Working the remote control better than you can or remembering word-perfect Whitney Houston lyrics – sometimes pre-schoolers will surprise you with how clever they are. So spare a thought for this mum, who openly admits her children are “more intelligent than me”.
At 4, Amber Sunshine has just become the UK’s youngest member of Mensa. And her brother Leon, 5, has also joined the high IQ club. The brother and sister have IQs of 145 and 150 respectively – making them smarter than Barack Obama and David Cameron, and not far short of Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.
“My children are more intelligent than me,” their mum Catherine, 23, from Chelmsford, Essex said. “After we realised how gifted they were, people suggested I get tested for Mensa too – but my IQ is only 140, which isn’t as high as theirs.”
At 18 months old, Amber worked out what makes the sky blue and which foods are unhealthy and why. She began learning French at 2 and is able to work out complex problems children 3 times her age would struggle with.
Leon is a bookworm and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of dinosaurs and the solar system.
Catherine also has a 10-month-old baby, Austin, and hopes he will share his siblings’ love of learning.
“I didn’t realise how talented they were until they were about two,” she said. “When they were young I noticed slight differences in their behaviour – their language skills developed earlier and cognitive thinking skills.
“I had my children young and didn’t have much experience, so I didn’t know any different – with Leon I just thought that’s how kids were.
“When Amber behaved the same way I just thought it was the norm.
“It was only when they started going to nursery and interacting with other children that I realised they were special and more advanced than other children.
“I’m sure there is an element of nature but if you stick kids in front of the television they won’t reach their potential – it’s about what you put into it.
“But I’m not a pushy parent. I still want them to be kids. Children do learn best through play – we have a room in our house dedicated to toys and mess and arts and crafts.”
Both children have now been enrolled in Mensa. “Mensa is a place where they can feel like they belong and not feel like they’re freaks,” Catherine said. “High intelligence children can have emotional and social difficulties. Their brains think in terms of academia which is different to most children.”
The youngest person ever to join British Mensa was Elise Tan-Roberts in 2009 aged 2 years and 3 months. A Mensa spokeswoman said: “Mensa members come from all educational and social backgrounds, including the younger members.”