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 +

Friday, November 12, 2010

Unexpected meals.

My wife and I came home the other night, with some Mexican food. Ainan was still up and he expressed great interest in this strange cuisine. He duly tucked in.

I looked over at him, as he enjoyed this new offering of flavours, for he was eating as if he had not eaten at all, that night and asked:

"Is that your second dinner, tonight?" (For we had left dinner for him, before we went out).

He looked over at me, in silence and took another enthusiastic bite. Then he shook his head slowly and held up three fingers of his right hand, in silence. He was holding the fajita wrap in his left hand.

"Your THIRD dinner?!", I found myself, exclaiming, rather surprised at the capacious appetite of my slender son.

He smiled a little, as is his way: with him the littlest expressions are used to speak loudly of his inner thoughts - and gave me a little nod.

"Yes.", said my wife, Syahidah, in support, "They had pizza, after dinner, as well."

This was all rather a surprise to me. I can't remember ever having three dinners, in my own childhood. Or even wanting to have three dinners!

I remembered then, an incident, over six months ago, on a Saturday morning, when Fintan, six at the time, came into my room.

"I want my second breakfast!", he requested, with some urgency. He was hungry. He behaved as if he hadn't eaten at all, though it was probably no more than an hour since he last had. Anyway, I duly got him his second breakfast. I thought, then, what I think now: that this behaviour so reminded me of Tolkien's hobbits, whom he stated were prone to second breakfasts. It seems to me that Tolkien may have been observing his own children's behaviour when he wrote such. My kids have second breakfasts, and now, third dinners. I think this is a sign of much growing to come. Perhaps Ainan will not seem so young, for long...perhaps, given his evident appetite these days, he is soon to be growing rather fast. In a way, that thought is a sad one - for he seems to be growing up so quickly. It will only be a handful of years, now, before my "young son" as he was, will soon be a young man.

The funny thing about this is that all my sons are so slim (though Fintan is well-built AND slim). Yet, the way they eat, you'd expect them to be overflowing with excess flesh. I certainly couldn't eat like they do: I wouldn't even be able to muster the ability to chew on my THIRD dinner, never mind swallow it.

I had become accustomed to thinking of Fintan as the one who was always hungry, or seeming to be, no matter how much he ate - but now, Ainan, too, is taking on this characteristic. I think it is a portent. Soon, I shall be surrounded by towering young men, who once had been my little sons - and it all begins with those unassuming words: "second" and "third", placed before the names of meals.

I hope only this: that they stop having second breakfasts and third dinners, once they finish growing. Otherwise, I really will have BIG sons - in the worst possible way. For now, however, the food seems to disappear without trace: it goes in, but seems to have no effect. They are not fat nor getting so. They are not big in other ways, either. It seems that they are growing, day by day, without me being able to discern it, except, in retrospect, by the marks upon a wall. The food changes them, without me being able to see the change in action.

Happy eating, boys. When you are all grown up, you just won't be able to believe how much you ate as kids. This post shall let you know.

(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.There is a review of my blog, on the respected The Kindle Report here:

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:37 PM 


Blogger tearsunderstars said...

Mr Cawley,

I had a similar appetite when I was a child. I remembered snippets of myself eating a large bowl of porridge, followed by a packet of instant noodles, followed by a bowl of cornflakes. And at another time I ate two large bowls of spaghetti within an hour. Eating delicious food was a childhood joy. It can also serve to de-stress from studying. I grew sideways gradually though.

However, now I can't do that at all, for several reasons. My stomach now reacts violently to excess of food. It hurts whenever I eat a little too much. Also, for health, and of course, appearance (especially much more so for women). I remembered I was teased for having too much flesh at one point, and since then I had self-image issues, which caused me to go over to the other extreme of uncontrolled dieting. Growing up can be painful at times. I learnt moderation the hard way.

It's nice to have high metabolism like a child. The food is eventually transferred to height and energy, rather than unwanted weight and not so much energy in adults. Of course, the choice of food is also very important.


2:32 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...


So far, my sons don't appear to be growing though they seem to eat a lot, they must have something good to do with it. I rather think a lot of it does end up as "energy" (they are always up to something). Then again, both Fintan and Ainan are tall for their age, so that has probably something to do with it as well.

I am glad you managed to find dietary balance in the end. Be careful with overdoing can lead to real health issues.

Best wishes.

2:46 PM  

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