Thursday, January 18, 2007

Human Encyclopedia

I love that Son #1, age 11 and a half, is a human encyclopedia. I wouldn't say that he has a photographic memory, like Akira Haraguchi who managed to recite pi's first 83,431 decimal places from memory (yes, that's eighty-three thousand decimal places). It took him 16 hours according to wikipedia.com. But I digress....

Back to Son #1. He definitely has the ability to retain and recall a huge amount of information. Planning our upcoming family vacation got me thinking about it. I half-joking asked each of my sons, "where do you think we should go on our family vacation?" We had already been decided, but I was curious to see if it would end up on any one of the boys' lists. (It didn't. But I think that's because I'm always complaining how expensive it is.)

I don't recall what the younger two suggested. Son #1, however, wanted to visit Cyprus. Excuse me? "You know, the Mediterrean island nation." Okay, I've heard of it. He goes on, with this tone that says DUH!: "One of the seats of early civilization? Part Greek, part Turkish?" Oh, that Cyprus. Of course. Uh no.

He can recall the most minute details, arcane facts especially about animals, geography, and past civilizations (both factual and fictional). Son #1 is a Boy Scout. There are many wonderful qualities about scouts, but often it seems, "cool" isn't exactly one of them. Yes, I know there are exceptions. This isn't about one of them. One of the adult leaders in Son #1's troop is a Tolkein buff (Lord of the Rings, etc.). He and Son #1 had a little debate one day. They were trying to stump each other with Tolkein trivia. Little did Mr. E know that in addition to reading The Hobbitt, The Fellowship of the Rings, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, and the unfinished prequel, The Silmarillion, Son #1 also this Encyclopedia of Tolkein characters and can recite their genealogy. Needless to say, Son #1 won the debate. And if he were reading this, he'd point out to me that The Silmarillion was actually completed by JRR Tolkein's son and published after his father's death.

He's a stickler for details. He does drive his teachers nuts a bit, because heaven forbid they get one teensy, unimportant fact wrong, Son #1 will point it out. We're working on his diplomatic skills. His science teacher doesn't seem to mind. She told me she turned the class over to him to teach once because he seemed to know more about certain rock formations that she did. While he was speaking, she was fact-checking the info and sure enough, the little bugger was right.

Which is another issue. He thinks he's always right. It would be really annoying if it weren't true. When he was nine, he wrote a letter to the publisher of a dinosaur book because one of the tables had the name of a particular era (paleozoic, perhaps) listed with the wrong years. The horror! They didn't even bother to respond. He briefly considered returning the book to the store because "it was inaccurate" but ultimately decided to correct the error with his own pen and keep the book because "the pictures were cool."

As I said before, I don't think he has a photographic memory (how does one tell anyway?), but his brain must be hyper-organized that he can recall things so quickly and completely. He can remember the teensiest details about books we've read together six years ago. I don't know where he gets it from. Certainly not from me. I can't remember what I had for breakfast.

12 comments:

The Flip Flop Mamma! said...

Wow! I think that does qualify as a photographic memory. Especially if he can recall books that you read to him when he was 5!! Maybe he'll grow up and find a cure for cancer or something. Or at least be a Doctor and buy you lots of stuff. LOL

Nikki said...

That is so cool.

I wish I could do that. I can't remember my anyt....what was I saying?

Elle*Bee said...

Oh, he's destined for big things, I think. He's a very sweet guy, but he's also the one who has the most challenges (speech impairment, ADHD, very small for his age, the term 'Aspbergers' has been mentioned more than once, but he hasn't been tested, seizure, not recently, thank goodness). But I do believe that God grants us special graces through adversity. That's why I think He has special plans for my boy.

Elle*Bee said...

Hi, Nikki, you must've been commenting while I was posting my reply to flip flop mamma.

His memory does amaze me. He and I have both been formally diagnosed with ADHD, but few things seem to 'stick' in my brain, while almost everything seems to stick in his. Which just goes to show that he's paying attention even when we think he isn't. :-)

I think my brain is too cluttered with TV theme songs, the cast and characters from virtually every 70's and 80's sitcom, and stupid song lyric. That's why I can't retain any useful information. (But it's also why I'm pretty good at the Trivial Pursuit Genus Edition's pink and orange categories!)

Nicole said...

I am speechless. That is amazing. None of my kids are quite that smart I'm afraid. That is awesome. I bet he will grow up and invent something that will help humanity or something cool. Sounds like you have a little genius on your hands.

Elle*Bee said...

nicole, there are so many different kinds of 'smart'. I'm sure your kids are just as gifted as mine seems to be, just perhaps in a different way. If it's any consolation, he's completely clueless about "social conventions" which is why I think Aspbergers was twice suggested (altho' he hasn't been tested). He is wicked smart, but lacks the intuition to know that 'uh oh, my smart assed nature offended someone.' :-D LOL

As for inventions, so far none of his has made it off the paper, as evidenced by the fact that our garage hasn't exploded (yet).

Anna said...

I, too, am speechless! Mine are only ages 6 & 3...so I don't know what they will be like when they are 11. Your son sounds like a real life genius..seriously! The Einstein of this century?? Wow...amazing stuff!

Lala's world said...

ok he sounds amazing! a scientist in the making or what???!!!
and so excited for you and your family going to see Mickey! I can't wait to take our girls there!

thanks for all the encouragement and prayers! you're awesome~

Elle*Bee said...

Anna, it's getting tougher to parent a kid who'se clearly smarter than I am... (sigh) LOL

Hi, lala, he loves science and geography. For years he wanted to be a paleontologist, but now, thanks to Star Wars Episode Whatever, he wants to be a bounty hunter. :-O Never mind the fact that he's only 4'3" and 55 lbs soaking wet. The way be creates things with Legos makes me think he might be good at engineering or inventing. Of course the way he debates the rules and tries to find loop holes, perhaps a career in law (apologies to my attorney friends).

Sue said...

I used to be able to remember things. Then I had a child.

Sounds like he is destined for great things!

Jenmomof4 said...

Sounds like you have a little Mensa child!! You are going to love Disney!! How fun is that. When are you going?

Elle*Bee said...

hi jen, we're going the week of Mardi Gras because the kids have a whole week off of school. It's a long day's drive, but we'll get there on Sun, Feb. 18 (Son #3's bday) and return hom the following weekend. I'm looking forward to it, but I'm a little overwhelmed about all the places to see and things to do!