My dufus-savants

by DaniGirl on July 15, 2008 · 6 comments

in Ah, me boys

I know, the term is officially “idiot savants.” They’re not quite idiots, my boys. They’re plenty smart, they’re just not overly clever sometimes. Dufus seems about the right term for someone who walks out of a public washroom with a vaguely puzzled look on his face and asks, completely lacking in guile, “Did I have underwear on when I left the house this morning?” (They likely got left in the pool changeroom at day camp. At least, that’s what I choose to believe.)

Anyway, dufuses, yes. But savants as well. At the dinner table recently, Tristan announced à propos of nothing, “Mom, I can spell my name backwards.” And proceeded to do so. Then he went on to spell Mommy, Daddy, Simon, Lucas, Costco, Webkinz, and bacon backwards. We were suitably impressed. He even did a few requests. He’s barely learned how to spell things forward by sounding them out, and can do it backwards in his head as well.

But we were positively gobsmacked when we were out with Simon the other day and he announced from the back seat that he could spell “Tristan” backwards — and proceeded to do it flawlessly. Beloved and I regarded each other with open mouths of astonishment. I frankly didn’t think he could spell his own name reliably forwards, let alone spell his brother’s name backwards. This from a four-year-old preschooler who regularly omits the number 14 when counting to twenty.

I’m thinking with a little practice, they’ll be those freakishly precocious kids you see on TV, the ones who can name any country you point at on the map or have memorized the periodic table of the elements in utero. Anybody have the contact info handy for David Letterman’s people?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marla July 15, 2008 at 7:58 am

That is exactly why they are the handsome (as seen in the family photo) genetic material that will make one of them the perfect future husband for my own doofus (I use the American spelling) savant, Josephine. While she regularly tries to pour the entire contents of a 2 litre carton of milk into a 3 oz glass (because she’s “really thirsty, but not enough for a big glass’), she exhibited some remarkable pro-active selling at her lemonade stand by handing people a cup and then telling them that they owed her 10 cents. Oh…that’s not proactive? That’s being a gangster? Either way, it’s brilliant.

2 Karen July 15, 2008 at 10:03 am

Interesting… #4son, who is 3, always omits the #4 form his numerical countings-I think he a issues with the number! My kids want to have a lemonade stand-so they can get money to buy stuff, as #3 says, to get transformer cars-the older #1 &#2 say that we should get duct tape-for #3s mouth! #4 laughs-he is next! Such wonderful children-must be from the fathers genes!!!

3 Batman July 15, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Quick, drop a box a toothpicks and see if they know how many there are…

4 XUP July 16, 2008 at 6:58 am

Funnily enough, I’ve encountered these savant tendancies in a lot of kids. They get focused on some little thing and almost overnight become geniuses at that particular thing. I think it has to do with how very quick their young little brains are — all it needs is a consuming interest in something in order for the brain to process and learn that thing in amazing detail. My nephew, for instance, at about 4 developed an obsession for dinosaurs and became a paleontologist pretty much overnight — there was nothing he didn’t know about the damn things.

5 trixie July 16, 2008 at 7:07 am

Darnit!! Batman scooped my joke. Now I got nuthin’ … (mumbles something about slow on the driveway and a chocolate bar costing about a hundred dollars…).

Sam omits 15 (and 25, 35 etc) from counting. I’m not sure about this, but I *think* that makes him just a titch better than Simon.. heheh…

6 schmutzie July 18, 2008 at 10:00 am

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