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Straight Talking Irish kids dumb down for pals while American toddlers sign up for Mensa

Simon Bourke


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Being a nation of begrudgers, we reserve particular condemnation for gifted children.

Being a nation of begrudgers, we reserve particular condemnation for gifted children.

Being a nation of begrudgers, we reserve particular condemnation for gifted children.

Everyone believes their child is the prettiest, the cleverest, most gifted, most angelic being to ever emerge from the womb. “Look at those big blue eyes, that button nose. Smell him, smell him,” they urge as they wave their child in front of you. And, like the idiot you are, you smell the baby, nodding enthusiastically, telling them it’s the nicest smell you’ve ever smelled, that it isn’t like the other babies, it’s a special baby imported straight from heaven, delivered by storks, a genius in waiting, early frontrunner for World’s Most Incredible Baby 2022.

Buoyed by your words, they dream big, envisaging a career in the movies, on the telly, in the halls of one of the great American universities, the kind of life that only the best babies can look forward to. This lasts a while, a few months, maybe a year, until one of two things happens: their baby hits a difficult spell, becomes an ungainly toddler, an ugly duckling; the photos dry up, its dressed in big hats and buttoned up coats all year round, its early promise now nothing but a distant memory. Or, worse again, it proves itself to be nothing more than a run-of-the-mill average baby, capable of counting to 11, maybe 12 at a push, writing its own name, but wholly incapable of learning Spanish and enjoying the works of Shakespeare at two-years-old.


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