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 +

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The power of the unconscious

It was four months ago, now, when Tiarnan was but ten months old, and I haven't found a moment to tell the tale, until now.

We had become accustomed by that time, to see Tiarnan go comfortably down the stairs on his own. After all, he had first tackled the stairs successfully at five months and so we had come to see little reason to fear his meanderings up and down stairs: he had clearly mastered the skill.

That morning however, as I was talking to my wife, Tiarnan approached the stairs, a few metres away, in the background. Some uncanny feeling alerted me that all was not as it should be. There was something about his gait, about his angle and speed of approach that concerned me. Just as he stepped out into the air, it became clear that he had misjudged it - he was falling down the stairs, headfirst.

I don't know what happened in that moment. Some old part of me awoke. A more youthful part. A very much faster part of me that I had thought lost long ago, in my teens, aroused itself. I leapt forward with a speed I did not know I still possessed, crossed those few metres and reached out with my left hand and closed my fist tight about his shirt, as he fell down the stairs. To my astonishment, that of my wife - and no doubt that of Tiarnan himself - I found myself clutching my ten month old baby with his face suspended above the steps, inches from contact. He had not struck the stairs at all. All that movement of body and arm and snaring of baby had happened in a time too short to consciously observe - and yet there he was, floating in space above the steps, held by my reflexively tight fist.

It has been many years since I had moved like that - many years since I thought I still could. Grateful to whatever within me had saved him, I set Tiarnan down on the ground above the steps. He was completely unharmed.

Had he fallen down the steps headfirst, he might be another Tiarnan today - one very much lessened by the incident.

I am thankful that it did not happen.

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

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 8:52 AM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Good for you! And him!

It reminds me of the time that I almost fell from a doorstep. I did some really complex dance, almost like a gymnastic, and it was totally automatic. My head almost hit the floor, but my feet never left the ground. There was a woman who saw the whole thing. She said it made her stomach churn.

But I was fine.

- Kathy

11:55 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, sometimes uncanny things happen when you least expect it. There is, I believe, more to us all than we might suppose - and so much of it is unconscious.

Best wishes

5:28 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape