04/05/2012 17:51 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Terrible Twos: The Genius

Terrible Twos: The genius Pip Jones

We all have moments when we believe our Terrible Two is bordering on genius, and it's a lovely feeling, the pride welling up when you see them doing something amazing.

Of course, I think both my daughters are bright in their different ways (well, I would). Ruby's particular talent seems to be with recognising shapes and, for a long time now, she has been able to read numbers. She'll not only count, but she can also tell you what any number is from zero to 12 if you show it to her.

Okay, probably loads of kids can do that. But she did do it quite early – before her second birthday, in fact, because when someone gave her a 1-10 counting book, I realised she could already recognise all the figures.

Now she has started recognising letters too. So there you go, that's me bursting (she's almost properly READING!) with pride.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I had a fleeting moment when I went from thinking my daughter was bright to wondering if she might actually be some sort of reincarnation of, um... I don't know. Was there ever a person who knew all things? It was bound to be a woman. I mean a reincarnation of her.

I had walked into the living room to be greeted with another of Ruby's talents – making a spectacular mess. The sight was a bit disappointing to say the least, because the time prior to the few minutes I'd been pottering in the kitchen, I had spent relieving the living room floor of the day's detritus. You probably can't tell from the picture, but underneath those 500 or so Trivial Pursuit question cards is not a lot else (Peppa in her 'boat' was also added in my brief absence).

"Oh Ru!" I said (bearing down on the knowledge it was my own fault for leaving the box within her reach). "What have you done?!"

"Play, mummy!" she said brightly. It was almost her meal time and I soooo did not feel like picking up 400 or so small cards and reinserting them, the right way round, into a box that probably was no longer quite big enough for them.

I sat down.

"Play, mummy!" Ruby said again.

"Ruby," I said, "This is a grown-up game. It's not a game for children."

She passed me a few cards and said: "There go!"

I sighed. "Shall I ask you a question then, Ru?" Well I wasn't getting the flippin' board out, or the bag of colourful choking hazards.


"Okay. What loaded gaming devices were found in the ruins of Pompeii?"

Before I had quite finished, she was speaking over me.


The answer was dice. That she was holding the di in her hand gave me cause to suspect this was a first-time-lucky situation.

"Yes, you're right, it's dice! Shall I ask you another one?"

"Yes." She looked a bit serious and her eyes started wandering.

"What popular game is also known as lotto?"

For a second, I believed she had it. Crazy thoughts whizzed around my head: what is this incredible capacity she has for knowledge? Does she soak up every detail of life with the same ease that normal people breathe air?! Okay, I thought, it's not the hardest question on this card, but how on earth could a two-and-a-half-year-old know that lotto is also known as bingo?! How, how?!

I looked at her. Then I looked at her hand. And then I saw that what was in her hand was a Pingu DVD.


I laughed at myself. "No TV Ru. Come on, third time lucky then lunch. Let's see. Where are adolphs, randolphs and rudolphs performed?"

But Ru was already leaving the room, and when I followed her to the kitchen, she was standing by the door to the garden. She said: "Tramp-line, mummy?"

You can guess what the answer to the question was.

Perhaps she's not a reincarnation of the woman who knew everything, but if serendipities find Ru throughout her life like they did that day, well, it bodes awfully well.