While stationed at Fort Huachuca, my husband got his first computer, a gift from my parents. They spent $40 on a little machine that had about 40 kilobytes of memory and only understood Basic. Peregrin spent a couple of years trying to program that calculator to do anything before we finally got a better one.
He would sit on the floor and mutter the commands as he typed them. Our son, about two years old at the time, sat beside his daddy, watching, fascinated. We didn't think much of it till Spooky - who earned that nickname by doing things like this - corrected one of Peregrin's programming mistakes, and was right.
Even with these hints, even knowing we had a little whippersnapper on our hands, we didn't really take such events seriously. We didn't know what to expect from our first child and accepted everything as reasonably normal.
About two years later, when Spooky had just turned four, my mom took the three of us shopping at a Sears store. We were walking down the aisles in the household goods department when Mom turned to me and asked, "You do know Spooky can read, don't you?" I refuted her statement outright and she turned stubborn.
"I'll prove it, " she said, and took down one of the boxes of laundry soap to show to him. He promptly stated the name of the soap brand and a couple other words from the front of the box. Again, I refused to believe it. I said, "He's quoting from ads he's seen on TV." (Not that perfect ad quotation wouldn't be worthy of note, itself.)
She turned the box to its side panel and showed Spooky the list of ingredients in the soap. He started sounding out the words, "Phosphorus, sulfates, bleach, ...," etc. He read the entire side panel. I was stunned and still unsure that it wasn't some kind of trick. We had read to him quite a bit but he hadn't ever read back to us.
When we went home, Mom pulled out a pocket New Testament from her luggage and gave it to him, asking him to read it to us and prove this wasn't a fluke. He did! He began reading every word, almost perfectly. When he finished a few pages, I asked him if he knew what those words meant and he explained to me what he had just read. This was a child who had maybe been in church ten times in his four years of life, certainly not often enough to memorize bits, and none of his attendances in church had happened since the age of eighteen months!
I will say he probably needed every brain cell he got in order to survive his clueless parents. We expected a lot from the little guy and yet he almost always delivered. I hope he has at least a few happy memories from childhood. He sure gave us a lot of good times.