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. tutugirl1345

    April 29, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I agree with everyone else- Library! My dad would take me once a week and I’d check out the maximum amount of books allowed. I absolutely loved it. You might want to see if there are any preschools (or even private elementary schools that start with preschool) that will allow un-potty trained kids. My parents put me in pre-school at a 2 year old -6th grade place and I’m 99% sure I wasn’t potty trained by then.

  2. am'ti b

    April 29, 2009 at 9:41 am

    i know i live in kidville, but there are programs starting at 18 mos. that teach mandarin and spanish. also, we have a place that has montessori lead playgroups. my other nieces and nephews did math/reading/spanish tutoring. be really forward and ask everyone you see-i find something new out everyday when i am at the playground, i am still in “in just moved here mode”
    funny you mention the crayon signing time we thought of sending it to you guys-bent ammi just watches wito to learn her colors.
    one of our classes has a mom who teaches at the “casady” here and she said to call the schools for programs w/parents. funny as i write this remember casady has one.

  3. hi kooky

    April 29, 2009 at 10:06 am

    My children (ages 6 and almost 8) are not quite the geniuses that Wito seems to be, but I found myself feeling the same way at times – what the heck can I do to keep up with these whippersnappers?

    I agree with the Montessori suggestion, if and when it’s available. As for games & activities, here are some things that worked well for us:

    Bob Books – http://www.bobbooks.com (perhaps Wito has already blown through these, but if not, they’re great beginning reader book sets.)

    eeBoo matching games – http://www.eeboo.com/startpage.php?cat=120 Great quality, pretty designs. The “I Never Forget a Face!” is a favorite here. We get out the globe and find the countries represented on the game pieces. Memory stimulation AND geography. (And if he wants to, he can learn to spell all the countries too. :))

    Thinkfun games are great. I don’t know if they’re exactly up Wito’s alley, but they are challenging. A good one to start with is Rush Hour Jr. – http://www.thinkfun.com/PRODUCT.ASPX?PageNo=PRODUCT&Catalog=By%20Category&Category=4RUSHFAN&ProductId=5040
    My youngest (also a reading lover and math head) enjoyed this game when he was three.

    I hope this is helpful! Good luck!

  4. Stephanie

    April 29, 2009 at 10:24 am

    What a great problem to have! I found through my own searching that some preschool programs (smaller ones, especially) may not require full potty training, just that you are working on it. Maybe a Montessori school that believes that “each child excels on his/her own schedule.” Potty training boys sucks, so I think some schools are more forgiving.

    Other than that we really enjoy the story times at our library. We are in the “why” stage here and I know far to well how draining it can be. It sounds like he will find what he needs to keep him interested when he needs it.
    Great job!

  5. ErinM

    April 29, 2009 at 10:41 am

    My brother was off-the-charts smart and started school early. However, as he got a little older it was VERY clear that he was not as socially mature as his classmates. Not sure why because he was in Mom’s Day Out programs and the like, but it definitely caused a lot of angst over “fitting in” as we grew up. Anyway, I would suggest keeping an eye out for that kind of thing. Otherwise, read on Wito! Very cool!

  6. Anna

    April 29, 2009 at 10:45 am

    My youngest daughter has really gotten our money’s worth from her Leapster LMax. There are many games that are geared towards Pre-K. They help with phonics, reading, and math without being too overly complicated.

  7. sizzle

    April 29, 2009 at 11:20 am

    That Neutrogena cream is THE BOMB. I second that emotion.

  8. bethany actually

    April 29, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I second Angella’s Montessori recommendation. I have a friend whose son is in a Montessori preschool and they love it.

    I was reading at about Wito’s age too, and learned in exactly the same way. My mom would try to get me to sound words out and I’d get mad and say, “Just TELL me what it says and I’ll remember!” I loved loved loved reading and could never have enough books. So definitely take him to the library, try workbooks for preschoolers, and maybe a Memory game? You know, the game where you spread all the cards facedown, then turn them over two at a time and try to match them by remembering which cards are where?

  9. Emily

    April 29, 2009 at 11:43 am

    I don’t know a lot about toddlers and reading although it sounds like you are doing good things just by being interested and trying to engage him. Mostly I just wanted to say, this really made me laugh. You’re funny, Miss Lady.

  10. Jenn

    April 29, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Hmmm…as I’ve read your blog about Wito I’ve often thought, he sounds a lot like my little one. Cade is now 4, and his thing has always been numbers. His first word was NINE- and he even recognized it before he was one. For a long time he wanted us to “spell” out numbers for him (like, how do you spell one hundred and five? 1-0-5) Now we’re onto the thousands. and adding. and subtracting. and reading. and OMG if I happen to mention it, I always feel like I’m bragging, even though really, I’m trying to find out- is this normal? are other kids doing this? how do I keep up?

    Other commenters have mentioned and I have to wholeheartedly agree- MONTESSORI. Check it out. I almost fell over when I found out how much it cost (compared to a mom’s morning out type place) but it has been worth EVERY CENT. They let Cade explore the things that he’s interested in (letters and numbers), encourage him to try things he’s not (coloring and painting, yuck), and let him move at his own pace.

  11. catnip

    April 29, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I have an early reader too, he just turned six and devours every chapter book he can get his hands on. The best things we did with him were to read to him every night, (lots of stuff that we thought would be way over his head but really weren’t so he picked up a great vocabulary early), leaving lots of books lying around his room and play area, and getting him a Leapster. All of the pre-k games are really great learning tools and he had too much fun to even realize he was learning.

  12. Chris Adams

    April 29, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    My son was an early reader too, but more like age 3.5 than 2.5. He’s now 5 years old in Kindergarten, reading 4th grade level chapter books. I’m a teacher myself, and everyone always asks what I did to get him to read early – I think they envision me as some sort of task-master at home. Honestly though, I can’t take very much credit for it! Like your son, he just started doing it on his own. The few things that helped: 1) access to lots and lots of books. 2) Superwhy – the show on pbskids (seriously – the hugest help of all probably!) 3) The game called Letter Factory for his Leapster. Actually all of the leapster games have been great.

    We also found him a great preschool with a great 3 year old program and an even greater pre-K program for 4 year olds.

    I didn’t read all of the comments, so forgive me if I repeated anything. The thing that I think I did best though, was let it happen at his own pace. I encouraged him, but never pushed it. Kids are such sponges and learn things so incidentally in non-structured ways.

  13. Megan

    April 29, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Library! A good children’s librarian also might be able to help you – point you to specific resources in the library, library programming, etc. And – opa! – it’s all free!

  14. Jessica

    April 29, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I know this may be the low-rent suggestion, but maybe get Wito his own library card? Even our tiny little libraries here in Brooklyn have pretty decent book sections, and he can devour all the books he wants. Program wise, I don’t know that he may need a program, so much as materials.

    I know when I was a kid, my favorite thing were those books with the tapes. I would “read” along and the tape cassette would tell me a story. But with a library card, you can get darn near anything and that way you don’t have to keep anything that doesn’t grab you. You can also do an electronic reserve of materials for anything your own library doesn’t have.

    Personally, I watched the entire series of sex and the city on electronic reserve from the library, taught myself Hebrew, and kept myself from moving ten tons of books from Denver to New York. I heart libraries.

  15. whoorl

    April 29, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Library lovers UNITE! Wito is a story time fiend – he goes every week.