I Really Only Meant To Write About Target Today

I can’t believe I am going to write about Target again, but WHAT THE HELL, TARGET? You are hurting me. Deep down to the core.

What I entered the store needing:

Seventh Generation Non-Chlorine Bleach
Secret Unscented Conditioning Solid Deodorant
Neutrogena Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Cream (This is the best face lotion in the history of mankind. I don’t have acne-prone skin, but I read somewhere that it was good for mild rosacea and HOT DAMN, it cleared my rosacea right up!)
A bath puff thingy

What I left the store with:

A bath puff thingy

People, I don’t need any more crayons. I am literally drowning in goddamn crayons over here. Wito is obsessed with crayons — so obsessed that you wouldn’t even believe me if I tried to explain. The only way I can get in and out of Target without a nuclear whinefest is to buy him a new box of crayons. (RoseArt makes a great little box for less than a dollar, although it’s probably made from corrosive sublimate. Whatevs.) So I buy him one. Every. Time. And every time, he comes home and sings this highly annoying (yet peppy!) Box of Crayons song from Signing Times.

In a nutshell, he lines up his crayons in order of rainbow color and sings along, signing the colors and practically making out with them. HE DOESN’T EVEN ENJOY DRAWING, PEOPLE. And I’m a little hesitant to admit this, but he knows the names of an enormous amount of Crayola crayons.

(Annnd, begin tangent.)

It’s one of his favorite games – we hold up a crayon and he yells out the color. However, he has to look at the name on the crayon – it’s not pure memorization. (We’re talking pretty specific names here, such as Turtle Green, Apricot, Turquoise Blue and Blue Violet.) In all honesty, we’re not sure how he remembers all of the crayon names, but I do catch him sounding the words out when I’m not looking. Which brings me to my point- um, I think he is starting to read. We’ve finally come to the conclusion that he can’t possibly have memorized two shelves’ worth of books, yet he knows them word for word. And just recently, he’s been rattling off the names of street signs as we pass them. Um, WHAAAAA?

He memorizes everything you tell him, everything he sees, everything he hears. Don’t get me started on the spelling. He would rather listen to me spell words than spend a day at Sea World. Just this morning he asked, “Mom, how do you spell guinea pig?” UM, I DON’T KNOW, SON.

(GOD, this is sounding completely braggadocios. I am grossing myself out. Please forgive me, but if you want to know what’s going on with Wito, well, this is what’s going on with Wito. Please feel free to stop reading right now. I promise I will be back with a detailed account of my very first epilator experience later this week.)

(Painful, yet a truly delightful end result!)

I would be beyond grateful to hear any advice or suggestions you all might have for parenting early readers. Even better, I would love advice from parents who are dealing/have dealt with toddlers who have a never-ending desire to learn. Some days I really struggle with feelings that I’m not doing enough for him. I want him to be challenged, but I don’t want to be Rick Moranis from Parenthood either. It’s a slippery slope, man.

He’s only 2 1/2 years old, but he CRAVES mental stimulation in the form of memory games, spelling and reading. Do you know of any games that would be fun for him? People around here have suggested looking into “gifted programs” for him. It’s way too early in the game for that, right? Right? (Seriously, wouldn’t that be too much for a 2-year-old? He isn’t even potty-trained!)

I would kill for some wisdom right now. As my mother would say, I am “cornfused”. If commenting isn’t your thing, feel free to email me a sarahATwhoorlDOTcom. We thank you muchly!

  1. Jen

    April 29, 2009 at 8:11 am

    I never NEVER get everything I need at Target. It’s maddening, because I do really like going to Target (hi, cute Dwell Studio clothes for baby), but I can’t ever get what I came there for. Why, oh why, is Target always out of Clean & Clear Moisturizer?

    But now that you’ve mentioned this miracle Neutrogena moisturizer, I might need to switch. Of course, I won’t count on Target having it. Le sigh.

  2. Jessie

    April 29, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I was an early reader too, and I LOVED workbooks of all kinds. I would go through about one a week, and it was a semi-expensive habit, but it kept me entertained for hours. I also read a lot.

    For future reference, since I’m sure you’ll have to deal with this eventually, my mom never censored or limited what she let me read. Freqently there were subject areas were over my head or those that were not necessarily age appropriate for me to handle. Lately I’ve re-read a lot of the books I loved when I was little, and was surprised that my mom let me read them. Basically I just didn’t understand those things and so pretty much ignored them. If it was too much for me, I’d put it down and pick up something that interested me more. Good luck with your smart little guy!

  3. andrea_jennine

    April 29, 2009 at 8:19 am

    I was an early reader, too. Based on my experience, I think the best thing you can do is give him access to lots of books. Just let him read, and he’ll satisfy his own desire to learn (without you having to provide a lot of special activities, though I’m sure he’ll enjoy those, too.)


    April 29, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Wito is SO impressive! You must be doing something right–he is well adjusted and so bright!
    My only experience right now is with an 18 month old who certainly does not appear to be following in Wito’s footsteps (though he does somehow know which pictures to anticipate in books)…
    However, my sister was (and still is!) a brilliant child. She too was reading at 2.5. My parents put her in school a year early, a few mornings a week, just to provide her with some additional stimulation. I don’t think it can hurt, but at the same time they’re only kids once! You are doing a great job. I will be coming to YOU for advice!!

  5. beyond

    April 29, 2009 at 8:40 am

    kids are like sponges. i wish i had more ‘sponginess’ left in me. maybe a pre-school program a couple of times a week would stimulate him. (maybe socially more than intellectually, but that can’t be a bad thing…)

  6. Erin

    April 29, 2009 at 8:41 am

    I don’t think you sound braggy! My 3 year old has been reading for about 5 months now. She’s on the spectrum and has some really unusual cognitive skills so I wasn’t necessarily encouraging the reading but once she started there was no stopping her! And honestly, I think it’s great. Does Wito go to preschool or playschool at all? If he does, you could always ask his teacher for some materials to take home to work with. The library is our best friend – and just taking him places (the beach, the library, even the mall…) is doing A LOT for a toddler. They learn incidentally. It’s a beautiful thing. Here’s a cool article from yesterday’s Boston Globe on the baby/toddler mind. Good luck!

  7. Erin

    April 29, 2009 at 8:42 am
  8. Jill

    April 29, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Wow! That is impressive!! I was reading along going, Hey! My kid does that too! Oh! I know about hte spelling! What’s with the spelling everything!?! Until I got to the part about Wito only being 2 1/2 and my kid is four and suddenly I didn’t feel so impressive anymore.

    But I digress… The Hooked on Phonics packages are good. And my brother recently found them online somewhere super cheap. You might check that out. You can also find flash card matching games pretty cheap. My son can’t get enough of those. He sorts them and matches them like crazy. Also, Leap Frog makes that Tag reading system, which he might like.

    Good luck with your boy genius!!

  9. Amy

    April 29, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Wito sounds a bit like my brother, who started Montessori at age 3 (I started at 4). We both loved it and never realized exactly how complex some of the concepts we were “playing with” were (multiplication? really?!). Something to look into?

  10. whoorl

    April 29, 2009 at 8:58 am

    This info is just what I need! And yes, I have Wito in a Mother’s Day Out program once a week, but it just isn’t enough. My only problem with getting him into a preschool is that he’s not potty-trained. (He might be off the charts with some things, but peeing in the potty IS NOT ONE OF THEM.)

    I started school early myself due to being an early reader, but I think I was 3 or 4 before I started reading. He’s one-upping me, y’all!! ;)

  11. sunny

    April 29, 2009 at 9:01 am

    I would check in with a montessori preschool/school in your area ASAP! Montessori can be really great for self driven, curious learners but they also balance out all that learnin’ with lots of outdoor activities (nature is so humbling, so important in our lives), creativity and socialization.

  12. Stephanie

    April 29, 2009 at 9:03 am

    I was a very early reader myself and I remember loving the old school Speak and Spell. I don’t know what current versions there are, but maybe you can pick and old one up on eBay or a garage sale or something. I also loved the Memory board games and a quick glance on Amazon shows that there are a zillion more versions than there used to be when I was a kid. Guess Who might also be a good game for him. Obviously, they are going to claim that they are out of his age range, but he seems to be beyond Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders (not that those aren’t still fun!).

    Other than that, books, books and more books. I especially remember reading all the Golden books and Dr. Suess books on my own as a kid, and later to my younger brother.

  13. Angella

    April 29, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Well, you DID skip a grade, so we know where he gets his brilliance from. According to my Mom, I was reading by the time I was two-and-a-half. When their friends would come over they’d hand me the newspaper and have me read to them.

    None of my kids are quite the same, though Emily is starting to recognize words (WTH?). I have heard wonderful things about Montessori & am considering that for her this fall. Is there one near you?

  14. sunny

    April 29, 2009 at 9:06 am

    do children have to be potty trained before they start preschool in the US?

    Yes, most around here require potty-training.

  15. TheSpectrum

    April 29, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Agree with all the comments! Especially the library! I started reading at 2.5 and the best thing my mother did was let me take out stacks of books at a time!

    I currently nanny twin almost-5 year olds who are in the same place as Wito. We play a lot of word games, sometimes during dinner using a magnadoodle. They pick a category — “food, animals, planets, etc.”, I write out a word and they have to sound it out. It’s great for seeing what level they’re at and gives you the opportunity to challenge them a little, talk about what sounds the vowels make when paired with each other, etc. Rhyming also helps–writing out a word and then listing all the words that sound like it, etc.

    Read it up, Wito!