Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Childhood amnesia

I just read this abstract and was hit in the face with the fact that Scott is going to forget nearly every last thing that's happened in his life thus far!  They all are.  We all did.  But Scott!  He's so conversational, and he can recall in such detail the last 2.5-3 years of his life.  I thought he was special and would get to hang on to all of those gorgeous memories.  

The paper, titled The onset of childhood amnesia ... ,  says that children up to age 7 or so recall a good deal of their lives from age 3 on, but remember fewer and fewer events as they age. 

 shed tears!  His first little best friends, California, his first looks at June and Cooper, riding in the U-Haul to Texas, how much he loved the bunk beds, how much he loved dressing up (particularly as Superman/Clark Kent), swimming in Cap 'n' Juju's pool, his pride at how grown-up he looked in his tiny Tae-Kwan-Do uniform ... it's all going to be erased.  I don't want him to loose those memories that are so delightful to him now.

Wondering why this amnesia happens, Luke suggested that childhood is pretty tough and traumatic to go through, even when it's a happy childhood.  Lots of tantrums, lots of frustration.  Maybe forgetting helps.  I, ever the parenting pessimist, thought it was so the child could still love the mean ol' mama that raised them into the fine young human they are after age 7.  There are certainly a few times I've when I've lost my own temper that I'm glad he'll forget.

But mostly, ugh.  Crushed.  These beautiful little childhoods fading away. 

Thinking deep, here are my earliest memories:

  • Standing on a chair in a dimly-lit restaurant in Wisconsin to play an arcade game (Mom and Dad told me it was a fish restaurant down the street from our house and a bowling game)
  • Laying on orange and red shag carpeting and being aware of Mom taking care of Karen somewhere up above me, maybe on a changing table, and being filled with a very safe, happy, content feeling
  • Sitting in a hollowed-out snow bowl in our yard in Wisconsin
  • Sitting alone on the upstairs landing in our home in San Antonio and making Barbie and Ken kiss, worried that doing so was wrong
  • Being 5, waking up late in the morning, and Mom bringing me a sandwich while I watched a kiddie show before going to kindergarten, feeling like the queen of the world
I remember almost none of our trips to museums, parks, and theme parks, though I know from pictures we were there.  I recall only a couple things about school before 3rd grade.  Almost nothing about people outside my family, and largely only feelings about them: closeness with Karen, thinking my Mom was perfect, blurred, combined memories of my Dad coming home in his uniform with his legs cold when I hugged them.

Scott just wandered downstairs while I typed this and asked to be re-snuggled to bed. 

1 comment:

Karen said...

Awww... 1) Scott IS special. And yeah, although he (and all of your other children) will forget the vast majority of the experiences he's had, those experiences have helped shape him into the boy he is and the man he'll be. 2) Love your recollections! How sweet. Is is terrible that I don't think I have ANY before Kinder? 3) Maybe you should do an experiment with Scott and ask him to pick one memory that he wants you to help him remember. Then come up with a code word or smell or something unique about it and try it out in 1,5, and 10 years!