They start out with me asking her how her day was. When she was littler, and less verbose, I tended to fill in what I imagined she had done that day. "Did you play outside with your friends? Have a snack? Read some stories?..." As she's gotten older and more capable of expressing herself, these conversations have become quite fun. Talking to a three year-old is just fun in general (most of the time).
Some of the highlights lately:
Her: "Mommy, what's that truck doing?"
Me: "Making a U-turn."
Her: "Making a me turn?"
Me: "Did you go on the tire swing today?"
Standing at the top of a jungle gym last week, she screamed, "Way to go Dada! You went pee-pees on the potty! I'm so proud of you!"
She recently learned the word "worried", though I'm not positive she entirely grasps its meaning:
Her: "Mommy, I'm worried about my Dada"
Me: "Why, baby?"
Her: "Because I love him soooooo much"
Her: "Purple is my favorite color. Jakey-poo's is blue." (Jakey-poo?? We're in trouble)
I've realized that I truly look forward to these conversations every day. I get excited little butterflies in my stomach when I'm on my way to pick the kids up from school. Now that my son is testing his vocal cords, he's been joining in too, though nothing besides "Mama" is understandable.
It is my hope that by establishing a pattern of ongoing conversation about little things now, I am laying ground work for the big conversations later. For that reason I do my best to acknowledge her when she speaks to me, even if it is to ask her to let me finish what I'm doing so I can give her my full attention. For that reason I try to match her enthusiasm for whatever she's telling me. For that reason I laugh at her silly jokes and pretend I'm learning something new too, when she tells me what she's just discovered.
I want her to feel as though the things she tells me are just as important to me as to her. I want her to just keep talking to me.