On raising children with extraordinary talents:

“When Kit was 3, a supervisor of his play group told May that he let other children push him around. ‘I went in one day and saw another child snatch a toy away from him,’ May said. ‘I told him he should stand up for himself, and he said: “That kid will be bored in two minutes, and then I can play with it again. Why start a fight?” So he was mature already. What did I have to teach this kid? But he always seemed happy, and that was what I wanted most for him. He used to look in the mirror and burst out laughing.’ May enrolled him in school. ‘His teacher told me that she wanted her other kids to grow up in kindergarten,’ she said. ‘She wanted mine to grow down.’

“By age 9, he had graduated from high school and started college in Utah. ‘The other students often thought it was strange that he was there,’ May says, ‘but Kit never did.’ His piano skills, meanwhile, had advanced enough so that by the time he was 10, he appeared on David Letterman. Shortly after, Kit toured the physics research facility at Los Alamos. A physicist said that, unlike the postdoctoral physicists who usually visited, Kit was so bright that no one could ‘find the bottom of this boy’s knowledge.’ A few years later, Kit attended a summer program at M.I.T., where he helped edit papers in physics, chemistry and mathematics. ‘He just understands things,’ May said to me, almost resigned. ‘Someday, I want to work with parents of disabled children, because I know their bewilderment is like mine. I had no idea how to be a mother to Kit, and there was no place to find out.’”