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, March 27, 2007

Tiarnan, the brave

Last night Tiarnan, fourteen months, did something very interesting.

He pointed to a gap between the bed and the wall. He found it he was asking: "What is down there?"

I took the opportunity to tease him. I slid my hand down the side of the bed, then pretended some unseen monster had caught my hand and started tugging at it, making me thrash around, with a bit of added, appropriate-seeming, noise from my mouth, rather like a dog gnawing a bone.

I suddenly pulled my hand out, unscathed.

He looked at me in a kind of wonder, his eyes wide, his mouth quiet. Then he did something rather brave, considering what he had just seen. He slid his hand slowly down the side of the bed, clearly waiting for the unseen "Thing" to grab a hold of his hand and thrash him around.

Nothing happened.

He turned to me suddenly and said: "Daddy, look! It's gone!" Then he took his hand out.

I pretended to be surprised at this and slid my hand down there again, and began to thrash about, once more, accompanied by my bone-gnawing sound.

He smiled, and understood at once. He put his hand down there...and began to thrash around like me, with his own impression of the bone-gnawing sound. He understood that I had been teasing him. He took his hand out and smiled broadly at me.

What impressed me was the initial courage he showed in putting his hand down there, when I had convinced him, the first time, that some unseen creature would attack his hand. He had seen daddy do it. He had seen what happened to daddy - but he went ahead all the same. Brave boy.

The second time he did it, was also interesting, for it showed how quick he was to understand that it was just a game.

Tiarnan's sentences are also becoming longer. That was an implicit five word utterance. (Daddy, look! It is gone!"). Again, one may note that the structures are grammatically correct - just as his three word sentences were when he was eight months. It is interesting to observe what a good grasp of grammar even a young baby may have. It seems to me that would take a lot of analytical power to work out so young.

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

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 7:47 AM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I've read most kids don't start making two word sentences until they are 2. Hes making sentences over twice as long, nearly half as soon. Very precocious :)

That one was another charming story that makes me smile :D I wonder what gives him such courage? Maybe he knew all along that you weren't serious?

- Kathy

9:35 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, Tiarnan's sentence construction does seem rather advanced. I recall him putting together some three word sentences when he was eight months old...

I don't think he knew I was not serious at first - because of the look on his face. He really thought something had grabbed a hold of Daddy's hand. That is why he said: "Daddy, look! It's gone!"

His bravery is interesting. Fintan shares it too. I will have to think about its origins.

Best wishes to you.

9:41 PM  

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