Clive Louis has always been the most enigmatic of the children. When he was a newborn, I spent an enormous amount of time trying to “figure him out”; while I did eventually nail down his (very rigid set of) preferences, there was still something about him that intrigued and eluded me. He wasn’t exactly peculiar, but he was very mysterious. I knew that he was very particular and once he hyper-focused on a certain path of thought it was nearly impossible to derail him. We called him our “Bulldog”, because once he was set on something, he locked in and wouldn’t let go.
What really mysterious were the things he would lock onto. You never really knew what was coming. It was as if his head enveloped an exceptionally intricate and complex factory of opinions, questions, stories and projections, ever working, working, working–but he never let on. Only every now and then would something break through into the outside world, and I was always left wondering where did that come from? I could always tell what Ephraim was thinking, but Clivey always seemed to surprise me. He was, as continues to be, the quintessential introvert.
For example: one day, when he was around a year and a half old, we discovered he knew his numbers. I mean, counted and recognized his numbers one through nine. This was astonishing because I hadn’t taught him his numbers. I hadn’t even taught Ephraim, who was nearing three years of age, his numbers, either. I mean, we talked about them and we pointed them out when we saw them, but only very casually. Ephraim didn’t recognize numbers, but Clivey did. And he kept it carefully (though probably unintentionally) hidden until we accidentally caught on.