Friday, July 24, 2009

The Return of Old Friends

When Michael was about 14 months old, we discovered that he had an unusual interest in letters. By the time he was 16 months we learned that he had and unusual and intense interest in letters. The winter when he was 1.5 years old was the winter of never ending letters. There were days when he would come home, run straight into the kitchen, and greet the magnetic letters on the fridge as if they were old friends.

His passion for letters continued up until right before Christmas this year. One evening he sat down, wrote out every single capital letter on his Magnadoodle, and then just stopped. It was like someone just flipped a switch in his head. In this case, they switched it from letters to dinosaurs. He maintained a mild interest in letters, and also harbored a low level interest in trains, but it was pretty much dinosaurs everywhere and all the time. The abruptness of the switch was odd, but the intensity remained the same.

A few weeks ago, the switched flipped again. Michael hasn't touched his trains in weeks and is no longer interested in the trains at Barnes and Noble. He still has a mild interest in dinosaurs and plays with them for a few minutes here and there. His passion for letters has returned full force.

It's very difficult to describe just how into letters Michael really is. I'm always concerned that people think I'm bragging when I end up talking about it, and to be honest I am impressed that he has a better grasp of letters at 3 than his dyslexic mother has at 37. But, unless you spend the day with Michael, you just don't get how passionate the boy is for letters.

The two of us were home alone yesterday. It was raining, and my car was in the shop. This is how we spent the day.

Michael woke up at 6:00 AM. I was going to bring him into bed with me, but a diaper leak sent us downstairs for a change of clothes. As soon as Michael hit the sofa he wanted his Magnadoodle. He spent a while writing letters. When he got tired of that, he got out our Scrabble game and started playing with the letter tiles. "Q" was his tile of choice. Soon he wanted to play play-doh, so I got out a few tubs and his letter cookie cutters so we could make letters. At this point, he did get out some dinosaurs so he could leave dinosaur tracks in his letters, but the main focus was on the letters.

By noon, we had played letters on the Magnadoodle, in play-doh, with Scrabble tiles, on my Nintendo DS (on a game and through the pictochat), he wrote letters on contruction paper cards he had asked me to make, he typed letters on my laptop and then played on, he even made an "S" out of Larry the mommy snake. I was a bit lettered out after 6 hours of pure letter play, so I invited Michael to help make chocolate chip cookies. That distracted him for about half an hour. When we were done, he was pretty sticky, so I took him up to take a bath. In the bath, he played with his foam letters and used bathtub crayons to write - you guessed it - letters.

The rest of the day was more of the same. Michael played with the typing screens on Andy's iPhone when we went to pick up my car. While I was making dinner, he traced letters on his Pet Pals game. Before bed he watched Here Come the ABCs. Finally, at bedtime, the last book he wanted was Max's ABCs. He didn't want me to read it, I simpy turned the pages as he traced the letters. That's twelve straight hours of letter activities.

I have to confess, it seems a little odd.

Tonight we are going to the toy store because Michael filled in his potty chart. What kind of toy do you think he'll end up picking out?


Beth said...

Yes--I'd say obsession is the right word there. And it is very impressive! I keep forgetting to ask if Michael's going to preschool this fall? He certainly has the aptitude for the kids of things he'd learn there! Just for comparison, William can draw an O (a circle, of course) and he draws zig-zag lines and calls it a W. And he can identify maybe 10 letters.

DesiDVM said...

This is how J is about numbers. He can write and talk about and read about numbers ALL DAY LONG. He wants to count everything, everywhere we go. He tells me which numbers are "the best numbers" (today it's 3). He's also recently started adding and subtracting with his hands. As for letters, he can read/recognize all of the letters but hardly ever writes them, and when he lines up letters on the fridge...he does it just so he can count them LOL.

Stacey said...

Ha, I was going to write a post this weekend about how Cole seems incapable of learning or caring about letters. Thanks for increasing my paranoia!

It does seem a little strange, but in the best possible way. What an amazing kid!

Kaycee said...

Yay Michael on the potty chart!!

BTW i've gone private..getting hate mail again. Can't deal with it.
If you still want to read my blog, Email me through my website for an invite. :)