The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Emotional intelligence in a baby: self-control

Can babies have high emotional intelligence?

Tiarnan Hasyl Cawley is just nine months old yet, today, he showed remarkable self-control.

He was crying in the taxi on the way to visit a friend. My wife, Syahidah Osman Cawley was trying to comfort him when she noted that we were nearing our destination.

"Stop!", she demanded, of the driver.

"OK." Tiarnan answered, unexpectedly, amidst his tears, and stopped crying at once. He had thought Syahidah was asking him to stop crying.

We were stunned. Never had I heard of a baby being able to exhibit such self-control before, as to stop his crying on command, like that. His eyes were still red, his lips still downcast, but fresh tears had stopped flowing, and his face soon unwrinkled and adopted its normal state of repose. It was as if the weather had suddenly cleared, in the midst of the monsoon: utterly surprising.

Self-control is an aspect of emotional intelligence which some adults have not truly mastered - perhaps many of them, in fact. To see it in a baby of nine months was startling - even to us, who have come to expect the surprising in our children.

This observation is an interesting one to set alongside the display of courage of his elder brother Fintan. There is something in common there, I feel. There is a common emotional intelligence at work: this is just a different aspect of the same phenomenon.

For more on Tiarnan Hasyl Cawley's early athleticism, go to:


For a discussion of Tiarnan's very early speech development:

For Tiarnan's musicality:

For Tiarnan crawling downstairs at eight months (after upstairs at five months):

If you would like to read about Ainan Celeste Cawley, Tiarnan's scientific child prodigy brother, go to:

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:13 PM 


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