6 Prodigies With Pacifiers

Detail of "Coral Nebula" by Aelita Andre (photo courtesy of Deborah Greenhut)
Detail of "Coral Nebula" by Aelita Andre (photo courtesy of Deborah Greenhut) / Detail of "Coral Nebula" by Aelita Andre (photo courtesy of Deborah Greenhut)

Everyone’s child is beautiful and smart and precious and great. There is no disputing that. But, there are some children in the world who may have “found their calling” quicker than their peers. The list below features some smart kiddos in the worlds of art, music, and sports, as well as some general brainiacs who make us all feel like underachievers.

1. Aelita Andre, Pint-sized Pollock

Aelita Andre is a well-known Australian abstract painter. Her material of choice is canvas, with acrylic paint in many colors, but she also includes glitter, masks, fabrics, and plastic dinosaurs in her work. And did I mention that she’s six?

Aelita’s parents are both artists, and they say she started taking an interest in their work when she was only nine months old. When Aelita was 22 months old, her paintings were shown to Mark Jamieson, director of Brunswick Street Gallery. Jamieson agreed to include the works in a group exhibition at the gallery, unaware that his newest artist was not yet two. Over the next few years, Aelita was able to sell her paintings for approximately $30,000.

Aelita had her first solo exhibition at the Agora Gallery in New York City in the summer of 2011. She was reported to have visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her family at the time, asking her mom and dad “Where are my paintings?”

2. Ryan Wang, Mini Mozart

“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

“Practice, practice, practice.”

That must be the motto for Ryan Wang, who played at the legendary concert venue this year as part of the 2013 American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition. Wang has been playing piano for less than two years, but at five, that’s nearly half his lifetime. In comparison, Mozart learned his first musical piece at the same age.

Wang, who is from Canada, began his musical journey playing the keyboard for fun. His mother noticed his talent and found him a piano teacher. His favorite song is “Variations on a Russian Theme.” In a television interview with Ellen DeGeneres a few months ago, Wang told the host that he never gets nervous, and that his favorite subject is math. “But it’s just ‘baby’ math,” he added.

3. Titus Ashby, Baby Baller

Titus Ashby became a viral sensation this year for his ability to sink baskets with more ease than many NBA players. “Trick-shot Titus,” who is two, appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live in June and was pitted against the Shaquille O’Neal in a friendly shootout. Titus hit eight buckets, while Shaq made none. He appeared on Kimmel’s show again to face Kobe Bryant, and the shootout ended in a tie.

Titus is originally from Kansas, and is not just a one-trick pony. He can hit layups, and jumpers. He can bounce the ball off the floor and into the hoop. He can hit the ball off the backboard of one basket and through the rim of another. And, he can shoot blindfolded. Titus’ skills are reminiscent of the games of HORSE Larry Bird and Michael Jordan used to play for McDonald’s. Those commercials first aired 20 years ago.

4. Onafujiri “Fuji” Remet, Petite Paparazzo

In just three short years (or, you know, his whole lifetime), Onafujiri “Fuji” Remet has amassed a portfolio of more than 3000 photographs. Born in Nigeria to a very creative family (his father and two sisters are artists), he received his first camera before the age of one, and it’s estimated that the device was approximately one-fourth of his size.

Fuji’s pictures encapsulate a wide range of Nigerian culture—from the street vendors, to the traffic, to his sister, Onarietta, dressed in native garb. He shared some of his work with CNN this past summer, in addition to being showcased at an exhibition in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. But, according to his mother, photography is nothing more than playtime fun for her toddler, and Fuji enjoys capturing the things he sees in his everyday life.

5. and 6. Elise Tan-Roberts and Adam Kirby, Mensa Minds

According to the Telegraph, London’s Elise Tan-Roberts was just five months old when she said her first word, and eight months old when she started to walk. At 16 months, she could count to 10. When her parents took her for an I.Q. test in 2009, Elise notched an I.Q of 156. At two, she became the youngest person ever to join the high-I.Q. society Mensa.

Adam Kirby, also from London, joined Mensa this year. Slightly older than Elise was when she joined the organization, Adam became the youngest male to join Mensa at 2 years and five months old. With an I.Q. of 141, it is reported that Adam potty-trained himself after reading a book on the topic. Just as a reference point, the average IQ is 100.

Have these real-life baby prodigies inspired you to cultivate genius in your little one? The latest edition of our Floss:Handmade initiative features fun, smart baby stuff you won't find just anywhere: a statistically-inspired jumper, wooden nursery decor featuring images from actual pages of vintage children's books and a jumper complete with pocket protector and bow tie that just screams geeky class!