15 Oct 2010

Toddler Senility

2 Comments Personal Crap, Toddler

You know what gets me? Garrett won’t remember any of this time in his life. I guess he’ll remember a feeling, a general sense of well-being and security (hopefully). But he won’t remember all the cool stuff we do together or all the amazing things he does on a daily basis. He won’t remember how much he loves dinosaurs or how he wakes me up in the morning by saying, “Mom! Ma! Mommy? Mama! Mom. Mom. Mommy?” He won’t remember how proud we were of him when he got potty trained or how much we laugh when he does his “crazy run” in the living room. I hate that he won’t remember the first time he actually liked his broccoli or how we try to get him to tell us about his day at the dinner table.

He won’t remember how excited he was when he saw a Blue’s Clues bouncy in our backyard on the day of his second birthday, or how much fun he had spraying his friends with water on his third. He won’t remember how it felt to feed a cow an apple for the first time or how hot it was the day we went to the Oregon State Fair.

It seems so odd to me that he’s living so much life every day and he won’t remember a damn thing about it. I mean, at three you’re learning new words, new sensations, new tastes and smells. You’re meeting new people and seeing things daily for the very first time. Garrett’s excited to see airplanes and the moon and he loves to pet dogs and ask people their name. How do you take in so much information and not remember later on in life how it all got there?

I think part of it makes me sad because I love the moments we share, and I wish he’d know years from now how great they were. But he won’t. And that’s just odd to me. I wonder why it’s set up that way? Are we not meant to remember this time because it’s too precious? Is it because everything else that comes after this part is so dull that remembering the majesty of the beginning would destroy our souls? Or maybe there’s just not room in our brains to hold all the new stuff we’re learning AND bank it all in our memories.

I try to write as much as possible in his baby book and make some albums of photos. But I wish he was going to remember how perfect he is right now. I wish he’d be able to look back and see how much he makes us laugh and how lucky I feel to be with him, even at 6:30 in the morning when all I really want is a cup of coffee or to go back to sleep… Even in those times, maybe especially in those times, I wish he was going to remember.

But the years will go on and, God willing, we will create new memories as a family. And I will do my damndest to make those times memorable for us and for Garrett.

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Lisa Arch likes being a working actress... but LOVES being a Mom!
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2 Responses to “Toddler Senility”

  1. Reply Sara says:

    Here is the link to the wikipedia article (are they called articles?) on infantile amnesia. I think you should ignore the Freud section – I find it really creepy (but that might just be me). I tend to think the language explanation suits the phenomenon best, but that might also be because I primarily am interested in language acquisition.

    My point is that while the research shows that adults do not remember basic events unless they were really memorable (like ones with great significance or traumas) before about age 3-ish, they do remember what you tell them about those events (and from pictures, stories, etc.). So, for example, if you’re looking at birthday pictures instead of saying “wow, you had fun, right?” you can say something like “I remember that you were sooo excited to see the bounce-thinger when you woke up on your birthday.” Then, his memory can integrate that information: – i was excited, – i had just woken up, -i had a bouncy thing, etc. Does that make sense?

    Also, having good stuff happen to you as a kid is a good thing. Even if he does not remember the particular and specific events, you are building a supportive foundation on which he can make new memories. That’s really important. You are (it sounds like) fostering an independent, verbal little person who is already thinking about things around him and feels comfortable expressing his opinions.

    If you want more scientific articles let me know and I can provide those as well.

  2. Reply Sara says:

    oh man…I forgot the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood_amnesia

    I’m having wow-what-a-week amnesia.

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