In 2014 when Mabou Loiseau grabbed headlines, she was speaking eight languages — English, Kreyol, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, Mandarin and American Sign Language. The child prodigy from Queens, NYC, was also learning Japanese while taking college level Algebra. What’s more, Mabou, who was just eight years old, could play the piano, harp, violin, guitar, clarinet, drums, conga and the flute.
“I was born smart, duh!”, the polyglot said when she appeared on the Katie Couric show in 2014. She could not be wrong though. The child genius grew up among a family that spoke about three languages, her mother, Esther Loiseau, said. Esther was a piano teacher who taught French at an American school before leaving Haiti for Queens decades ago.
“My husband spoke Haitian Creole fluently so he only spoke to Mabou in Haitian Creole,” Esther said in an interview. “My sister, who lived with us for some time, spoke Spanish fluently, so she only spoke to Mabou in Spanish.
“I spoke French fluently, so I spoke to her only in French,” Esther said.
However, when Mabou was only one year and a half, she started repeating some words in French that she was not yet taught. Interestingly, she knew the meaning of those words, and this was when Esther realized that her daughter had a gift. By age five, Mabou’s parents were spending $1,500 a week on tutors and lessons, including hiring nannies who spoke different languages. She could sing her ABCs in Spanish, read fairytales in Russian and count in Mandarin, Daily News reported.
At the age of eight, her typical weekday was like this:
8 a.m. – 11.00 a.m.: Russian speaking Nanny
11.00 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Lunch break / other activity
1 p.m. -5 p.m.: Arabic speaking Nanny
5 p.m. -6 p.m.: Activity of choice
6 p.m. – 7 p.m.: Music lesson (harp, guitar, violin and/ or piano)
8 p.m. – 9 p.m.: Swimming lessons
Mabou’s days naturally came with so many activities and lessons, but her mom made sure she had enough time to play as a kid. “Many people make that mistake, thinking I am pushing her. She is pushing me. Believe me,” Esther said of her daughter.
Now 15 years old, Mabou recently added more to her list of talents — singing, painting and dancing. Her YouTube channel has more than 9,000 subscribers. She is, however, still working towards her goal of becoming a brain surgeon, singer and lawyer. “I defend myself pretty well, so many I can defend other people. I want to understand the brain. It’s very fascinating. I want to be a singer ….” Mabou said when she was eight.