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 +

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tiarnan invents an alibi

About a month ago, when Tiarnan would have been eleven months old, he invented the alibi.

Our apartment is a duplex, as Americans call it, or a maisonette, as Singaporeans call it. It is split over two levels...well, three actually, one is a mini-level division of the main floor. In consequence, there are two staircases - a minor and a major one. The major one has two flights of stairs and would be quite a challenge for most babies (ie. they would probably hurt themselves). Tiarnan, however, has been training himself in the ways of stairs since he was five months old and is quite capable of handling them.

Although Tiarnan has long mastered stairs, being parents and naturally possessed of imaginations that conjure up all sorts of possible disasters if we don't intervene, we prefer it if he remains on the first floor, much of the time.

A month ago, Syahidah, my wife, caught Tiarnan half-way up the main stairs.

"Come down Tiarnan!" she said.

"Tido.", he replied, meaning he wished to sleep, in Malay. He immediately followed this up with a mischievous grin. Why? Well, it was the middle of the day, and "sleep" was the last thing on Tiarnan's mind. Tiarnan had invented an alibi - a plausible reason for why he was doing what he was doing, which, however, was simply not true.

Syahidah saw through it, of course and he duly came down. What was interesting, however, was that he had had the imagination to invent a plausible excuse for his action, that was likely to be accepted. This implies that he understands the perspectives of others - that he knows that to go upstairs to sleep would be perceived as a reasonable cause for his action.

Why was he really going up? Probably to play since there are many different and interesting places, textures and objects up there.

It should be noted that his behaviour is self-invented and not modelled on what others have done to him - since we haven't engaged in any sort of ploys with him. If he invents a ploy, therefore, it is his own doing.

(If you would like to read more of Tiarnan or his gifted brothers, including Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and two months, and Fintan, three, please go to: I also write of gifted education, intelligence, IQ, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, baby genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:41 AM 


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