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 +

Monday, January 09, 2012

A blend of the senses

Firstly, I am sorry to my regular readers that I have not written for a few days. I have been very busy at the turn of the New Year.

Often times, I am grateful at my serendipitous choice of wife. We met by unexpected chance, one day, long ago...and I could not have known the fullness of her talents at the time of meeting, yet, it has proven a good choice in many ways one of which I am about to explain.

My wife complements me (note not compliments me!) in many ways. Where I am not so strong, she is – and vice versa to a great extent. So we are a good match for each other, if the purpose is to seek a wider range of abilities in a couple, than either has alone. One of the ways she is strong, is her sense of smell. Hers is uncanny. She can do things with that sense that I have encountered no-one else being able to do. But that is a tale for another post. This is one about my son, Ainan.

Luckily for Ainan, he has inherited some of my wife’s sense of smell, rather than just my own. This is a useful blend of the senses, because he shows a sensitivity to smell that I do not have. The other day, he remarked: “Every room in this house has a different smell.” Now, for someone with an acute sense of smell, that might be an unremarkable statement – but for me, it was certainly notable since the rooms of the house smell much the same to me. Indeed, if blindfolded, I would not be able to distinguish them, in that way: Ainan, however, could, no doubt.

Smell is very much a part of his experience. He has a strong sensory memory and anything can trigger it. He remarked, the other day, that a particular type of car noise, evoked, in him, a “flashback” to a smell of a friend’s car. He smelt it, again, as if it were there. So, for him (but not for me) smell is a very present sense. It is also one that he uses to evaluate his environment, relying on it in a way that I do not. For him, smell presents a landscape of different places to him, each with its own aroma. To me, only sight and sound do that.

Of course, this leads to one issue any future girlfriends of his will have to be careful about: the choice of perfume. I am rather sure he will have strong views about that. He might even prefer that they have no perfume at all – so that he can assess how they, themselves, truly smell. I know that was a very important factor for my wife...I rather think it will be so, for him, too.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:27 PM 


Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, I just found your blog and I can't even wrap my mind around Ainan's amazing talent! You must be so proud!

Just a quick question: have you ever had Ainan try out chess? It requires the same analytical thinking used in math and science problems, and given Ainan's natural genius at those two subjects I think he could be an amazing chess player.

Also my younger brother is twelve, and he loves math and chess so much that he tutors the subjects to younger kids. He put up an ad in the paper so now he has a number of students. I think its great because it keeps him grounded, and shows him how to help others.

I thought that maybe that would be great for Ainan. I could see him being some prominent Chemistry professor at a famous university in the future, so I thought it would be nice for him to try his hand at it early. Just a suggestion though :)

12:25 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you Unknown, for your suggestion regarding Chess. Unfortunately he is not into it, at this time. Though I like what your younger brother is doing with it - becoming a tutor to others. That is good.

I wish you both well.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Adelaide Dupont said...


So do I like the idea of your brother being a tutor in chess.

I also know two boys who love chess. Their names are Elf and Emperor.

Elf's blog

Emperor's blog

6:07 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks for the links to the chess boys, Adelaide. I am sure it will be of interest to some readers. I will check them out myself.


8:20 PM  

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