My kid has the memory of an elephant.
After I returned from the market, she looked at the contents of my bag and said, “Mama, did you forget more juice? Because we’re out of juice.” I had, in fact, forgotten.
Out of nowhere, she started telling me an insanely accurate story about “the first time I rode on an airplane” and how it took her to Hawaii, where she swam in the ocean and floated on a “banana boat.” This happened more than a year ago.
As I was tucking her into bed, she suddenly got serious about the fact that she needed to go to the indoor playground and conquer the play structure to get to the ball pit. We haven’t been to this playground in months.
It’s all very cute and pleasant … until she remembers curse words. It’s bad enough that she has (a) heard them and (b) retained them. But does she have to remember the right context, too?! And where did she pick up the phrase “Who wants a poo-poo diaper?” (Because I’m pretty sure no one ever has said that they wanted one.)
It’s enough to make me rethink my game a little. Because if I promise the park on a Monday, you better believe she’ll remember it on Saturday, looooong after I’ve forgotten.
(Now that I’m typing this, maybe it isn’t that Alexa’s memory is exceptional, maybe it’s that mine is so lousy. Ha. See also: I can’t remember your name.)
Still, I wonder how many of the things we do today will be in Alexa’s memory for the long run. Will she remember spinning around in circles and singing Beatles songs when she’s 35?
I have very few memories of being 3 or younger. The only one I can even conjure up is of waking up, sneaking out of my room and turning on the TV to Sesame Street all by myself.
Apparently forgetting childhood memories is a common thing. A study that looked into this phenomenon confirmed this, but the reason why is still up in the air, although it probably has something to do with evolving brain circuitry, which isn’t fully formed till adulthood.
From the study:
They found that children as old as 7 could still recall more than 60 percent of those early events, while children who were 8 or 9 recalled less than 40 percent. “What we observed was actually the onset of childhood amnesia,” Bauer says.
There are two sides to this coin, though. H says he remembers plenty of stuff from when he was very young, even back to age 1. Maybe childhood memories are a hereditary thing? If Alexa takes after him, she could very well be talking about the Hawaii trip of 2013 well into her adulthood.
If she takes after me … well, there are always pictures to fill in the blanks.
What about you — have you managed to retain lots of childhood memories? What’s the earliest thing you remember? What about your kids — do they remember every little thing and drive you crazy with minutiae? Let’s discuss in the comments …