All children’s names have been changed.

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Example Pete (anonymous)

Pete has spot on the sofa underneath the two lamps on the wall. His mother’s and his aunt’s first baby shoes dangle from these lamps as a reminiscence. He has slept here many times looking at them.

Today he is 11 months and 30 days old, I’ve got him on my arm and I’m walking into that room with those lamps on the wall. He sees the shoes and as always he wants to grab them and suddenly bursts out laughing. He looks over top the other lamp and laughs again. Apparently he all of a sudden thinks it peculiar that shoes should be dangling from lamps.

Date of publication in German: March to 2011

Example by Isabel Bonifert-Manig, Bonn

Janna (4;4) likes the story “A Fat Man Hiking” [“Ein Dicker Mann wandert”] by Bruno Fuchs, she finds it funny. Her favourite scene that makes her laugh really hard is when the fat man runs into a teacher who claims to know nothing at all. She asks the man who wants to help her: “Does a bee bark? Does a fish grumble? Does a goat sing?“ The man says no, but he also answers the questions wrongly: It’s the mouse that barks and the cow that grumbles. Janna is rather amused about these grown-ups, who don’t even know the simplest things.

Asked if she could answer the questions correctly, she laughs and says: „It’s the bee that farts and the fish that bellows.” “Right, thank you”, I answer. The other children scream “Noooo! That’s wrong, too!” Janna and I exchange a wink of an eye, and I say to the group: „Yes, you’re right. That was wrong, too. Janna and I were just joking, but now we’ll set it right.”

Date of publication in German: October 30 th , 2008

Example by Hanna Vock, Bonn

It’s that same kind of humor as described above that I have been able to observe in gifted children, who are yet on the verge of speaking, just learning to articulate and make use of the first maybe 100 words of their mother tongue.

A girl (1;8) is amused when her mother points at a chair and asks: „Is this a book?“ The child bursts out laughing and says: “No, t’air” (chair). After another few questions the child spontaneously takes over the active part and asks, pointing at the Teddy-bear: “Is that ball?” and when mother answers: “No, that’s a doll”, the child screams of joy and shouts: “No, Tetty!” (Teddy-bear).”

Some 3 months later that same child is mocking a dog, which is curiously sniffing on the child’s glove: “That’s a glove. … Say ‘ g l o v e ’, doggy. That’s a bag. Say ‘ b a g ‘, doggy.“ – and she is just about to crack up laughing. As her mother asks her what’s so funny the child responds: “Mommy, c’mon, you know te doggy don’ ’peak.”

Date of publication in German: October 30 th , 2008

Example by Hanna Vock, Bonn

A mother in a parent-consultation relates this:

Maja (name changed) came to our kindergarten staying whole days. The 3- to 4-year-olds take a nap at midday. Maja was 3;1 at the time, so she was supposed to lay down and sleep in the gym for one hour along with everybody else.

She had, however, quit taking naps during the day two years earlier. She did like everything else at kindergarten, for example telling jokes to the older children or to the teachers. Especially the main teacher of this group greatly appreciated how skillfully she told jokes. But the midday resting time was a real bane for her and this eventually led to her resisting being taken to the kindergarten at all.

A conversation between the mother and the main teacher went like this:

Mother: „Maja doesn’t want to go to kindergarten anymore because she just can‘t sleep during midday rest and the time is excruciatingly long for her.”

Teacher: „Yes, we’ve been noticing that, but we can’t make an exception for one single child. (See also Social Part in the Group …). On top of that we need the time as some teachers have to take their lunch break at that time and others are cleaning up in the kitchen.”

The mother told her child about this conversation.

Maja, in spite of her distress, had several good ideas:

“I won’t disturb the teachers when they’re taking their break.”

“I am able to towel the dishes, I could help in the kitchen.”

“I could tell them jokes.”

The mother told the teachers at the kindergarten about Maja’s ideas. Maja herself approached her main teacher on this and made the suggestion, that she could help with the dishes and tell jokes.

The teachers couldn’t turn this commitment and initiative down and therefore agreed to try it.

Result: Maja never bothered anybody, wiped the dishes dry and would have another new joke to tell every day. She had her whole family on the case, buying humor books to supply for the high demand.

This very young gifted child exhibits an extraordinary ability to understand many different jokes. It had already developed a sense of different kinds of humor. This may serve as one indicator of intellectual giftedness.

This 3-year-old for example used to tell these jokes and found them hilarious:

>Says one milk bottle to the other: „How are you?“ Answers the other: “Leave me alone, I’m bad!”<

(= Example of an understanding of wordplay)

>A mouse and an elephant are going for a swim together. The mouse is the first to get in. That’s when the elephant realizes it forgot to bring its swimming suit. It shouts out to the mouse: “When you come out, will you lend me your trunks?”< (= Example of an early understanding of absurd proportions)

What’s also remarkable is this: The child had long been able to – with the help of her mother, but also with the help of her very own thinking and speaking skills and a strategy she had come up with all by herself – enforce her will (= not having to sleep in kindergarten). This indicates a notable social giftedness.

Date of publication in German: October 30 th , 2008

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