Childhood Amnesia

I have always been amazed by my daughter’s ability to remember stories and details from events that I can barely recall myself.  I find myself saying “Oh yeahhhhh…” on a regular basis when she reminds me about a party that we went to three years ago, and what shirt I was wearing to it.  But suddenly, it all seems to be slipping away.  Things that she has pointed out to me repeatedly are now met with a confused expression when I try to bring them up.  Our old house.  Her old babysitters.  Neighbors, friends, even relatives that we haven’t seen in some time.  All gone.  It is baffling and terrifying.

And then my wife sent me this article, after a long discussion about how sad it was that Ruby can’t remember the things that she used to.  As it turns out, this is just how the human brain works.  And, I mean, I guess I knew that.  I obviously can’t remember much of my life before the age of 2 or 3, and neither can pretty much anybody else.  But maybe I figured that, if we kept talking to her about the stories and the memories, that somehow they would just…stay.  But according to the research, age 7 is when the memories of early childhood start to fade.  Ruby will be seven in, whatthewhat!, less than two months!  Ack!

So maybe it’s not preventable.  Maybe kids are just destined to lose these memories because their brain neurons are not developed to the point where they can create lasting connections.  But what can I do?  Nothing?  No.  Here’s what I’m going to do.  It may be too late to save all of Ruby’s memories, but she still has some of them.  And Edward can remember much of his past quite vividly, I guess because he is only three.  So I’m going to get some videos.  I’m going to ask them about some of their memories, and record what they say.  Maybe this will trigger something in their brains when they watch them in later years?  Or maybe not.  Perhaps my teenage children of the future will look at the recordings and say, “Wow, no, I don’t remember that at all!”  But at least we’ll have them.  Because, let’s be honest, the last place we want to leave important things to be remembered is in my brain.

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Posted in Children, Edward, Memory, Parenting, Ruby.

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