Tobin is very interested in reading and letters. For the last few months, we've gotten used to him saying things like "S-T-O-P. What that says?" when he sees a stop sign. Or "T-A-R-G-E-T. That say 'Target,'" when we visit the store. He almost always remembers how to spell "Mama." "Daddy" always starts with a D and ends with a Y, but it isn't so consistent. He gets "dog" confused with "go" pretty regularly. Overall, he has been inconsistent enough with his letters and spelling that I was on the fence whether he was really recognizing characters, putting them together, and "reading."
Then he blew me away. We were sitting at the table Sunday. I was working with a manila folder when I decided to show him letters. I wrote the usual "Mama, Daddy, Hannah, Tobin" on the sheet and asked him to identify the letters of each and say the words. Flying colors. Got it. But I can't say for sure he wasn't parroting from memory. I wasn't sure if what I was seeing was real decoding-comprehension-process "reading." Then he said "I want to draw your hand." I figured the letter activity was over, so I let him trace my hand with the red pen I'd been writing with. After he finished tracing mine, we flipped the folder over and I traced his hand two or three times. Apparently, while he was in Florida last week, his grandpa stressed to him the importance of adding fingernails to the hand-tracings. I drew fingernails on each of the outlines of his hands. All of this was very normal.
Then T said "I want to write my name." We've let him "sign" cards and notes for a while and always encourage him to write his name. Again, all normal. Until I saw what he wrote. 43 days shy of his third birthday, he wrote this on the paper:
I was speechless. I think I cheered a little too loudly when he finished because Tobin gave me a look like "I write my name all the time; what's the big deal?"