According to Hunter S. Thompson, "Weird behavior is natural in smart children." I think parents around the world just breathed a collective sigh of relief, right? At least now I know why my kid is so damn strange. Well, OK, I kind of doubt that weirdness is an effective tool for discerning "smartness," but I'll stick to Thompson's theory anyway. Honestly, there are so many creepy things really smart kids do, that good old Hunter couldn't have been that far off the mark.
Maybe it's because they aren't as "socialized" as regular kids, as (in my experience) they'd rather have their head buried in a book than run around a playground. Or, perhaps it's because their interests tend to be more obscure and, well, sometimes downright obsessive. My friend's son had an encyclopedic knowledge of dinosaurs from the time he was in preschool. Now that he's older (he hit double digits recently), he's absolutely obsessed with collecting every single element on the periodic table of elements. Clearly, that isn't possible (it's actually illegal to possess Plutonium because, you know, hello danger), but these are the kinds of things that really smart kids do. They're super endearing and adorable but kind of odd and even a little creepy.
I'm not yet sure whether any of my younger kids fit into the category of crazy-amazing intellect, but if acting creepy is a sign, at least one of them is inching towards genius. If you're wondering the same about your kid, here are a few creepy things all smart kids do:
They Go From Barely Talking, To Speaking In Full Sentences
Particularly verbal kids who can articulate their thoughts ands feelings from an early stage can, you know, seem strange. The famous story in my family is how my stepdaughter basically went from saying a few words here and there, to saying her first sentence, which was, "A message from the government of Canada." She was barely one. That, my friends, was incredibly creepy. I mean, is the country of Canada bugging my baby? What in the hell is going on?!
They Remember Things That They Should Be Too Young To Remember
The other day my daughter randomly asked about the time we went to visit the mountains. She was 18 months old at the time, and now she's almost five years old. How?
They Start Reading Impossibly Early
It often starts with "proto-reading," where kids pretend to read to their stuffed animals, but then it seems as though they randomly start recognizing words, even though they've never been formally taught. It's crazy.
A year ago, my daughter was grocery shopping with me and we stopped in front of a display of Special K cereal, which I've never eaten as an adult and literally no one in my life buys or consumes or even has around. She looked at it and then turned to me and asked, "What's so special about it?" I had to peel my jaw off the floor and then consider dunking her in a vat of holy water. I've seen too many scary movies for this to be OK.
They Remember Their Dreams From A Young Age
Their dreams start out as memories of what happened last night, at least in my experience. My daughter was asking if I remembered how we went canoeing at the cottage last night, when it was the middle of winter and we hadn't been to the cottage in months.
They Obsessively Collect Or Learn About Things
It could be the 68 shells your kid insists on keeping from vacation, which they then separate into categories of shapes, or the fact that they know about the eating, mating, and nesting habits of 47 different dinosaurs. When they're four.
They Arrange Their Toys In A Very Specific Order
It's something out of a Paranormal Activity movie. My kid really shouldn't care if things are in the correct, perfect order from tallest to shortest or biggest to smallest or darkest color to lightest color. Possession, I tell you. This is a sign of possession.
They Have Extremely Complex Imaginations
I'm all for an active imagination and, honestly, work hard to make sure that I never stifle my kids' incredible minds and what they concoct within them. Having said that, those active imaginations are creepy. Like, kid, I don't want to pretend that there's this horrific thing happening or someone need this insane operation you shouldn't even know about yet or, well, you get the idea.