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My child will be 2 in November. Her time clock for being a child prodigy is running out. And so far she’s showing no signs of being an overachiever. Who’s going to support me in my middle age? What’s a mom to do? Why didn’t Shirley Temple’s mom write a tell-all? (I can't think of any celebrity child of today whose mom I'd want to take advice from.)

I’ve decided to approach this systematically by taking a good look at all the fields that have spouted child prodigies and evaluating them against Penelope’s emergent talents.

MATHEMATICS Demonstrates knowledge of the quantity “two”.

MENTAL CALCULATOR Remembers that “6” is a number and “blue” is not.

COMPUTER SCIENCE Knows Elmo can be seen on YouTube.

PHYSICS Working on study: “Boom: The Effects of Dropped Milk Cups on Stone Floors”. Needs to write paper.

CHEMISTRY Tweaking her alkaline-base chicken-cheese-apple-milk-Cheerios-peas-bread-plastic Disney princess experiment. Needs to write paper.

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING Prefers Dora over Thomas.

SLEEP DEPRIVATION Apparently not a category.

MEDICINE Tastes too bad.

BIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY Uphill battle against mommy’s genes.

ACTING Shirley Temple was acting and tap dancing in movies at 5. Have 3-year cushion for training. Good on the curls.

MUSIC Channels Yoko Ono in her primal scream days.

LITERATURE Huge “talker” but has yet to rhyme anything with favorite words: hot, cookies, mine, running and Elmo.

VISUAL ARTS Draws as well as elephant. Won’t be happy in zoo.

ACADEMICS Starts school next year.

SHOES Should be a category.

LAW Not a concept she grasps unless she’s the one saying “No”.


MEMORY Working on names of states right after we’re finished with the alphabet. So far we’re up to “B”.

TIME TELLING As long as it’s always six Penelope will qualify. Somewhere in the world its 6’ o clock now.

SPORTS Demonstrates agility on slide.

GAMES Shows interest in chess. Knight B8 to mouth.

WAVING BYE Acknowledges dogs, cats, trees, birds, people, buses, museums and parks.

CUTENESS She knows exactly what buttons to push to get whatever she wants. Thankfully all she wants are cookies now.

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