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, August 22, 2007

Construction of the Grand Snail Hotel

Childhood doesn't seem so far away, when one has children to observe, at play.

At the weekend, Fintan, 4, and Ainan, 7, decided to make their snails more at home. (See the post Children and Pet Animals, for background). They decided to build the Grand Snail Hotel.

The Hotel was quite large, if you were a snail. It was built on the landing of the stairwell outside our flat, between our flat and the neighbour. The construction materials were of the lasting kind: polystyrene and a range of plastics (selected, I believe, by Ainan, because the snails would be unable to eat their residence, it being made of inedible plastic. This is always a good consideration, when one's hotel guests are hungry and unable to distinguish between food and furniture.)

The Grand Snail Hotel had all the attributes of a great and thoughtful hotel. Some polystyrene with a dip in it about a foot and a half long, provided what was, to scale, an Olympic sized swimming pool. Another section with a ramp leading up to it (for snails, like disabled people, are not good with stairs, and need ramps to reach elevated areas), provided a kind of dormitory where snails could sleep en masse. There was a snail restaurant providing the best of leaves - the staple being lettuce from my fridge - and even a supermarket, where there was a large store of unused vegetable leaves, for later purchase by any self-catering snail. The entire complex was self-enclosed in its own wall, protecting the nibbling snails from the difficult environment they might find in the world outside. All in all, it was a masterpiece of Snail Architecture. Credit for the Architecture goes to the creative team of Fintan Nadym Cawley and Ainan Celeste Cawley, who were the sole designers of this innovative construction initiative in the nascent hotel field known as Gastropod Tourism.

Anyway, all this actually happened and was carefully explained to me by the earnest architects: Ainan and Fintan. My wife and I were most impressed at the miniature compound they had created for their adopted snail pets.

As we left to go shopping, my wife called back at Ainan and Fintan: "We will take a photograph of it when we get back!"

We were both happy to see the two aspects of character embodied in that work: creativity in designing it in the first place - and the care for animals that they should think to do so in the first place. Besides, it was hilarious to see what they had done to the stairwell: it had become a Gastropod Hotel. There are not many stairwells in the world like that one.

(If you would like to read more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and eight months, or his gifted brothers, including Fintan, aged four years and one month, or Tiarnan, eighteen months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, genetics, left-handedness, College, University, Chemistry, Science, 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 @ 2:28 PM 


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