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 +

Friday, November 24, 2006

Ainan's seventh birthday: a space adventure

Every year, Ainan has a themed birthday party: something a little different to mark the day out as special. Last year, the theme was pirates. This year it was Space.

Yesterday was November 23rd 2006. This was Ainan Celeste Cawley's seventh birthday.

The house was decorated in blues and silver-greys, which my wife, Syahidah, thought were suitable colours for a space environment. Hand-drawn posters depicted scenes from space - or instructions/information thought typical of a space-going environment. For instance: "Warning: Don't Exit The Rocket While In Flight", was one fun example. Ainan himself had a specially drawn "Nasa" shirt, with symbols and the peculiar way Nasa writes NASA on its spacesuits.

There were games galore: the favourite being "Wrap the Alien" - which was my wife's idea. It was a simple one and fun for the children: it involved covering their mummies in toilet paper so that they could no longer be recognized. Four mothers were good enough sports to go along with the game and enjoyed it tremendously. The children thought it was hilarious.

We had a set of hand-drawn aliens - which were drawn by Syahidah's sister Hanisah - which were used as targets in a game. Prizes were distributed for those able to knock them down.

The greatest fun was had using an unexpected guest in the house: the dry ice that came with an ice cream cake from Swensen's. The cake, which had Ainan Astronaut written on it, was made entirely of ice-cream and was cooled by dry ice, (frozen carbon dioxide), to prevent it from melting. This dry ice became the centre of the children's attention, who, under Ainan's guidance, dropped it into water, to create a ghostly mist rising from their cups. He also used it to demonstrate its potential explosiveness, by containing it as it evaporated, which, after a while, caused a BANG! as the container gave way and the gas forced itself out. Ainan thought this was great and proceeded to try it with all sorts of containers, creating a whole variety of booms. It wasn't a quiet party - what with Ainan's booms, and the children's shouts and screams - and the sound of party poppers going off. Ridley Scott's film said "In space no-one can hear you scream"...well a vacuum was no sonic protection in my house, yesterday.

A comic moment occurred during the "beat the pinata" session. As in Latin America - and America - I understand, we had a pinata - a shaped cardboard container, fashioned like the space shuttle. The children took turns in hitting it three times. It took about fifty or sixty blows to break into it. Long before that, however, as Fintan, three, took his turn - he ran off with the stick used to beat it, his mischievous laugh trailing him as he ran down the length of the basement carpark where we were - a whole gaggle of kids running after him. He was the youngest and smallest there, so it was funny to see this huge column of older kids running behind him, as they tried to catch His Naughtiness. Of course, they eventually caught him, and pulled it off him - but, for a glorious moment, Fintan had usurped the game's symbol of power: the "pinata stick".

There were about twenty guests and Ainan enjoyed his day tremendously, his laughter often to be heard, high above the tumult.

As is the tradition in Singapore (I don't know if it is elsewhere) - every guest left with a gift goody bag, put together by Syahidah.

I would like to thank my wife, Syahidah Osman Cawley, for her inventiveness with the games and the theme: everything was her doing. I would also like to thank Hanisah Osman, for her drawings of aliens - and for the assistance of Sabariah (my mother-in-law) on the day itself.

Appropriately - and entirely without planning - Ainan's seventh birthday party - which had begun at 4.10 pm with the arrival of the first guest - finished at 7 pm, precisely. Incidentally, Ainan was seven, exactly, at the moment of his birth: 2:02 pm on the 23rd November, 2006.

I shall upload pictures later of the event - which you can catch if you check back in a few hours. Right now I am trying to overcome certain technical difficulties in doing so. (That is why I haven't uploaded photos for some time). After this is resolved, I shall try to upload photographs on a more regular basis. Thanks.

Happy Birthday Ainan!

(If you would like to read more about Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, or his gifted brothers, please go to: I also write of child prodigy, child genius, savant, the creatively gifted, and gifted children and gifted adults in general.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:32 PM 


Blogger Umm_fi_Ard said...

Happy Birthday to Ainan. Must be an awesome birthday party and he must have thoroughly enjoyed it. Enjoyed reading your blog. Your children are definitely gifted masha Allah. I have also a gifted 7 year old dd. She has been tested for giftedness here in Oz and she did very well in it. She likes arts and sports.
Best regards to your family.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Salaam, indeed. Thank you for your kindness, Umm Fi Ard,

Your words are a pleasure to read. Yes, Ainan enjoyed the party tremendously - and so did his guests.

The years seem to pass quickly and it is hard to believe that he is already seven years old.

It is good to hear about your daughter. The arts are often the most interesting of gifts to possess - but also the most difficult to make use of in this economically obsessed world. She will need your every support - which I am sure you will provide.

Kind regards to your family, too.

12:05 PM  

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