Earlier this year, C's daycare provider moved into a different house. Now, instead of a 6 block commute, we have to travel almost five miles to her house. Fortunately, it's on my way to work and a blacktop behind our house makes it a nearly direct route. Along the way, we have an amazing view of Iowa cornfields (and bean fields too). We pass two houses with cattle, and one with horses. We pass a bridge, a stream, two trails, and a park.
While these landmarks may seem insignificant, they sure are conversation starters for an almost 20-month old. During the morning ride, the sun streams in through C's window--sometimes this bothers him and he shouts, "No-No Sun!" (a trick Daddy taught him instead of crying about it). Other times, he points to it and excitedly shouts, "Sunny! Sunny! Up!" When we pass the fields with combines already harvesting the crop, he says, "Big tractor!" He points out the "Wad-ow" when we see the stream and loves looking for "Moos" in the field. During the afternoon drive, he points out the park and the fact that there is a tiny little "nay" to ride there. He always looks for the real horses on the way home, but sometimes they are not in the field. Then he tells me, "Nay. nigh-night". I will usually say, "Yep, and Charlie is going to go nigh-night when we get home." Lately, the answer to this has been "nope."
On Tuesdays and Thursdays we take one of C's daycare friends to her preschool class. She tells me what they ate for lunch and whether or not C was good at daycare. She explains the games they played at the park (usually "Mr. Bear" or "Mr. Fox"--where they have to wake up the bear or fox and he chases them. --but not the babies because they're too little) and tells me whether or not she had a happy, sad, or mad morning. She likes it when I quiz her about what baby animals are called (baby cats are called kittens, baby hedgehogs are called hoglets, etc.)
Yesterday, as I was driving, I realized how much I love these "car conversations". When C's friend was chattering on about the noodles at lunch, and C was looking at her and parroting her words, I couldn't help but fast forward a few years. What will it be like when C is in preschool? Will he have a little sibling that he adores like his friends adore him? Will he excitedly point out horses to a little sibling like Kaden does to him? I love the idea of happy car conversations and chatty little voices in the backseat. (Don't get me wrong, I understand there is a reason parents use the phrase "Don't make me stop this car!"-- but for the most part, I think travel time is usually a content time) And while that day hasn't come yet, I'm definitely enjoying our little fragmented conversations about the world that zips past us on the way to daycare.