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 +

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tiarnan, the Defiant

Tiarnan is fourteen months old, with two elder siblings. It is that fact that I wish to consider. How does Tiarnan deal with having two, older, larger brothers?

I will look at the situation through the lens of a single behaviour. Sometimes, there is competition for toys - who plays with what when - between Fintan and Tiarnan, since they are quite close in age, Fintan being three. Occasionally this will mean that Fintan will snatch a toy off Tiarnan, if he is too impatient to wait, or perceives the toy as "his" and therefore rightfully owned (which may, indeed, be the case). So, what does Tiarnan do, if a toy is taken from him?

Well, recently, in the past few weeks, he has adopted quite an amusing response. After being snatched from, he will run off and get another toy. Then he will come back and brandish it in the face of the snatcher, as if to say: "Well, you can't get this one!" He stands there, diminutive and all defiant: it is both sweet and funny - but interesting for what it says of his developing character. He doesn't bemoan his loss. He doesn't cry. He doesn't kick up a fuss - he just goes off and gets another one - and then challenges the snatcher to do the same to his new toy. There is, in this the sense of an admirably robust and resilient personality developing - one that will not be easily thwarted by the actions of others. I think, from the evidence of his style of play, that Tiarnan will be the sort of person who has the persistence to overcome many challenges and always find a way to bounce back.

(If you would like to read more of Tiarnan, fourteen months, or his gifted brothers, including Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and four months, or Fintan, three, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, 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 @ 7:02 AM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is interesting! I wonder if he will try to negotiate a trade...

9:43 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I haven't noticed him trade yet...I will ask my wife if he has done so.

Best wishes

10:29 AM  
Anonymous F-A-D said...

I've meant to post a message for a long while since my Mum told me of the astounding piece of news of Berita Harian. I'm just awed with what I've read. Before my boy was born,I've always wondered how smart babies are born and wanted so much to have one(some would be great too) of my own, and I'm here to learn from you. Since he was a week-old, my husband and I have been reading to him- both books and flashcards. He could recognise the alphabet at 8 months old and verbalise most of it by 12. He could then recognise and utter shapes and colours by 14 months. Reading the Berita Harian on what your family has achieved has been such an inspiration to young couples like us who're constantly trying to give our son the best. In a few months, we are enrolling him in an International School (playgroup) to expose him to the wider society and perhaps social skills that we as parents cannot fully equip him with. My question to you is this- what's your take on this? Do you think sending him to school at this age is alright, or do you think it'd do more damage to all the previous cognitive schema we've been building for him (since I think we've done an alright job at home thus far)? I am afraid that he might be slowed down by the others, or that HE might slow down the others. Are/Were your boys sent to a pre-school group?
Thank you. Twice- Firstly for the inspiration and secondly, for your reply.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first thought that came to mind was "I wonder if he was trying to get the snatcher to drop the first toy, so he could take it back" hehehe...

- Kathy

9:44 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Kathy

I have yet to see him try that manoeuvre: at present it seems to be defiance and a certain cheeky bravery at work.

Kind regards

11:16 PM  

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