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 +

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An obsession with cars, in young children.

My boys are obsessed with cars. At least, if not obsessed, then they are highly knowledgeable about them. Sometimes, I think they are speaking a shared secret language filled with abstruse names, and fine discriminations.

On November 3rd, 2009, I was walking Tiarnan and Fintan to the local shop. As we walked together side by side, Tiarnan, three, casually remarked of a passing car: "That's a Toyota Crown."

Now, I don't know about you, but I wouldn't know a Toyota Crown from a biscuit. So, I looked down at Tiarnan, somewhat stunned, at his assertion.

"Is he right?", I asked of Fintan, six.

"Yes.", Fintan, nodded.

I absorbed his confirmation quietly.

Then Fintan, spoke, again, only to make me feel even more ignorant. "There's a Mitsubishi Lancer GLX.", he pointed, at a parked car.

I looked. I saw a me it was nothing more defined than that.

Then, Fintan did it again.

"There's a Mini Cooper S.", he pointed, at a cute white car.

I felt that I should try to play this game, so, when I saw a familiar symbol, on two cars parked in a driveway I said, "There are two BMW Z3s!" I said this because I could read "Z3" on the back of one of them and they both looked rather similar to me.

Fintan looked at me, appraisingly, as if, perhaps, wondering whether to take pity on me and keep silent.

"That is a Z5, Daddy.", he said, at last, indicating one of the cars - the one I hadn't read the symbol on.

Ah. Oh well, at least one of us knows.

I didn't say anything, however: I just looked more closely and saw that he was right, and I was wrong.

This is not an unusual occurrence. Every day, when we are out with the boys, they will remark on passing cars: on their brand, their model name and number, their engine size, their engine design, their horsepower, their acceleration, the presence or absence of turbo chargers and superchargers, whether they are four wheel drive or rear wheel drive - indeed, they speak of anything and everything to do with cars. It is a shared pastime between the brothers, even though they are of very different ages: 3, 6 and 9 - they all speak of these things. It is funny really, because this line of conversation has only emerged in recent months and I just don't know how they have all learnt so much about cars in so short a time.

What gets me, in particular, though, is that Tiarnan is only 3, but is able to make fine distinctions between car models - and Fintan, too. They are funny boys.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: Thanks.

IMDB is the Internet Movie Database for film and tv professionals. If you would like to look at my IMDb listing for which another fifteen credits are to be uploaded, (which will probably take several months before they are accepted) please go to: As I write, the listing is new and brief - however, by the time you read this it might have a dozen or a score of please do take a look. My son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, also has an IMDb listing. His is found at: My wife, Syahidah Osman Cawley, has a listing as well. Hers is found at:

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 3:06 PM 


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