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, March 16, 2011

Nostalgia for early childhood.

Tiarnan is but five years old. Despite this, he actually feels nostalgic, at times, or least fond of, his early childhood.

Yesterday, Tiarnan was reminiscing with his mum, Syahidah.

“You know, when I was three years old, I watched Primeval...”, his eyes were alight with memories of those first impressions of the TV series. “I was SO small.”, said our little boy.

His mind turned to other memories then. “I remember, when I was a little boy, I got stuck in the lift.”

Syahidah looked down on him, remembering the incident, too. Tiarnan had got stuck in the lift, on his own.

“Do you know WHY I got stuck?”, he asked his mummy, feeling a certain exasperation at the way things were.

She didn’t answer, but waited for him to speak further.

“I got stuck because I was too small to reach the buttons.”

He seemed to be in the lift, again, in his mind, unable to reach up far enough, unable to escape.

Tiarnan felt again the distress of his younger self.

Tiarnan quite often revisits his past. He frequently refers to distant past events, displaying both a clarity of memory and an inability to forget that which touched him.

What is interesting, for me, about this, is the way Tiarnan conceives of himself. He looks back to his younger self, and thinks of that younger version as “so small”...seeing his earlier self as a little boy, someone distant and distinct from his present “mature” state. He sees himself as big, as developed, as more sophisticated than he used to be only two or three years ago. He also thinks of that earlier time as “SO long ago”. To us, of course, it doesn’t seem long ago, at all. To us he has grown up, in an instant.

When he speaks of his earlier self, he seems fond of what he sees there, but also apart from it. He sees himself as Other, as More, than he used to be. It is curious to see how he monitors his own growth and change, over time. He is very much self-aware, not only of his self now, but the self he used to have.

I wonder, now, if he will remember his early childhood, when he becomes an adult. Will he recall his own inward, backward gaze to earlier times? Will he remember his own fondness for his littler self within? I hope so. I would like to talk to him, one day, about how he used to reminisce, on his earlier days. In a way, he is like a little old man, looking back on his life – yet his life has just begun. He considers his past, in the way the elderly do: considering again, important times, highlights, moments of greatness and moments of revelation. Come to think of it, we seem to specialize in little old men. Our house if full of them. It would be funny to see what they will be like when they are actually old men. Sadly, I am unlikely to be around, then, to make the comparison for them. My words, here, shall have to serve in my place. Perhaps they will then be able to make the comparison on their own.

Happy reminiscing, Tiarnan!

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 8:50 PM 


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