Monday, April 26, 2010

A toddler never forgets. . .

As I get older, I forget things. . . a lot. Everything from the last name of a girl I dated briefly in college to where I put my keys (as the joke goes, the last place I end up looking for them). I think my memory is moving from me to my kid. He remembers pretty much everything. He remembers the name of the Friday's waitress that was nice to him, I forget to stop on the way home to buy milk. He remembers that one time at Target there was a Curious George puzzle in the bargain bin, I forget the capital of New Hampshire. He remembers that 8 hours earlier I promised to let him watch his favorite TV show, I forget that I promised to let him watch his favorite TV show 8 hours earlier.

He remembers several little tidbits of something from every experience. We drive by the local video store and he recalls that the Chipmunks poster that was there 3 weeks ago has been replaced by "a bwoo guy" from Avatar. He remembers that he and he once found a dead ladybug in the backyard. He remembers that when he and his mother pulled up to a particular stop sign she yelled "come on lady." All triggered by being again in a certain place at a certain time and all become the de facto thing that happens at that place and time.

I find it fascinating watch his little mind form memories. I listened to this show about memory, the first 20 minutes covers how memories are formed and recalled. The basic premise is that instead of recalling a memory—each time you remember it—you actually rebuild that memory. And when you do, you bring the emotions of the point of remembering and change the memory, weakening it. It makes me wonder how (or even if) the little monkeybear will remember what it was like to be this age. . . and it makes me realize that the more I lament on these memories myself the less pure the memories will be.

I know it's geeky, but it kind of makes me sad. Thinking back on him as a baby and realizing that I can never really remember what he was like because every time I do I change it a little. That the memory of seeing him for the first time will never be quite right in my head.

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