Friday, September 29, 2006

Smart kid

When I first heard that my colleague was taking her baby boy to classes, I thought it was a load of crock. To force a new human being into thinking processes that can be dare deemed unnatural.

'To develop the right side of his brain', so I've been told. Apperently, we have been born using this particular half of gray matter until the age of six, after which we switch to the left for the rest of our lives. Which is odd, considering the fact that my head hurts on ALL sides when I start thinking too much for my own good.

Debra brings baby Edward in quite often to the office. Whether he's in the arms of his mother, the maid or snuggled inside his snazzy BMW of a buggy, the outer corners of his partially developed brows would be perpetually pointing to the ground. Initially it was heartbreaking, then it became insipid. Anger, sorrow, frustration, surprise or blatant glee, all the expressions this eleven month-old baby could possibly muster were represented with this meaningless frown.

I'm thinking, if I was sent to school at that age, I'd look worried all the time too.

One day my co-worker wanted to borrow the color printer connected to my PC. With her usual request of the machine being for important documents needed in hard copy for a meeting to be held in two minutes starting from the time of the request, I took immediate action and plugged in her thumbdrive.

As I kept an eye on the printer's progress, I noticed that the pages plodding out of it were of a simplistic visual nature. Just large pictures, and a word denoting each one. I saw a different kinds of sports, then car logos, then currencies from around the world...

"Flashcards for Edward," my co-worker informed me.

As she gaily began to mount the pictures on cardboard squares, my heart started to bleed for little Edward. So much information, so little space. Never in my life had I felt so selfish as to steal a child away from his own parents and raise him as one of my own, in gormless way of the 'Tard. A carefree life full of alphabet burping, booger pottery and earwax scent appreciation.

Debra came in with Edward later in the afternoon, and I asked her about the flashcards. Debra explained that the intelligence center had advised her to give Edward 'homework' to keep him stimulated at home until the next class. She decided to give us a hint of what this would involve.

Debra passed Edward on to another colleague. In a pair of unfamiliar arms, he started to squirm and squeal. Debra quickly got hold of a set of cards which we had prepared for her earlier on.

"Eddy, look here," his mother called. Edward turned to her, all form of sound and movement conceived from his miniscule body suddenly ceasing. His attention was hers to exploit, and thus she began the demonstration.

"Look Eddy, Football! Tennis! Hockey! Bowling! Golf!" Debra flashed card by card, all twenty-odd of them. Never stay on the same card for more than one and a half seconds, that was the rule given to her. All the while, Edward's eyes, now the size of saucers, remained fixed on the cards. The outer corners of is eyebrows, if my eyes were not cheating me, twitched momentarily. It was complete and utter immersion. All my colleagues watched him in awe. I did so in fear. How could this bundle of life who's lived 1/24 of my life possess a power of concentration that supercedes my own?

Once Debra was done, Edward snapped back into itchy-bottomed-baby mode, the same reaction one would expect right after being told to emerge from a hypnosis session at the count of three. Amidst the office spectators, Debra then selected two random cards from the pack, and showed them to Edward side by side.

"Now Eddy, can you show me which one is... Golf?"

Edward casually glanced at Football, then Golf. Tennis, Golf. Golf, Tennis. Tennis. Tennis.

Looking at his mother, then away into a faraway distance, his tiny left hand raised up and splayed its fingers messily on...


Everyone around him gasped in astonishment. A child barely into his first year of existence, being shown an array of sports - an activity he's too young to even comprehend - and the crazy kid points to friggin' Tiger on cue.

Thinking it was a fluke, I asked Debra to test him again.

Debra obliged, and pulled out Swimming and Tennis.

"Eddy honey, which one is Tennis?"

Edward looked at both in the same nonchalant manner as before, raised the same hand, and brushed it across a racket-wielding Martina.

Everyone applauded in delight, except for the 'Tard. She
took a few steps backward, fanning her behind in a frail attempt to disperse the smell of freshly shat pants.

Suddenly, I started visualizing the show I could possibly produce, of Debra and her miracle flashcard baby. Taking them to the streets, showing the mind-boggling trick to curious passerby: young and old, rich and poor. To enchant and enthrall, inspire and intimidate. The new age of street magic. I'd sell it to satellite TV. The ratings would soar. Jay Leno would crack a joke or two. And I'd be bringing home the Benjamins, baby.

I looked at Edward. Edward looked back at me with his insipid frown. I went back to work.

Looks like noone will be sniffing earwax with me anytime soon.


Anonymous ivan said...

edward's just a baby for goodness sake! i'd hate to be him. why cant he just have a normal life as a baby..

gu gu ga ga might have been better than golf,tennis etc.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous damion said...

but then again, imagine the next generation of super smart human beings...
a future worth looking forward in a scientific manner..
and yet it could seem so morally wrong because we were never in their shoes when we were that age...

science and moral never did coexisted...

2:11 AM  
Blogger pugly said...

That kid's going to go crazy in no time from information overload ...

Really, I pity kids these days. They barely have any time left to enjoy their childhood (read: just being children) what with all the piano lessons, tuition, agama school, extracurricular activities, etc, etc. The rat-race begins earlier & earlier.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Albert said...

But what's the point of sniffing something you can't eat?

Uh, I think you know which other receptacle I mean.

9:48 PM  
Blogger :: Lucy had a dog with a lot of fur... :: said...

bah, babies and their geniuses... i was a genius even without bloody flashcards and i turned out quite alright... at least, i think i did...

11:42 AM  
Blogger saintvamp said...

Hopefully this baby geniuses will bring peace on earth and not chaos in the future as influences does also play a major role in a child's development. =p

Being intelligent is one thing but how to use it is another different story...achooo!

3:32 PM  
Blogger f.z.m said...

There pros and cons obviously. the cons as highlighted by pugly and the pros by saintvamp.
Its all about balance! too smart and you'll be a nerdy kinda geeky kinda person and too dumb will mae you a dunm and dumber in real life. So go figure!

1:57 PM  
Blogger disco-very said...

'Gu gu ga ga' is cooler in my opinion. heck, it's even Queen-approved.

thanks for your thoughts. your last sentence rings a lot of truth.

i agree, never been one to support such an upbringing.

talk about food for thought.

i believe that being a genius should be a born trait, not forced, so i'm glad you turned out just dandy.

i share the same hopes. we sure don't need another mind-f*** like Freud anytime soon. haha.

i feel there's no harm in being too smart or too dumb, as long as you make the most of the shortcomings. :P

6:18 PM  

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