I See a Small Digit, 1 to 10 . . . a Thumb!

What's on your mind? Derek Ogilvie, a.k.a. the Baby Mind Reader, with 18-month-old Lily Reingold. (By David Segal -- The Washington Post)

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By David Segal
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 4, 2007

NEW YORK, June 3 -- The ordinary observer might assume that the thoughts of Rainen Solomon, a burbling 17-month-old in powder-blue shorts, hew to basics, like "hungry" and " very hungry." Derek Ogilvie, a.k.a. the Baby Mind Reader, is picking up more complicated signals.

"He's telling me he had a problem with his tummy around 2 1/2 months ago," Ogilvie says, jotting down notes on a pad and staring at the boy.

Ogilvie is sitting on the floor of an apartment on the Upper West Side, where he has come to demonstrate what he modestly calls his gift: the ability to commune telepathically with young folk, specifically those from 1 to 3 years old.

A native of Scotland, Ogilvie is a minor phenomenon in England, where he was the star last year of a four-part TV series called "The Baby Mind Reader," and where he performs as a medium in theaters around the country. He is scheduled to make his debut in the United States this morning on the "Today" show.

On Saturday he agreed to attempt a psychic connection in the homes of two families he'd never met. First up: Rainen, whose mother, Jenny, is sitting on a sofa, eagerly awaiting the first-ever bulletin from inside her son's noggin. The problem is that little of the information that Ogilvie is conveying makes sense to her.

"I don't remember anything with his tummy," she says, genuinely mystified.

"Do you not remember him touching his tummy here?" Ogilvie says, tapping his own stomach. He is a slight man, with thinning, blondish hair, and speaks with a heavy Scottish accent, turning "toe" into "too." "It was around the time he was having trouble lacing up his shoes."

Jenny thinks about that one for a moment. "He doesn't have any shoes with laces," she shrugs.

"Let me give you more information," Ogilvie replies, the first hint of exasperation creeping into his voice.

It's a tricky business, this baby whispering. As Ogilvie explains, he gets images from inside the minds of kiddies, and he can't control the images he's sent. He says he has helped dozens of parents understand what is troubling their little ones -- solving sleep issues, eating problems, you name it. But some tots are more "open" than others, and Rainen seems shut down. Or maybe he's a prankster. "Mmmm gllaaaaaaaa," he says, popping a plastic bottle in and out of his mouth.

"For some reason, he's showing me the stove, the left side of the stove, and the left burner on the stove," Ogilvie continues. "Is there something wrong with that part of the stove?"

"There's nothing wrong with the stove," Jenny says. "Maybe it's my mother-in-law's stove. She lives next door."


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