In Which My Two-Year-Old Teaches Me About The Alphabet

For this post, I wanted to share a random little story that happened shortly after Christmas. One of Lillian’s presents this year was an electronic toy, a Fisher-Price “Smart Tablet” — you can see the same one online here. (Even though it’s advertised as being for ages 3-6, and Lillian just turned two in October, we’d been telling people asking about Christmas gifts that 3-year-old toys were okay, since she seems to do fine with them.)

So she got this electronic tablet, and seemed to really enjoy it — it was noticeable right away that it held her attention longer than most of her other toys. I wonder if maybe in some ways, it seemed like having a “big person” computer of her very own?

Toddler Electronic Tablet Toy

I admittedly hadn’t looked too closely at this toy myself, but from seeing Lillian play with it, I knew that it lit up and played music said letters out loud and such. So when she brought it to me one day, clearly wanting me to play with it with her, I just started mashing keys in that random, half-paying-attention kind of way — which is just what I’ve grown used to with these battery-powered “press a button and a thing happens” kid’s toys.

But within seconds, Lillian got mad. “No, mama!” she scolded, then pointed at the M key. “M,” she said in a stern little voice. At this point I looked more closely at the toy and realized that the screen was displaying the letter M, and that I was supposed to actually press the corresponding key. …Whoops. All I can say is that this was a rather humbling parenting moment.

Lillian took over, and the game went on. I watched in fascination as one after another, letters would flash on the screen in a random order, and she would find them, saying the letter as she pressed the key. Once you complete the round with uppercase letters, it moves to lowercase letters, and I was amazed to see that she was able to get many of these as well. I could practically see the wheels turning in her brain as she worked to distinguish between “p” and “d” when one of those popped up, and when “q” came onto the screen, not only did she press the Q key, she said “queen” while doing it.

The episode left me feeling awe-struck and proud, but also a little bewildered. From what I can gather, Lillian’s Grandma (aka my mom) apparently showed her how this letter-matching game worked in the first place (it’s one of six game modes available on the toy), and from there she just ran with it.

As a footnote to this story, this isn’t the first time she’s tried to teach me less-stupid ways to play with her toys — long-time readers may recall that it’s been going on since she was 15 months old, when she helpfully showed me the more obvious and efficient way to get all the blocks back into that shape-sorting puzzle!


  1. Wow!!!! You have one very smart little girl there, not that there was ever any doubt that she would be. Look at her mom and dad! Kudos to Maureen for working with her on that toy! Lillian is a very blessed young lady to have such a loving extended family to be there for her. I’m really excited to see exactly what Lily will become. She seems to have a very bright future in store. :)

    • Thanks! We certainly like to think so (although I’m sure we’re incredibly biased, haha). Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

  2. I remember Joe when he was Lillian’s age, pointing to a letter on our auto tag, saying it out loud, then clapping his hands and turning around in a little circle. He learned his letters from watching Wheel of Fortune! And he was reading by the time he was three. Lillian comes from families with generations of teachers, so it’s not surprising that she wants her Mom to get it right! She is so precious!

    • That’s so cute about Joe clapping his hands and watching Wheel Of Fortune! Somehow I hadn’t even thought of this little episode as reflecting teacher-like tendencies that run in the family, but I love the observation! Thanks for commenting! :)

  3. Kudoes to Maureen for getting Lillian started, and to you, Sarah, for noticing she wanted YOU to play it, too. And yes, Joe learned his alphabet partly because I was a Wheel and Scrabble tv fan (never could stand soaps) when I was a stay at home mom. He also invented his own versions of the game though, such as when he heard his dad say something was “A-1”, he immediately called out “B-2”, and we shortly realized you could say just a number between 1-26, and he knew the corresponding letter without hesitation, or counting on fingers! I bet when Lillian “aces” the built in games, she will do something similar. {{{{{{hugs}}}}}} Miss you all!

    • That’s awesome about the game where he knew the corresponding number for each letter in the alphabet! All the random things like that they pick up so easily never ceases to amaze — we’re really getting into that phase with Lillian now, and it feels like there’s a new surprise just about every day. Thanks for reading and commenting, and hugs to you all as well! :)

  4. Gosh, I am just always amazed at how quickly she picks things up! She was speaking so well for how old she is when you guys came down for Christmas. She is just so adorable and smart!! You and Joe will certainly have your hands full when she gets older! ;) Hopefully she will use her powers for good! :D Hee hee!

    • Haha Rachel, I also hope that she will use her powers for good instead of evil! Although episodes like this really do make me wonder what we might be in store for as she gets older — if I’m this frustratingly wrong about stuff at age two, I can only imagine what things will be like when she gets to be a teenager! Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

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