Dialoging with Children

At age three, my daughter’s vocabulary started growing at a rate beyond exponential, and we are having more and more earnest conversations. Here are some of the more entertaining excerpts.

State Flags
My daughter: “I need to color the state flag.”
“Wow, the Wisconsin state flag is hard to draw. It has the state seal on it.”
“No, Mom, that is a badger, not a seal. Wisconsin doesn’t have any seals.”

(Age 8)

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Plant Life
At dinner tonight, my daughter noticed something unusual on my plate.
“Mom, what’s that?”
“Bean sprouts.”
“Sprouts? You mean they picked them before they had a chance to grow up all the way?”
“Well, yes.”
“Poor sprouts.”

(Age 5.9)

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Kindergarten Geometry

We were discussing what went on at kindergarten today. E was showing Daddy her work in Math where she had sorted some different shapes by gluing them to two sides of a piece of paper. One side had shapes with three sides and three points (triangles of varying sizes), and the other side of the paper featured shapes with four sides and four points (squares, rectangles, diamonds, trapezoids, etc.).

“I made a cube with a square on the bottom, then a square, a square, a square and a square for the sides and another square on top,” she announced.

“I made pyramids too. To make a pyramid, you put a triangle on the bottom, then you take three triangles and stand them up around the triangle on the bottom.”

“Pyramids have squares on the bottom,” my husband said.

“No they don’t. They have triangles.”

“I think Daddy’s right. The have a square on the bottom and four triangles on the sides.” I chimed in.

“At least the ones in Egypt do,” Daddy continued, “I’m not sure what you would call the shape you made.”

“Let me look it up,” I said. My Google search took me to the PBS CyberSpace show website.

“Well, it turns out E is right, it is a pyramid, a triangle-based pyramid. If it has a square at the bottom, it’s a square-based pyramid.”

“E, my dear, you were right. So were we. There are two ways to make a pyramid.”
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Silly Turkeys
E was reading Sandra Boynton’s Green Hat, Blue Hat to us last night.
At one point during the story, she commented that the turkey was still smiling even though he was doing everything wrong.
“He’s a silly turkey,” I said.
“Yes,” she replied, “I should cook him.”

(Age 5)

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I can do it all by myself

My daughter: Three big sneezes: Achoo, Achoo, Achoo!
Me: Are you getting Daddy’s cold?
My daughter: No, I’m getting my own cold.

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Noisy E’s
While reading bedtime stories.
Dad: That’s another one of those words with a silent “e” at the end.
E: My name doesn’t have silent e’s. It has noisy e’s.
Mom and Dad in unrehearsed unison: Very noisy e’s!
(Age 5 March 19, 2012)

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Play Date
E: Mommy, let’s play princess. You can be the horse.
(Age 5 March 2012)

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It’s Mine.
E: (grabbing my necklace) I really like your necklace, mommy.
Me: Thank you, my mama gave it to me, so it’s very special.
E: Does it remind you of her?
Me: Yes, when I wear it, I think about her fondly.
E: If you die, I want that necklace.
Me: Speechless.

(Age 4.9)

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Clothes Designer
I was telling E about the busy social weekend she has coming up. Me: What should I wear to Becca’s party? E: A green dress. Me: But I don’t have a green dress. E: We could make one from leaves and grass. Me: Wouldn’t it be easier to go shopping and buy a dress? E: No! You get the glue. I’ll go outside and collect the leaves.
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3/24/2011 Notes from the Teacher
When I pick up E at preschool, the back of the daily report sheet has a note from E’s teacher “See note on the back of the Weeky Reader. My best laugh today.” So I look on the back of this week’s spring-themed Weekly Reader. There is an exercise where the students are supposed circle the object that rhymes with “spring”, and the note which reads: “We discussed other words that rhyme with spring. Friends said ‘king’, ‘ring’…E said ‘ding-a-ling’.”
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3/18/2011 Messes
So, the balloon from Red Robin popped when it hit the warm inside air last night. My daughter was holding the string. “Aghh, Maahm. Now I’m all covered in air!”
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3/4/11 Headache Help
Mom to E “Mama, has a very bad headache, sweetie.”
E to Mom “I know how to make you feel better.” She runs to her music box and retrieves her pink, plastic, “princess” recorder. “I will play you a lullaby.”
She was right. I felt much better after it was over.

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1/8/11 Sleeping Late
E (at 6:01 am) “Mom, Mom, ”
Mom: wiping the sleep from her eyes, looking up at the top of the stairs where E had seated herself “Yes?”
E “Can I sleep late today? How do I do it?”
Mom “By staying in bed.”
E coming down the stairs. “No, I want to watch cartoons. Can I have some chocolate milk?”
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8/23/2010 Technicolor Dreams

I awoke at 4:30 am to the rather urgent call of “Mommy Come Up Here!” E sounded wide awake. When I got to her room, she was half-asleep, and she told me “The lady stole the purple necklace.” She rolled over, mumbled something else and fell back into a deep sleep.

I laughed. She’s like her mom. I remembered the time I woke my husband in the middle of the night to proclaim that the “lizards were coming out of the walls”. I also learned something else. E dreams in color. The necklace was purple.

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8/13/2010 Cheese-Thievin’ Mouse

On our drive to preschool in the morning.

E: Mommy, there’s a mouse in my nose!

Me: A mouse in your nose? What is he doing in your nose?

E: Eating cheese.

Me: A mouse is eating cheese in your nose? How did the cheese get in your nose?

E: He stole it out of my hand and hid it in my nose.

Beware of cheese-thievin’ mice who hide cheese in your nose.

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8/7/2010 Counting

We were on our way to the state fair. E was counting things in the backseat of the car–things we passed on the road, things she imagined. When all of the sudden we heard this.

“…ten…I need more fingers!”

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06/25/2010 Cinderella Cake
Our daughter decided that Daddy would have a Cinderella cake for his birthday. So, I rushed home from work, picked her up and started on the odyssey of baking a Cinderella cake without the appropriate pans, not enough icing and an excited 3-yr-old helper, all before Daddy came home from work.

Here’s how the adventure wraps up.

Me: E we need to get this mess cleaned up before Daddy comes home.
E: Starts licking the yellow and blue sprinkles from the table top.
Me: E! I need your help cleaning up. Not eating the spilled sprinkles.
E: Eating is helping.

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02/25/2010 Sashaying

After dance class, my daughter keeps her dance clothes on as long as possible, but I always make sure the ballet and tap shoes are put safely away.

“E, go potty.”

“Okay!”

And she goes sliding by me on her un-shoed feet, only covered by her tights.

“Careful there. This floor is sli….”

Crash

“…ppery. You just slid into the bathroom door! Are you okay?”

“I okay. Not slide. I sashay into the wall.”

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01/18/2010 Cookie Math

Daughter: After taking her antibiotic. “I need to go over there” (pointing to a kitchen cabinet)

Daddy: “What’s over there?”

Daughter: “Cookies.”

Mom: “These? I’ll give you four.”

Dad: “What’s better, four cookies or five cookies?”

Daughter: “Six.”

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01/04/2010 Sorry!

Daughter singing in a sing-song voice, skipping around the basement: “I sorry. I very very sorry.”

Daddy: “What are you sorry about?”

Daughter: “You’ll see.”

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12/16/2009 Fixing Daddy’s Car

We needed to travel to my husband’s place of work to jump off his car that had a dead battery. So, when I picked my daughter up from preschool, I explained our itinerary:

“Daddy’s car is broken. We need to go to his work and help him fix it, okay?”

“Okay. He broke it?”

“No. You know how your toys sometimes stop working when their batteries go dead? Well, the battery in Daddy’s car is dead. So, Daddy’s car doesn’t work.”

“Oh.”

“But before we go get Daddy, we need to stop by our house to pick up some tools to help fix Daddy’s car” (jumper cables actually, I just thought “tools” would be easier for her to understand).”

“Okay. I carry the hammer.”

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12/15/2009 Opinion on Cakes That Cannot Be Consumed

I had two pineapple upside down cakes in the oven. One was for my husband’s work “dish to pass”, but I had batter left over…so I made a second one for my colleagues at work. Our daughter was very upset that both cakes are going to other people. Her response to this profound disappointment?

Daughter: “I have an idea!”

Dad: “You do? What’s that?”

Daughter: “I bake my own cake.”

(c) 2009–2012 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

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