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, November 09, 2010

Ainan's teasing sense of humour.

Today, after dinner, I was talking with my sons.

Fintan, seven, confessed, unexpectedly: "I like even numbers." He spoke to me, as if expecting a response from me, but cast a glance across at Ainan.

Ainan's eyes grew mischievous across from me, as if his mind had leapt upon something unsaid.

Fintan's left index finger then pointed across at Ainan, with a short stabbing motion.

"He said: "Even numbers are for girls!"". Fintan was quite put out by this thought of his favourite category of numbers, being corralled for girls' use only.

Now, I knew why Ainan's eyes had seemed so mischievous: they seemed even more so now. A little grin grew on him.

I had to defend poor Fintan's view of the mathematical world, lest he be quite put off it.

"No, that is not true, Fintan: even numbers are for both girls and boys."

Fintan, who had grown stiff beside me, as he had explained Ainan's claim about even numbers, relaxed then, and sat back in his chair.

The conversation then moved on to a discussion of the properties of the numbers themselves, before venturing off into prime numbers.

Fintan was much happier - but now I had had a glimpse into how Ainan, ten, talked to Fintan when I wasn't around. It seems he brought a certain mischievous humour to some of these conversations.

I am glad Fintan mentioned it to me. Now I shall be ready to "untease" him, in future, should it prove necessary.

It is good though, to observe, that Fintan (and Ainan, of course) actually care enough about numbers to make them the subject of after dinner chatter. It should be noted that I didn't introduce the subject: Fintan did. It is funny to note what they think is worth thinking about. Never would I have imagined that numbers could be allocated along gender lines!

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 6 and Tiarnan, 4, this month, please go to:

I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 7:24 PM 


Blogger Jay said...

Hilarious! This is great. I used to have these conversations, but usually with just myself. Occasionally with Dad, and a little less with Mom. We lived out in the country, and my two sisters couldn't have cared less to argue with me about whether or not blue and green would be mortal enemies if personified, and whether or not we were God's daydream, etc. Thankfully, I'm in grad school now, so there's lots of people who want to chat this stuff up. This was the first post I read, but have now gone down the page a ways. If I were 6, I'd hope your kids were on my soccer team or something. haha. Thanks for blogging.

1:08 AM  
Blogger tearsunderstars said...

Mr Cawley, it seems like you've not been receiving my comments, forgive me if I were to spam a bit.

For this post, I was wondering what reasoning Ainan used to conclude that even numbers are for girls only? I know its only for teasing fun, but I wonder what was his train of thought that led him to say so. Having said that, I do like even numbers more. (If it's about gender, I'm inclined to talk)

I was wondering whether you received my comments regarding MOE's censorship. I wanted to know whether I made you uncomfortable. I hope not. Maybe you didn't receive them at all? Here's what I wanted to say:

Here, we don't get rewarded for doing the right things. I gave an example of how so, albeit being not related to yours. I had an eye injury which was hurting very badly, and despite the long queue at the clinic I waited patiently for at least 2 hours. When my queue number was called a middle-aged couple barged into the consultation room despite it was MY turn. I cried because I was in great pain yet the couple showed no consideration. I complained to the staff and they only tell me to wait till they're done. I wanted to tell the couple off but I was too much in pain to feel like arguing. My conclusion is that patience only gets rewarded with uncivilised behaviour.

And after reading your post, I doubted MOE's credibility to lead the education system.

I was hoping you'd leave the post, but as I read the comments in the previous post I understand your reasons to take it down.


6:59 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Jay,

Thanks for the positive is great to hear that you, too, considered questions in such a way. I think that children who do, are, in a way, proto-philosophers and, are, whether they realize it or not, debating in a way that has worth, in the academic world, in time to come.

I am glad you enjoy my blog.

I hope you enjoy grad school.

Best wishes.

10:43 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...


I am unsure of Ainan's thinking re. even numbers. He is asleep now, so I can't ask him. I will have a chat about it soon though and report back, if there is anything to report.

Re. your experience at the Doctor's in Singapore. I think there is too much tendency to defer to "money" in Singapore. They would have seen the middle aged couple as being wealthier than you...and so felt they should allow them to queue jump ahead of you, I rather think. They saw you as young and, they thought, inconsequential in the money stakes. That is my take on it, anyway. Sad, really...

Re. was the best thing to do (take it down)...sorry if I disappointed you in doing so.

Thanks, as ever, for your post.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

I will try. haha. Thank you.

1:09 PM  
Blogger tearsunderstars said...

Mr Cawley,

I think my situation was more of a parallel to your post on "Why does no one speak-out?". Nobody wants to make a ruckus for face's sake, and there was no way to check whose queue number belonged to who before they nothing was done, besides having to accept the injustice in silence. The couple was just VERY inconsiderate, and being unfair to those who actually queued. It definitely wasn't an emergency, otherwise they should have gone to a hospital.

Likewise, for MOE's censoring of child prodigy blogs like yours, or any action before that has been ill-serving (more accurate to say, inaction) by the authorities, there was no justice. But karma happens, Singapore has already lost Ainan, you and your family, for they don't deserve you anyway.

But it's true, that the tendency to defer to money is very strong here, though it may not be the reason for the incident described above. Such an attitude can be very stifling/psychologically damaging/annoying in some ways.

By the way, I admit that I didn't know much about racial discrimination in Singapore before until I chanced upon your blog. Since then, I've done some research on racial discrimination in Singapore to find out more. Here are some links I'd like to post for everyone to see:

Lee Kuan Yew's racial discrimination should be condemned.

Race-Bias Discriminatory Hiring Practices Exist In Singapore?


1:51 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

This keeping quiet for face saving, leads to the perpetuation of unfair behaviour...people really should stand up against injustice whenever they see it. I realize, however, that Singaporeans in particular are trained to shut up and keep quiet, in ALL situations. That is what makes them so easy to control, of course.

Re. your links. I will take a look and see what I think.


2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reminds me of my relationship with my brother...I think the biggest lesson I had to learn growing up was that sometimes certain people need to be spoken to very concisely.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

"Spoken to very concisely"...if you mean what I think you mean, that is nicely put!

3:23 PM  

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