My 3-year old son can read. Seriously. He can pick up a book he has never seen before and read it. He reads his own birthday cards, billboards on the interstate, writing on strangers t-shirts, etc. He was actually able to read before even turning 3. He knew how to spell his name before he could pronounce it. He is sort of freakishly smart in that way.
He occasionally still poops in his underpants. He cannot get himself dressed, get his shoes on (or sometimes even off), or brush his teeth without help. He still struggles to jump properly. He rarely eats with utensils. I still wipe his hands and face clean after meals. He will probably sleep in a pull-up until he is 7, and I cannot fathom the day when he successfully wipes his own bottom.
Most of the fault is mine for his short-comings. Like most 3-year old little boys, he is impatient and easily distracted. While getting dressed, he is looking around the room, pointing at things, telling me stories, and I have to remind him over and over to concentrate and focus on getting himself dressed. I will hand him his shoes and tell him to get them on (or at least attempt); upon my return 3 minutes later, he is doing a puzzle on the floor, shoeless. Most of the time when I try, really commit to making him learn to do these things himself, it is the day my 15-month old becomes extra clingy. While "patiently" teaching him how to properly wash his own hands, she is pulling my pants down or trying to climb into the toilet. He is also a horrible eater, so often I am so happy to see him eat meat and a vegetable, that I pretend not to notice him shoveling it all into his mouth with his hands like a 3-year old neanderthal.
So what does Mommy too often do? She just does things for him. She puts his shoes on for him. She dresses him, cleans him up, wipes his butt. She helps him brush his teeth because half way through doing it himself, he starts adding up all of the fish on the shower curtain -- and it is 30 minutes past his bedtime --and Mommy has been up with the kids since 5:30 A.M. -- and she just wants the kids to freaking be in bed already.
So yes, my son is a brain. He is probably gifted. Friends ask me what my secret is to get him to love books and I honestly cannot take the credit. He has been a bookworm since 6 months old. I, however, ask them what their secret is to get their kids to pull up their own pants.