a restaurant called Otto.”
“Oh, yeah, I love that place.” (Ed. note: He has never been.)
“Oh, really?”
“Me and Dun Dun go there.”

“What do you guys eat?”
“Chicken and broccoli. And water.”
“Me and Dun Dun are going to the park to meet our friends.”
“Who are you meeting?”
“Boom Boom and La La.”
“Is Dun Dun a boy or a girl?”
“Dun Dun’s my darling.”
Toby, I love you, you little weirdo!

P.S. Toby in conversation as a two-year-old.

  1. You are too cute like my child !! God Bless You always

  2. So Sweet !! I like your Smile. God Bless you

  3. Too cute! I love the way children’s minds work! The “monster” choice for the first one totally came out of nowhere….and I remember my little brother couldn’t say “girls” clearly for a long time….he also had trouble with “squirrels”. Must me a tough sound for little mouths!

  4. This is the sweetest, most magical thing ever. Reminds me of The Little Prince for some reason.

  5. This is the sweetest, most magical thing ever. Reminds me of The Little Prince for some reason.

  6. Cutest thing ever. Laughed out loud and made my day. Hope you have a great weekend and congrats on the big move! The place looks super cool.

  7. Oh, FYI, It gets better as they get older. This afternoon I had a convo with my 6 year old trying to hook his 1 1/2 year old brother up with the babies in his day care. Quote, “Jimmy needs a baby girlfriend to love.” WHERE DO THEY GET THIS STUFF!! Lol. :-)

  8. Ok. Chicken and Broccoli. And water. Plus Boom Boom and La La. I’m done for the night. :-)

  9. So adorable! Thanks for sharing.

  10. my little boy said to me the other day “mummy, is the world going to be destroyed and we’re all going to die?”

    i think his big brother has been winding him up ;-)

  11. My son is going to be 3 next month and I feel the same way! He is so fun to talk to, he’s like a little adult. I think this has been my favorite age so far.

  12. So sweet!! :D

  13. I’m really enjoying the almost-threes too. I’ve just had to write down today’s best:

    I don’t feel well.
    I’m sorry, what’s wrong?
    I’m cat.

  14. dun duns my darling! heart melting.
    my little used to tell me “youre my best heart”

  15. Ummmm….Dun Dun’s my darling is one of the cutest pet names I have ever heard given to an imaginary friend. I had imaginary friends as well and was always inventing stories for how their lives were going. Kids are so weird, and yet, so cool.

  16. Adorable and imaginative, and then they turn on you and flip your lid!

    My favorite of the week: “hellodoctor” for all the rescue helicopters flying around Boulder, CO.

    The sweet surrender of three.

  17. This is seriously the cutest thing every. “Dun Duns my darling.” This post definitely made me giggle.

  18. This made my morning!!!
    My daughter had an imaginary “Grandma Izzy” who took her to Paris and let her eat lots of sweets. It’s so great to write this stuff down because you think you’ll remember it all, but you won’t!

  19. I love their minds at this age!

    My daughter would tell me that boys couldn’t eat “girl cheese” because they’re not girls. “It’s grilled cheese” I would say. “No mama, it’s girl cheese!” Which reminds me of Louie CK’s bit about fig/pig newtons (worth listening to if you haven’t already).

  20. Wow that’s hillarious, I love him! I can’t wait for my baby to talk and say weird things. I’m shure he will…! It was encouraging to read about some of the hardships of being a mum, because I had bad anxiety in the first months plus the sleepdeprivation together…not how I imagined to be a mum. (And not what other mums tell each other, everybody keeps it to themselves, I wish they didn’t!). So it was nice to read that you had less anxiety with the second child, I’m looking forward for that. Greetings from Budapest, VIKI

  21. hii! i absolutely love your blog- it is so beautiful and engaging. i cant wait to see what else you have in store. it’s lovely to read.

    i would love it if you could check out my blog :-)

  22. When my little brother was that age, he had two imaginary friends: couch-couch and pillow-pillow. I kid you not.

  23. Great kid! :-)

  24. DunDun is my darling…. I loved that one!

  25. I call a post like this a happiness inducer; Toby’s awesome.

    best read for a monday evening!! thanks!!

  27. this post made me smile. we just asked my 2 1/2 year old if she was a princess. her reply? “i’m not a princess, i’m a super-hero!”

  28. Haha kids are so fun!

    • Oh my gosh, VERY funny.

    • This is super funny. Thanks for sharing

  29. Love that! Dun Dun’s my darling… THAT is darling!
    My daughter just turned two and is starting to talk like this too. I need to get one of those journals where you record funny things your kids say, otherwise I’m scared we’ll forget!

  30. I love toddlers! I love that they believe with all their might. So cute!


  31. This is exactly why I want to be a pediatrician. You have a very adorable little weirdo on your hands. Enjoy every minute.

    p.s. one of the best things my parents ever did was record conversations like this of us on tape when we were little. I think they make for some of the sweetest memories, and it’s amazing how quickly you forget what a tiny little voice sounds like!

  32. Oh my gosh, he is so adorable! your posts about Toby make me want to have kids ;)

  33. Great post – Toby seems so smart and so sweet – great job Mama!

  34. Ha ha- love this!!! This age is so much more fun than baby age.

  35. Oh that was fun. Thank you for sharing.

  36. so so sweet

  37. so so sweet

  38. Thank you for sharing this. Kids are so weird I love it.

  39. I call my 2 year old a weirdo too… :)

  40. These are my favorite posts!! I imagine what my son is going to say/sound like when he starts talking. So exciting and so sweet.

  41. .. OMG, I love these posts … how can complete strangers bring such a smile to my face … blogging is strange.

    Karen in CT … now VA

  42. Oh my heart hurt at Dun Dun is my Darling, love!

  43. he is so precious!
    adorable conversations, can’t wait ’til my little guy starts talking.

  44. jm says...

    My heart is breaking. So cute. Hope you have a good first week in your new apartment!

  45. Dun Dun’s my darling. I can’t. Too cute!

  46. Oh, my goodness. He is the sweetest.

  47. I love this post so much. Such sweetness!

    I had an imaginary friend as a child and her name was Darci. The weirdest (or coolest) part is that I later met my B.F.F later on when I was sixteen y.o. and her name was…you guessed right. Darci.

    She is amazing, beautiful and a wonderful friend. I think life just knew that I was meant to have a ‘Darci’ in my life. Always.

    Cheers to amazing friendships and our weird little kiddos!

  48. We also have an imaginary menagerie that includes a pony called Hattie and two guinea pigs called Fluff and Toff. I wish I was 3 again…

  49. Hi Jo,
    Love this post! My 3-year-old also has an imaginary friend – called Den-Den. Weird!!
    And her thing at the moment is that she’s scared of bears. I asked her why and she said because she’s scared a bear will come in from the garden and stand on her toes. Her toes!?! I think there’s more to fear than that, but she’s so earnest about it that I can’t laugh…

  50. “Dun Dun is my darling”. Cutest. Thing. Ever.

  51. My sons friend was Googie.
    Was that some infantile premonition of Google ??
    He and Googie always got up to no good. . and of course, he was the innocent bystander.
    Googie was there when he would go on a drive with us and have no one to talk to.. but Googie.
    I miss Googie. He gave us all a few really good laughs.

  52. Toby’s so sweet, he’s gonna be a great big brother!

  53. This simultaneously made me laugh out loud and get all weepy about my 22-month-old boy. Darling!

  54. the sweetest post. Can definitely relate to this as I have similar ones with my 4 year old.

  55. My little Zoe now 5.5 yrs still has her imaginary friend MikMik.

  56. Made me laugh out loud! What a cutie Toby is! I have a soon to be three year old who says the most hysterical things. This morning he asked me why his grandfather’s car (which had been at the house the previous day and was not this morning) had “run away.” Then he says “don’t worry Mama..I’ll find it.”

  57. their minds really are so magical—thanks for the laugh today :)

  58. Haha Even my boyfriend (Who does not have much with children, yet ;) ) Laughed about this. It is to cute!

  59. :)sometimes little kids see angels, or a small elemental beings A nature so maybe this could be some boy or girl nevermind:) as an angel. just thank for that! everyday!

  60. oh my god he is cute!

  61. JO you have such a lovely kid! kids:)both of them. and this one “Is he a man, a lady or a monster?”
    got me most!

    • Toby has his own Charlie Ravioli

  62. That is all so hilariously cute!
    My daughter is almost 4, but I found myself keeping a journal of the funny things she would say. But now the sheer volume of funny phrases surpass my ability to jot them all down!
    Yesterday we were walking home from the park and she saw her neighbour playing volleyball with her dad and said “Wow, her dad is a natural!!”
    Love this age.

  63. Dun Dun is my darling! That is the cutest thing ever! You need to post more about Dun Dun! Have you asked Toby to draw Dun Dun?

  64. H says...

    Oh my god. “Dun Dun’s my darling” is probably the funniest thing I’ve heard all day! He seems so adorable, especially in that video of him talking about Indian food!

  65. My older sister had an imaginary friend called “ma man” but no one could ever pronounce it quite up to her standards. My dad said it creeped him out when she talked to him/her. Ha! Toby’s sounds friendly!

  66. Oh man, Toby is the cutest.

    Apparently when I was three I told my parents that I had a brother named “Flunch” (this conversation took place at lunchtime), and he lived in a pink house on a farm and took care of my horses (in reality I had none).

    Ages 3-6 are in that sweet spot where hyper-imagination and ability to speak cross. It’s great.

  67. I love this…things get even better with a 4 and 5 year old.
    There are things I don’t want to not hear from them anymore…like my four year old asking if she can sit ‘benext’ to me…melts my heart. Watching them grow up is awe inspiring and fills you with such joy and a smidge of sorrow.

  68. Delish! My daughter is 3 and I just love hanging out with her. The best is when she makes a joke and then rolls her eyes and says, “I’m just kidding.” Pure delight.

  69. Dun Dun is his darling! That is too cute!

  70. I found your blog yesterday and you immidiately got my attention with the way you write. I am looking forward to follow you.

    Take care,


  71. i have been reading this blog for years and this was one of the most loveliest posts!

  72. These are ADORABLE !!! Please share more! I love three year olds ;D

  73. lovelove Toby’s “daydreaming” pic!

    Remember to capture all those delightful, heart-melting thoughts — my “babies” are now teenagers and we still love to laugh and “aww” over them.

    both of my daughter’s had imaginary friends — Miss Eller Sidewalk and Miss April Shampoe. :)

  74. I could not love this more! Dun Dun is an incredible name for an imaginary friend, and he has a seriously impressive backstory.

  75. Oh, I love this SO much. My son has an imaginary friend, called Habi. He started school recently, and came home stunned one day, full of disbelief, that there was a Habi in his class… ;)

  76. ahhhh i love how much he has to say! atticus is just starting to string words together, so he can tell me the important stuff like more pizza please:)

  77. Love it! Reminds me of my little 4-year old guy Aiden. It’s the best :)

  78. For awhile I was hearing: ‘When I was small and we lived in South ‘Merica.’ (We’ve never been.)

    ‘When I am big, I want to play titar [guitar] and sing on the radio. And play cello.’ (I play cello, that’s where the random orchestral instrument fits in!)

    To my husband: ‘Exercise is when you do a thing and then another thing, and then another thing, and Mummy can’t do it all.’ (In relation to watching me attempt various exercise DVDs I think.)

    On properly understanding my father is dead, or ‘not alive anymore’ as my son says (it’s been 12 years now): ‘Wait, is Mémé [my mum] dead?’ and when we pull up outside his other grandparents’ house and their car isn’t outside.. ‘Maybe they’re dead.’ Ummmm…

    And unendingly, girls are always grirls. It’s too adorable.

    • I’m dying laughing about “Maybe they’re dead” so hilarious. Thanks for sharing

  79. I love the restaurant one…he is so funny!!

    I have a nearly-four year old and he is the funniest thing in the world. My current favourite word? ‘Mummy, the water is over-floating’.

  80. Upper West Side near San Francisco sounds great – I kinda wanna move there!

    My 6-year old nephew, Kiel, will occasionally stop in mid-sentence to remind me that he loves me. He’s been doing it since he could say “I love you,” and as far as any of us knows, he only does that with his mother and me.

    He also loves sitting on my lap, mostly because he says it helps him fart…which he does…quite a bit. I think he just likes me telling him the story about how the first time I held him as a baby, he let out this humungous fart and then the sweetest, content smile. I always tell him that’s how I knew we would get along – we find the same things funny. :-)

  81. Haha! “On the Upper West Side. Near San Francisco.” Go, Toby! Three is such a great age.

  82. So fun. LOVE 3 year olds. My son had 4 imaginary friends: Shashi, Clo, Neemsel and Neems. No idea where the names came from. But they were always there! Now he is 10 (OMG, 10!) and he still remembers them.

  83. I loved reading this! My stars, is he a trip!

  84. There is a short essay in Aleksandar Hemon’s new momoir: The Book of My Lives, in which he talks about his older daughter’s imaginary friend. His theory is that at age 3, a kid’s vocabulary surpasses their life experiences. They have many words but nothing happens to them so they don’t have any real experiences to attach the words to. They invent imaginary friends that allow them to tell stories and use their words. I am not a parent and I haven’t read anything else about this, but it makes sense and is such a sweet explanation.

  85. oh my good, so funny. I can’t wait for the day when my baby boy says something like this. At 14 months old all he says is mamamamama (I suppose he means me, he just doesn’t know to stop after two syllables). :)

  86. On Sunday nights Ace and I share a bowl of ice cream. Last night I asked him if he’d like chocolate gelato or cookies and cream. He replied, “Cookies and dream, please.” It’s awesome being three! xx

  87. I loved this entry.

  88. What a adorable wee dude your first-born is!


  89. These are such sweet conversations. My cousin has three little ones and documents all the funny things they say, what a treat to be able to look back at some of the innocence. My recent favourite was when she asked her daughter if she hit her baby brother and she replied ‘yes i did. but i said sorry. aren’t you proud of me mama?’… :)

  90. oh my goodness. all of these are just so priceless. what a treasure this will be to look back on!

    (dun dun’s my darling might take the cake though)


  91. Those are such sweet tidbits. Mine is 2 1/2, and I love it when he smiles at me, and then says, “TICKLE ME PLEASE”.

    I am eating this time UP!

  92. The Pre-K at the school where I work is full of 4 year olds who I am absolutely enthralled with. My favorite quote from one of them recently:

    “You know, girls CAN have moustaches, but boys will NOT want to marry them if they do.”

    They’re full of treasures, those little people ;)

  93. There’s really nothing better in the world than a 3-year-old boy. My youngest turned 4 over the summer, and I will forever be nostalgic for those sweet 3-year-old days. Love!

  94. Hahaha laughing so much about “or a monster?” Toby is in a wonderful age! It was so funny I ran to read it to my husband :)


  95. this is too funny! such a cutie!